Town hall postponed over controversy

After criticism from various groups on campus, the Student Government Association has decided to postpone Monday’s scheduled town hall meeting that would have helped decide which nationally branded food franchise would be brought to the Student Union.

Controversy began to stir after rumors that Chick-fil-A, which has previously supported organizations opposed to same-sex marriages, was a top contender for the spot.

“The purpose of the town hall meeting got a little bit out of focus. And I think some of it is because people are not really sort of in tune, if you will, with what’s really going on,” Director of Business Operations and Auxiliary Services Andy Meeks said. “Seemingly a lot of people thought we had already just decided to bring Chick-fil-A in, and they wanted obviously to express their opposition to that for all the reasons that everybody knows. And that’s not really what’s going on at all.”

According to SGA President Erik Pederson, the town hall would have served as a podium for students and staff of NKU to voice their opinion on which franchise would best fit NKU. Aside from Chick-fil-A, Andy Meeks said that other options, such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Skyline, Taco Bell and Chipotle, were also being discussed.

“The truth is, no decision has been made. How Chick-fil-A got to the point that it is is that it’s the one that seems to come up in conversation the most,” Meeks said. “People seem to talk about that and we’ve been talking about it for two or three years.”

This week, the SGA will send out a questionnaire to help narrow the selection down to about five choices. Pederson said  the questions that can be expected to appear on the questionnaire include whether the participant is a student or faculty member, residential or commuter and the amount of time they spend in the Student Union.

Pederson said that after they finish gathering data from the questionnaire, the SGA will take the top five or so choices and hold another town hall.

The attitude towards bringing a national franchise to NKU was a negative one after the new Student Union was first built in 2008.

“In the old building, [nationally branded concepts] were pretty much all we had.  And we thought at that moment in time, we felt like they had run their course; that people were looking for something else,” Meeks said. “Maybe it’s time to look at some national or regional brands and see we can find one that we’d like to have for some period of time.”