Campuses around the U.S. have seen a rash of flag burnings, as students apparently distressed over Donald Trump’s presidential victory are taking out their frustrations on a major symbol of America.
At Brown University, a group of students “celebrated” Veterans Day by tearing up small American flags and tossing them in the garbage. Others carried off flags, or gave them a robust stomping.
“Someone was walking down the path and stomping on them one by one,” one eyewitness told The Washington Post. “I went over and nicely asked, ‘Could you not do that? People just put them up.’ . . . I explained they were for Veterans Day. She said, ‘I don’t care about that right now’ and walked off.”
Brown may have the highest-profile incident of flag disrespect, but it’s far from the only one. (RELATED: Brown Students Say $100 Million For Diversity Isn’t Enough)
In St. Mary’s City, Md., a flag outside a post office was found flying upside-down and cut to ribbons. The vandalized flag was the work of students at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, according to a statement by school president Tuajuanda Jordan.
“The desecration of the Flag, although appalling to many, is not a crime,” Jordan emphasized. “It is an act of protest, a form of free speech, which is protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. However, vandalism is a form of protest that we cannot tolerate in our community.”
At the University of Dayton, students haven’t gotten around to actually burning a flag. Instead, a normal flag was discolored with art materials to appear half-burnt, and then put on display near the school’s art department.
No such failure occurred at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., where students awoke last Friday to discover a flag flying on campus had been burned overnight. At American University in Washington, D.C., on the other hand, students at least were willing to burn their own flags, rather than taking somebody else’s.
In a substantially more serious incident, a student at the University of South Alabama was arrested Tuesday night after burning a flag and then allegedly trying to burn his entire apartment. It’s unclear if that student’s stunt was politically motivated, though.
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