Trinity College students say Connecticut university removed their US flags with Thin Blue Line and Gadsden symbol from housing for being ‘offensive’ – while BLM and LGBTQ flags were allowed to stay up
- Finn McCole and Lucas Turco had their US flag with the Gadsden symbol and their Blue Green Red Line flag removed from outside their dorm
- An administrator came to remove the flags and the boys say they were told that some found their flags ‘offensive’
- McCole and Turco said they had hung the flags after seeing others hanging up LBGT, transgender, and Black Lives Matter flags
- ‘We have no problem with any of those flags hanging,’ Turco said. ‘Everyone should be able to put their flags up’
- The dean apologized to them and the school has sent an email out saying they ‘will work harder’ to consistently apply the rule
- The boys are asking that the policy be ‘applied to all parties equally’
Two Trinity College students say the school removed their US flags with the Gadsden symbol and the Blue, Green, Red Line flag – representing police, military and first responders – for being ‘offensive.’
The Connecticut college, however, allowed other student’s pride and Black Lives Matter flags to stay up.
Finn McCole and Lucas Turco hung up two versions of the American flag outside their dorm windows on the Hartford campus after noticing others had hung flags up too.
‘We believe everyone has the right to their opinion and their own beliefs, and that everyone should be able to put their flags up and so me and Finn thought: “Why don’t we put up some flags we personally believe in?”‘
Turco said they had the Don’t Tread On Me flag up to symbolize their ‘love of equality for all people’ and the line flag ‘to show our reverence for first responders, our family members, our firemen, and police officers.’
‘They said that the reason they were taken down was that some people viewed the flags as offensive and I think it’s an absolute shame that those flags can be offensive,’ Turco said on the show.
Finn McCole (right) and Lucas Turco (left) hung up flags outside their dorm that were taken down for being ‘offensive.’ Turco said: ‘We believe everyone has the right to their opinion and their own beliefs, and that everyone should be able to put their flags up and so me and Finn thought: “Why don’t we put up some flags we personally believe in?”‘
They had a US Flag with the Gadsden snake symbol on it and a Blue Green Red Line flag, with each color representing either police, military, or the fire department. The students said they hung the flags after seeing other student hang LBGT, transgender, and Black Lives Matter flags
Video, originally posted to TikTok, shows a blonde administrator climbing up a ladder to pull down their flags.
When the boys asked who the woman was, she told them to talk to the dean. Another woman told them that a ‘message’ would be sent from the Dean’s Office before they attempted to walk away with the flags.
‘Excuse me, excuse me, I’ll take my flags, thank you very much,’ one of the boys can be heard saying in the video.
The blonde woman replied: ‘There are going to go to the Dean’s Office.’
‘I bought these, you’re not taking my property, this is stealing. The college does not have the right to take my flags. This is mine, and that was ridiculous.’
When they pointed out that other flags were hanging on campus, they were told they were waiting for the Dean’s response.
The roommates told Watters that the flags were taken down because others deemed the message ‘offensive.’
‘They’re just about loving your country and the people who protect us.’
‘It’s a sad state of affairs,’ McCole agreed. ‘From our conversations with the dean, they seemed very open to apologizing [to] us, but it doesn’t change the fact what you saw in the video.’
University president Joanne Berger-Sweeney sent an email to students about the situation, writing: ‘The removal of two flags outside a Trinity College student residence hall window last week has sparked a conversation across social media about freedom of speech at Trinity.
‘As I understand the matter, an apology was issued on the same day of the removal to the students who own the flags for the manner in which the policy was enforced. We will work harder to ensure greater awareness and consistent compliance moving forward.’
They hung up two versions of the American flag outside their dorm windows at Trinity College after noticing others had hung flags up too, but a school employee came to remove them after others deemed them ‘offensive’
They also attempted to take the flags back to the Dean’s Office, but one of the boys refused to allow them to remove their ‘property’
McCole said on social media that the dean apologized to them, but they are calling for the rule to be ‘applied to all parties equally’
In mid-October, the school posted a picture of a pride flagging hanging outside of the Austin Art Center on campus, with the caption: ‘Today kicks off Ally Week at #TrinColl!’
McCole said in an Instagram post that it was their understanding that ‘flags were allowed to be hung on campus.
‘You may agree or disagree with [our] ideologies, and that’s totally fine, but we feel that we should have an opportunity to express them under the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression.
‘When we asked for clarification on the grounds of their removal, we were told that no flags were to be hung on campus. Despite this, no one else who has a flag hung on campus has been told of this rule, and obviously no one else has had their flags forcibly removed in this fashion.’
They are now asking that the rule be ‘applied to all parties equally.’
In mid-October, the school posted a photo (pictured) on Twitter about being an ally to the LBGT+ community and showed a pride flag hanging on campus. The president of the school has since sent an email to students, saying it ‘will work harder to ensure greater awareness and consistent compliance moving forward’
Although the Don’t Tread on Me flag used to have the same ideology as the young men described, it has since become embroiled in far-right controversy.
The flag, typically seen with a yellow background, was seen flying during the January 6 Capitol riot.
The Revolutionary War flag has now morphed into a reported message that the government is the oppressor that was threatening an individual’s freedom, according to the Oregonian.
It is now seen by some as a symbol of intolerance and some have even taken it as a racist symbol, according to the outlet.
The Blue Green Red Line flag is has three different colored stripes on it. Blue represents police, red represents fire departments or first responders, and green for the military.
The Thin Blue Line flag, a variation of the same flag, has received a lot of slack after the death of George Floyd, with many saying the flag was racist as the Blue Lives Matter movement emerged out of Black Lives Matter.
The Thin Blue Line Flag was also seen at the January 6 riot.