Phi Beta Cons

American Flag Meets Resistance on Campus

(Aleksey Butov/Dreamstime)

College campuses tolerate a lot of things. The American flag is not always one of them.

The latest example is at San Diego State University, where two military students were forced to remove an American flag — along with an Army flag, the U.S. Coast Guard Flag, and an San Diego State blanket — from their dormitory balcony, under threat of expulsion. School officials called the flags a fire hazard and a violation of housing code decoration policies. The students launched a petition but ultimately gave in on Tuesday and took down the flags under pressure.

Last week, a student at the University of New Mexico was told to remove a flag from his dorm room window. At that campus, the rationale given him by administrators was if they allowed him to keep the American flag up, students might hang Nazi or Confederate flags, too.

Earlier this month at Brandeis University, a commemorative display of American flags to mark the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was uprooted and made to spell out “Proud of Iraq?” by vandals. While on the surface it’s an attack against American foreign policy, the utter disregard for the U.S. flag is obvious given the malicious vandalism their presence prompted.

And of course there was the infamous incident earlier this year at the University of California-Irvine, where a student government subcommittee voted to ban the American flag from hanging in its administrative office because the flag was deemed offensive and derisive. That decision was overturned by the overall student government after a national uproar. 

Today, proudly displaying the American flag on campus has become controversial, but perhaps it’s no surprise that universities are ground zero for such sentiments, given so many professors’ disdain for America.


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