Cynthia Newman, former dean of the College of Business at Rider University, made a bold decision last month to walk away from her job after her school banned Chick-fil-A for the company’s Christian values.
Newman says students on campus voted to bring Chick-fil-A to their New Jersey school, but Rider denied the proposal over what they perceived as the restaurant’s “opposition to the LGBTQ+ community.”
According to Newman, the choice to deny Chick-fil-A a presence on campus carried much more weight than just satisfying a craving for tasty chicken and waffle fries.
For the strong woman of faith, it was about the company’s well-known Christian values that were openly denounced by Rider.
“I felt like I had been punched in the stomach when I read that statement,” said Newman. “I’m a very committed Christian and Chick-fil-A’s value — their corporate purpose statement is to glorify God and to be faithful stewards of all that’s entrusted to them and to have a positive influence on everyone who comes into contact with them — and I would say that that mirrors my personal beliefs perfectly. And so I really felt it very personally.”
Not one to make a scene, Newman initially contacted university leaders in private, requesting that they extend an apology for their offensive email.
Instead, Rider University decided to do the exact opposite.
The school “doubled down” on their adamant stance against Chick-fil-A by sending a follow-up email on the ban complete with “talking points about inclusion,” according to Fox News.
Newman couldn’t stand behind her employer in good conscience due to her Christian values, so on February 14, she resigned from her position.
Support from faculty poured in for Newman over her courageous choice to show “no one group’s opinions, values, beliefs, should be elevated over anyone’s else’s…we shouldn’t be putting down one person’s values because they don’t align with our personal values.”
“You’re the one who has to live in the world that’s around you,” said the former dean, “and so if you feel something is not right in that world, you have an obligation to stand up and to say what your perspective is on that.”