Mass. College stops flying all flags after election

AMHERST, Massachusetts (NECN) -- Massachusetts college has stopped flying all flags on campus after an American flag was burned following the presidential election of Republican Donald Trump.

Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash tells WWLP-TV the college won't fly any flags for the time being. He says the Amherst campus will consult with students and staff about appropriately utilizing flags in the future.

A Statement from President Lash: “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. This was meant as an expression of grief over the violent deaths being suffered in this country and globally, including the many U.S. service members who have lost their lives. Our intention was to create the space for meaningful and respectful dialogue across the many perspectives represented in our community. Unfortunately, our efforts to inclusively convey respect and sorrow have had the opposite effect. We have heard from many on our campus as well as from neighbors in the region that, by flying the flag at half-staff, we were actually causing hurt, distress, and insult. Our decision has been seen as disrespectful of the traditional expression of national mourning and has been especially painful to our Hampshire campus colleagues who are veterans or families of veterans. Some have perceived the action of lowering the flag as a commentary on the results of the presidential election - this, unequivocally, was not our intent. After some preliminary consultation with campus constituents (much more is needed), we decided on Friday that we will not fly the U.S. flag or any other flags on our college flagpole for the time being. We hope this will enable us in the near term to instead focus our efforts on addressing racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviors. I ask our campus to join me in a commitment to living up to the ideals of our mission: to insist on diversity, inclusion, and equity from our leaders and in our communities; to constructively resist those who are opposing these values; and to actively and passionately work toward justice and positive change at Hampshire and in the world.”

A college official says members of the campus community initially lowered the flag to half-staff after the Nov. 8 election. That offended other members of the community.

The flag was then found burned on Veterans Day. It was replaced and flown again at half-staff until Friday's decision to remove all flags.

Source: Mass. College Stops Flying all Flags | NECN http://www.necn.com/news/new-england/Mass-College-Stops-Flying-all-Flags-402457315.html#ixzz4QkiJC9DN
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