News & Politics

College President Who Refused to Fly U.S. Flag Relents After Protests

Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash decided to lower the U.S. flag to half-staff the day after Donald Trump was elected. But when the flag was found burned, Lash ordered that the flag not be flown at all.

This set off weeks of protests by veterans and other patriotic groups that have resulted in Lash reversing his decision. He will now allow Old Glory to be flown.

But Lash couldn’t resist absolving himself of any responsibility for this gross insult. He issued a statement in which he solemnly declared that politics played no part in any of his decisions.

Fox News:

“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,” the college’s president, Jonathan Lash, stated Friday. He added, “We did not lower the flag to make a political statement. … We acted solely to facilitate much-needed dialogue on our campus about how to dismantle the bigotry that is prevalent in our society.”

The school’s choice to stop flying the flag triggered widespread condemnation and a protest by veterans groups and their supporters outside campus. Last weekend, dozens of vets and other activists held American flags and chanted, “U.S.A.,” in a rally that organizers called a “peaceful demonstration of freedom.”

Mayor Domenic Sarno of nearby Springfield and others at the rally said the school’s decision disrespected veterans and current military members.

In video that aired Wednesday on “The O’Reilly Factor,” Fox News’ Jesse Watters confronted Lash, who refused to comment on the controversy at that time.

“Hampshire staff and faculty have led facilitated discussions, I have held multiple focus group sessions, and all of our students, faculty, and staff have been invited to contribute their opinions, questions, and perspectives about the U.S. flag. This is what free speech looks like,” Lash said Friday.

“What free speech looks like…”? I know free speech. Free speech is a friend of mine. And Mr. Lash, your “facilitated discussions” are not free speech. They were designed as a cover to give you a convenient “out” after your hysterical reaction to Trump’s election made you appear silly and stupid to a large segment of the population.

Students are not the only people on college campuses whose existence in a leftist bubble makes them say and do outrageously stupid things. Lash had no clue that his decision would result in a firestorm of protest. He probably believed he would be lauded for his over-the-top reaction to Trump’s victory.

Instead, he was forced to backtrack and then lie through his teeth about the incident not being about politics. Just a great, big misunderstanding, eh, Mr. Lash? This was just an exercise in promoting “dialogue” about “dismantling” bigotry.

So pardon me for thinking that lowering the flag the day after Donald Trump was elected would have a political context. I guess I’m just too stupid to get the subtle nuance of your position.