Pride & Indigenous flags to be hung in Queen’s residence buildings

Residence Society and Housing & Ancillary Services start joint initiative

ResSoc President says he hopes the initiative shows solidarity with the Indigenous, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC communities.
Journal File Photo

Students can expect to see the Pride, Métis, Iroquois, and Two Row Wampum flags hanging in residence buildings and dining halls starting in the winter term.

In a collaborative effort between the Residence Society (ResSoc) and Housing & Ancillary Services, the flags will be hung in the Victoria Hall Upper Common Room and the three Dining Halls to provide visible representation for minority students.

These areas were chosen for their high visibility—both to ensure the maximum number of students see them and to prevent vandalism.

“The idea for this initiative really came in response to the series of horrific racist, homophobic, and transphobic acts of violence last year within the Queen’s community, specifically the incidents at Chown Hall and at Four Directions,” Oliver Flis, ResSoc president, said in an interview with The Journal

In October 2019, a Métis flag and a Pride flag were stolen from the fourth floor common room in Chown Hall. Later that month, a derogatory note was found in the common room, targeting LGBTQ+ and Indigenous students.

READ MORE: “We’re going to let this strengthen us”: students of Chown Hall floor speak to racist note

Following the incident at Chown Hall, the University hung Pride and Indigenous flags outside of the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre. These flags were vandalized in June.

The tipi in the backyard of Four Directions was also damaged in July. Since, the University has installed security cameras, floodlights, and additional security measures at the Centre.

“What we wanted to make sure we do is to offer more than just words, because actions truly speak much louder,” Flis said. “Through this initiative we’re hoping to truly show our solidarity with the Indigenous, with the LGBTQ+, with the BIPOC communit[ies].”

“We want students who identify with any of these groups to be able to walk into residence and feel that it’s a safe space—one where they know they belong, and one where their identities are valued and appreciated.”

The flags will be about two feet by three feet in size and will be mounted within a poster frame to mitigate the risk of vandalism.

READ MORE: ‘[I]t’s inspiring to think about the leadership Indigenous students have shown on campus’ 

Should damages occur, an investigation would take place through the Residence Conduct system. Possible consequences for vandalism could include a police investigation. 

“At the end of the day, it is a hate crime,” Flis said. “It’s more than vandalism of a flag—it’s an attack on someone’s identity.”

According to Flis, ResSoc hopes to hang the flags in more residence buildings in the future, as more buildings on campus open with reduced COVID-19 restrictions. 

“We see it as just a small step in the fights against discrimination and intolerance, but we’re hoping to bring that message of inclusivity to the residence environment,” he said.

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