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December 16, 2015

Kutztown University revokes ban on Confederate flags, swastikas in dorms

Schools legal counsel says policy unconstitutional

A public university in Southeastern Pennsylvania has rescinded its ban on Confederate flags and swastikas inside students' dorms shortly after implementing the policy, the school said Wednesday.

In an announcement, the university says it has decided against the restriction on specific content or symbols after a review of the policy's constitutionality conducted by legal counsel.

The original policy specifically barred Confederate flags and swastikas, according to The Washington Post.

The Post's legal blogger, Eugene Volokh, cited several past court cases to make the argument that the policy was pretty clearly unconstitutional.

It does not appear that one specific incident sparked the original ban. However, a WFMZ report in November quoted Maya Wilson, the president of the Kutztown Black Union.

While marching in solidarity with University of Missouri students who were protesting campus racism, she told the news station she'd seen the flag hung around campus:

"There were students who have hung confederate flags, not only on their dorm walls, but in the windows of their dorms for everyone to see, so the racial tension that Missouri experiences, we experience as well," said Wilson.

In Wednesday’s announcement, the university says it will educate students on the historical context of the previously banned symbols and "will continue to advocate for an environment wherein all those associated with our university can feel valued and safe."