Students at Cal State Northridge will vote Oct. 29 and 30 on whether the university's foundation should purchase a Carl's Jr. franchise, a plan opposed by some students and faculty members because of the conservative political views of the chain's founder, Carl Karcher.
The foundation's board of trustees last month postponed a decision on the issue until after the student referendum. Trustees voted to allow fast-food outlets at CSUN in May, but at that time sidestepped the thorny issue of allowing a Carl's Jr. on campus.
The foundation, which runs many of the campus eateries, originally proposed fast-food franchises on campus last year but abandoned the idea because of the opposition. The plan was resurrected this spring because of the success of such franchises on other college campuses and the foundation's need to better compete with off-campus eateries.
In addition, a campus survey showed that students, administrators and faculty members overwhelmingly favored fast-food franchises on campus and that their first choice was Carl's Jr. On May 9, foundation trustees voted 7 to 2 to authorize the foundation management to negotiate with other outlets such as Taco Bell and Baskin-Robbins.
Supporters say a Carl's Jr. franchise would earn an annual profit of $50,000 for the foundation, which raises funds for campus educational programs. Opponents argue that Karcher will use any profits to support conservative causes.