UPDATE: UNM student told to remove American flag from dorm window
Bobby Schofield, a UNM student, was told to remove the American flag from his window Friday.
The UNM Residence Hall Handbook stipulates that “room decorations are to be in the interior of your room and may not extend into public spaces.”
A student at the University of New Mexico was told to remove an American flag from his dorm room window over the weekend, ostensibly because the school doesn’t want other students to hang Confederate or Nazi flags.
Several students expressed outrage at the policy in interviews with ABC affiliate KOAT Friday after resident advisors told UNM student Bobby Schofield to remove an American flag from his dorm room window. Schofield said he was instructed that he is allowed to hang the flag in his room, but that school policy prohibits room decorations in “public spaces” such as windows and the hallway side of doors.
“It’s a First Amendment violation for them to have to take down any kind of flag.” Tweet This
“UNM didn’t want to start drawing a line between what you can hang in public spaces [and what you can’t], because you can see the flag from my window,” Schofield claims he was told by an RA. “He told me that if someone were to hang, say, the Confederate flag or a Third Reich flag, they didn’t want to have that showing, and so to make it easier on them, they said no flags.”
UNM student Ryan Taylor told KOAT that while he understands the school’s concerns, he doesn’t think a sweeping ban is the appropriate solution.
“There are probably some things that cross the line somewhere, but in general yeah what’s wrong with it,” he remarked. “It’s definitely a First Amendment violation for them to have to take down any kind of flag.”
The school’s Residence Hall Handbook stipulates that “room decorations are to be in the interior of your room and may not extend into public spaces, including the hallway side of your room door,” but does not provide any rationale for the policy. UNM’s Housing Guide further specifies that “banners or signs hung from your exterior windows are prohibited.”
“A window is considered ‘public space’,” UNM Director of Media Relations Dianne Anderson told Campus Reform matter-of-factly.
Anderson also provided a photograph of the window in question intended to show the isolated nature of the incident, which depicts an American flag hung on the inside of the glass, with a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag draped below it on the outside of the building. All of the surrounding windows are bare.
However, UNM student Michael Aguilar, who is also president of the school’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter, told Campus Reform that the recent enforcement effort is not consistent with his general experience.
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