Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Janelle Griffith

A New Jersey college asked its students what new restaurant they wanted on campus — but then took Chick-fil-A off the menu.

Rider University, a private university in central New Jersey, polled students in the spring about what franchise they would like to see on campus.

The results showed a preference for Chick-fil-A, which boasts the slogan “Eat More Chikin."

But the university said it removed the restaurant as an option on a survey this fall based on the franchise's being “widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ+ community.”

“We sought to be thoughtful and fair in balancing the desire to provide satisfying options for a new on-campus restaurant while also being faithful to our values of inclusion,” administrators wrote in a letter to the Rider community.

The letter posted to the school's website Friday said the decision "required a difficult assessment of competing interests."

"The choices in this situation, like in so many others, were imperfect," administrators said in the posting. "They challenged us to reflect on our values and consider what kind of community we want to provide for those who live and learn at Rider University."

Chick-fil-A said in a statement to NBC News on Monday that it focuses on food, service and hospitality, and its restaurants and licensed locations on college campuses welcome everyone.

“We have no policy of discrimination against any group, and we do not have a political or social agenda," a spokesman for the company said in the statement. "More than 120,000 people from all different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand.”

The company stirred controversy in 2012 when its president made a series of public comments against same-sex marriage.

In July 2012, Dan T. Cathy, whose father, S. Truett Cathy, started the company in 1967, told the Baptist Press that Chick-fil-A supported “the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Chick-fil-A released a statement shortly afterward, stating: “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”

The company is reported to have a history of donating money to organizations opposed to same-sex marriage.