Hampshire College Returns U.S. Flag to Campus After National Controversy

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By Jillian Kay Melchior | 10:53 am, December 2, 2016

Hampshire College returned the American flag to its campus this morning after two weeks of controversy.

The college removed the flag from campus flagpoles on Nov. 18— after students had lowered it to half-staff the day after the Election, then burned it on Veteran’s Day.

That decision did not go over well, locally or nationally. Earlier this week, veterans protested at the college, condemning administrators’ decision to take down the flag. Meanwhile, the controversy prompted coverage in the New York Times, CNN, Fox, and other national media.

In a news release issued this morning, Hampshire College president Jonathan Lash insisted the decision to lower the flag was not a political statement. The university has also claimed that the decision was “unequivocally” not a commentary on Donald Trump’s election.

“We acted solely to facilitate much-needed dialogue on our campus about how to dismantle the bigotry that is prevalent in our society,” Lash said in a statement today. “We understand that many who hold the flag as a powerful symbol of national ideals and their highest aspirations for the country—including members of our own community—felt hurt by our decisions, and that we deeply regret.”

Controversy over the display of the American flag at Hampshire College dates back more than a year. In 2015, some on campus were upset when the flag was lowered to mourn terrorism in Paris, but not similarly lowered after attacks in Beirut.

— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.

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