I just learned from an alert friend that Rice University, of which I am a proud alumnus, has an at-least-somewhat cozy relationship with The Chicken Restaurant That Shall Not Be Named. (That’s too wordy, on second thought. I’m referring to Chick-Fil-A.) As of this afternoon, the Rice Athletic Department lists Chick-Fil-A as a “Preferred Restaurant Partner.”
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I couldn’t find much else about a relationship between Rice and Chick-Fil-A, except one indication, via student reviews of campus food, that Chick-Fil-A is available on campus.
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This is what roughly five minutes of Googling revealed, anyway.
My involvement as an alumnus with Rice is pretty minimal. I send money now and then, but I’m not a “patron,” “booster,” or “donor,” so much as I am the guy who pretends to have a forty year-old rotary phone whenever the Rice Development Office calls. Nonetheless, I am not thrilled in the least with the school’s affiliation with Chick-Fil-A, which, as far as I am concerned, goes against everything I learned about tolerance and inclusion while a student at Rice. I matriculated at Rice as a spoiled, entitled, sheltered little shit whose life experiences mostly involved fellow WASPs. By the time I graduated, I was still a little shit, but my Rice experience allowed me to expand beyond everything else. Rice’s diversity accounted for about 90% of that. (I now know that Rice actually wasn’t all that diverse, but you have to think like 18 year-old me here.) I mean not only cultural, ethnic, racial, or religious diversity, but also diversity of lifestyles.
Rice is a private university. This means that it has considerable discretion to decide with whom it associates. No one disputes that. As a private organization, however, it also has considerable leeway to decide with whom not to associate. Are you listening, President David Leebron and Athletic Director Rick Greenspan?
BONUS: See Culturemap Houston’s guide to non-Chick-Fil-A chicken in Houston.