Why This College Removed U.S. Flags from Campus

There will be no flags flown on campus at Hampshire College for the time being.

The controversial decision was made by school officials in the aftermath of the Nov. 8 election of Donald Trump, which stirred up fear and anger at Hampshire as it did on many campuses across the country.

After a flag was burned on campus the night before Veterans Day, officials flew a replacement at half-mast in response to a spate of post-election hate crimes.

“Last 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,” Hampshire College president Jonathan Lash said in a statement on the college’s Facebook page. “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.”

Hampshire student Daniel Vogel, who was not involved with the flag burning but supports the flag’s removal from campus, appeared on Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Tonight to discuss the controversy.

The conservative host addressed a statement that Vogel made to the Amherst Bulletin, which said, “Think about the groups that use the flag, from police officers to the U.S. Army. These are the forces on the ground that make oppression happen.”

Carlson asked Vogel what a “fairer” United States would look like and asked him “Why is it always rich kids” who make arguments like his.

President Lash acknowledged in his statement that the campus’s decision to lower the flag last week did not achieve its desired effect. “Unfortunately, our efforts to inclusively convey respect and sorrow have had the opposite effect,” he said. “We have heard from many on our campus as well as from neighbors in the region that … we were actually causing hurt, distress, and insult.”

The decision to remove all flags indefinitely was made Friday after “preliminary consultation” with campus constituents.

“I ask our campus to join me in commitment … to insist on diversity, inclusion, and equity from our leaders and in our communities.”


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