December 17, 2012
To the Emory community:
For more than a year, the Emory community has engaged in profoundly thoughtful conversations about the presence of a Chick-fil-A franchise on our campus. These discussions have been prompted by charitable donations made by Chick-fil-A and its founders as well as statements by the company's president. Our campus discussions have arisen out of positive recognition, on various sides of the debate, that Emory strives to manifest what it means to be an ethically engaged community, and that Emory seeks to articulate the highest ideals and to live by them.
The issues that have been identified with regard to Chick-fil-A have engaged the most serious ethical thinking at all levels of the university, including alumni, students, staff, faculty, the University's Cabinet, and the Board of Trustees. Many of the questions raised address the very heart of our institutional commitments—open expression, protection against discrimination and hatred, respect for diversity of viewpoints, and commitment to reasoned dialgue and debate. In that respect, even though the conversation has at times been difficult, the focus on the implications of Emory's relationship with Chick-fil-A has been healthy and good.
It is critical to underscore that participation in an ethical community requires not only principles (see below), but also processes and practices that permit our principles to be applied fairly. Often the just application of principles is not immediately clear. Deliberate and thoughtful campus discussions help us not only to reaffirm our principles, but to apply them fairly. We believe that the attached document (below), refined through probing dialogue, helps set forth a clear position in regard to Chick-fil-A's presence on the Emory campus. We believe that our conclusions, based on the wide-ranging dialogues of the past year, represent the fairest, most just path forward.
Ajay Nair, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life
For several months, senior University administrators and other members of the community have deliberated and wrestled with the ethical points and principles related to the presence of Chick-fil-A at Emory University. Our principles and conclusions are:
The vision for campus dining that Emory offers in partnership with Sodexo plays a unique and important role in supporting student well-being and building community. Sodexo, in consultation with Emory's Division of Campus Life, continually evaluates sales, customer feedback, and dining trends on campus in order to provide options that meet changing student tastes and expectations. Typical brand selection and replacement considerations include, but are not limited to, preferential surveys, strategic planning processes, campus master planning, sales trends, contract requirements, and brand re-imaging. Nielson customer preference surveys, conducted in 2008 and updated in the spring of 2012, revealed that global cuisine and flavors, health conscious offerings, and competitive market pricing are three key attributes students look for in dining options on this campus. Sustainability is also an important issue for the Emory community; Sodexo is committed to helping the University meet its sustainability goals. The Division of Campus Life and Sodexo will work collaboratively with stakeholders this spring to identify brands that support our vision for campus dining. Any brand changes in Emory Dining, which would begin in the fall of 2013, will be consistent with this vision and the principles above.