WATCH: College Students Have Political Flags Forcefully Removed From Their Dorms

trinity college
Two Trinity College representatives and a student stand outside a dormitory, with two politically controversial flags outside the window. (American Pigeon)

October 31, 2022

Two college students are making waves across social media as a result of them having a series of political flags, which they had hung on the outside of their dormitories, taken down by the university administration Thursday, Oct. 27.

Finn McCole and Lucas Turco, two seniors and both roommates at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, are protesting the university administration after they had multiple flags forcefully taken down, supposedly due to their political nature.

The flags in question were a “Don’t Tread on Me” American flag normally associated with the American colonial/revolutionary period, and a red line, green line, and blue line American flag, associated with support for police and first responders. 

The flags, according to both students, were taken down even though other flags, such as the rainbow “Pride” flag and the pink and blue transgender flag, were allegedly allowed to hang unbothered from campus dormitories both before and after the incident.

“You’re telling me someone’s going to take down a gay pride flag at a liberal school? No chance,” McCole told American Pigeon

They believe that the university’s decision to remove their flags was politically motivated, and have since called it a free speech issue, saying that everyone, especially in college, should be able to freely express themselves in a peaceful manner.

“Go to China, go to North Korea, and see if you can have dissenting opinions. But…this is what America’s about. You’re allowed to express yourself freely,” McCole said.

The flags were taken down after the two students allegedly saw their peers taking pictures and reporting them.

“We saw people wearing masks, taking pictures of [the flags], reporting us,” Turco said.

The entirety of the incident was filmed and sent to American Pigeon.

Snippets of the video have also surfaced on TikTok, garnering over 1 million views and 100,000 likes.

After the weekend following the incident, Trinity College sent out a campus-wide email on Monday informing students that “Regardless of the content, all items hanging or posted outside of your windows need to be removed and placed within your room immediately.”

The email cites the Trinity College student handbook’s “Window and Screen” policy, supposedly making the flags a matter of residential safety.

However, the student handbook also cites a joint statement from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) on the “Rights and Freedoms of Students” in the “Poster and Banner Regulations” section:

“Students and student organizations should be free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. They should always be free to support causes by orderly means that do not disrupt the regular and essential operations of the institution. At the same time, it should be made clear to the academic and larger community that in their public expressions or demonstrations students or student organizations speak only for themselves.”

The policy further states in the following paragraph:

“Recognizing the importance of free exchange of ideas to the academic mission of the College, and consistent with the AAUP’s statement, these regulations are not an attempt to restrict content or ideas, but rather a mechanism by which we may facilitate their orderly exchange and promote dialogue and provision of equal access. Members of the campus community should feel free to contact the sponsors of posters or banners directly if their content is viewed as inappropriate or offensive.”

Other flags, such as the “Pride” and transgender flag, have reportedly not been taken down from campus dormitories, according to images submitted to American Pigeon.

American Pigeon reached out to Trinity College for a comment on the situation on Friday, but hasn’t received a reply as of Monday. 

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