Put the damn flag back up UVM

Yet again administration choose policy over student voices

Staff Editorial

On Sept 17, students and staff gathered at the Davis Center circle to join UVM’s Latinx and Hispanic identity group Alianza Latinx, in raising their flag for Hispanic Heritage Month.

“We are here together, always and forever and that is what this flag is about,” said Adrian Pastor, the club’s president.

But as this past Friday Sept. 25 winded down and students left their last classes for the week, the Hispanic Heritage Month flag was lowered and taken off the flagpole, replaced by a flag bearing the name of the Davis Center and an illustration of the building.

Here you have a symbol of pride and solidarity and awareness about a group of marginalized students and their histories being replaced by an ugly green advertisement.

If there ever was a metaphor for where the administration’s values, this is it.

So, this week the Cynic asks, what’s the point?

“It is important that we remain consistent in the time that flags are permitted to be flown at the Davis Center,” stated Gary Derr in a Sept 25 email.

We do not accept this excuse.

Whenever we write editorials, it’s the job of the writer to put themself in the other side’s shoes, to understand their point of view and anticipate their objections.

However, when we put ourselves in an administrators shoes, trying to figure out a motivation for taking the flag down, it’s hard to come up with a reasonable answer. 

Yes, there’s a policy, but if ever there was a chance for the University to both garner some positive press and lend their support to marginalized communities, now was the time. 

However, the University has elected to side with the oppressor. 

And yet the University has historically taken the side of the oppressor.

We’re reminded of when University administrators handed out conduct violations to nine students, including leaders from NoNames for Justice and other social justice groups on campus, for holding a rally in honor of the Waterman takeover back in 2018, Feb. 26 of 2019.

After 33 faculty and staff members sent a letter to UVM administrators stating they were concerned students’ rights were being violated, they said then, “we don’t police language, we do policy,” according to a Mar. 2019 Cynic article.

Even a few months ago, UVM administrators decided to take down the Black Lives Matter flag, just two months after George Floyd was killed by white police officer Derek Chauvin, sparking historic protests across the country and within Burlington itself.

There are simply no good reasons for taking the flag down, only bad ones.

Detractors might think we are making too big of a deal over a flag, but these flags stand as symbols of support and inclusion.

This decision is a message to marginalized students, saying in a decision between upholding policy or supporting marginalized identities, UVM administrators will always choose policy.