- The Washington Times - Monday, November 21, 2016

A Massachusetts college’s attempt to placate upset students and faculty after Election Day backfired and then prompted officials to remove the U.S. flag from campus.

Individuals at Hampshire College were so enraged at Republican Donald Trump’s Nov. 8 victory over Hillary Clinton that its U.S. flag was stolen one night and then burned before dawn on Veterans Day.

Officials lowered a third replacement to half-staff due to claims the flag represents “racism and hatred,” but anger by military veterans and their families prompted the school to remove it entirely.

“Last week, in the current environment of escalating hate-based violence, we made the decision to fly Hampshire’s U.S. flag at half-staff for a time while the community delved deeper into the meaning of the flag and its presence on our campus,” officials said Monday on the college’s Facebook page.

“This was meant as an expression of grief over the violent deaths being suffered in this country and globally, including the many U.S. service members who have lost their lives. Our intention was to create the space for meaningful and respectful dialogue across the many perspectives represented in our community. Unfortunately, our efforts to inclusively convey respect and sorrow have had the opposite effect,” the college lamented.

“Some have perceived the action of lowering the flag as a commentary on the results of the presidential election — this, unequivocally, was not our intent. After some preliminary consultation with campus constituents (much more is needed), we decided on Friday that we will not fly the U.S. flag or any other flags on our college flagpole for the time being. We hope this will enable us in the near term to instead focus our efforts on addressing racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviors.”

Jonathan Lash, the school’s president, also gave an interview Friday in which he said he hoped the community would use the flag’s absence to settle everyone’s concerns.

“I don’t think the country did it very well,” Mr. Lash said, the Boston Globe reported Monday. “I’m hoping we can as a campus.”

Feedback on Hampshire College’s Facebook page was fierce.

“You’re disgraceful,” Joe Boissonneault wrote Monday. “Taking the nation’s flag down because of backlash? You’re supposed to teach people to be adults, not coddle them.”

“As a veteran, it saddens me to see that the symbol of our country will no longer be flown at your institution,” added Tiffany Hersch. “So many have forgotten what the symbolism of the flag actually means. The thirteen stripes represent the original colonies that gained their independence from England. The fifty stars represent the individual states. The white represents innocence, the red represents valor and bravery, while the blue represents perseverance, vigilance, and justice. I think these are values that are instrumental in guiding the future leaders of America, and not to be carelessly discarded.”

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