Following a Veteran’s Day incident where students tore down the American flag and burned it on campus, a Massachusetts college has come up with what it feels is the appropriate response.
Hampshire College is banning the American flag from its campus.
“Think about the groups who use the flag, from police officers to the U.S. Army,” student Daniel Vogel told the Amherst Bulletin. “These are the forces on the ground that make oppression happen.”
The school’s president, Jonathan Lash, sent out a campus-wide e-mail explaining that the action may be “especially painful to veterans or families of veterans” but that the school will no longer fly Old Glory anywhere on campus.
“Some months ago, the Hampshire College Board of Trustees adopted a policy of periodically flying the flag at half-staff to mourn deaths from violence around the world,” Lash explains in the message.
“Earlier this week, in the current environment of escalating hate-based violence, we made the decision to fly Hampshire’s U.S. flag at half-staff for a time while the community delved deeper into the meaning of the flag and its presence on our campus.”
“To fly the flag at half-mast is a protest against the system, but it’s not a protest against how the system was created,” he said. “To get rid of the flag is to say we need to completely change things — we’ve had enough reform. Let’s make things actually happen.”
“Henceforth, no American flag will be flown on campus. Getting rid of the flags will enable us to instead focus our efforts on racist, misogynistic, islamaphobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semetic, and anti-LGBQ rhetoric and behaviors.
“I ask our campus to join me in a commitment to living up to the ideals of our mission: to insist on diversity, inclusion, and equity from our leaders and in our communities; to constructively resist those who are opposing these values; and to actively and passionately work toward justice and positive change at Hampshire and in the world,”