Cynthia Newman, dean of the College of Business Administration at Rider University in New Jersey, has decided to leave her post over the stupidest of allegedly delicious reasons.
Citing her values as a “very committed Christian,” Newman is resigning as dean because of the school’s refusal to allow Chick-fil-A on campus.
“As some of you already know, I am a committed follower of Jesus Christ,” Newman says in her announcement, which was first reported by Campus Reform. “As such, I endeavor every day to do exactly what Chick-fil-A puts forward as its overarching corporate value: to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to me and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with me.”
According to the Washington Times, Rider administrators sent students a survey asking which restaurant they would most like to see on campus. Though Chick-fil-A won handily, the school decided against the Atlanta-based chain due to its history of homophobic sentiment.
Rider, who said Chick-fil-A’s values had yet to align with their own, explained their decision to students in an email this past November.
In June of 2012, Chick-fil-A president and COO Dan Cathy told radio talk show host Ken Coleman that America was “inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’ I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”
A month later, when pressed on his earlier remarks while appearing on another radio show, Cathy leaned in.
“We are very much supportive of the family, the biblical definition of the family unit,” Cathy said. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that.”
“We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
Chick-fil-A, which co-sponsored an event for an organization that lobbied against a potential ban on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender, saw pushback from city governments and consumers alike in the wake of Cathy’s comments. By September, after losing its licensing agreement with the Jim Henson Company for kids meal toys, the company announced its decision to cease donations to organizations opposed to LGBTQ+ rights. In 2014, Cathy told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he regretted making his company synonymous with bigotry.
Newman, a “very committed Christian,” told Campus Reform that she felt “punched in the stomach” by the university’s statement. A dean since 2017, she will leave her role as dean on August 31, continuing her role as professor.
Kristine Brown, Rider’s associate vice president of marketing and communications, thanked Newman for her contributions.
“While we respect Dr. Newman’s personal decision,” Brown said Tuesday according to NJ.com, “we maintain that the decision about choosing an on-campus restaurant franchise was in no way a judgment on religious values. Rather, our intention was to foster a sense of respect and belonging of all members of the campus community, including those who identify as LGBTQ+.”