Story by Hillary Di Menna
Controversy surrounds a campus event happening on May 10. The UOIT Faculty of Business and Information Technology, in partnership with Junior Chamber International Durham (JCI), will present a live broadcast of Chik-Fil-A’s Leadercast at The Regent Theatre.
The motivational speaking event happens once a year and is broadcast live from Atlanta.
Vice President of JCI Durham, John Black, said the group sees the Leadercast as an opportunity to bring a positive event to the community. “It provides a high level of speaker that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.”
A speaker like Condoleeza Rice, former US Secretary of State, would be a costly speaker on her own, so JCI Durham is excited to have the opportunity to broadcast talks from 10 other prominent figures as well. JCI chapters include young people, through membership, in projects trying to make a positive community impact. The fast-food chain sponsoring the event made headlines last year after its president, Dan Cathy, publicly spoke out against gay marriage.
“I think anything positive the speakers have to say is tarnished by the fact Chick-Fil-A is the title sponsor of the event,” says LGBT activist and former Durham College student, Nathan MacKinnon. “While they may not be benefiting financially from it their name and financial support is attached to it.”
Proceeds of the event will go to JCI and back into the community, says Black. However he admits the costs of hosting the event are so high little profit will be made. MacKinnon questions why the ticket costs are so high if the event is marketed toward students. Early bird tickets are 99 dollars, 149 dollars is the regular price.
Black said he has spoken with PFLAG director for Durham Region, Jayme Harper. The JCI Durham VP believes both parties want to do what is best for the community. A JCI Durham statement on the matter will be released later this evening. Harper wants to be clear that PFLAG has nothing against Durham College, UOIT or JCI, “They are great supporters of LGBT and diversity within the Durham Region. Our problem is with bringing Chick-Fil-A as a title sponsor to Canada, more so to a public event.”