Tuesday, October 24, 2006

You hurt my feelings 

An announcement from the campus' GLBT student services office told the campus this afternoon that a GLBT flag -- the rainbow flag -- was cut down from the university's flagpole over the weekend. The flag and part of the rope were taken. The flag was raised for GLBTA History and Awareness Month and had flown since October 10.

Shortly after that, a faculty member used the announce list (because she did not wish "to start a discussion" -- curious, isn't that?) to tell the campus that some students had started a Facebook group called "Remove the GLBT Flag". She quotes their Facebook group description (I have not verified this as I do not have a Facebook account):
I believe the flag that has been raised, by GLBT, in front of the Administrative building misrepresents the people of this campus. I believe the flag pole should not be used to represent any individual organization. The flag poles have the US flag, MN flag, and POW/MIA flag flying now, which do not represent anybody's personal beliefs.
I'm not sure I follow the logic of their position; are we to say that the flagpole cannot be used to represent a specific group? But, I also found the faculty member's response quite curious,
I appreciate the willingness of the administration to allow the pride flag to be flown during LGBT history month and would hope that others would recognize the importance of supporting all members of our campus community.
Can one be supportive of the GLBT community while thinking the flagpole reserved for very general items? Who owns the flagpole? Who decides which symbolic gestures it will be permitted to make, and which it won't? You can see where this is going: We will have to have some damn committee -- only to include UNION members! -- come up with a 'policy' on what can go on the flagpole. Next thing you know, they'll start policing bulletin boards.

The GLBT student services press release concludes by saying they will have a "Speak Out" on the Atwood Mall, no doubt to protest that someone had a "Speak Out" on Facebook. Only one of these Speak Outs will be considered insensitive.