Scrolling Headlines:

UMass football readies for season-opener against Hawaii -

August 22, 2017

UMass women’s soccer falls to Central Connecticut 3-0 in home opener -

August 19, 2017

Preseason serves as opportunity for young UMass men’s soccer players -

August 13, 2017

Amherst Fire Department website adds user friendly components and live audio feed -

August 11, 2017

UMass takes the cake for best campus dining -

August 11, 2017

Two UMass students overcome obstacles to win full-ride scholarships -

August 2, 2017

The guilt of saying ‘guilty’ -

August 2, 2017

UMass tuition set to rise 3-4 percent for 2017-2018 school year -

July 18, 2017

PVTA potential cuts affect UMass and five college students -

July 10, 2017

New director of student broadcast media at UMass this fall -

July 10, 2017

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

Burning the flag is not the answer

The First Amendment protects the right of all citizens to free speech and to protest or seek government redress in whatever way they see fit. College students across the country have long taken advantage of this right, and recent times in the aftermath of such a contentious presidential election are no exception.

Recently, the students and faculty of Hampshire College took advantage of this right – first as students chose to burn the American flag in response to their frustration with President-elect Donald Trump. After, the school’s administration decided to take down all American flags that flew on-campus in a similarly intended political statement. Now, in 1989 the Supreme Court ruled that flag burning as a protest was protected free speech under the First Amendment, so I’m certainly not going to contest their right to do so. But the same First Amendment that gives them the right to attack the symbol of the United States gives me the right to attack them for doing so.

When students at Hampshire College burn or otherwise attack the American flag, they do more than just disrespect our veterans – they display a woeful ignorance of their own privilege. You see, these same college students are the first people to bring up controversial topics like white privilege, male privilege and privilege of wealth, but they ignore the enormous privilege we all have as Americans.

By burning the American flag, you display an immense ingratitude and lack of appreciation for this privilege and for the people who have risked their lives for us all to have it. To burn our flag is an insult to every single veteran who has ever fought under it and it is to proclaim that, because your political interests did not prevail, you are now ashamed to be a part of this country. Well, be as ashamed as you would like but the fact of the matter is that many other countries in the world simply don’t have the same level of liberty, freedom and quality of life that we do in America – something that wasn’t achieved overnight or by accident. In fact, more than one million American soldiers have been killed since our country’s founding in wars hard-fought under this same flag defending the rights, liberties and freedoms now taken for granted.

Students of Hampshire College, you have the right to be upset about the results of the election. But this doesn’t change the fact that in burning the American flag you do more than just voice valid concerns about the election of one man to a political position – you attack the very identity of our nation and take for granted how very lucky you are to be an American.

Bradley Polumbo is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at

2 Responses to “Burning the flag is not the answer”
  1. David Hunt 1990 says:

    Decades of Critical Theory are bearing fruit. Students – and faculty at this point – have no appreciation for the broad sweep of history and the exceptional nature of America.

    Is America perfect? No. But then, people who actually KNOW history understand that NO nation is perfect. And this is the vital element: today’s students have been indoctrinated to believe that perfection IS possible, and that since America is not perfect by their unattainable, utopian definition, it must be evil.

  2. Lucky Louie says:

    “Students” and administrators of Hampshire college have always been a joke. A bunch of bumbling idiots with no future aspirations. I was always surprised that place was even accredited. It was particularly comical when they did away with grades a few eons ago. First college to give everyone participation trophies. Their presence should never even be acknowledged.

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