Massachusetts college starts flying US flag again

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Hundreds of veterans and their supporters gathered at Hampshire College in MA on Sunday to protest the school's decision to temporarily stop flying the American flag.

Last month, a MA liberal arts college sparked controversy over its decision to temporarily not fly the American flag - or any other flag - on its campus.

"We recognized that in order to do what we want to do, it probably made more sense to put the flag back up and that's what we've done, at dawn this morning".

For Hampshire College, flying the United States flag half-staff was meant to "create the space for meaningful and respectful dialogue across the many perspectives represented in our community", said Lash.

"We acted exclusively to facilitate much-needed dialogue on our campus about how to dismantle the bigotry that is prevalent in our society", Lash said in a statement. College leadership, including the board of trustees, had decided on November 18 to lower the flag for a time to encourage uninhibited expression of deeply held viewpoints. This led to the flag being found burned on Veterans Day, leading to the school president to nix all flag flying.

That decision spurred a furious backlash, locally and across the nation, from many who saw it as disrespectful and argued that flags should only be flown at half-staff as a symbol of mourning.

The most recent comments by President Lash stand in contrast to his earlier claims when he excused the actions of students saying the flag represented "a powerful symbol of fear they've felt all their lives because they grew up in marginalized communities, never feeling safe".

Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash after flag was re-raised on campus
Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash after flag was re-raised on campus

This decision sparked outrage among the veterans community, and caused local Veterans of Foreign Wars members to protest on the campus.

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

"President Lash, why'd you remove the flag?" the annoying Fox News ambusher insisted.

Nunez Ortiz continued that he will be leaving for North Dakota next week to raise the flag and stand in solidarity with Dakota Access Pipeline protesters.

Former "Dirty Jobs" host Mike Rowe had some frank words for students who attend expensive colleges and then trample the American flag to protest oppression. But several student activists agitated for the flag to be removed entirely, saying it represented oppressive forces like the police and the USA military. One student screamed: "This is a representation of America!

Now we move forward and continue the dialogue".

In his statement Friday, Lash described the dialogue held on campus thus far as "the first step of the process" and added that faculty and staff and facilitated "multiple discussions" and "focus group sessions".

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