A college student from San Diego State University was shocked when he was ordered to remove his American flag which he had hung outside his apartment near to the campus, for fear it might “offend” foreign exchange students.
Brad Smith, who rents an apartment in the new 63 Apartments complex, was told two days ago by the apartment community manager to remove the flag from his balcony.
“We were then told that it was for political reasons and that the flag could offend foreign people that live here, foreign exchange students. I’ve had friends and family fight to defend that flag,” Smith said.
10news.com reported that, having looked into the rules and regulations at SDSU, they do stipulate, “No signs or other personal property may be kept outside the premises” and management determines what is “permissible and acceptable.”
But Smith added, “This was never brought to my attention, saying this is the reason right here.”
Christian Curry, an attorney who specializes in tenant-landlord law, told the website that often college apartment complexes do have rules that regulate visible areas such as balconies, “Clearly, they want to keep it clean and that’s something they want to accomplish. It’s a compelling reason, but it’s hardly a reason that’s going to overcome your free speech,” he said.
While the community manager told reporters that no display of any flags or other things is permitted, Melanie Flaherty, who is the vice president of marketing for Carmel Partners, which owns the property, said, “We allow state and country flags.”
According to Flaherty, there was a misunderstanding between the tenant and the community managers, and the rules will be changed to allow the flag to be flown.
Perhaps the issue for campus apartment managers is that if one student decides to fly an American flag, other students with other political views might fly flags that are offensive to Americans, such as the black ISIS flag or the flags representing terrorist organizations such as Hamas or Hizbollah.