John Hopkins University (JHU) is a staple of the East Coast. Nestled inside Baltimore, Maryland, JHU has been a benchmark of higher education since 1876. Regretfully for a certain fast food restaurant, the JHU student government association (SGA) are not stuck in the Reconstruction Era.
Which restaurant chain is that? Chick-Fil-A, of course.
The Atlanta, Georgia fast good giant has been best known in recent years for its executives’ statements bemoaning the advance of same-sex marriage rights. Every once in a while, this gets the restaurant in trouble…but the Cathy family has such a great reputation, bad headlines fade away.
Here’s another one from Breitbart.com: the SGA of JHU voted 18-8 not to “support the proposal of a Chick-fil-A, in a current or future sense, particularly on any location that is central to student life.”
The SGA’s resolution maintained that the body “aims to provide a safe, supportive environment for all university affiliates now and in the future,” noted that “Chick-Fil-A’s former CEO Dan Cathy has publicly stated divisive statements against the LGBTQ+ community,” and that Cathy was “disappointed after the supreme court’s decision on same sex marriage.”
The site’s readers are predictably incensed over this move, but we can witness the PR genius of the SGA in one word: “microaggression.”
The student body of John Hopkins University isn’t arguing that Chick-Fil-A doesn’t support gay rights and therefore cannot sell its product on campus. Such suggestions would probably prompt their own protests. But, discrimination (which may or may not be conscious) turns the story into one regarding perception rather than intent.
This isn’t bigotry; it’s opinion…and that esoteric depiction of feeling is almost impossible to combat.
In other words, corporate communicators can NEVER say “tweets do not reflect the opinions of my employer” — and those opinions can lead to some major revenue losses for that employer.