Graduating students at Seattle Pacific University (SPU) in the US protested against their institute’s anti-gay policies in a unique and creative way that has gone viral on social media.
On Sunday, June 12, several graduating students of PSU handed their Interim President Dr. Pete Menjares a pride flag as he awarded them their degrees during the commencement ceremony.
Students participated in this gesture against SPU’s employment policy that expects employees to “refrain from sexual behavior that is inconsistent with the University’s understanding of Biblical standards, including cohabitation, extramarital sexual activity, and same-sex sexual activity”. SPU is a religious educational institution affiliated with the Free Methodist Church.
While sharing a video that showed clips from the graduation ceremony and other protest events, the Instagram page of SPUisGay wrote, “It’s not just flags at graduation. It’s a movement. Select members of the board of trustees have decided to hold our campus hostage with their homophobic policies. But we aren’t going to stop fighting.”
Last month, protests broke out after SPU’s Board of Trustees decided to uphold these policies and on May 23, 2022, released a statement that asserted their resolve to “remain in communion with its founding denomination, the Free Methodist Church USA, as a core part of its historical identity as a Christian university.”
Since then protests, organised by campus groups called SPUisGay and Associated Students of Seattle Pacific, have continued on the campus. The gesture of handing out a pride flag to the university’s interim president was part of these sustained demonstrations.