Hampshire College President speaks on recent controversial events

President Lash told 22News that flags have not been banned from campus

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Our 22News team coverage of the demonstration continues. 22News spoke with Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash to get his take on the controversial chain of events that has taken place over the past week.

It all started when some Hampshire College students lowered the American flag on their campus to half-staff because they were upset over the results of the presidential election. The following night, the flag was burned.

James Chartier of Amherst said “Our flag should be flown and not disrespected in such a manner by a college funded by the state.”

22News spoke with Hampshire college president Jonathon Lash who told me he stands for and supports everything that veterans do for our country, but decided to temporarily remove the main American flag on the Hampshire college campus to allow for honest and open dialogue among all students.

Lash said “After the election campaign and the degree of racism, sexism, and islamophobia that played out in that campaign, feelings were just exacerbated.” He told 22News the flag had to be removed because it was making it impossible for students to have a direct discussion.

Mayor Sarno told 22News he feels that decision was incredibly disrespectful. “You’re allowed to protest, you’re allowed to voice your opinion but that is only allowed because of what veterans have done and this flag, so be respectful and fly the flag.”

Lash told 22News that flags have not been banned from campus and students and faculty can and have been displaying them.