“Surprise party” advocates action

Daniel Rury

Featured image: Signs made by students were hung in the hallway and on the walls, surrounding the protesting students. Ben Hansen | The Falcon

“We wanted to be a little bit irritating,” second year Mikayla Borromeo said, “but not enough that it would be appropriate to verbalize their annoyance.”

Tuesday, May 21 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m., students hosted a sit-in under the pretense of a surprise party in front of the office of the president in Demaray Hall to support proposed LGBTQ+ policy changes. The sit-in preceded a scheduled meeting between student leaders and President Dan Martin, though the meeting was postponed.

Music played as students ate snacks, chatted and did homework. Colorful birthday balloons with pro-LGBTQ+ phrases rolled around the room.

Signs with messages like: “Engage our culture,” “Hire LGBT faculty,” and “Surprise!” were placed on fold-open chairs or taped on bare spaces of the brick walls. A rainbow flag with the message “SPU’s statement on human sexuality is violent” hung over the hallway.

Borromeo, the event’s planner, took inspiration from the San Francisco LGBTQ+ community’s “extravagance, like rainbows and parades” and how it brought itself better acceptance. “Nothing’s going to happen if we stay quiet,” said Borromeo.

SPU’s Haven club led April 23’s LGBTQ+ walkout, but Tuesday’s sit-in was not formally organized by Haven.

President of SPU’s Haven club Emma Seely hoped meetings with administration would lead to both a change in SPU’s statement on human sexuality and the addition of an anti-discrimination clause for faculty and students to protect against discrimination by sexuality and gender.

A surprise party was held in front of President Dan Martin’s office with little interaction from him. Ben Hansen | The Falcon

A proposal was approved by the ASSP Student Senate, signatures were collected, and it was approved by senior leadership. Now the proposal has moved forward to the board of trustees.

“We’re trying to get the board of trustees to vote on the proposal before the end of the year, and they’ve kind of been putting it off,” said Seely. “There’s been some progress. We’re talking. Conversation is good.”

“But once [a proposal] passes student senate, there isn’t any democratic process for making sure it gets voted on,” said Seely. “We’re going to kindly ask them to please vote on this and make a decision.”

When asked about subsequent LGBTQ+ events, Borromeo said, “We will see how Dan Martin responds and then act accordingly.”

The event simmered down with a romp and balloon toss. In the last moments of the event, President Martin walked through. The surprise partiers shouted “Happy birthday!” to which Martin replied, “Thank you very much,” and walked into his office.