Hampshire College has become the scene of angry protests, after over a thousand veterans showed up to express their anger over the Massachusetts school’s decision to remove the American flag from campus, Fox News is reporting.
Last week, as reported by the Inquisitr, Hampshire College’s Board of Trustees made the decision to remove the American flag from campus indefinitely, after deciding that it was too divisive a symbol. Following the election, Hampshire College President Johnathan Lash announced on Facebook that the Board of Trustees had voted to lower flags around campus to half-staff to symbolically mourn Donald Trump’s win.
“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. Last 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.”
However, lowering the flag to half-staff wasn’t a strong enough statement for at least one student; he or she burned the flag. That, in turn, led to Hampshire College’s decision to remove the flag from campus. Lash says the flag will be gone at least until next semester.
That decision has not sat well with some veterans. On Sunday, at least a thousand veterans from around New England showed up at Hampshire to make their feelings known, according to WWLP (Springfield).
— Scot (@slappywhyte) November 28, 2016
Veteran Jerry Maguire said he holds no ill will towards the Hampshire students. But he wants them to see things his way.
“They took down my flag, they have a right to that, I’m here to defend their right to do that but I want them to understand how bad that hurts me.”
Veteran David Soucy echoed similar sentiments, telling a WWLP reporter that he spent 18 months in Iraq, only to come home to college students burning the flag and a college removing it from campus.
This Hampshire College student is disrespecting 1000s of veterans who are trying to display the importance of our flag. Shameful. pic.twitter.com/JnjmdAhSzi
— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) November 27, 2016
Even the mayor of nearby Springfield, Domenic Sarno, who is not a veteran, stood with the veterans.
“For the students here and the president and board of trustees have risen from what the veterans sacrificed, this flag and not to fly the flag on this campus if you were in some other countries around the world it would be handled very, very differently.”
Fortunately, the protest remained largely peaceful, but for one man being a nuisance to the veterans. As a group of veterans were posing for a photograph, one man kept inserting himself in front of them and making obscene gestures to the camera. It is not clear, as of this writing, if that man was a Hampshire College student; he declined to identify himself to the media and refused to confirm whether or not he is a student.
Hampshire College was founded in 1970 as a bastion of liberal thought and alternative education. The Amherst, Massachusetts, campus lacks a football team, grades, yearbooks, tests, fraternities, and other typical symbols of college life. The college has often been at the forefront of advancing progressive issues; for example, back in 1977, Hampshire became one of the first private colleges to divest its endowment of stocks from companies that did business in Apartheid South Africa.
Do you think Hampshire College was wrong to remove its American flags from campus?
[Featured Image by Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images]