Hampshire College in Massachusetts has raised its American flag once again, days after drawing protests when the flagpole stood empty due to an incident of flag-burning following Donald Trump’s election.
“We did not lower the flag to make a political statement. Nor did we intend to cause offense to veterans, military families, or others for whom the flag represents service and sacrifice,” college president Jonathan Lash said in a statement Friday about raising the flag. “We acted solely to facilitate much-needed dialogue on our campus about how to dismantle the bigotry that is prevalent in our society. 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 school initially lowered the flag to half mast on Nov. 9, but then removed all flags from campus after students allegedly burned one to protest Trump’s victory. This prompted the President-elect himself to tweet, “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”
The Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that laws against desecrating the flag are unconstitutional and that burning the flag is an example of constitutionally-protected free speech.