This article was published on February 11th, 2016
Shortly after the pride flag raising ceremony, kicking off OUTweek at the largest university in British Columbia, the University of British Columbia (UBC), students and officials were shocked to discover the pride flag burned after being set on fire.
OUTweek, is an annual tradition at UBC. Celebrated from February 5-12, the eight-day celebration of the university’s LGBT community encompasses the flag raising ceremony, a march, and other educational and learning events for students, faculty, and staff on campus.
UBC officials learned the rainbow flag had been burned over the BC Family Day long weekend, after having been raised in at the Flagpole Plaza, located between the old Student Union Building (SUB) and Brock Hall. Both UBC security and the RCMP have been working together on the investigation.
“We are confident we have identified the person responsible for burning the rainbow flag, said Sara-Jane Finlay, Associate Vice President, Equity and Inclusion, UBC, in a written statement released today. “We believe this was an isolated incident. The University will continue to cooperate with the RCMP regarding their investigation.”
The university, which is well known for its values of equality, inclusion, and respect, condemns the incident as an act of hate. In response to the incident, the Pride Collective at UBC cancelled the annual march; however, other activities are continuing as planned.
“The Pride Collective stands together against the burning of the Pride rainbow flag and we are taking the necessary steps to support our members and organizers, as well as the larger communities,” said a statement released by the Pride Collective at UBC.
The City of Vancouver, an extremely active supporter of the LGBT community, raised the rainbow pride flag a City Hall earlier in the week in a show of solidarity.
No other threats or incidents of violence have been directed at UBC, the Pride Collective at UBC, or OUTweek activities.