After months of drafting and amending, the Associated Students of the University of Wyoming passed a much debated resolution to fly a flag symbolizing LGBTQ visibility, strength and allyship.
ASUW Vice President Tyler Wolfgang got the idea to fly the flag on campus after a gunman opened fire at a LGBTQ nightclub in Florida and killed 49 people last summer.
"I felt trapped in Laramie working in ASUW when there was no one in the community talking about what happened in Orlando," said Wolfgang. "So I felt that a significant way of showing solidarity and inclusion for the LGBTQ community during Pride Month—which is in June—in Laramie was well needed."
To turn what he perceived as no conversation into meaningful action, Wolfgang drafted a resolution to fly this flag on campus—SR2539.
But there are students like Isacc Roque who contend the American flag that flies on campus year-round is already an all encompassing symbol of diversity.
"There's still some arguments to be made about letting the student government be able to fly social justice flags on the University of Wyoming flag post," said Roque.
Roque, who studies International Relations and is a member of the National Guard, is not necessarily against raising the pride flag on campus. He just wants more public discussion.
The ASUW tried to do that through a qualitative survey in the University of Wyoming's student app which consisted of two multiple choice questions and one free response section to gauge student's feelings and thoughts on a pride flag flown on campus.
62 responses were collected in the two weeks it was live and of those responses:
- 34 marked that they'd feel strongly represented or represented
- 9 marked that they were indifferent
- 19 marked that they'd feel strongly offended or offended
Roque says these results are far from being representative of a student population of over 12,000.
As the school year comes to a close, so does Wolfgang's service as ASUW Vice President. In his tenure, and in the process of passing this resolution, he's reflective of all that he's learned.
"I've learned to not just be naive going into this but to make sure I'm going in strong. I have people behind me, backing me up, and also that I'm there for them as much as they are for me right now," said Wolfgang. "It's been a beautiful but very hard experience."
Because of Wolfgang's efforts, the pride flag is scheduled to fly on the main campus lawn known as Prexy's Pasture during the month of June.
Repeated requests for details of the results of the survey were denied by Paul Drake, chairperson of the Student Outreach and Policy Committee.
But a source with access to survey data provided it to YPR.