Scholarship News

Brown U Students Trash Veterans Day Flag Display


November 15, 2016
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
American Flags designated for a Veterans Day ceremony at Brown University were torn and trashed by university students. While a group tried to protect remaining flags, others continued what they believe was a justified protest against the recent presidential election.

American Flags designated for a Veterans Day ceremony at Brown University were torn and trashed by university students. While a group tried to protect remaining flags, others continued what they believe was a "justified" protest against the recent presidential election.

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The American flags arranged on Brown University's Main Green flew in honor of the annual Veteran's Day ceremony, which made the incident "a little extra disturbing" to some students. In response, a group of students staged a sit-in to protect the remaining flags from vandalism, retrieved trashed flags, and replanted them in the ground. Protesting students defended their "justified" actions, claiming the flags serve as a "symbol of oppressing white nationalism" and a "sign of oppression and racial dominance and bigotry and imperialism." A similar incident occurred last week at American University where students set fire to American flags to protest Donald Trump's "white America" which is "going down in flames."

Brown's veteran students attest to the university's strong support of veterans but claim that students are "hostile" and "confused as to what the military does." University veterans state that they have been called "baby killers" and are all categorized as "white men...hiding behind a veil of integrity and honor and go around the world enslaving people." While the vandalism may have been a protest to the recent political climate, vets say that their "service isn't political...nor was the ceremony."

A university spokesman stated in an email that they are "investigating the accounts of vandalism to American flags set out on Brown's College Green to celebrate Veteran's Day" and furthermore, do not "condone the activities that led to the flags being removed, and destruction of property is subject to disciplinary review."

In your opinion, was the vandalism justified? What, if any, action should the university take? Share your thoughtful comments with us below.

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Anna B  on  11/29/2016 9:23:33 PM commented:

This... this is just appalling... I can't believe what this world is coming to. If the Founding Fathers saw us today-basically as a nation divided- I would feel so ashamed for the actions of our fellow Americans. Why have we allowed people to think and act that violence is the answer? Why are people in power not even stepping in? This infuriates me so much. If somebody really hates America so much, then go to another country. No one's forcing them to stay here. I love this country so much because we are given so many rights as human beings. Though we are declining in Presidents, there's still no right to burn and throw a temper tamtrum. Grow up or move out. It's as simple as that.

Dan A  on  11/22/2016 5:31:00 PM commented:

Destruction of public or private property is not a protest, it is a criminal activity and should be treated as such.

Neela  on  11/21/2016 3:40:54 PM commented:

Wow! How will burning flags cause any kind of solution? In my opinion, these kind of actions are only showing a lack of respect for the people who have served for us. These kids think that they are benefiting the world? No, they are only causing issues. These kind of negative actions will not bring any kind of positive results. Also, talking about Trump - He didn't become president just because he wanted to. Many people played a part in him being elected. Just because something didn't go your way doesn't mean you can go around burning property which doesn't belong to you. College students..but still acting like they belong in elementary school.

Chris O  on  11/16/2016 8:28:52 AM commented:

I mostly agree with Gina R but I have been studying a lot of this as it unfolds...and having kids this age helps. The lack of respect for any one and any thing goes to the bone and their lack of common sense and community and common decency is astonishing. They all grew up in a "now" and "it's disposable" world. As a college student they should learn passion but they also need to learn where the line in the sand is. Jail, hard work, and extensive community service will help with that. With my kids, I kept the jail part out of play by requiring hard work and community service. I also sufficiently disappointed them to the point they wanted to earn their own way for the special things. When you have to shell out a couple hundred hard earned dollars of your own respect for things happens quickly. You also earn your parents respect for you and your desire to achieve a goal.....rather than trashing someone's else's parade in the name of your disrespectful, childish...."I want it now" temper tantrum.

Zcasavant  on  11/16/2016 2:02:38 AM commented:

Wow. This country has proven to be MORE embarrassing AFTER the election, than during it. And this is why Trump was elected in the first place: because we were sick long before he ever came into the picture. Everyone talks about another World War post-Trump, but it feels like we're much closer to another Civil War instead. Anyway, talk about hypocrisy: what do people who vandalize flags and call others "racist" think they look like themselves? These people are basically little mini-Trumps as far as I'm concerned!

Elia N  on  11/15/2016 9:49:28 PM commented:

The whole purpose of Veteran's Day is to celebrate and remember the sacrifices of those who fight for our country. These men and women did not fight in the name of the president, but in the name of America, our freedom and for every citizen in America. Our vets do not serve this treatment. They deserve so much more respect than they were given. I believe that the university should punish these people in the highest degree.

Brandy c  on  11/15/2016 9:01:38 PM commented:

My father is a U.S.veteran and if I ever saw people doing this kind of thing to the flag my father fought his life for I would be horrified. It's not the universities fault that trump was elected president. And if I was in the veteran shoes and I saw a child with a bomb or a gun coming towards me I would kill them. They are not baby killers they are hero's who did what they had to do so that stupid people could have the right to do idiotic things. If they had any idea what our soldiers to through they would be far more grateful.

Rhonda R  on  11/15/2016 6:18:57 PM commented:

I agree with Gina R. With everything she said. It's totally a lack of respect. You may not agree with the person that's elected president but one should respect the office and position. The U.S. flag represents everyone who lives in the U.S. regardless of race or opinion. It was our veterans from many races not just white that fought for these young people to have the freedom and right to protest. But they don't have the right to vandalize & destroy the U.S. Flag or disrespect the one that fought for them in various wars our country has been in sine it's founding. I'm appalled at this news. This is not the way to start a conversation about racism & bigotry. Think about Martin. Luther King. Regardless of how he was treated he encouraged peaceful protests.

Logan R  on  11/15/2016 6:04:52 PM commented:

I agree, the students aught to be thaught what the flag really represents along with being shown what service members really do out in the field.

Eric G  on  11/15/2016 5:29:36 PM commented:

This is the same group of people that block entrances from an audience trying to attend a presentation that stars a speaker that holds differing views from their own. These people don't look at the facts and understand that there is no "white privilege" in America. These people are fighting tyranny that does not exist. Instead they go out and damage public and private property to express their anger. Just because someone with different ideas and plans gets elected doesn't mean you have the right to burn the flag that symbolizes the government that allows you to carry out such an action. This is not a peaceful movement, and it needs to change. As for what the university needs to do; they need to protect the right of peaceful protest, meaning if items get damaged they need to step in and control the situation. People have a right to voice their discontent with the election, but preventing commerce and damaging private and public property is not the way to positively spread your message.

Jakai T  on  11/15/2016 5:20:30 PM commented:

American & Confederate flags I'm alright with because that symbolizes the country as a whole, including the president. Veteran flags? Come on, y'all. That's unnecessary. Stop it. Get some help.

Brandon U  on  11/15/2016 5:15:43 PM commented:

Exactly no respect for the people who lay down their lives to protect this country

Ronn  on  11/15/2016 5:00:46 PM commented:

Blood pays for all those who enjoy freedom.

Eddie A.  on  11/15/2016 4:39:19 PM commented:

Yes, burning a flag in protest is a legal action defended by the constitution. The issue though is that people are now vandalizing through desecration. Not only is this incredibly disrespectful to the men and women who have served this country, but it is also extremely unamerican and immature. You protest when your rights are violated, not because your candidate did not win. The mainstream media and common liberalism only induces more division and separation than there already is in this falling nation. I was very disappointed in the choices for president as soon as the primaries had ended, but I also believed that I still had to do my duty as a citizen and accept the outcome as it is. Considering President-Elect Trump is not even in office yet and no one's rights have been infringed upon, there is absolutely no reason to be acting in such a way as these students have. If the time were to come that people have lost rights, or are treated unfairly, I too would protest. With this said, as of now, if you have a problem with being an American, then please leav the country and stop causing more destruction than there already is.

M. Riley  on  11/15/2016 4:31:41 PM commented:

My first inclination is to expel anyone involved. These kids have no idea what our flag represents and the lives and sacrifices it symbolizes. They have been allowed to disrespect anything they disagree with and it is creating havoc in this country. They will never become productive members if society and will eventually be a drain on the economy. The schools are complicit in this in cowering to the demands of what??...handfuls of spoiled, demanding, entitled students that are ironically 'protesting' those very same things. The schools need to stop honoring scholarships and financial aid to anyone with this kind of behavior. Secondly, if they were not expelled, mandatory community service and volunteering at a VA hospital would be required in order to maintain their academic enrollment and any financial aide. Thirdly, all parents would be notified of says penalties.

Gina R  on  11/15/2016 3:42:37 PM commented:

One lesson the modern ivy league universities (and our culture at large) have failed to teach is RESPECT in the true sense of the word. The students in question would have neither the privilege of attending university nor freedom of speech if it weren't for the thousands of American men and women of all races who have sacrificed their own time, finances, and personal safety to serve and protect the United States of America as members of the military. The title "Baby Killers" belongs to the pro-abortionists who would rather save the life of a tree or a frog or someone on the other side of the world than the life of an unborn child in our own country. Again, this demonstrates a lack of respect - for life, for our country, for authority, and ultimately, for God.

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