Flag represents commitment to inclusion, diversity
By Jenn Watt
Fleming College president Maureen Adamson said she was honoured to be at the inaugural Pride flag raising at Haliburton School of Art + Design, but that she wished it would have happened sooner.
Referencing incidents that had happened in the Haliburton community, without going into specific detail, she said the college wanted to show its support for diversity and inclusion.
“We stand with you, we stand beside you and we stand for you,” she said during a speech to a crowd gathered outside the front entrance of the Haliburton campus on Wednesday, Feb. 19.
The Pride flag has also been raised at the Peterborough and Lindsay campuses of Fleming College. Adamson told the Echo that last week was chosen for the flag raising to fit with the school’s schedule.
“Pride Week typically occurs in the summer, when many of our students have gone, so we plan events such as our Pride flag raising when students are on campus and can participate. We also wanted to host the event close to Family Day, because diversity and inclusion are the foundation of family, and family can mean different things to different people,” she said via email following the flag raising event.
Fleming College offers support for LGBTQ students and staff through a variety of resources, Debbie Harrison, diversity and inclusion student success co-ordinator, said. She highlighted the work of the Name Change Clinic, which is in collaboration with the paralegal program at the college, supporting students who may need to change their name due to a gender transition.
“This is also personally very moving for me, I’ve grown up in a small community too on a farm with a gay brother who came out as a teenager and as his older sister and ally, I’ve seen his struggles to be safe and to be equal and to be welcome in all places and it hasn’t always been the case for him and I’m very proud that we’re making a proud statement today,” Harrison said.
HSAD’s dean, Angela Stukator said that the flag celebrated “who we are as a school.”
“The flag will fly as a daily reminder that Pride is literally a feeling of being good and worthy. It’s a visible symbol of our support, our celebration of diversity and our commitment to inclusivity,” she said.
Adamson and Andrea Roberts, mayor of Dysart et al, raised the flag together to finish the ceremony. The MC was Sandra Dupret, VP student success, and former dean of HSAD.
Both the Canadian flag and the Pride flag will fly outside the Haliburton campus building.