West Virginians seem to believe that as long as people and businesses treat others fairly, they are entitled to have and express points of view that may be controversial. Our state's flagship institution of higher learning, West Virginia University, now is on record with the same philosophy.
After the head of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain expressed his personal beliefs in opposition to same-sex marriage, activists and pandering politicians throughout the country demanded retalilation against the company. Some big-city mayors vowed to take action against Chick-fil-A restaurants - which have not been accused of discrimating against customers or employees for any reason, to our knowledge.
Activists also demanded several universities, including WVU, close down Chick-fil-A outlets on their campuses. WVU's Mountainlair student union has one of the restaurants.
No, said WVU officials. The Mountainlair Chick-fil-A restaurant - owned by WVU and staffed by university employees under a franchise agreement - will remain open.
WVU insists on "a campus environment that supports opportunity, equality, civility and respect for all people," the university stressed in a statement.
It added that WVU "will, as always, support and encourage the rights of all members of our community to open dialogue, discussion and debate on all issues."
In other words, WVU officials, like most West Virginians, still believe in freedom of thought and speech. Good for WVU!