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UNM board: Chick-fil-A to stay

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Students who said the presence of Chick-fil-A made them feel unsafe lost a battle to abolish the fast food chain from campus.

The Student Union Building board, comprised of students, faculty and staff, struck down a motion to remove Chick-fil-A from the SUB at a meeting Wednesday. The vote was 8 to 3.

The issue came up in September, when a group from the school’s LGBTQ Resource Center asked the SUB board to remove the eatery and launched an online petition, president Rebecca Vanucci said. Chick-fil-A made headlines last summer after making donations to anti-gay political groups, which the organization says it no longer does.

The SUB board decided to launch a survey and gather input from other students through town hall forums.

The survey, which focused on students’ satisfaction with Chick-fil-A, came back with mixed results, Vanucci said. Students also held protests in front of the restaurant on Tuesday.

At the meeting Wednesday, three people from each side of the issue were allowed to speak out.

Alyssa Perez, a junior and the president of the UNM College Republicans, said she did not know of any instances in which a student was harassed by someone from Chick-fil-A.

“I’m standing for Chick-fil-A because I’m standing for free speech, not because I like their food or because I’m a bigot,” Perez said.

Steven Ybarra also was against removing the chain from campus.

“Nobody’s in imminent danger on this campus because of chicken,” Ybarra said.

Senior Brittany Arneson said board members should consider student safety before any profits Chick-fil-A may bring.

“So please look at this from a moral standpoint,” she said.

Miquela Ortiz, an Associated Students of the University of New Mexico senator who sponsored a resolution in support of banning the eatery from campus, said she had heard from numerous students that they didn’t feel safe on campus anymore.

Ortiz said she would look for other steps she could take to remove the restaurant.

“When students came to me feeling unsafe, it was a very serious issue to me and that’s not something I want to see die down,” Ortiz said.