Vandals at Occidental College destroyed a memorial in remembrance of the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks. The perpetrators are still at-large.
Occidental College is investigating reports of vandalism to a 9/11 memorial on its Eagle Rock campus. The memorial, consisting of 2,997 tiny American flags, was put in place in the quad area Saturday night by members of the student organization the Occidental College Republican Club, with each flag representing a victim of the Sept, 11, 2001, terror attacks.
But by Sunday morning, the club reported that the memorial had been trashed. On their Facebook page, the Occidental College Republican Club said that vandals had “crushed, snapped, and threw in the garbage every single flag. Not one was left on the ground.”
The group also claimed that posters and flyers had been posted on campus that “shamed the victims of 9/11.”
Honestly, it’s hard to tell if the damage was done by students or faculty- you never know on college campuses, these days. Students from the Republican Club had a confrontation with 4 of the vandals when they returned to the memorial site to put the flags back, but they weren’t identified.
My guess is the vandals are likely involved with an extremist progressive club such as the “Occidental Students United Against Gentrification.” The OSUAG is a group of students who reap the benefits of an American college education, while condemning western values at the same time. (I wonder if they are permitted to express their views anywhere on campus, or just in “free speech zones”…)
Occidental Students United Against Gentrification expressed anger over the use of the American flag in the memorial. “We have no tolerance for stolen land, colonizers, oppression, genocides, xenophobia, and/or erasure of culture/people (aka US nationalism),” the group said on Facebook.
Where is the college P.C. Police on this one? How come nobody is petitioning the college president’s office to ban the group from campus for violating their “safe space” with hateful rhetoric? Memorializing the thousands of lives lost on September 11, 2001 is beyond politics, yet the hypocrisy is astounding.
The battle lines for free speech on campus are drawn, and they are no longer simply liberal vs. conservative. If you promote patriotism, Christian values, or pro-life messages on college campuses, you will be censored. If you destroy American flags and condemn the values that make America exceptional, you will be applauded and protected by the campus administration.
The college did release a half-hearted memo to students and faculty about the incident:
“Freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment,” Erica O’Neal, acting dean of students, said in the statement. “The right and freedom to debate complex, contentious issues and disagree with each other is fundamental to what we do at Oxy. At the same time, we may not express ourselves in ways that prevent others from engaging in protected speech.”
O’Neal said the college does not know who committed the vandalism, but disciplinary actions will be taken. “Vandalism or other acts that substantially interfere with the rights of others to engage in protected speech violate the College’s Student Code of Conduct and the spirit of this institution,” she said. “Let us work together to find ways to express ourselves and build a community founded on respect.”
Talk is cheap. What is the college actually going to do to protect free speech on campus?