After much controversy surrounding a Chick-fil-A coming to campus, the University Senate passed an inclusion resolution at a Monday meeting.
Equity and Diversity Committee Chair Audrey Ruple said that she was trying to write a non-controversial inclusion resolution and intentionally did not include Chick-fil-A in the resolution.
“The reason we specifically didn't talk about Chick-Fil-A in the original resolution, is because this is a wedge issue,” Ruple said. “We wanted this resolution to be bigger than just about Chick-fil-A.”
Though Ruple didn’t want to include Chick-fil-A in the resolution, she addressed the restaurant in her presentation and the donations it’s made to various anti-LGBTQ organizations.
She later returned to the larger issue of inclusivity on Purdue’s campus and holding up the values that Purdue has expressed.
Ruple brought up statements Purdue made when former Papa John's CEO John Schnatter said a racial slur, as well as a statement made in response to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“This is what this resolution is about — is truly being inclusive, as a community, it's not about Chick-fil-A,” Ruple said, referring to Purdue’s rhetoric about diversity and inclusion on campus.
Ruple receive a round of applause after her presentation, and multiple senate members gave a standing ovation.
Professor Todd Kelley said that the resolution didn’t seem to be promoting civil discourse.
“Some of this looks to me like not inclusion but exclusion, that's a concern for me,” Kelley said.
Purdue Student Government President Jo Boileau spoke in support of the resolution and brought up some experiences he had had due to his support of the resolution.
“I'd like to say that just with these entities, the idea of them coming here is destructive, at least to me,” he said. “I can say that it's been difficult to operate as a student in the past six weeks, given things that have been written about me, about other members of this body.”
Some senators made an analogy to a business supporting racial discrimination. Economics professor Stephen Martin said the idea that the market should decide whether or not Chick-fil-A should be on campus isn’t a compelling argument if a business were to support racial discrimination.
“The debate now underway is not about the ability of a business to market a product in the commercially successful way,” Martin said. “It is about where we as a university draw the line between conduct that is acceptable and acceptable.”
Professor Alice Pawley expressed concern about Purdue’s dismissal of the inclusion resolution before the administration had voted upon it.
“The resolution is not trying to address intolerant companies' right to exist or to do business off campus or even maintain any discriminatory policies,” she said.
Later in the meeting, a resolution was passed asking that the Purdue administration and the Board of Trustees rescind the 2020 benefit changes and allow for better consultation with the University Senate.
The Board of Trustees approved the changes in a meeting Aug. 2, and the new plan will be effective Jan. 1.