Hampshire College, a small liberal arts college based in western Massachusetts, has stopped flying the U.S. flag entirely following student response to the election. CNN reports that the college agreed with students to lower the flag to half-staff. Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash stated that this gesture “was meant as an expression of grief over the violent deaths being suffered in this country and globally, including the many U.S. service members who have lost their lives.”
On Nov. 10, one of the flags was set on fire, prompting the college to remove some flags, keep some flags flying at half-staff, and fly one flag at full-staff. However, on Nov. 19, Lash made a statement on Facebook on behalf of the college that all U.S. flags would no longer be flown on campus, though students are free to continue flying their own flags. This is said to be a temporary move on the part of the school.
Hampshire College is known to have many of the same values as New College, with a similar no-grades policy. The removal of the flags at Hampshire College occurred amidst a number of flag related controversies across the country, including removals of flags at New College. Some flags on campus have been hung upside down.
The US government has certain regulations about when the flag should be flown at half-staff. It is typically up to the discretion of local governments and institutions to determine when it is appropriate regionally. Private individuals, groups, and institutions are not held to these regulations about the flag.
According to the U.S. Flag Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8(a), “The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.” For many, the election indeed marks these circumstances in the U.S.