Students at Hampshire College were upset Friday when school officials decided to raise the American Flag once again to full-staff after students demanded it be placed at half-staff because of the election of Donald J. Trump.
Students at the Amherst, Massachusetts college had initially lowered the flag to half-staff in protest against the results of the November 8 election. Days after that move a group of students later pulled the flag down and burned it.
The controversy at the college continued when on Veteran’s Day college officials raised a new flag to memorialize the armed forces, but students again launched into protest. Eventually Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash pulled the flag down entirely and opened a “dialog” on how the flag controversy was affecting the school.
The decision to fully remove the flag led to a November 27 counter-protest against the left-wing, anti-U.S. statement being fostered by the school. Hundreds of veterans of America’s armed forces gathered outside the school to protest the anti-flag stance the school was taking.
“There’s other ways that he [Lash] could have dealt with this,” VFW Post Commander Victor A. Nunez Ortiz said at the Nov. 27 counter-protest. “[Removing] our flag is disrespectful not just to the men and women who have served, but to all Americans who believe our flag is a symbol of freedom.”
President Lash, though, disputed the claim that his school was speaking against the country or our veterans.
“We did not lower the flag to make a political statement. Nor did we intend to cause offense to veterans, military families, or others for whom the flag represents service and sacrifice,” Lash said. “We acted solely to facilitate much-needed dialogue on our campus about how to dismantle the bigotry that is prevalent in our society.”
Upon raising the new flag, Lash insisted the move was a “symbol of that freedom, and in hopes for justice and fairness for all.”
Some Hampshire students claimed that the flag represented an evil nation and that the removal of the flag after the election was a “reaction to the toxic tone of the months-long election.”
The most recent comments by President Lash stand in contrast to his earlier claims when he excused the actions of students saying the flag represented “a powerful symbol of fear they’ve felt all their lives because they grew up in marginalized communities, never feeling safe.”
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