About 50 students were given pride flags before arriving at the ceremony, Seattle Pacific University student and organizer Chloe Guillot told CNN.
“It started just as a conversation among students that we didn’t really want to shake the president’s hand at graduation,” Guillot said. “So, we thought what can we do instead of that? And the idea came up: why don’t we hand out a pride flag?”
Guillot, who said she will return to Seattle Pacific as a graduate student, said after giving interim President Pete Menjares a pride flag Sunday, she told him, “We’re not going to stop until the policy changes.”
Seattle Pacific University is a religious educational institution affiliated with the Free Methodist Church USA that “reserves the right to prefer employees or prospective employees on the basis of religion,” the university says on its website.
Pamela Styborski, another student organizer at the university, told CNN it was important to make a statement “that was very public, visible and respectful” before graduating.
“Going into Sunday, we couldn’t go out being silent,” she said.
Seattle Pacific students have been protesting the board’s decision since last month with a series of acts, including a sit-in in front of the president’s office. Students plan to continue sitting in until July 1st, Guillot and Styborski told CNN.