The Union of UEA students has said that it feels “great disappointment” over a decision by UEA not to fly the Pride flag in February to mark the beginning of LGBT+ History Month.
In an open letter of response to the University’s decision, LGBT+ officer Richard Laverick said the Union felt that flying the flag “would send a clear message to LGBT+ students, staff and visitors, that they are most welcome and can expect to be treated equally and respectfully on campus. Furthermore it would strengthen its commitment to ensuring the safety and rights of its students, regardless of sexuality or gender identity. Finally it would signal to all people its unwavering stance against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.”
In the Union’s LGBT+ student experience survey last year, 83% said they wanted the University to fly the flag. Other institutions to do so in previous years include the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich City Council, Norwich Castle, East Anglian NHS Trust, The Co-Operative, Wadham College (Oxford University) and the University of Reading.
A spokesperson for UEA said: “The university is fully committed to the principles of equality and diversity on campus and we take our moral and legal obligations in this area extremely seriously – always aiming for best practice rather than simply compliance. We have established a dedicated Equality and Diversity office and are proud of the increasing diversity of our campus, working hard with staff, students and local organisations to make UEA an inclusive and welcoming place to study and to work.
“While we support wholeheartedly the rights of our LGBT+ students and staff, and wish the Student Union well for their celebrations during LGBT+ History Month, we are unable to agree to their request to fly the rainbow flag next month. The Registry flagpole is used to fly the official university flag. On the very rare occasions that we depart from this, it is to mark a ceremonial occasion such as a royal visit.”
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