I have an issue on my hands that I don't know how to handle with class. Let's dive in.
As many of you remember, Chick-Fil-A was a trending theme over the summer. Dan Cathy (the COO of Chick-Fil-A) made some questionable remarks about gay people and gay marriage. Many on the left reacted quite negatively and many on the right stood up for his First Amendment rights.
Fast forward three months. The issue is still brewing in the only place it can survive- academia. I'm on a college campus and there are some students within student government who want to sit down with the ownership of the local Chick-Fil-A and they have some demands. They want to present a letter to the ownership, and get them to sign it, that calls for Dan Cathy to apologize for his remarks, retract his remarks, and promise to stop funding anti-gay "hate groups" (I'm not saying Chick-Fil-A is completely innocent but they aren't as bad as some people make them out to be). They are also demanding that a "pride" flag be placed in the Chick-Fil-A store.
As far as I'm concerned the issue over Dan Cathy's remarks are a First Amendment issue. If this case were to go to court the petitioners would get laughed out. Thus, I think their demands are not only completely unrealistic, I think they should be called out on them. I understand that they are offended but there is absolutely no reason they should demand what they are demanding. How can I politely point out the problem here without sounding like a homophobe? I think they need to be taken down a notch. How can I put them in their place with class?
Ask them what laws were broken by chick-fil-a? Remind them that it is not part of academia nor is Parr of the campus and they have no basis to make any demands. They do have a right to protest the company, as customers. But anything else is an infringement on the owner's rights (each store is individually owned I believe). They can ask (not demand) to meet with management but management is within its right to refuse their demands, or even entertain their point of view. You may just have to bite the bullet and take a stand. They may not like it, but of they are true student leaders then they'll at least respect you. Good luck.
The school, and its leadership, have a right to impose whatever restrictions they want on the Chick Fil-A if the store is on their property.
That's true, but that's not the issue here. The issue is that some students are demanding that Dan Cathy retract his statements, apologize for his statements, and stop funding anti-gay "hate groups." The government doesn't even have jurisdiction over speech, let alone a school.
Actually a school would have jurisdiction over such speech, much more so than the government. Congress shall make no law... blah blah blah. But the New York Times con inhibit your "free" expression if it wants, because it is a private entity and can control what goes on its pages. So too the school.
You're kidding me, right? The school is one entity. The business is another. Dan Cathy is yet a third. And you're trying to tell me that my school has jurisdiction over what comes out of Dan Cathy's mouth? Go take that to court and tell me how it goes.
The school has jurisdiction over what businesses it chooses to work with - for whatever criteria they decide to use within the law and nature of their contracts. The words that come out of the owners mouth, and the reaction their students have to them, may or may not be a factor (if they think students are going to boycott the business, that may mean a lack of revenue for the school per the terms of their contract - a good reason to work with someone else).
They are not saying Dan cannot say what he chooses - but they are free to no longer associate with him or his businesses as a result.
The student's "demands" are the conditions under which they would be happy to embrace the business and their relationship with the school. The business is free to ignore them. The only punishment would be student boycott - but the school may take their own action to protect their own interests financially, public relations wise, and internally to maintain their relationship with the students. None of this infringes on Cathy's right to say what he wants. Just that there is no guarantee people will want to be around you and work with you if you spout off like a jackass, and support causes that are unpopular. That is to say, there is no protection from market consequences for your freedom of speech.
Thank you Liam.
I agree, but that's not what is going on here. These students are demanding that Dan Cathy apologize for utilizing his First Amendment rights. No one has the right to do that plain and simple.
They don't have to associate with any corporation that they don't want to associate with. But to demand that someone apologize for an inalienable right... well, that's insanity.
From what you have shared here, that sounds like a mischaracterization. Nobody is saying he doesn't have the right to say what he did. You are free to say the most hurtful things in the world.
But the freedom to say something does not necessarily mean protection from the consequences of having said them.
I agree Liam. Total mischaracterization. Not a first amendment issue at all. If it were, then DJ would be forced to argue that his SC has equal right to freedom of speech to censure Cathy as Cathy does to spew whatever idiocy he regurgitated in order to start this fiasco in the first place.
Not really. One can demand an apology for insulting or stupid statements. Like if someone mocked your family members or something like that. If that person hid behind his first amendment rights, that would be insanity.
Elevating anything someone says to sacred first amendment rights and therefore beyond reproach is cowardice. It postulates that there can be no criticism or exchange because such dialogue is verboten. It's tyrannical. Furthermore, your student government doesn't have the force of legal, American political government and therefore cannot violate anyone's first amendment rights. Only the Government can do that because only the Congress shall pass no law... not the student council at XYZ university...