KITCHENER -- It was an emotional morning for many staff and students, as St. Jerome’s Catholic University raised a Pride flag for the first time in its history.

“I almost started tearing up, I'm not going to lie,” says Meaghan Hymers, president of the student’s union at St. Jerome’s University.

“It felt really affirming and really validating, as a queer person myself.”

At a small, physically-distanced ceremony at the campus on Monday morning, the flag was raised to mark the beginning of Pride Month.

“Raising the flag says to the LGBTQ+ person that you belong here,” says St. Jerome’s Interim President Scott Kline in his opening remarks.

School officials say the decision to not fly the Pride flag in previous years was sending the wrong message to people in the LGBTQ+ community.

“It’s a learning moment. Change isn’t easy,” says Kline.

“While there may never be complete agreement, you keep the conversation going in a respectful and responsible way.”

The decision comes as the Waterloo Catholic District Catholic School Board planned to use its own version of a flag representing inclusion.

After their alternate flag was met with criticism and division, they decided to not fly any Pride flag during Pride month.