Letter: The flag shouldn’t be an issue

Why is flying the United States flag on American public school college campuses an issue? Many students wonder the same thing at San Diego State University as two students, both members of the military (Army and Coast Guard to be exact) face disciplinary action and even expulsion for flying the American flag, an Army flag, the U.S. Coast Guard Flag and an SDSU blanket from their dormitory balcony. The reason that the school is directly related is because the students live in on-campus housing run by the school itself and so have to answer to the school and U.S. military.

But since when has flying the American flag and certain branches’ of the military flags been an issue on American college campuses? Doesn’t the First Amendment of the Constitution grant the “freedom of expression” to students to fly the flag of the country that they live in? A similar issue was had earlier this year at the University of California, Irvine where an Associated Students committee board voted to ban “Ol’ Glory” from the administration office under the nonsensical idea that the American flag was offensive and should be banned. This lack of logic has spread to SDSU where both students said that they were singled out for their patriotism as opposed to their peers who had foreign flags on their balcony, a British one for example, and other objects like towels draped over their balconies. America is country of mixed cultures from all over the world and arguably the most diverse country on the face of this planet. As a College Republican and American, I am proud of this fact and am proud of the United States inclusion of other religions, cultures, and traditions.

Problems are bound to arise however and questioning the place that the American flag has on public college campuses is the new big thing. San Diego State is by no means aggressive toward our service-members nor slandering of America and the American flag. SDSU is a proudly mixed-culture school and I, as well, am proud of this fact. SDSU takes great care of our student-veterans and military men and women and it is one of the many things I enjoy about this school. Yet, this is an unnecessary and uncalled for incident that should never have been an issue in the first place. This is obviously a case of two SDSU student-military peers being singled out, as none of their neighbors had the same issue. Nearby apartment complexes like BLVD 63, on the corner of 63rd Ave and El Cajon St., allow state and national flags to fly, so why not SDSU on-campus housing? The school claims that the flag flying violates the fire code but again, why don’t the Residential Advisors universally ask that everyone remove their objects off the balconies? At SDSU, American flags are very common. You can walk into any given apartment or house and there is a significant chance that you will see an American flag proudly pinned to the wall. Hell, It is the same in my apartment! You will see the California flag, the same SDSU blanket, and the American flag pinned right above our living room TV. It is common culture at SDSU for students to own and display the American flag, but God forbid it proudly be displayed outside for the public of the United States of America to see. Understandably though, if the flag flies near an open flame and is truly a fire hazard, then by all means please move that flag. Yet, even if the great flag of the United States of America caught on fire, it would probably be argued (as it has before) that setting the flag on fire is still a freedom of expression and wouldn’t have been an issue. But then again, God forbid young members of the United States military proudly fly non-burnt flags of the Coast Guard flag, U.S. Army flag, and flag of the United States of America outside for the world to see.

Jordan Dennison is the chairman of the San Diego State College Republicans.