Grads protest anti-LGBTQ+ policy by handing over rainbow flag as they accept diploma

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By Asiya Ali

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Graduates at Seattle Pacific University protested the policy that bans the hiring of LGBTQ+ people by giving their university president pride flags.

Per CNN, Seattle Pacific University student and organizer Chloe Guillot said about 50 students were given pride flags before arriving at the graduation ceremony.

"It started just as a conversation among students that we didn't really want to shake the president's hand at graduation," Guillot told the publication."So, we thought what can we do instead of that? And the idea came up: why don't we hand out a pride flag?"

Guillot, who said that she will return to the university as a graduate student, revealed after giving interim president Pete Menjares a pride flag on Sunday (June 12), she told him that the graduates won't stop "until the policy changes".

The protest comes during Pride Month and less than a month after SPU's Board of Trustees decided to uphold a rule that prevents the school from hiring employees engaging in same-sex sexual activity and extramarital sex.

The university is a religious educational institution associated with the Free Methodist Church USA. On its website, the school says it "reserves the right to prefer employees or prospective employees on the basis of religion."

The Board Chair, Cedric Davis, released a statement on May 23 explaining the policy: "While this decision brings complex and heart-felt reactions, the Board made a decision that it believed was most in line with the university's mission and Statement of Faith and chose to have SPU remain in communion with its founding denomination, the Free Methodist Church USA, as a core part of its historical identity as a Christian university."

Another student organizer named Pamela Styborski told the outlet that it was essential to make a statement that was "very public, visible and respectful" before graduating. She said that the students couldn't into the ceremony by "being silent".

The interim president wrote in an email statement obtained by KING, that "it was a wonderful day to celebrate with our graduates. Those who took the time to give me a flag showed me how they felt and I respect their view."

Featured image credit: Robert K. Chin / Alamy.

Grads protest anti-LGBTQ+ policy by handing over rainbow flag as they accept diploma

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

Graduates at Seattle Pacific University protested the policy that bans the hiring of LGBTQ+ people by giving their university president pride flags.

Per CNN, Seattle Pacific University student and organizer Chloe Guillot said about 50 students were given pride flags before arriving at the graduation ceremony.

"It started just as a conversation among students that we didn't really want to shake the president's hand at graduation," Guillot told the publication."So, we thought what can we do instead of that? And the idea came up: why don't we hand out a pride flag?"

Guillot, who said that she will return to the university as a graduate student, revealed after giving interim president Pete Menjares a pride flag on Sunday (June 12), she told him that the graduates won't stop "until the policy changes".

The protest comes during Pride Month and less than a month after SPU's Board of Trustees decided to uphold a rule that prevents the school from hiring employees engaging in same-sex sexual activity and extramarital sex.

The university is a religious educational institution associated with the Free Methodist Church USA. On its website, the school says it "reserves the right to prefer employees or prospective employees on the basis of religion."

The Board Chair, Cedric Davis, released a statement on May 23 explaining the policy: "While this decision brings complex and heart-felt reactions, the Board made a decision that it believed was most in line with the university's mission and Statement of Faith and chose to have SPU remain in communion with its founding denomination, the Free Methodist Church USA, as a core part of its historical identity as a Christian university."

Another student organizer named Pamela Styborski told the outlet that it was essential to make a statement that was "very public, visible and respectful" before graduating. She said that the students couldn't into the ceremony by "being silent".

The interim president wrote in an email statement obtained by KING, that "it was a wonderful day to celebrate with our graduates. Those who took the time to give me a flag showed me how they felt and I respect their view."

Featured image credit: Robert K. Chin / Alamy.