ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — The fate of a popular restaurant at the University of New Mexico was sealed Wednesday with a vote to allow the eatery to remain on campus.
Chick-fil-A landed on the hot plate last week after a student group voted to kick the restaurant off campus claiming its very presence made gay students feel unsafe.
The issue stems from the Chick-fil-A president's controversial comments on gay marriage last year. The board governing the Student Union Building took up the issue with a vote Wednesday.
It was a packed meeting with wall-to-wall students looking to flap their wings on a touchy restaurant debacle.
"Students started expressing to me they felt unsafe to go into their own campus union building," Sen. Miquela Ortiz of the Associated Students of UNM said. "When they said they felt uncomfortable on campus, I felt it was an issue that I should bring up."
Ortiz sponsored a resolution to boot food vendor off the university's campus.
Late last year Chick-fil-A's president stirred up protests across the nation and even in Albuquerque after speaking out against gay marriage.
Last week the student senate passed Ortiz's resolution and asked the SUB board to make Chick-fil-A fly the coop. The meeting was full of emotion.
"Please look at this from a moral standpoint," said Brittany Arneson, a student against having Chick-fil-A on campus. "Look at the kids that are here that are telling you, 'I do not feel safe on this campus anymore.'"
Those in favor of booting the vendor say even the bags have become a symbol of hate. They claim seeing professors and students carrying them on campus makes them uncomfortable and fearful of retaliation because of their lifestyles.
Those opposed say that's ridiculous.
"Nobody is in imminent danger on this campus because of chicken," said one student.
"I have friends that work for Chick-fil-A, and they're taught to treat every customer with the respect that they deserve," said freshman Tess Hunt who wants to see the restaurant stay.
The vote was 8-3. Chick-fil-A gets to stay on UNM's campus.
Those voting said they had different opinions, but a big reason many voted to keep the chicken vendor was due to the restaurant still being under contract. Many say it would cost too much to kick Chick-fil-A out. Chick-fil-A is also the third most profitable vendor in the SUB.
Even though the resolution passed the student senate last week, when polled the majority of students wanted the restaurant to stay. That also factored into the board's decision.
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.