Site intended to recognize the diversity of communities comprising EIU’s campus
(Charleston, IL) – A collection of Eastern Illinois University students and employees gathered this morning on the University’s South Courtyard to celebrate the unveiling of EIU’s new “We Are EIU” unity flagpole. To commemorate the unveiling of the flagpole, EIU leaders joined students in raising the Black Lives Matter flag as a gesture of unity and solidarity on campus.
“This is an important day for everyone in our EIU community, and an especially significant moment for members of our own EIU Family representing marginalized or minority populations,” said Dr. David Glassman, EIU President.
Glassman appeared alongside other EIU leaders, including Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Anne Flaherty and Dr. Mona Davenport, Executive Director of EIU’s Office of Inclusion and Academic Engagement, in celebrating the addition of the “We Are EIU” flagpole on campus. EIU students Morgan Colvin and Keshyra Bluminberg joined in raising the inaugural Black Lives Matter flag during an informal gathering.
EIU leaders shared that inaugurating the “We Are EIU” flagpole by raising the Black Lives Matter flag was a symbolic gesture, illustrative of EIU’s commitments to both inclusivity and social justice.
Efforts by the students to install the additional flagpole are intended to shine a light on what many students feel are the important social and cultural issues of the day, including how universities and other established institutions can help support and empower marginalized groups.
EIU’s “We Are EIU” flagpole will be used to spotlight other underrepresented groups throughout the year as well. The Black Lives Matter flag will fly from EIU’s new flagpole for one week. A “Progress” flag, representing and honoring EIU’s LGBTQIA+ communities, will take its place the following week. That flag will remain on the pole throughout the month of October in honor of Gender Sexual Diversity History month. Other flags will follow throughout the year, including flags intended to honor Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month, Latinx Heritage Month, and others.
“As an institution of higher education, we have a role in acknowledging, appreciating, and advocating for equality,” Flaherty added. “As a society, we still have work to do, but this is an important step in helping our underrepresented populations to be seen and to be heard within our own campus communities.”
EIU’s installation of the “We Are EIU” flagpole follows previous requests from students to fly the Black Lives Matter flag on the University’s primary flagpole. Similar to other universities, initial requests to fly the Black Lives Matter flag from EIU’s primary flagpole were denied, in accordance with regulations that limit State institutions to flying the United States, State of Illinois, and POW/MIA flags. In response to those limitations, EIU created a new internal governing policy that allows the “We Are EIU” flagpole to fly flags “recognizing the diversity of communities across campus” in EIU’s South Courtyard.
For more information about EIU, or to learn more about its growing assortment of programs and services, visit the university’s website at www.eiu.edu, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.