AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) - More than 1000 people protested on Sunday, Hampshire College’s removal of an American Flag from its Amherst campus.
After the Presidential election, a group of Hampshire College students lowered an American Flag to half-staff, the following night the flag was burned. The College President then ordered to remove the flag from the center of campus entirely.
The 22News I-Team contacted 21 of the 30 Trustees on the Hampshire College Board. We wanted to know if any of the board members had an independent thought on the American Flag controversy. Also, we wanted to know whether they believe the College has handled the situation correctly by taking down the flag at the center of their campus.
So far, the ones who have responded haven’t said much. Some issued a "no comment," others indirectly backed the College by asking the I-Team to contact the school for comment. We're waiting to hear back from others.
22News spoke with Hampshire College President Jonathon Lash on Sunday who told 22News he stands for and supports everything that veterans do for our country. Lash decided to temporarily remove the main American flag on the Hampshire College campus due to a post-election fear of racism, sexism and Islamophobia.
"What we're hoping to do is to promote a real dialogue about those underlying issues and remove the symbol which was making it impossible to have a direct discussion," said President Lash.
Lash told 22News that flags have not been banned from campus and students and faculty can and have been displaying them.
Statement of Congressman Richard Neal on decision of Hampshire College not to fly American flag on campus:
Like the vast majority of Americans, I believe the First Amendment is one of our most important and cherished rights. And the freedom of speech remains the cornerstone of our democracy. But as the students, faculty and administrators of Hampshire College continue to debate some of the challenges facing our country today, I would encourage them to do so while flying the American flag on their campus.
For more than two hundred years, the stars and stripes have been an important expression our unity, freedom, and independence around the world. It is not a divisive symbol. In my opinion, the Hampshire College community can have a genuine conversation about our future while respecting the American flag in the process.
Luis Hernandez - Miami, Florida/Early Childhood Education Specialist at Western Kentucky University: Asked us to contact the College
Mary James - Portland, Oregon/Professor of Physics and Dean of institutional diversity at Reed College: Asked us to contact the College
Jonathan Lash - Amherst, Massachusetts/President of Hampshire College: See comments above
Stephan Jost - Toronto/Director and CEO Art Gallery of Ontario: Prefers not to comment
Rebecca Holland - Brooklyn, NY/Former Assistant VP of global standards and compliance at NYU: Asked us to contact the College
Judy Bornstein - San Mateo, California/CFO of American Infrastructure MLP Funds: Contacted via email
Dayna Cunningham - Brookline, Massachusetts/Executive Director of MIT's Community Innovators Lab: Contacted via email
Nirman Dave - Rajkot Gujarat, India/Student Trustee: Did not contact
Edward Dees - New Orleans, Louisiana/Emergency and Internal Medicine Physician: Could not find contact information
Anne Downes - Northampton, Massachusetts/Senior Associate Dean of Advising: Did not contact
Linda Earle - New York, New York/Executive Director of the New York Arts Program: Contacted via email
Sacha Freudenheim - New York, New York/Co-founder PAVE Communications and Consulting: Contacted via email
Jose Fuentes - New York, New York/Internet entrepreneur: Could not find contact information
Carolyn Greenspan - Wallingford, Connecticut and Watch Hill, Rhode Island/CEO Blue State Coffee: Contacted via email
David Matheson - Concord, Massachusetts/Retired,was VP of The Boston Consulting Group: Contacted via email
Robert McCarthy - Hong Kong, China/Director of Spinnaker Capital: Contacted via email
Lucy-Ann McFadden - Bethesda, Maryland/NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center: Contacted via email
Ali Mirsepassi - New York, NY and Cranbury, New Jersey/NYU Professor of Middle East and Islamic Studies: Contacted via email
William Null - Sleepy Hollow, New York/Managing Partner of Cuddy & Feder LLP: Contacted via email
Annie Rogers - Amherst, Massachusetts and Lismore, Ireland/Faculty Trustee: Did not contact
Richard Hurd - Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts/Investment Manager at Mayo Capital Partners: Contacted via email
A. Kim Saal - Northampton, Massachusetts/CEO and President, Cooley Dickinson Medical Group: Contacted by phone via the hospital
Carol Salzman - Bethesda, Maryland/Board-Certified Physician: Contacted via email through George Washington Medical School and by phone through her physician's office
Eduardo Samaniego - Kennesaw, Georgia/Student Trustee: Did not contact
Pasha Thornton - San Francisco, California/Head of School for the San Francisco Expeditionary School: Contacted via email through her school
Maria Vallejo - Wellington, Florida/Vice President of Growth and Expansion and Provost of the Belle Glade and Loxahatchee Groves campuses of Palm Beach State College: Contacted via email
Carol Varney - San Francisco, California/Executive Director Bay Area Video Coalition: Contacted via email
Gaye Hill - Chicago, Illinois + Jamestown, Rhode Island/Chairwoman of the Board: Could not find contact information
David Dinerman - Lafayette, California/Vice Chair: Could not find contact information
Fraser Bennett Beede - Northampton, Massachusetts: Could not find contact information
We didn’t contact four board members who either work for or attend the school. Another five we could not find contact information for. If any of the Trustees would like to contact us you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.