Hundreds of veterans and protesters flocked to a Massachusetts college this weekend after the school decided to temporarily remove all flags – including the American flag – from its campus, a move many deemed unpatriotic and offensive.
Students lowered the flag at Hampshire College, a small liberal arts school in western Massachusetts, to half-mast the day after Mr. Trump won the election. Students said the symbolic move was a protest against acts of hate and harassment , which have spiked in the wake of the unexpected victory. A day later, the flag was burnt by an unknown party, prompting the campus to launch an investigation into the incident.
The school’s president, Jonathan Lash, met with members of the local VFW before the protest and he plans to do so again in the coming weeks. While both sides felt optimistic about the meeting, Mr. Lash hasn’t agreed to raise the flag again just yet, and remains dedicated to an open and inclusive dialogue on the campus.
“If we could remove the conflict over the symbol and get to the real issues underneath, there would be a chance for real learning,” Lash told WCVB, the local Boston ABC TV affiliate station.
“If our president is Donald Trump, I don’t think any school, especially this school, should really support his ideas by raising the flag,” an unnamed student told WCVB.
But many veterans disagree, seeing the US flag as a permanent symbol of the nation that shouldn’t be honored – or discarded – based on who is currently in power.