Students Sound Off after University of Kansas Flies Defaced Flag

University of Kansas removes altered US flag art

Controversy has erupted at the University of Kansas over their decision to fly a defaced American flag on campus.

The University of Kansas is under fire this week for their decision to fly a defaced American flag at the campus’s art museum. The flag features two distorted black boxes and a black and white sock, which allegedly represents the imprisonment of children at the border.

The University of Kansas College Republicans immediately voiced their concerns about the flag’s presence on campus. “We would like to know who approved and authorized this display of the flag,” the group wrote. “Simply put, this is disgusting.”

The university reportedly received a threatening phone call last week about the flag’s presence on campus. Shortly thereafter, the University of Kansas ultimately decided to take down the flag.

In response to the decision to take it down, First Amendment and civil liberties groups have stepped in to defend the use of the defaced flag. Will Creeley, FIRE’s senior vice president for legal and public advocacy, explained in a comment that the government can not censor this form of expression.

“Censorship won last week, but today, we’re fighting back for the First Amendment,” Creeley said. “The law is clear: The government can’t censor artistic expression just because powerful people don’t like it. Artistic freedom is especially important at our public colleges and universities, and we’re proud to stand with the ACLU of Kansas and the National Coalition Against Censorship in its defense.”

In a significant 1989 Supreme Court case, the court struck down a Texas statute that prohibited flag desecration. In one of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s last public events, he spoke about the 1989 decision.

“If it were up to me, I would put in jail every sandal-wearing, scruffy-bearded weirdo who burns the American flag,” Scalia said in 2015. “But I am not king.”

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