Rainbow flags were stolen by vandals at a Virginia university and replaced with Confederate flags this past weekend in an act of hate that left students feeling “hurt, saddened, and scared.”
Calling it an “active display of hate” and “unacceptable and malicious,” the Wesley Center at Virginia Tech called out the unknown vandals who stole their rainbow flag for the third time in two weeks. The Wesley Center is a religious center on campus and they have flown the rainbow flag for years.
The previous two times, the rainbow flag was just stolen, but this past Saturday the perpetrators left a Confederate flag.
“This one was just an escalation when the Confederate flag was put up in its place,” campus minister Bret Gresham who runs the Wesley Center told NBC News.
Gresham said that he has reported the incident to the Blacksburg Police Department.
He also said that he hopes someone will come forward with information about the theft and the Wesley Center posted about them on Facebook.
“As always, we strive to make Wesley a safe and affirming place for all people,” the Facebook post said. “This hate crime goes against all that we believe, and we want our LGBTQ+ community to know that we will always love, support, and embrace you with open arms.”
The Wesley Center posted pictures of the Confederate flag blurred out.
“We know that this active hate can be traumatic and triggering for many,” the post reads. “Please reach out if you need to process or talk about this event with anyone.”