Hampshire College in Massachusetts has made the decision to remove any American flags on campus after students at the college took the American flag that was hanging on a campus flagpole and then burned it the night before Veteran’s day.
The president of Hampshire College, Jonathan Lash sent out an email to students saying that no American flags are allowed to be flown “for the time being.”
After the presidential election on November 8, the college had been lowering it flag to half staff.
“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 says in the email. “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.”
Veterans as well community members became upset when the flag was lowered to half staff and more angry when the students burned the flag down the night before Veterans Day.
The flag was then replaced and raised to half staff again until Friday until Lash made the decision to get rid of the American flag on campus entirely.
Lash later wrote in an email saying:
“Unfortunately, our efforts to inclusively convey respect and sorrow have had the opposite effect. We have heard from many on our campus as well as from neighbors in the region that, by flying the flag at half-staff, we are actually causing hurt, distress and insult. Our decision has been seen as disrespectful of the traditional expression of national mourning and has been especially painful to our Hampshire colleagues who are veterans or families of veterans. 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. 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.”