Hundreds gathered at the liberal arts Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., to protest the president’s removal of the American flag from the campus.
Veterans, in particular, were angered.
College officials, led by the president, Jonathan Lash, said the flag’s removal was aimed at sparking discussion about its meaning and how it can represent such a diverse population.
Hampshire pokesman John Courtmmanche, for instance, said the flag for some is “a powerful symbol of fear,” MassLive.com reported.
But veterans say removing Old Glory from the campus is a blatant show of disrespect.
“Coddling young men and women old enough to serve our country has zero educational value,” said one veteran from Connecticut, Michah Welintokonis, in MassLive.com. “I am frustrated by the things going on in this country. Let us pray for our nation to move forward together.”
The group of protesters, including hundreds of veterans and patriotic citizens, chanted for Lash to reverse his decision.
Among their rally calls was this: “No flag, no taxpayer [money].”
Lash, meanwhile, met with veterans before the protest to discuss their grievances and told them his intent wasn’t political but more philosophical.
“[The flag’s removal is] to enable a discussion of values among all members of our campus, not make a political statement,” Lash said, MassLive.com reported.