Pride flag found vandalized twice in physics mathematics astronomy building

Madeline Duncan , Senior news reporter

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story said the flag was vandalized in the PMA library, but the flag was vandalized in a lounge in the building. The story has been updated to better reflect that. The Texan regrets this error.

UTPD is currently investigating two incidents of vandalism of a pride flag in the Physics Mathematics Astronomy building from earlier this semester. 

The physics, math and astronomy departments sent an email Sept. 16 informing students of two separate incidents in which a pride flag displayed in the PMA building was vandalized. UTPD communication director Stephanie Jacksis said in an emailed statement that it is currently unknown who vandalized the flag. 

The perpetrators placed a printed piece of paper onto the flag. In a separate instance, perpetrators changed the name on the piece of paper.

“It appears that, originally, a group organization’s name was printed on a paper and taped to the flag,” Jacksis said in the email. “Sometime later, another paper was taped over the group name to change the group name.”

UTPD did not release what group organization was printed and taped on the flag, nor what they changed the name to. There was no permanent damage to the flag, which is still hanging in the student lounge.

“There is no place in this building or on our campus for discrimination for hate directed towards anyone, including members of our LGBTQA+ community,” the department said in an emailed statement.

Because the department sent their statement to physics, math and astronomy majors only, Student Government released a statement Sept. 28 informing the entire student body about the vandalism. 

Mathematics sophomore Kate Ivie said she felt less safe in the after receiving the email about the vandalism. Ivie said she worked in the building this summer as an advisor and the environment was always friendly — she did not expect this to happen.

“It’s very frustrating to see,” Ivie said. “That’s the building where I have most of my major related classes, and it’s hard to feel super safe there knowing … that has happened.”

UTPD is continuing to investigate the incident and has asked anyone with more information to call 512-471-4441, ext. 9 and reference incident 2209-0053.