Hampshire College returns to flying American flag

Hampshire College returns to flying American flag
Posted at 5:57 PM, Dec 02, 2016

Just over a week after it announced it was removing the American flag from its campus, Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts re-raised the stars and bars on Friday morning.

The controversy began after Donald Trump cinched the presidency in the Nov. 8 general election. Following his win, a group of students lowered the flag to half staff in solidarity with those who feared for their safety under a Trump presidency.

Days later, on the eve of Veterans Day, the flag was removed from its pole and burned.

Upon its replacement, Hampshire College decided to continue flying the flag at half staff “both to acknowledge the grief and pain experienced by so many and to enable the full complexity of voices and experiences to be heard,” the school said.

But last week, the school announced it would remove the flag from the campus until students and staff could hold meaningful conversation about the flag and what it means to different groups of Americans.

Hampshire College president Jonathon Lash released a statement on the issue. It read, in part:

“We did not lower the flag to make a political statement. Nor did we intend to cause offense to veterans, military families, or others for whom the flag represents service and sacrifice. We acted solely to facilitate much-needed dialogue on our campus about how to dismantle the bigotry that is prevalent in our society. We understand that many who hold the flag as a powerful symbol of national ideals and their highest aspirations for the country—including members of our own community—felt hurt by our decisions, and that we deeply regret.”

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.