Trinity College Removes Gadsden, Thin Blue Line Flag from Students’ Dorm Window

Trinity College flag removal

An employee of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, can be seen tearing down a Gadsden flag and a “thin blue, red, green line” flag from a student’s dormitory window in a recent video posted to social media. While the school claims it is against the rules to hang flags outside of dorm windows, the students involved contend that the university had no problem with pride flags hanging outside — until conservative students followed suit.

Turning Point USA employee Jason Rotondi posted a video of the incident to social media. In the video, one Trinity College staffer, Veronica Hills, can be seen on a ladder tearing down the flags while another employee, Susan Salisbury, monitors the situation.

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Finn McCole, the student whose dormitory was targeted, explained in an Instagram post that he and his roommate, Lucas Turco, had noticed several flags “hanging outside of people’s windows around campus, showcasing topics they enjoyed and ideologies they may identify with.”

“Such flags included LGBT rights flags, American flags, and other wonderful ideological organizations they personally support,” McCole wrote. “With the understanding that flags were allowed to be hung on campus, Lucas and I decided to hang a couple of flags demonstrating ideologies we support.”

“The ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ flag is based on the original Gadsden Flag from the 1700s which demonstrates resistance to tyrannical rule and unwavering support for freedom and equality for all people,” the student explained. “This was a rallying cry for our brave ancestors who fought so we could have independent rule.”

“The Red Line, Blue Line, and Green Line flag expresses our support for our first responders and military members, as we feel the majority are heroic and good people that serve our communities,” McCole said of the second flag.

In his post, the student went on to say that “these flags were reported to the administration as offensive, and a representative for the administration came to forcibly remove them.”

“When we asked for clarification on the grounds for their removal, we were told that no flags were to be hung on campus,” McCole said. “Despite this, no one else who has a flag hung on campus has been told of this rule, and obviously no one else has had their flags forcibly removed in this fashion.”

“If the school has a rule that no flags can be affixed outside of a dorm room, that is perfectly reasonable, we just ask that this rule is applied to all parties equally,” McCole added.

A Trinity College spokesperson told Breitbart News that “objects are not allowed to be placed outside of residence hall windows for safety reasons,” adding, “This event has highlighted the need for more consistent enforcement of handbook rules, and the college is working with the student body to create awareness and compliance.”

“The dean of student life is addressing the issue with the student body to ensure compliance with the handbook and has reiterated the rule to the student body in a communication this week,” the spokesperson added. “The dean’s office will directly work with students for more consistent enforcement.”

McCole and Turco, however, told Breitbart News that other students on campus had their flags displayed on the outside of their dorm windows for months, and that the college’s handbook rules were only enforced hours after they put up their Gadsden and thin blue red green line flags.

The students explained that school staff never forcibly removed flags belonging to other students, who had their flags displayed on the outside of their dorm windows all semester long. Those other students were instead notified via email to take their flags down — after Trinity College staff was caught on video forcibly removing the Gadsden and a thin blue red green line flags.

“Sadly, our flags were targeted for their removal hours after they were hung up,” the students explained in a joint statement to Breitbart News. “The college had deemed our flags ‘offensive,’ even though we stand for love, respect, and tolerance for all people.”

The students continued:

Our goal was not to have any other flags taken down, we are not at odds with any other community. We believe all people should have the right to express themselves freely. By taking these flags down, the school had argued for a hateful interpretation of these flags that we did not agree with. We interpreted them as showing our love of freedom and equality for all people, and our willingness to protect it, as well as to demonstrate support for our first responders and veterans, the large majority of which are heroes and deserve our support.

The students added that their flags are currently on display on the inside of their dorm windows, and that “no one has come to tell us take them down” as of yet.

“But I do feel that the school wrongly targeted our flags specifically and forcibly removed them while giving others the opportunity to remove them the following week after a campus-wide email explained this flag rule,” they added. “We were not given the same opportunity.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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