The University of South Dakota will move forward with the choice of Chick-fil-A as one of the food vendors in the expanded Muenster Student Center that is scheduled to open in 2014, USD President James Abbott said in a press release on Tuesday.

Abbot is quoted in the release by saying, “We are opposed to discrimination on this campus. We understand that people feel aggrieved by the views of Chick-fil-A’s owner, and we are sympathetic to those on campus who objected.  But we are advised by counsel that the University cannot discriminate against a vendor because of protected speech or the religious views of the company owners.”

Apparently the University’s Executive Committee was the counsel that Abbot cited in the reasoning for affirming the status of their new food choices.  Chick-fil-A, along with Qdoba and Einstein Bros. Bagels were chosen to occupy the food court in the expanded student center. The restaurants were among the students’ top choices on a 2011 survey of popular eateries.

When taste or novelty rules the survey, sure the students made terrific choices.  Now that controversy surrounds Chick-fil-A because of owner Dan Cathy's public statements supporting traditional marriage the gut-check time has arrived.  Who knows?  By 2014, the whole controversy may have been forgotten.  If not, the students will avoid the choice and another vendor will take the place of Chick-fil-A.  There's nothing like free enterprise in action.

DP