Hampshire College has taken down the American flag after it was burned two days following the presidential election, with the leader of the Amherst campus calling it “a disruptive symbol.”
Jonathan Lash, president of the private liberal arts college, said administrators initially replaced the flag with the intention of recognizing “the strong feelings of those who see the flag as a statement of the best of the country.”
But on Friday, Lash sent a campuswide e-mail saying the flagpole would remain bare until next semester at the earliest. [BOSTONGLOBE]
“Last 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,” officials said Monday on the college’s Facebook page.
“This was meant as an expression of grief over the violent deaths being suffered in this country and globally, including the many U.S. service members who have lost their lives. Our intention was to create the space for meaningful and respectful dialogue across the many perspectives represented in our community. Unfortunately, our efforts to inclusively convey respect and sorrow have had the opposite effect,” the college lamented.
“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 (much more is needed), we decided on Friday that we will not fly the U.S. flag or any other flags on our college flagpole for the time being. We hope this will enable us in the near term to instead focus our efforts on addressing racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviors.” [WASHINGTONTIMES]