Yearly tree wrapping in support of LGBTQ+ vandalized

ODIIP makes it clear they will not back down


Cassie Labay

The tree wrappings have been cut down multiple times this year including on the morning of Oct. 7, 2021.

ODIIP Students rewrap trees that were vandalized
Zinya Ward and Chelsea Mcdonald rewrapping the trees outside the Barry B. Thompson Student Center
The yearly tree wrappings covered by an American flag. (Cassie Labay)
Tree wrapping vandalized
Tree wrapping vandalized

Update as of Thursday, October 7 at 9:30 a.m.:

The Tarleton Police Department was contacted in regards to the situation and what process was being taken to bring tranquility back to Tarleton State. Matt Welch, university police chief, responded.

“We were first notified about it yesterday (Oct. 6). It’s happened two or three times so far, and we were notified officially about it yesterday. We had it happen again last night and we were given a tip about a possible suspect. We contacted him and he admitted to doing it, at least the one referring to last night and we will be going through the appropriate charges,” stated Chief Welch. 

“We weren’t really notified until the third time it happened and so we started being proactive and protrolling it. Last night we walked by there several times just to keep an eye on it and an observant student saw something suspicious. They contacted us, we worked on the case, and found the student who did it,” continued Chief Welch.

The yearly tree wrappings were put back up at 11 a.m. as Turbo and the ODIIP office stated. 

The JTAC will continue to update this story as we have more information.


The month of October is known as pride month in the United States, and the Joe R. and Dr. Teresa Lozano Long Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and International programs (ODIIP) wanted to show their support for Tarleton students by providing some pride month art decorations on Rudder Way as they do yearly. The decorations have been vandalized and torn down on multiple occasions.

“I will not be able to provide an explanation as to why I believe someone keeps on taking down our Pride History Month art decorations on Rudder Way. What I am happy to provide to you for your article is the impact those actions are having on some of Tarleton’s members of the LGBTQ+ Community,” stated Turbicio Lince (Turbo), the director of ODIIP.

“Firstly, these tree wrappings are done every year by our office and in collaboration with allies of the community and our office. The intention behind these bright colors being wrapped on the trees is to humbly honor and recognize the struggle the community has endured and celebrate the contributions of rich experiences to our society. 

But beyond the surface level, this symbol signals inclusion and signals acceptance on this campus. I have had current students tell me they felt comfortable being their authentic self BECAUSE of these tree decorations. 

I have had Tarleton alums who are members of the LGBTQ+ community tell me how proud they are to see our university has made progress in acceptance and inclusion,” continued Turbo.

A priority for Turbo and ODIIP is the importance of safety for the LGBTQ+ community, which is being threatened through this vandalism. 

“Secondly, if any symbol that represents inclusion, acceptance, or safety were to be desecrated, slashed, or vandalized, it would be deemed unacceptable. However, it must be very concerning for someone whose identity and experiences are represented by the Pride Rainbow if an individual who has had the time to walk by Rudder Way, see an art installation and say “I do not want this” and proceed slashing it. Then, proceed to do the same thing for a second time. And then proceeds to do the same thing for a third time.  So what does this behavior reveal about said individual?”

Even in the light of adversity, Tarleton Allies are supporting ODIIP and their efforts to maintain support of LGBTQ+ communities with the yearly tree wrapping.

“I will say, the overwhelming support of Tarleton allies has been pretty affirming. They have emailed and called offering support and volunteering to reinstall the rainbow art again. The sad thing about this is that the persons impacted by these acts are not the ones who directly hear and receive the affirming message, love and support of our Tarleton allies,” Turbo continued.

Lastly, the office of diversity, inclusion, and international programs is doing its best to make it clear that they will not be giving up. 

“My office will continue installing this artwork throughout the month. This office remains unwavering in the support for our LGBT+ community and anyone who does not feel safe and included. 

In fact, our office is providing ODIIP rainbow stickers to faculty, staff, and students who want to signal support to the community by placing the stickers in their bottles, stickers, laptops, windows., etc. Whoever wants an ODIIP sticker, they can come to TSC 15 suite and pick up their stickers!”

The JTAC will continue to update this story as we have more information.

Update: On the morning of Oct. 7, 2021 it was discovered that the tree wrappings were destroyed again over night. This time there was an American flag taped over the wrappings on one of the trees. ODIIP will be out rewrapping the trees at 11 a.m. today.