Desecrated American flag moved after Campus Reform reporting

Grace Gottschling
Investigative Reporter

  • The University of Kansas has moved a paint-spattered American flag from a prominent campus flagpole to a publicly-funded art museum on the same campus after Campus Reform's coverage of the "art display" generated national outrage.
  • Chancellor Doug Girod cited "safety concerns" in a statement explaining the move, but KU student and Navy veteran Ian Appling told Campus Reform that the excuse is just a "smokescreen" to deflect blame.
  • The University of Kansas has relocated a controversial paint-splattered American flag after widespread backlash and criticism, but has not removed the “art display” from campus.

    The flag was originally displayed on a flagpole outside the Spooner Hall building, and is now being moved to the Spencer Museum of Art on the same campus due to “safety concerns,” according to a statement released by KU Chancellor Doug Girod.

    "The disrespectful display of a desecrated American flag on the KU campus is absolutely unacceptable."   

    “While we want to foster difficult dialogue, we cannot allow that dialogue to put our people or property in harm’s way,” Girod said.

    [RELATED: University flies blackened American flag for art display]

    After Campus Reform’s coverage of the display generated nationwide outrage Wednesday, Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach both demanded that the school remove the flag, according to the Associated Press.

    While the flag was taken down from its original location outside Spooner Hall around 4:30 that afternoon, Girod quickly clarified that it was merely being moved to the Spencer Museum of Art, which receives public funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

    “The disrespectful display of a desecrated American flag on the KU campus is absolutely unacceptable,” Colyer told Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes. “Men and women have fought and died for that flag and to use it in this manner is beyond disrespectful.”

    Campus Reform is currently awaiting a statement from Kobach responding to the school’s decision, but did not receive a response from Colyer’s office in time for publication. 

    [RELATED: AU reverses position, removes statue of cop killer]

    Navy veteran and KU student Ian Appling, who strongly objected to the original display, said it is much more appropriate to confine the flag to an art museum, but accused the university of using “safety concerns” to deflect attention from its poor judgment in choosing the Spooner Hall location in the first place.

    “It should have never belonged on a publically funded piece of property. It is an abhorrent piece of art, but it still is something that is freedom of expression,” Appling said in an exclusive interview with Campus Reform.

    “[Spencer Museum] is where [the flag] should have been in the first place, but the university citing concerns for safety is a smokescreen for trying to cover up their misstep in this situation by putting it on a flagpole,” Appling asserted. “This is the reason why the free market chooses and decides whether or not something will succeed.”

    Appling also declared “without a shade of doubt” that he would have transferred to a different school had the flag remained in its original location.

    “I fought for people’s rights to stomp and burn the flag and kneel at the National Anthem, but it is also my right as a citizen to not give a cent towards an organization that promotes or espouses values inconsistent with the United States of America,” he pointed out.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Grace_Gotcha





    Grace Gottschling

    Grace Gottschling

    Investigative Reporter

    Grace Gottschling is the Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. She is a recent graduate of The College of New Jersey, where she wrote for the university newspaper. Grace was the vice president of the pro-life club on her campus and has experience traveling across the country to engage and train others in pro-life apologetics.

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