Hampshire College, a small liberal arts school in Amherst, Massachusetts, has removed the American flag from their flagpole, citing their goal was to bring attention to important issues such as misogyny and anti-LGBTQ behaviors.
The school had previously made the decision to lower the flag to half-staff the day after the election, which Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash said was "an expression of grief over the violent deaths being suffered in this country and globally."
"Our intention was to create the space for meaningful and respectful dialogue across the many perspectives represented in our community," Lash added.
Students of the college and members of the community harshly criticized the school for the move, with many expressing their negative feedback directly to school officials and on the school's Facebook page. While school officials acknowledged their decision had caused undue hurt and distress, their next move was even more controversial.
Incensing the community even more, the school removed the United States flag from the flagpole entirely, refusing to fly it at all.
Lash said in a statement, "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."
He insisted that the timing of the decision was not intended to be commentary on the presidential election results, and ended by saying, "I ask our campus to join me in a commitment to living up to the ideals of our mission: to insist on diversity, inclusion, and equity from our leaders and in our communities; to constructively resist those who are opposing these values; and to actively and passionately work toward justice and positive change at Hampshire and in the world.”
The full statement from the school's Facebook page is below: