University dean resigns after school bans Chick-fil-A: ‘Stand up for what you believe in’
NEW JERSEY, March 6, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Dean of the College of Business at Rider University chose to resign over the school’s decision to ban Chick-fil-A from its campus due to the corporation’s Christian values.
Students at Rider University had voted in favor of bringing Chick-fil-A to their campus, but school administrators rejected their wishes, asserting that the national food chain stood in “opposition to the LGBTQ+ community.”
After the school sent out an email announcing that Chick-fil-A was not welcome “because their corporate values had not sufficiently progressed enough to align with Rider’s values,” Dean Cynthia Newman was spurred into action.
“I felt like I had been punched in the stomach when I read that statement,” Newman said in a video interview with Campus Reform. “I'm a very committed Christian and Chick-fil-A’s values – their corporate purpose statement is to glorify God and to be faithful stewards of all that’s entrusted to them and to have a positive influence on everyone who comes into contact with them – and I would say that that mirrors my personal beliefs perfectly. And so I really felt it very personally."
At first Newman attempted to act behind the scenes, initiating a dialogue with university leaders about their decision and ultimately asking them to issue an apology.
Instead, school administrators sent out another email, but failed to offer an apology.
More stunningly, campus officials sent out a list of talking points to campus leadership which were to be used to “respond to anyone who was critical of the Chick-fil-A decision,” said Newman.
“It was at that point – when I got those talking points – that I realized that I couldn’t in good conscience adhere to those,” said Newman.
Newman pointed out that with no apology, the talking points about reaffirming the university’s “commitment to inclusion” and its commitment “to be an open place where all people are welcome,” were hypocritical and offensive.
“To say that we should respond by saying the university seeks to produce individuals that are responsible citizens” implies that “people who adhere to values similar to Chick-fil-A’s are not responsible citizens,” said Newman.
Speaking to a gathering of about 70 faculty and staff members on February 14, Newman announced her resignation and explained, “I couldn’t put myself in a situation where I would in any way be seen as complicit when an affront to my Christian values has been made.”
Newman said that she has received support from some members of faculty and staff as well as students who believe that university campuses are a place where people should be able to “respectfully disagree,” and that “we shouldn’t be putting down one group’s values because they don’t align with our personal values.”
To other professors on campuses across the country who espouse Christian and conservative values, Newman has a message: “Don’t be afraid.”
“Stand up for what you believe in,” she continued.
“You’re the one who has to live in the world around you,” added Newman, “so if you feel something is not right in that world, you have an obligation to stand up and to say what your perspective is on that.”