When Laura Bloomberg became president of Cleveland State, she affirmed the decision to bring in Chick-fil-A and advertise it on campus. Bloomberg was not part of the original decision-making to bring in the fast-food restaurant chain. She believes the university should have been more open about the situation then.
Controversy surrounds the move to bring in Chick-fil-A as the company has donated to anti-LGBTQ rights organizations. Since then, some CSU students have made it known that they are not comfortable with the company’s presence on campus.
“I believe we should have been more transparent about it,” Bloomberg told The Cauldron in an interview. “I affirmed the decision. I know that not everybody uniformly loves that.”
Bloomberg stands by the decision because there are multiple stakeholder groups and their requests regarding dining options. However, Bloomberg wants to be still seen as an ally as she believes in supporting the priorities of CSU’s queer student alliance.
“I think that we have multiple stakeholder groups here, and we have a multitude of requests about different kinds of dining options,” Bloomberg said. “I am hugely supportive of the priorities of our queer student alliance. And I told them, ‘I think we can agree to disagree on this, and I want you to still see me as an ally.”
In the interview, Bloomberg said she understood the “political concern” regarding Chick-fil-A. When pressed that it was not a political concern but a human rights concern, Bloomberg compared it to a environmental crisis and those who buy gasoline for cars being hypocritical of their values.
“I understand your human rights comment. We can extend that in a lot of ways to think about how people feel about, for instance, a sustainability and an environmental crisis that could be existential,” Bloomberg said. “And what does that mean for every one of us who buys gasoline for our cars? There’s a lot of ways that we have to come to grips with what might be seen as the hypocrisy in our values.”
Bloomberg added that she made this decision because she believes the owner’s actions should be distinguished from everyone else working in the company.
“The decisions of the owner have to be distinguished from all those people in all those places,” Bloomberg said. “I will stand behind my decision to support Chick-fil-A.”