American flag lowered, burned in response to election

Students at Hampshire College lowered, then burned, an American flag hanging from a campus flagpole on the eve of Veterans Day.

The college sent out a letter to students Friday explaining that some students “who felt deep anger and fear in response to the election results” had lowered the flag on Wednesday evening, and that the administration had decided to accede to the symbolic measure.

“We made the decision to leave the flag at half-staff on Thursday out of respect for the anguish they were feeling, even while recognizing that for others in our community the flag connotes very different meanings” Beth Ward, the secretary of the college, wrote.

Ward goes on to explain that the college intended to raise the flag for Veterans Day but discovered “the flag burned overnight and as a result, veterans and others in our community will come to campus to find the flagpole empty.”

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“We are deeply saddened that we are not able to fly the flag today in their honor,” she adds, saying, “we acknowledge the anger and hurt many will feel both because the flag is absent and the reason for its absence.”

The school has yet to decide on a course of action in response to the incident, and plans to hold community meetings to discuss the matter.

“Decisions about the flag are the purview of the Board of Trustees, a responsibility our trustees take very seriously,” the letter states. “The trustees had already planned to talk about the questions raised by a number of members of the community regarding the flag, and will still do so. We will communicate with the campus soon about next steps.”

The flag has since been replaced.

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