Stanford University told the Sigma Chi fraternity to remove its American flag to “improve” its image. An administrator reportedly told the fraternity that the flag could be seen as “intimidating, aggressive or alienating.”
According to a report from the Stanford Review, an unnamed administrator told the Sigma Chi fraternity that their American flag was a symbol that could be seen as “intimidating, aggressive or alienating.”
The fraternity was actually shut down in May after the university argued that there were accountability issues with the chapter. The alleged incident with the unnamed administrator took place as the members of the chapter were looking to prevent a suspension.
In the report, the relationship between the unnamed administrator and the fraternity is described in detail.
This context of a friendly relationship with Mr. Z made the following incident all the more surprising. One night during Autumn 2017, Lozano recounted, Mr. Z was invited to eat dinner at Sigma Chi. While discussing improving the fraternity’s image with the university, Mr. Z offhandedly suggested that Sigma Chi remove the potentially discomforting symbol outside: the American flag flown in front of the house. Mr. Z urged Sigma Chi to consider the image being presented to the rest of campus by flying the flag out front. He furthered that if Sigma Chi wished to break away from stereotypes that plagued the house and to change its perception on campus, its members should contemplate un-hoisting the American flag.
While this remark was just one in a larger discussion on rebranding the house, it stands out. Mr. Z’s recommendation insinuated not only that the flag made others uncomfortable but that its being flown tainted Sigma Chi’s reputation and, presumably, worsened its chance of survival. Lozano understood Mr. Z to imply that the American flag, as a symbol, could be intimidating, aggressive or alienating. Mr. Z’s tone further signaled to Lozano that he found the mere sight of the American flag to be offensive.
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