Society

Massachusetts College Removes American Flag From Campus

| by Ray Brown

Some students at Hampshire College in Massachusetts no longer want the American flag to fly at their school, so school officials decided to take it down from campus flagpoles to avoid any controversy.

The decision was made after students said they were disturbed by an alleged increase in race and religion-based crimes after President-elect Donald Trump won Nov. 8. But Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash said the decision was not made out of bipartisanship.

Lash wrote his thoughts in a statement, according to The Boston Globe:

Some have perceived the action of lowering the flag as a commentary on the results of the presidential election - this, unequivocally, was not our intent.

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After some preliminary consultation with campus constituents (we understand much more is needed), we have decided that we will not fly the U.S. flag or any other flags at Hampshire for the time being. We hope this will enable us to instead focus our efforts on addressing racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviors.

Hampshire College spokesman John Courtmanche said the American flag incites polarized emotions from people on campus. While some people on campus perceive the flag as “a symbol of their highest aspirations for the country,” others see it as “a powerful symbol of fear they’ve felt all their lives because they grew up as people of color, never feeling safe.”

At first, Hampshire College officials wanted to fly the flag at half-mast to “mourn deaths from violence around the world," Lash wrote.

“This was meant as an expression of grief over the violent deaths being suffered in this country and globally, including the many U.S. service members who have lost their lives,” Lash explained, according to Inside Higher Ed. “Our intention was to create the space for meaningful and respectful dialogue across the multiplicity of perspectives represented in our community."

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But that decision was met with anger by people who saw it as disrespectful, especially to military members, veterans, and their families.

So the flag was just taken down entirely.

“We intend to go forward with that, and then reconsider how we fly the flag going forward,” Lash said, according to WBZ-TV.

Sources: Inside Higher Ed, The Boston Globe, WBZ-TV / Photo credit: Jnn13/Wikimedia Commons

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