Veterans Advocacy Services cancels event celebrating Hampshire College flag victory

By Stuart Foster

(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)
(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

Prior to Friday, Veterans Advocacy Services had planned another event for Sunday Dec. 4 to protest the removal of the American flag at Hampshire College, following the attendance of hundreds at a similar event a week ago. After Jonathan Lash, the president of Hampshire College, announced they would resume flying the flag, the event was changed to one of celebration.

However on Saturday the description of the event was changed to announce that the celebration had been cancelled.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause; but we are doing this as an act of faith,” wrote VAS Vice President Victor Nunez Ortiz in a press release. “In order for us to move forward peacefully as Americans, we must show signs of peace, patriotism and gratefulness.”

Nunez Ortiz also wrote in the description that there were other areas requiring attention where “the flag is being disrespected and mistreated.”

Nunez Ortiz thanked Hampshire College and the supporters who attended the previous protest. He also said VAS hopes to further and foster relationships and discussions with Hampshire College.

In an interview, Nunez Ortiz said that offers of the VAS to work with Hampshire College were on the table.

“I’ve spoken with Mr. Lash,” said Nunez Ortiz. “We’re waiting on them to get back and invite any veterans to their college.”

Nunez Ortiz elaborated on the areas in society where the flag is being disrespected, which he described as more symbolic about the treatment of veterans in the United States.

“There’s 22 veterans killing themselves every day, being mistreated in hospitals,” he said. “There’s so many more things we need to focus on.”

Nunez Ortiz also mentioned his intention to go to Standing Rock, where he said there are “2,000 veterans going there” to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“If I don’t hear from them, I’m just gonna go on my own,” he said.

On Friday Nunez Ortiz said that while the event on Sunday would celebrate Hampshire College’s decision, it was the intention of organizers to “continue the discussion” instead of bragging.

Stuart Foster can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @Stuart_C_Foster.