BLM flag flying alongside American flag at UVM
The University of Vermont’s Burlington campus is flying a Black Lives Matter flag alongside both the American and state flags.
Several students from the school took to social media to express their support for the move, with some saying the school is “winning for this” and another noting that since the school is supportive of the movement, “we should be too.”
One local news outlet is reporting that the flag is being sponsored by the school’s Student Government Association (SGA), whose president called the move a way to “show symbolic support for our community.”
"The Student Government Association is sponsoring the flag at this time to show symbolic support for our community when so many are struggling with the violence and search for justice in this country,” SGA president Jason Maulucci wrote in a statement. “It is fitting that the flag flies adjacent to the recently engraved benches that pronounce the values of Our Common Ground—Respect, Integrity, Innovation, Openness, Justice, and Responsibility."
The flag apparently appeared on campus the day after the start of the riots in Charlotte, which have left at least one person on life support and several others injured.
Many students at the school, though, say they are happy to see the BLM flag on their campus, with some even saying they would like to see the flag stay up on campus “forever.”
"Even though it's maybe not affecting Vermont specifically, UVM is saying you should care even though it's not in our region," student Nishani Kessler told WCAX News.
"UVM putting the flag up and opening the visibility up on campus just really hits close to home for such a small community of people of color on this campus it really speaks really loudly to all the students around here,” another added.
Other students, however, object to the decision to fly the BLM flag in such a prominent location, right outside the Student Center.
"The university is known for being very liberal, but this statement of support for Black Lives Matter goes beyond anything that can be excused," one student, who did not wish to be identified, told Campus Reform. "A public university, funded by the taxpayers...has no right to make such a blatant political statement. It is inappropriate for a public university, where opinions and views are supposed to be freely expressed, as BLM is known...to stifle free speech."
UPDATE: UVM explained to Campus Reform that the relevant flag pole "has historically flown flags to celebrate and support members of the university community." Any student organization, the school added, can go through a process to sponsor a flag, which, in this case, the student government elected to do.
"From the Rainbow flag to celebrate marriage equality or to support our community following the targeted shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, to the national flag of China to celebrate the arrival of the first students from China, to the new national flag to celebrate the forming of South Sudan as a new country, to the flag of Haiti following the natural disaster that destroyed much of their country, the Davis Center has worked with groups who seek to teach and support the principles of social justice and community," Enrique Corredera, executive director of public affairs, elaborated in a statement to Campus Reform. "UVM supports free expression, and other university groups are welcome to propose flags with information that they wish to express."
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