Missouri univ. tried to restrict students' 9/11 display, emails suggest

The Maryville University Young Americans for Freedom chapter says it was told by school administrators it could only display 500 American flags to honor the nearly 3,000 9/11 victims.

After the emails were first published by YAF, the university quickly backtracked, claiming it was all a "miscommunication."

Campus Reform obtained an email showing administrators imposing these restrictions.

Maryville University in St. Louis, Mo. is backtracking after initially telling the school’s Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter that it could only set up 500 flags for a 9/11 campus display, even though the group requested to set up 2,977 flags, representing the number of people who died in the 9/11 attacks.

According to emails provided to Campus Reform, the YAF chapter initially sent an email to university administrators requesting to place around 3,000 flags on campus for their 9/11 display. That email was forwarded to various administrators and faculty involved in event planning on campus, who then held a conference call to discuss the display that YAF proposed. 

The Maryville YAF chapter provided Campus Reform with these emails under the condition that names would be redacted. YAF, on its website, has published the emails with the names unredacted. Positions of the campus officials involved are assistant dean for nursing (the group’s faculty advisor),  director of student involvement, and campus event manager

After the conference call on Monday, an administrator emailed the president of the YAF chapter at Maryville and said that the organization would be restricted to placing only 500 flags or fewer, nearly 2,500 fewer than originally requested.

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In a phone call with Campus Reform, the YAF chapter president, who asked not to be named, said that after receiving the email, he contacted the campus administrator, who then said that the restriction to place 500 flags or less at the display “was final.”

“Maryville University Young Americans for Freedom will be placing flags (500 or less) and a 9/11 never forget signs [sic] in the designated grassy area,” an email obtained by Campus Reform stated. The message also included location restrictions for the display. 

However, after the national chapter of Young Americans for Freedom posted a story about the flag restrictions, the administration backtracked.

The YAF president said he was called into a meeting with the dean of students and was told that the restriction to set up only 500 flags was a “miscommunication” between faculty and that the event had been approved to display the originally requested 2,977 flags. 

[RELATED: NYU prof: ‘When did the memory of 9/11 become ‘sacred’?’]

Although the university claims that a “miscommunication” occurred, the YAF chapter chairman said that the university seemed to be “stretching the truth” and was attempting to cover up a mistake it had made.

In a Facebook post by the university on Tuesday, the school promoted the YAF chapter’s flag display.

“We will be flying flags at half-staff tomorrow, and one of our student groups will place 2,977 flags at the main entrance of campus near the Donius University Center to commemorate the many lives lost,” reads the post, which encourages students to visit the area.

Campus Reform has reached out to Maryville for further comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication. 

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