College ditches Old Glory after flag-burning incident

Hampshire College has decided not to fly any flags at all on campus after students lowered, then burned, an American flag hanging from a campus flagpole on the eve of Veterans Day.

Jonathan Lash, the president of Hampshire College, sent out an email Friday to notify students that “we will not fly the U.S. flag or any other flags at Hampshire for the time being.”

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“Some months ago, the Hampshire College Board of Trustees adopted a policy of periodically flying the flag at half-staff to mourn deaths from violence around the world,” Lash explains in the message. “Earlier this 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.”

Lash acknowledges that their action “has been especially painful to our Hampshire colleagues who are veterans or families of veterans,” adding that he hopes that dispensing with the flag will “enable us to instead focus our efforts on addressing racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviors.”

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“I ask our campus to join me in a commitment to living up to the ideals of our mission: to insist on diversity, inclusion, and equity from our leaders and in our communities; to constructively resist those who are opposing these values; and to actively and passionately work toward justice and positive change at Hampshire and in the world,” Lash’s missive concludes.

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