Posted on December 2, 2011

Student Wins Right to Hang Confederate Flag in Dorm Room

Don Logana, WTOC, December 1, 2011

{snip} Last month, the Confederate battle flag whipped up controversy on the campus of University of South Carolina at Beaufort.

One student fought for the right to hang the Confederate flag in his dorm room window.

Not a white student. A black student fought for what he says he believes in.

18 year-old Byron Thomas, a North Augusta, SC native and freshman at USCB, is African American. He wants the right to hang the flag in his dorm room window.

After multiple complaints, Thomas was told the flag must come out of the window.

“To me it is a heritage thing and a pride thing. It is not a racist thing whatsoever,” Thomas told WTOC.


Thomas decided to do something he couldn’t do at home. “No sir, because my parents have strong feelings about it,” he said.

He hung the Confederate flag in his dorm room window for the rest of his peers, with a courtyard view, to see.

“There would have been a serious problem if I had done it in my house,” Thomas said. “I’m 18 now. I should have my own right to believe how I want to believe about things.”


By November, the housing staff at USCB told Thomas the flag must come down.

“They never told me people were complaining. They said I was violating a racism code,” he said.

“We received about 20 to 24 complaints,” Doug Oblander, Vice-Chancellor of Student Development at University of South Carolina at Beaufort, told WTOC. “When they open their windows to let the sun in, they look directly into this flag.”


After an appeal by Thomas, along with national attention and a review by university lawyers, Thomas was told Thursday morning it had been recommended by counsel that he be allowed to put the flag back up.

“It probably is an infringement of his First Amendment rights,” Oblander said.


As of Thursday night, the flag is back.

“That flag means to me southern heritage. I love the south. I’ve always lived in the south. Everything about the south, to me, is great,” Thomas said.