ACU orders employees to remove public display of rainbow flags

The three flags were displayed in a campus library, but a formal complaint led the university to order the rainbow flag be taken down. Another email was sent to library staff at universities across the country, directing staff to remove rainbow flags and stickers on display.

In a response to the open letter, ACU Vice President Anthony Casamento and Chief Operating Officer Stephen Weller said the university is based on the faith and traditions of the Catholic Church but is open to people of all faiths and circumstances.


“This means that these spaces are not focused on any particular group or society,” they wrote.

“We respect the right of students to form clubs and societies and, more importantly, we strive to do everything in our power to provide support and care to every student.”

“Universities are places where every voice of reason is heard and not silenced, of course as long as that voice has equal respect for all other positions, including the position reflected in the university’s mission.”

An ACU spokeswoman said certain flags are recognized as part of the university’s official flag policy.


“The university has a flag-raising policy that recognizes the national, state, Aboriginal, Torres Strait, ACU, and Vatican flags for display in public spaces on ACU campuses,” she said.

“Employees are free to display other flags in their offices or workplaces if that is their personal choice. There is no policy or policy refusing the display of flags or other symbols, rainbows or otherwise, in university personal areas.”

ACU Ally Network co-convener Noah Riseman, who is also a professor of history at the university’s Melbourne campus, said students should feel safe and welcome.

“We want LGBTIQA+ students and staff to feel safe and welcome at ACU. Visibility is part of creating this safe environment. The Pride flag and other rainbow images say, ‘You’re welcome here’.”

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Justin Scacco

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