Black Lives Matter flag will be permanently displayed in center for Students of Color, says UVM President


Kate Vanni/ The Vermont Cynic

The Vermont State flag, the American flag and the Davis Center flag all stand side by side blowing in the wind on Aug. 17. The Davis Center flag replaced the Black Lives Matter flag which was flown for several days before.

The Black Lives Matter flag will be permanently displayed in UVM’s Mosaic Center for Students of Color after it was taken down from a Davis Center flagpole in mid-August. 

UVM President Suresh Garimella made this announcement in an email Friday morning at 7:42 a.m. The email also announced a new scholarship program for historically underrepresented groups at UVM and a Davis Center working group to honor African Americans who have touched the University.

The Black Lives Matter flag was initially flown and subsequently taken down from one of three Davis Center flagpoles in mid-August. Despite student demand to put the flag back up, Gary Derr, vice president of external operations, denied the request, citing UVM’s flag policy. 

The email from Garimella did not say that the decision came because of student backlash.

Although the flag will be permanently displayed on campus, it will be inside the Mosaic Center on Athletic Campus, not in front of the Davis Center on UVM’s flagpole as it was this summer. 

Garimella stated the flag will be displayed, “to signify UVM’s continued commitment and dedication to Black lives,” and wrote that, “we must continue to protect and extend the value we place on diversity, equity and inclusion. These steps represent another step forward.” 

The flag will be commemorated during the annual Andrew Harris Legacy Breakfast celebration  Oct 4, the email stated. 

The email came several days after Jacob Blake, a Black man from Kenosha, Wisconsin, was shot by police. This sparked protests across the country, including a multi-day protest and march outside of the Burlington Police Department, where community members and UVM students have gathered.

“I write to you again today to share my deep sadness that Black lives continue to be violated,” Garimella stated. “This only strengthens my resolve that we must continue to honor all Black lives through our words and our actions.”