Archive for Thursday, August 9, 2012

Heard on the Hill: KU Chick-Fil-A debate reaches Congress; local IIYM piano winner continues to excel; math prof takes on new administrative role

August 9, 2012


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• The debate of whether or not there should or shouldn’t be a Chick-Fil-A on the KU campus has reached the halls of the United States Congress.

U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, a Republican who represents Kansas’ “Big First” district in the western part of the state, sent KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little a letter to let her know where he stands on the issue.

You’ll recall that competing petitions were floating around after the restaurant chain’s president made comments expressing his opposition to gay marriage.

Huelskamp (who has a doctorate degree from American University in political science) came down firmly on the side of chicken.

You can read the whole letter here, but here’s a flavor.

“Kicking out a private business that is operating legally on the grounds that its leader holds a particular set of religious and political beliefs different from yours or any other official would violate the University’s commitment to non-discrimination,” Huelskamp wrote. “The University of Kansas has a proud tradition of allowing people of differing views to express those views; to discriminate and undo that tradition would be a travesty.”

Just so we’re clear, though, I haven’t heard of any serious moves (from the chancellor’s office or otherwise) to shutter the Chick-Fil-A in Wescoe Hall.

Fourteen-year-old Chaeyoung Park, of Lawrence, begins with Clementi’s Sonata in F-sharp minor during the semifinal round of the International Institute for Young Musicians piano competition July at the Lied Center.

Fourteen-year-old Chaeyoung Park, of Lawrence, begins with Clementi’s Sonata in F-sharp minor during the semifinal round of the International Institute for Young Musicians piano competition July at the Lied Center.

• Here’s some Heard on the Hill kudos to Chaeyoung Park, a 14-year-old pianist who is originally from South Korea but now resides in Lawrence.

She won KU’s prestigious International Institute for Young Musicians piano competition earlier this summer.

Scott McBride Smith, who is the director of the piano institute at KU, told me on Wednesday that Park had gone on to become a finalist in the Eastman Young Artists Piano Competition in New York.

Smith said Park was the youngest semi-finalist and the youngest finalist in the competition., which he said was like the Olympics of young piano competition.

And looking at the list of finalists, I can see why. Park was up against youngsters from Singapore, Italy, China and even the faraway land of Redmond, Wash.

If this was the Olympics, then Leonardo Colafelice, of Bari, Italy, won the gold medal.

Smith said it was a great honor to be included as a finalist, however, particularly given the stiff competition. She will also receive a $750 cash award.

• A former faculty senate president at KU is taking on an administrative role as Rodolfo Torres, professor of mathematics, has been named as associate vice chancellor for research and graduate studies and a vice president of the KU Center for Research Inc.

Torres takes over for Joshua Rosenbloom, who is on leave from KU as a visiting program director with the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation in Washington.

According to a KU statement announcing his hire, Torres will share in the oversight of research administration, strategic planning and other research-related responsibilities on the Lawrence campus.

• As things stand, the two issues that Heard on the Hill has caused the most legislative action on involve Chick-Fil-A and Missouri license plates with Jayhawks on them. I’m not going to think too hard about that while you send me some more tips at


Mike Slack 4 years ago

I assume even if KU's administration is against the company's viewpoint they know that letting the Chick-Fil-A die on it's own from its targeted customers avoiding it sends a much stronger message. Plus, the interactions between a line of chicken supporters and an educated/cultured mass on Wescoe Beach can result in nothing but awesomeness.

John Hamm 4 years ago

"interactions between a line of chicken supporters and an educated/cultured mass" That's true - your "educated/cultured mass" will come in a distant third! Liberals - to the extent you agree with US!

bradh 4 years ago

Things must have changed since I went to KU if there is an educated/cultured mass on Wescoe Beach.

parrothead8 4 years ago

Nobody says the guy can't say what he said. The problem people have, and the reason why people are choosing not to eat there, is that he financially supports organizations who lobby for discriminatory legislation.

John Hamm 4 years ago

And this isn't his "right" as a citizen of the United States? Once again the Liberal view to the forefront.....

asixbury 4 years ago

No one is saying he cannot do as he pleases. They are exercising their rights by not supporting him.

johnwoods 4 years ago

I don't think selling chicken sandwiches is covered under the first amendment.

jaywalker 4 years ago

So what, parrot? Pretty sure that's his right. And I'm sure there are plenty of people boycotting the store merely for what he said.

clarkentsman 4 years ago

Rep. Huelskamp has it right. We are all entitled to our own beliefs. People on the right and left ends of the political spectrum tend to not agree. Their view is that YOU are entitled to what you believe as long it is what they believe. If you have a view that differs from them then you are wrong.

If you disagree with this guy then don't buy his food.

asixbury 4 years ago

My husband made a good point about this issue on Chick-Fil-A. People who are against gay marriage are posting pictures of themselves on Facebook, etc, with a bag from there to show that they agree with the leader's position (i.e.: Sarah Palin). This negativity attached to the restaurant now means he can no longer eat there (although he loves it) for fear of being viewed as a bigot. He supports gay marriage, but people assume he does not if he enters that establishment. He has received backlash from coworkers because of it. Like he said, I just want the damn pickles; I could care less what their CEO said.

jafs 4 years ago

And those opposed aren't opposing that.

They're opposing his funding of groups that want to deny equal rights to gays and lesbians.

jafs 4 years ago

Just standard terminology for male and female homosexuals.

John Hamm 4 years ago

If he's not man enough to eat there that's a shame - on him.

asixbury 4 years ago

Has nothing to do with being a man. He will still eat there. The point I, and he, was making is that it's ridiculous to attach what some bigot said to the product. He likes the chicken, doesn't like the leader's views. That is the conundrum. Sorry if your small mind cannot comprehend.

asixbury 4 years ago

Thanks! I will definitely try this and see if it satisfies him!

jaywalker 4 years ago

Only a small mind would consider this a conundrum, dear.

asixbury 4 years ago

Small mind? You make personal attacks on me for voicing my opinion on a subject. How big-minded of you.

jaywalker 4 years ago

"This negativity attached to the restaurant now means he can no longer eat there (although he loves it) for fear of being viewed as a bigot."

Tell your husband to man-up.

asixbury 4 years ago

See my post above. He is more of a man than what your comment would dictate that you are. So, some how it is bad that he does not want to be viewed as a bigot? He supports gay marriage and does not support this type of hatred and discrimination.

Liberty275 4 years ago

I support gay marriage and will eat where I please without violating another person's rights.

jafs 4 years ago

If the money you're spending at the business goes towards groups that actively work to deny rights, aren't you contributing to that effort?

jaywalker 4 years ago

You're husbands' more of a man than I because I said to man-up? Excellent criteria.

And anyone that thinks someone else is a bigot for eating a chicken sandwich is a flat out moron.

asixbury 4 years ago

That was partially my point. He doesn't want to be viewed as a bigot, yet he likes their chicken. He also does not want to contribute to anti-gay legislation in any way (which eating there does, since they donate to anti-gay rights organizations). That is the conundrum.

jaywalker 4 years ago

Then it's not much of a conundrum, is it? But if he's going to take the moral high ground on such things, it's going to take considerable work not to be a hypocrite. He needs to be making his own clothes and shoes, has to become a vegan, must drive an electric car, beware where he buys your diamonds from, ...............

asixbury 4 years ago

So in your train of thought, if you cannot make a stand on every issue, you shouldn't make a stand on any? Makes no sense to me. I will make a stand on my views of morality whenever the opportunity arises. No one is perfect, but you can always try.

Why would I have to make my own clothes, be a vegan, etc? I don't have a problem with killing animals for food. I like meat. I hate sewing, so that's out the window. I am making a stand on the issue of gay marriage equality; these examples you give have absolutely nothing to do with this.

jaywalker 4 years ago

" I will make a stand on my views of morality whenever the opportunity arises."

Translation: "I will make a stand on my views of morality whenever it's convenient."

Bully for you.

asixbury 4 years ago

So are you perfect? I do not have an issue with some of the things you said. No one is able to make a stand on every issue. I chose the ones that mean something to me, and that I can make a stand on, whenever possible.

asixbury 4 years ago

See my post above. So, some how it's bad that he doesn't want to be viewed as a bigot? He supports gay marriage and does not support hatred or discrimination. I would say this makes him a bigger man than what your comment paints you as.

Alexander Smith 4 years ago

If KU was smart they would remove Chick-Fil-A. Yes there is the idea of freedom of expression BUT this is a business and a place were students from all over the world come and go. The universities purpose is to create a non-hostile place for students to come and go. By letting it stay students that eat at Chick-Fil-A will/could be heckled to the point that they will not go to Wesco which in turn hurts the other businesses in Wesco. On a business standpoint they need to have it removed because the Chick-Fil-A policy does NOT represent the main prupose of KU of treating everyone equally and without discrimination or harrasement. By removing it shows the world that KU believes in equality and the American Spirit. Have to remeber people freedom of speech was based around the individual, not a business. Reason being is business receive tax breaks, special breaks from the State and Feds which WE as tax payers are paying for. Eitherway, I give it a year..maybe 2 and it will be closed down. From what I have researched their sales have dropped by over 38% and is showing no signs of recovery. Many strip malls, etc.. have already cancelled their leases with them for creating a uncofortable and hostile shopping experience.

Another thing, when the made that comment they are saying EVERYONE at the business believes that way... WIDE OPEN for lawsuits from the inside. A local store in Iowa had to shut down for three days because only 2 employees showed up.

Flap Doodle 4 years ago

"...Another thing, when the made that comment they are saying EVERYONE at the business believes that way... " Not so much, but thanks for playing. "...Another thing, when the made that comment they are saying EVERYONE at the business believes that way... " Could you give us a citation from a legit news source?

John Hamm 4 years ago

"create a non-hostile place for students" Seems to me it's the students creating the hostile atmosphere not the business, not even the owner. Liberal Logic again - you don't agree with us get out!

MarcoPogo 4 years ago's...Wescoe...Wescoe...harassment...remember...Either way...uncomfortable...they.

John Hamm 4 years ago

"they are saying EVERYONE at" I must disagree with this. This is what you wish to put into their mouth.

jaywalker 4 years ago

ironmouse, .............. so many fallacies, so little time. Sigh.

purplesage 4 years ago

Chic-fil-a has a primary business base in parts of the country which are much more tolerant than Lawrence. I know that folks here think they are tolerant and broad-minded, but take a moment and read this stuff. Richard John Neuhaus warned agains the "naked public square" years ago. This is a manifestation of that phenomena, a place where no beliefs aside from having no beliefs are tolerated. Rep. Huelskamp has it exactly right.

MarcoPogo 4 years ago

You can get off your soap box now. :)

jhawkinsf 4 years ago

Just allow Chi-fil-a to stay right where they are. Then allow a large banner to be placed next to them stating that they support hate and bigotry. Then let the consumer decide. Everyone's First Amendment's rights will be protected.

BTW - Perhaps it's time for the employees to contract "blue flu".

jhawkinsf 4 years ago

In the year I was born, it would have been illegal for me to marry my wife, interracial marriages being illegal. Our long and happy union would not have been legal, and our happy offspring might never have happened. Times change, as they should. Jump on board now, or let history judge you as they judge the supporters of Jim Crow and separate but equal.

asixbury 4 years ago

Tradition means nothing if the tradition is wrong.

pizzapete 4 years ago

Why do I keep hearing that traditional marriage is between one man and one woman? I thought traditional marriage allowed a man to marry as many women as he could afford or support economically. Didn't Abraham, the founder of modern Judaism, Christianity, and Muslim faiths have more than one wife? Don't many fundamentalists Mormons and Muslims still subscribe to this early or traditional form of marriage? Are you saying all the polygamy/traditional marriage documented in the holy bible is wrong?

pizzapete 4 years ago

Here is an interesting article that explains how marriage has been evolving over the centuries.

pizzapete 4 years ago

Here is an interesting article the explains how marriage has been evolving over the centuries.

fiddleback 4 years ago

Why don't you just say heterosexual marriage? Up until 100 years ago, "traditional marriage" was a transfer of chattle between the father and the groom...

johnwoods 4 years ago

There are no employees of Chick-fil-A in Lawrence, unless they work in KC or Topeka.

MarcoPogo 4 years ago

So nobody works in the KU location? Interesting.

ohjayhawk 4 years ago

I'm guessing that, because the location in the Union is a "licensed location" and not a full-fledged franchise location, their employees are employed by a third party and not directly by Chick-Fil-A, and therefore are not technically Chick-Fil-A employees.

chootspa 4 years ago

KU should leave it and let the interfering legislators think of some other reason to have a grudge with the university. It's just borrowed trouble to do otherwise. Let the students decide whether or not to patronize the place.

Hoots 4 years ago

Students think with their stomachs. I don't think this will hurt this company. I work on campus and am amazed at how often I hear slurs related to homosexuality. The kids at KU aren't nearly as tolerant as people here seem to think...not even close.

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

The best solution is to do nothing. If Chick filet were handing out anti-gay fliers in their sandwiches, this would be one thing. The CEO expressing bigoted opinions and supporting them monetarily is another.

Seems like good place for the customer to decide whether or not they like mushy, salty chicken sandwiches, the proceeds from which might go to fund anti-gay activities.

jesse499 4 years ago

America was founded on freedom of speech but there sure is a lot of people out there that want to take that freedom away because freedom of speech means someone may not agree with them. Last time I check that's what freedom of speech is the right to voice your opinion with out fear of being attacked for it. If you people don't want to live with freedom of speech move. KU if you cave to this pressure your saying that you don't repect this right.

chootspa 4 years ago

Freedom of speech does not mean compulsion to have specific third party food vendors in your student union.

Hoots 4 years ago

If KU caves they will end up in court paying out a multimillion dollar damage award.

fiddleback 4 years ago

...sure are a lot of people out there who ...this pressure, you're saying...

Here's a thought: how about you leave the 11th grade civics questions to the rest of us and focus on achieving some 7th grade level grammar?

johnwoods 4 years ago

No, freedom of speech does not mean you can't be attacked for your viewpoints. Freedom of Speech means the government cannot suppress your speech and keep you from talking. You can say what you want, but that doesn't guarantee there will not be consequences.

johnwoods 4 years ago

What if the president of Chick-fil-A donated money to the Ku Klux Klan and in an interview said he thought all African Americans should be sent back to Africa and the Jews should be sent to Israel? Do you still feel that it would be appropriate to grant this company the privilege to sell their product at an educational institution? It's free speech!

What if he said all the Jews should have to go to re-education sessions to convert them to christianity, and if they didn't convert they should be arrested? Free speech again? Yes.

Now take out the word "Jews" and place "homosexual" in the sentence and place "heterosexual" in place of "christianity". This is what the president of Chick-fil-A is saying with his donations to some groups.

jaywalker 4 years ago

This has to be one of the more idiotic national debates EVER.

avaholic 4 years ago

“Kicking out a private business that is operating legally on the grounds that its leader holds a particular set of religious and political beliefs different from yours or any other official would violate the University’s commitment to non-discrimination,” Huelskamp wrote.

Anyone else read that quote and chuckle? I know it's somewhat out of context but by simply replacing the words "private business" with "representative" that quote begins to sound like what happened in the primary.

MISTERTibbs 4 years ago

I would like to know this. Are all of the people who are boycotting Chik-fil-a also boycotting the use of petroleum and petroleum based products? With Saudi Arabia and the middle east the biggest producers of oil, and given the Saudi stance on homosexuality one could easily draw the parallel.

fiddleback 4 years ago

There's obviously less consumer choice in the matter making a "boycott" impossible, but then who's more likely to drive a hybrid/fuel-efficient car and recycle plastic, doing what they can to limit this dependency?

fiddleback 4 years ago

How did you extrapolate anything about gay marriage? I said it's virtually impossible to boycott petroleum products when they're everywhere, but that liberals are more likely to deliberately consume less...Avoiding Chick-fil-A, meanwhile, is easy to do, even unintentionally, when you have so many thousands of choices for food, many of them better quality and healthier.

nick1989 3 years, 11 months ago

Actually, Canada (not Saudi Arabia) is the largest importer of petroleum based products to the United States. The problem with your argument is that Petroleum imports are not mutually exclusive to Saudi Arabia. Therefore, boycotting petroleum based products could in turn harm other petroleum importers that agree with those stances. Canada , being the largest petroleum importer, recognizes all marriage contracts between persons.

fiddleback 4 years ago

This story is everywhere, and the dialogue truly can't get any dumber. Idiots on one side accuse the company of hate and discrimination; idiots on the other shrug that it’s just free speech and "one guy’s opinion.” Of course, the biggest idiots on both sides (but mostly on the latter) accuse the other side of fascism/oppression. Sound familiar?

Except that this is not about direct discrimination, but neither is it just limited to words/opinions rather than actions. Chic-fil-A of course treats its employees and customers with requisite fairness, but it supports discriminatory agendas indirectly through its Winshape Foundation, which has donated millions to groups like Focus On the Family, the Family Research Council, and the infamous “pray-the-gay-away” group Exodus International. Dan Cathy’s words are just confirming his motives; the money already did the talking long ago.

It's of course Cathy’s right make those donations and proclaim his beliefs (though the latter is arguably very stupid for a CEO), and it is likewise his business partners’ prerogative to sever ties, and of course all politicians’ right to idiotically grandstand. It is likewise a citizen’s right to be an idiot who regularly eats fast food and helps build these loathsome empires in the first place. Is there a likable party in this mess? Nope!

I'm sure KU admin ain't touchin' this turd.

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

"Last time I check that's what freedom of speech is the right to voice your opinion with out fear of being attacked for it."

This is one of the most inane, childish things I have read in some time, and that's saying a lot given this forum.

The First Amendment prohibits government from restricting speech. It does not protect against the consequences of speaking freely.

Speech can be "attacked" in any way that does not otherwise violate the law.

Hate the gay? Eat at Chick filet!

Amazing I know, that a word ending in ay rhymes with a word ending in et. What'll they come up with next? Kinda "french-y" if you ask me.

nick1989 3 years, 11 months ago

Actually, they are two completely different phrases. The actions behind both phrases mean the same thing. You do not support allowing equal rights for homosexuals when it come to legal recognition of marriage.

Hoots 4 years ago

The point is KU isn't allowed to act in the same way an indiviual is. If KU screws with Chick-Fil-A over this they will buy themselves a HUGE lawsuit they can't win.

fiddleback 4 years ago

HUGE, huh? Do you even know how this stuff works? There's hardly ever a direct university contract with the restaurant franchises, but rather with the food service company. And this company offers a variety of restaurant choices to the administrators, faculty, staff, and students, and it can select or change “restaurant partners” based on their feedback without automatic threat of a lawsuit.

Hoots 4 years ago

Many of the students from all over the world people speak of don't believe in homosexuality period. Some of these kids come from places that severely punish anyone who is gay. Do they want to suggest we keep these people out if they aren't a believer? They are part of the diversity so many speak of. Diversity doesn't mean you always get what you want people.

fiddleback 4 years ago

When you have so many, many options for food, why not skip supporting a place that donates money to groups you find loathsome? What's wrong with that? And who ever said that people who vote with their wallets in this way are trying to homogenize all other opinions? It's just people exercising free speech just as Cathy did. So do you like Ben & Jerry's?

jafs 4 years ago

That's easy to say when you can marry somebody you love, obtain a variety of legal rights and privileges from that, never be denied employment or housing because of your sexual orientation, not get beaten or killed because of it, etc.

Grant gay and lesbians equal rights so that the above applies to them as well, and see whether they still care what you think about them.

My guess is that for the most part, they won't.

yourworstnightmare 4 years ago

Gay citizens already have the right to marriage equality guaranteed by equal protection under the law enshrined in the constitution.

They are currently being denied that right, but they already have it whether you like it or not.

Deny rights of a gay.

Eat Chick filet.

jonas_opines 4 years ago

Am I the only one that noticed that the quote by the politician in the article pretty much states:

"They would be wrong to do the thing that they have not shown any inclination to do" ?

Bob_Keeshan 4 years ago

Tim Huelskamp, while in the Kansas Senate, often led efforts to completely defund the University of Kansas until certain courses were eliminated or certain professors fired.

He found the content of those courses to be personally offensive. He found remarks or research by those certain professors to be personally offensive.

How's that for your champion of free speech?

Kirk Larson 4 years ago

So when anti-gay folks call for boycotts of JCPenny, Ellen DeGeneres, Disney World, etc., etc. they said they are exercising their first amendment rights. When people object to Dan Cathy's vile bile and suggest a boycott, they say their first amendment rights are being violated. To hear them talk, one might think only the bigoted have the right to free speech.

Matt Torres 4 years ago

I would like to put this out there. It is KU's "statement on diversity and inclusion"

"As a premier international research university, the University of Kansas is committed to an open, diverse and inclusive learning and working environment that nurtures the growth and development of all. KU holds steadfast in the belief that an array of values, interests, experiences, and intellectual and cultural viewpoints enrich learning and our workplace. The promotion of and support for a diverse and inclusive community of mutual respect require the engagement of the entire university."

I see two ways to apply thisto the situation.

(1) Is the correct response for KU itself to force this company off campus because it could be argued that the views of the company's president and the material support they provide through their donations are counter to this statement?

(2) Should the statement itself be applied to the views of the company's president? Are his views simply another "cultural viewpoint", which the statement seems to indicate should be tolerated?

For the record, I think what Cathy has said is despicable. He will not be supporting any of the groups his company supports with one cent of my money.

Having said that, I cannot help but think that application (1) of the statement on diversity would be hypocritical. If this really is bad enough that the KU faculty and student body don't want it around, then they should boycott it.

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