The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

Students to host Pride flag art installation

Claire Lawrence / Hilltop Views
A Gofundme to raise money for an art instillation garnered over $550. Some of the money is being put toward the instillation while the remaining amount is getting donated to a local LGBTQ+ organization for queer youths.

An art installation of 1000+ Pride flags takes place tomorrow at 6 p.m. on the Fine Arts Center lawn. Junior Maggie Rittmeyer, a member of the Social Work Student Association, was connected via a professor with junior Jade Perea to work on putting on the event. 

“I had no idea (Perea) was also interested in this, and we started talking back and forth,” Rittmeyer said. “It was very DIY, we are going to figure it out day by day kind of thing. We know that there’s a lot of students who care about the issue and want to be a part of this. We were like ‘what better way to do that then have a project that is solely funded by students and faculty.’”

Rittmeyer started a Gofundme five days ago to raise $300 to purchase the mini-flags. The fundraiser has raised over $550, and Rittmeyer plans to donate any leftover money to Out Youth, a central Texas LGBTQ+ organization that promotes programs and services for young members of the queer community. 

“I just felt like that pay-it-forward mentality, and I knew that giving and receiving sort of makes everyone feel good,” Rittmeyer said. “I also knew that everyone involved would want to be a part of something greater, especially working with an organization that works with LGBTQ youth, sort of creating an environment that is safe for future generations and working for future generations who will eventually be coming to St. Ed’s.”

This project comes after students began to raise concerns about the missing Pride flag that used to hang in the campus coffee shop. The flag was erected in 2018 and taken down last summer during renovations to the space. 

“I’ve been watching it since we heard that they were going to switch ownership of the coffee house,” junior Marshall Piel said. “One of the first things that me and all my friends discussed was ‘they better keep the pride flag up.’ With the changing of ownership and stuff there was a bit of a lull period where we were like, ‘maybe it won’t happen immediately.’ We were watching and waiting for it to happen, and it just never did.” 

Piel is a founder of the Trans Wellness Organization (TWO) at St. Edward’s University and currently serves as vice president. He works with other board members and student organizations to host programs that promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity on campus through events like the upcoming Ballroom Extravaganza.  

“I come from a privileged background and accepting home … but that does not make me blind to the struggles of other people who are less fortunate than I am in my circumstances,” Piel said. “With all the people that I know (at St. Edward’s) who are also queer and who are mostly less fortunate than I am, it just makes me want to spread as much acceptance and representation as I can.”


Ongoing communication with administrators

This morning, the Office of Student Affairs shared an email with the St. Edward’s community addressing the ongoing “hurt and confusion” students are facing about the decision to remove the Pride flag. 

We have heard feedback that this caused great hurt within our LGBTQ+ community and allies,” the message reads. “This was devastating to hear because our steadfast commitment to ensuring all of our students feel that they belong, feel welcomed, are seen, heard, loved, valued and respected, is critical to our Holy Cross mission and to deep, transformational learning. These elements of a Holy Cross education remain our firm commitment to you.”

The email comes after a listening session took place last Wednesday during a weekly Student Government Association senate meeting where students spoke directly to university President Montserrat Fuentes, Vice President of Student Affairs Lisa Kirkpatrick and Director of the Office of Student Belonging and Inclusive Excellence Erica Zamora about their concerns.

“First of all, the turnout was incredible,” Piel said. “It was brilliant to see other people step up and take their own actions. Fuentes and Kirkpatrick were criticized on their lack of a plan on how to move forward, but I didn’t find that as much of a problem, because they were directly saying that they want to work with students to figure out how to move forward.” 

According to the email, administration is working to make Equity Hall Lounge, a space on campus where a Pride flag currently hangs, more accessible to students. The email also said The Office of Student Belonging and Inclusive Excellence “will work with” those interested in developing a “proposal that informs the university in this effort.”

“I just think that it is so easy to be supportive of the people that you serve,” Rittmeyer said. “Obviously, (administration is) receiving a lot more attention for not supporting their students. So, I guess I would just ask them, ‘why is this so much more important than the people that you’re hurting actively by continuing to ignore them?’”

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About the Contributor
Claire Lawrence
Claire Lawrence, Editor-in-Chief
Claire is a senior Communication major with a minor in Journalism continuing to dedicate her time growing and learning as a student journalist. Claire has been with Hilltop Views for three years. This is her second year as Editor-in-Chief. Previously, she served as a Staff Writer and as News Editor. Outside of St. Edward's, Claire plays bass in Austin-local band "Losers." Though she is graduating soon, she hopes to leave her mark in the newsroom and inspire other students to get involved with their campus paper.

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