In Feb. 2012, the Hopkins Athletics Department entered into a temporary contract with Chick-fil-A. As of the fall 2012 sports season, Chick-fil-A food stands have been stationed at all Homewood home games.
While many sports fans and athletic representatives praise the recently opened food stand and see it as both a great business partnership and a great way to grab lunch before the game, many Hopkins students want the chain to leave. They feel that strong political views have no place on a university campus, and they are pushing for the immediate termination of Chick-fil-A’s contract.
In August 2012, months after Hopkins Athletics formed their official alliance with the enterprise, Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy took a strong public stance against same-sex marriage. On Sept. 19, major media sources confirmed that Cathy made multiple donations to the Defense of Marriage Act, an act against same-sex marriage. The donations came from his company's profits. A day later, Cathy pledged to stop using his company's profits to support the act.
While various members of the student body are against the presence of the Chick-fil-A concession stand, they have taken no direct action. Students have neither approached Hopkins Athletics in protest, nor have they directly protested the Chick-fil-A truck, according to Hopkins Athletic records.
Leaders from the JHU Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance, the LGBT activist group on campus, declined to release an official opinion on the subject.
The closest thing to a protest thus far came from Senior Student Government Association Senator Em Feder-Cooper at last week's SGA meeting. She proposed that the SGA protest Chick-fil-A and consequently incited a lengthy debate. No official decision was reached.
However, there are many students who enjoy having Chick-fil-A and see no need to associate their political views with the product.
“They’re a company that provides a product which people can freely choose to eat or not. The ideological views of the person who runs the company doesn’t matter. It doesn’t affect the product or the service provided. If they refused to serve gays, it would be a different matter,” junior Nick Siegel said.
Any negative stigmas associated with Chick-fil-A have not inhibited sandwich sales, and the company has been nothing but successful at Homewood since its contract entered into effect. Last Saturday, Chick-fil-A sandwiches were sold out by halftime, restocked in a matter of thirty minutes, and sold out again by the completion of the game.
"What can I say? I like Chick-fil-A. This is just a business, and politics should not be involved when you're doing business. Plus, their waffle fries are so good," freshman Annie Brown, said.
Students had differing views on this controversial contract. Many felt that the contract with Chick-fil-A did not reflect negatively on students who decide to purchase food at sporting events, or negatively on Hopkins in general.
The contract with Chick-fil-A is on a trial basis and is scheduled to be re-evaluated at the culmination of the fall 2012 sports season.
"This is a business relationship, and we don't want to move forward if it's not working for Hopkins,” Director of Athletics, Tom Calder, said. “I expect our partners wouldn't be interested if it's not working for them [either]... We have [so far] received positive feedback from students about the availability of Chick-fil-A food at our games. If, at the end of the fall, a replacement vendor is needed, we will then seek partners that provide offerings we think our fans will enjoy.”