Red Flags at Tiffany Loop

Domestic Violence Awareness Month at Seattle Pacific University

David Armour, Staff Writer

As October rolled around, many students and staff noticed red flags popping up in and around Tiffany Loop in commemoration of domestic violence awareness month. Though they came in unannounced, the flags are part of a multi-year effort by Seattle Pacific University to raise student consciousness of the issue. 

Second year exercise science major Ezra Michel praised the university’s efforts to spread awareness.

“I did not know what the flags represented at first, but I asked one of my friends about it and found out that they were about sexual assault awareness,” Michel said. “The school putting these flags up shows that the university really does care about the issue and wants to be supportive of the victims.”

Sophia Soa, a fourth year applied human bio major, appreciated the idea behind the flags.

A couple holding hands walks in front of a row of red flags in Martin Square Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. The flags are part of a campaign raising awareness about and helping prevent stalking, dating violence, and sexual assault on college campuses. (Rio Giancarlo)

“I think more people should know about the flags,” Soa said. “Every time I walk past them, I’m going to think about it. I think it would’ve been nice if they explained what the flags mean.”

Fourth year history major Lee Mudge liked the concept behind the flags even if they came unannounced.

“The flags aren’t in the way, and once you figure out what they are, many of them display relationship red flags,” Mudge said. “It’s a not nonchalant but not invasive way of showing how people can be in bad relationships.”

Victoria Pittman, a second year interior design major, also liked the concept but was disappointed with the lack of clarity.

“I think that it’s an interesting way to show that correlation, but I think that, given a lot of people don’t know about it, they could’ve found a way to show it a bit more,” Pittman said. “I think that, given that so many people thought they were for landscaping, they should’ve put a board or something in that area explaining why they were placed there, so it would’ve given people an incentive to stop and just dwell on it.” 

Though this is not the university’s first time addressing domestic violence awareness month, it is the most subtle one in recent memory. Last year, the university set up a large elephant with quotes from survivors and students on it to represent that domestic violence was the “elephant in the room” nobody talked about.

“The flags were a lot more subtle than the elephant last year, which was much more poignant and powerful,” Mudge said. “It took up more space and was harder to ignore.”

Other students feel that while more explanation would be helpful, the subtly of the flags adds to the message.

”I thought that this was some sort of construction product,” Soa said. “Now that I’m aware of it though, there’s more thought that goes into it. I just think that more people should know more about what these flags actually represent. It’s quite smart – they’re literal red flags, which fits the metaphor.”

Many students found the red flags to be a tasteful way of addressing the issue.

”I think it’s a good idea, because a lot of domestic violence can be mentally or physically construed, and this is a good way to display it without going too far into the traumatic-ness of the situation,” Pittman said. “It also does a good job showing the victims that they’re not alone as well.”

Students are encouraged to learn more about domestic violence and educate themselves on the signs to protect those around them. The university also offers support for those who have been victims of domestic violence or sexual misconduct. 

“SPU should represent anyone from any background and be a place that is safe and accepting for everyone and allow them to grow spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally,” Michel said. “The awareness campaign is a step in the right direction.”