U.S. flag burned at Hampshire College, 2 days after being lowered

U.S. flag burned at Hampshire College, 2 days after being lowered

August 17, 2019 1 By Stanley Isaacs


22NEWS AT 11 I’M BARRY KRIGER AND I’M JULIANA MAZZA. SOMEONE BURNED AN AMERICAN FLAG AS PART OF AN ELECTION PROTEST AT HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE IN AMHERST. 22NEWS REPORTER ALESSANDRA MARTINEZ SPOKE WITH STUDENTS AND THE ADMINISTRATION TO FIND OUT HOW THIS HAPPENED. THE COLLEGE TOLD ME THEY ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO EXERCISE THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT, BUT NOT LIKE THIS. FREEDOM OF SPEECH TAKEN TOO FAR. IT’S A VERY SYMBOLIC ACTION. ALL THEY DID WAS BURN A PIECE OF FABRIC THAT IS VERY REPLACABLE. UNKNOWN HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE STUDENTS BURNED THE CAMPUS AMERICAN FLAG THURSDAY NIGHT, IN PROTEST OF DONALD TRUMP’S PRESIDENTIAL VICTORY. THE DAY BEFORE, MORE THAN 100 STUDENTS GATHERED TO LOWER THE FLAG HALF STAFF. A GROUP OF STUDENTS WERE UPSET BY THE ELECTION RESULTS AND WANTED TO LOWER THE FLAG, AND THEY DID SO. PUBLIC FLAGS ARE LOWERED BY THE STATE’S COMMAND, BUT HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE IS A PRIVATE INSTITUTION. JOHN COURTMANCHE TOLD 22NEWS THE ADMINISTRATION WANTED TO RESPECT THE STUDENT’S WISHES BY KEEPING THE FLAG LOWERED UNTIL VETERAN’S DAY. WE HAVE A LOT OF DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES ON WHAT THE FLAG MEANS. WE HAVE PEOPLE ON CAMPUS WHO THINK THE FLAG REPRESENTS OPPRESSION, INEQUALITY. THE COLLEGE DOES NOT CONDONE THE STEALING OR BURNING OF THE FLAG. RATHER THAN QUESTIONING THE ETHICS OF THAT, I THINK IT’S MORE IMPORTANT TO LOOK AT THE MOTIVATION BEHIND IT AND TO REALLY CONSIDER WHY PEOPLE ARE THIS ANGRY. IT’S NOT ILLEGAL TO BURN THE AMERICAN FLAG. THE SUPREME COURT RULED IN 1969 TO PROTECT FLAG BURNING AS A FIRST AMENDMENT “FREE SPEECH” RIGHT. BUT A FLAG-BURNER CAN BE FOUND GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR FOR STARTING A FIRE WITHOUT A PERMIT, OR FOR BURNING A FLAG THAT ISN’T THEIRS. COURTMANCHE TOLD 22NEWS THE ADMINISTRATION IS CONSIDERING POSSIBLE PUNISHMENT FOR THE STUDENTS INVOVLED, ONCE THEY’RE IDENTIFIED. HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE REPLACED THE DAMAGED FLAG ALMOST IMMEDIATELY, BUT I SPOKE WITH VETERANS WHO WERE DISAPPOINTED BY THIS ACTION. VETERANS AT THE AMERICAN LEGION OF HADLEY TOLD ME THEY ARE PROUD TO HAVE FOUGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS, BUT THEY’RE UPSET TO SEE HOW FLAGS ARE BEING USED TO EXPRESS DISRESPECT FOR OUR COUNTRY. VIETNAM VET MAX WOJTOWICZ TOLD 22NEWS THE AMERICAN FLAG ISN’T JUST A PIECE OF REPLACABLE FABRIC. A LOT OF PEOPLE REALLY DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. I DON’T WANT TO SAY THEY REALLY DON’T CARE, BUT IT’S DISAPPOINTING. HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE MEDIA RELATIONS DIRECTOR JOHN COURTMANCHE TOLD ME TONIGHT THE UNIVERSITY PLANS TO ISSUE A STATEMENT SOMETIME TOMORROW MORNING. WE’LL HAVE BRING IT TO YOU BOTH ON AIR AND ONLINE AS SOON AS WE HAVE IT. LIVE IN AMHERST, AM 22NEWS.