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Rider University officials recently decided that it would not allow Chick-fil-A to open a restaurant on its central New Jersey campus, saying its antigay history doesn't align with the college's values.
When the university released a statement announcing it was no longer considering Chick-fil-A as a new dining option for students, Rider's College of Business Administration dean Cynthia Newman was shell-shocked, reports the Associated Press reports.
"I felt like I had been punched in the stomach when I read that statement because I am a very committed Christian," Newman told the conservative site Campus Reform. "I really felt it very personally."
Newman's values align with that of Chick-fil-A, Newman told the site. When the university offered university staff suggestions on how to handle negative queries about the Chick-fil-A decision, rather than an apology, Newman snapped.
"I am not willing to compromise my faith and Christian values and I will not be viewed as being in any way complicit when an affront is made to those values," she said, prompting her decision to quit as dean.
School officials said the decision was not intended as an insult to anyone. "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," Rider spokeswoman Kristine Brown told the AP.
Meanwhile, Newman will continue in her faculty position even though she will no longer serve as dean.
Chick-fil-A has a long history of donating millions to anti-LGBTQ organizations. The corporation, under CEO Dan Cathy, has contributed to organizations deemed hate groups, including Exodus International and the Family Research Council. In 2012, Cathy spoke publicly about his opposition to marriage equality, which led to boycotts of the company.
"We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives," Cathy said at the time, confirming that he did not support marriage equality. "We give God thanks for that. ... 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."
Faced with criticism and boycotts of the chain, Cathy vowed he would stop donating to anti-LGBTQ organizations, but years after his promise, in 2015, Chick-fil-A donated $1 million to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which has a purity clause that bans "homosexual acts."
Chick-fil-A is one of the largest American companies without an LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination policy and has a zero score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index.