Rider University dean resigns position over school’s Chick-fil-A controversy


Cynthia Newman, the current dean of Rider University’s College of Business, announced Monday she will resign effective Aug. 31 because the school decided against adding a Chick-fil-A to its campus because of the fast food company’s corporate values.

The issue began last November, when Rider polled students on which restaurants they’d like to see added to the Lawrenceville, New Jersey campus.

The overwhelming favorite in the poll was Chick-fil-A, but Rider administrators sent an email to students saying Chick-fil-A wouldn’t be coming because the company’s “corporate values have not sufficiently progressed enough to align with those of Rider.”

Cynthia M. Newman, Ph.D.

The school was likely referencing Chick-fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy’s comments on same-sex marriage in 2012, and the fact that Chick-fil-A’s charity arm was still donating money to organizations with anti-LGBTQ messages as of last fall.

According to an open letter from Newman, who will still have a faculty position at the school after she steps down from her dean position, she is “not willing to compromise my faith and Christian values, and (she) will not be viewed as being in any way complicit when an affront is made to those values.”

Newman said in the letter, which Campus Reform — a right wing website with the mission to "expose liberal bias on America's campuses" — published on Monday, that she had talked with Rider's provost, the vice president of student affairs, and the school’s president about her objections to administration's decision.

“I affirmed in these conversations that I do not believe any one groups’ values or rights or opinions should be elevated above any other groups’ values, rights or opinions,” Newman wrote.

She said she asked the school to issue a new email to students and faculty in which they apologized for the statement concerning Chick-fil-A’s corporate values. The school declined.

Back in November, Rider’s assistant vice president of student affairs, Jan Friedman-Krupnick, said there were members of the community who strongly opposed adding a Chick-fil-A to the school’s campus.

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