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Hampshire College Flies the American Flag

ALFALF Registered User Posts: 1,180 Senior Member
In case you haven't been following the news, Hampshire College chose to stop flying the American flag a couple of weeks ago, following a flag-burning incident by students demonstrating against the recent presidential election. That decision in turn precipitated demonstrations and remonstrations, mostly protesting Hampshire purportedly 'banning' the flying of the American flag. Today, Jonathan Lash sent the following statement:

"Below is a statement I released to the Hampshire community this morning, following the raising of the U.S. flag on Hampshire's main flagpole. Over the past two weeks we've had numerous thoughtful, engaged discussions on campus, and we are committed to continuing this dialogue.

Jonathan Lash

This morning we raised the United States flag to full staff at Hampshire College after a two-week discussion period about what the flag means to members of the Hampshire community. College leadership, including the board of trustees, decided on November 18 to lower the flag for a time to encourage uninhibited expression of deeply held viewpoints.

We are alarmed by the overt hate and threats, especially toward people in marginalized communities, which have escalated in recent weeks. 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. We acted solely to facilitate much-needed dialogue on campus about how to dismantle the bigotry that is so 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 dialogue we have experienced so far is the first step of a process. 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. We believe in it, we will continue this work on campus, and we will look for ways to engage with our neighbors in the wider community. We raise the flag now as a symbol of that freedom, and in hopes for justice and fairness for all.

At Hampshire, we are committed to living up to these principles:

• To insist on diversity, inclusion, and equity from our leaders and in our communities, and the right to think critically and to speak openly about the historical tensions that exist throughout the country

• To constructively and peacefully resist those who are opposing these values

• To actively and passionately work toward justice and positive change on our campus and in the world.

No less should be expected of any institution of higher learning."

Replies to: Hampshire College Flies the American Flag

  • nwmom2boysnwmom2boys Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    edited December 2016
    My child is applying to Hampshire. This flag issue brought up discussions in our house about kids at Hampshire. He's a little worried that he might not fit in there. He says he's interested in being around kids with a variety of political backgrounds. I like the sound of Hampshire and the thoughtful way the Hampshire president dealt with the flag, but my son was bothered by the whole thing.
  • exlibris97exlibris97 Registered User Posts: 1,019 Senior Member
    @nwmom2boys These sort of protests are going on across the US. Hampshire isn't that unusual in this respect. But it is true that he will not find many ultra conservative students at Hampshire.
  • nwmom2boysnwmom2boys Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    @exlibris97 Yeah, right. Gotta keep things in perspective. It's the whole country dealing with the election, not just Hampshire. I can't imagine there are any ultra conservative students there.
  • SnowdogSnowdog Registered User Posts: 2,243 Senior Member
    @nwmom2boys in case you haven't seen, this explains Hampshire pretty well (it's not about the flag): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeJzAltCOuo&feature=youtu.be
  • nwmom2boysnwmom2boys Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    @Snowdog I just watched it. Really makes Hampshire look good. If he gets in, my son plans to visit in the spring.
  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers Registered User Posts: 3,167 Senior Member
    I've known several people who have attended Hampshire, both in its early days and more recently. It's a great, great school for the right person. It's really good for students who have a clear sense about what they want to do. If you're focused, Hampshire is ideal because you can develop that unique focus uniquely. This is, IMO, why alumni include several amazing visionary artists, academics, and other professions. The school both nurtures a person's intellectual pursuits and encourages them to think differently, and to not accept the status quo. The school also offers access to the 5-col consortium, with free transport among the schools. Students I've known have taken classes at all 5 schools with success. One did a research project that was published as an undergrad with a professor at a consortium school. Hampshire also offers some unique areas of study. for example their digital art area seems pretty well developed. What is difficult about Hampshire, however, is if your child is not focused and really doesn't know what to do. If I had a child like that, who needed and thrived on structure, I would hesitate to send him or her to Hampshire.
  • nwmom2boysnwmom2boys Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    My son is very focused, but he also likes structure. At this point, he seems to know what he wants to study and what type of work he would like to do after college. Hampshire is just an imagined place right now for him and me. I think we're both imagining different things, though. Gotta see the reality of the place if he gets in.
  • radioflyerradioflyer Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    my son was accepted ED with an Arts in Action Scholarship on Friday! He is over the moon. And I am a Hampshire alum :)
  • nwmom2boysnwmom2boys Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    @radioflyer That's excellent! Good to be done with the application process, I bet.
  • ALFALF Registered User Posts: 1,180 Senior Member
    Congratulations to you and your son!
This discussion has been closed.