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The Blue & Gray Press | August 18, 2018

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Red Flag Burning Displays Intolerance

By JAMES MOORE

With a nonchalant flick of a lighter, someone at the University of Mary Washington ignited, not only symbolic sheets of paper, but the indignation and condemnation of UMW student and facultative bodies.

I am, of course, referring to the controversial incident when flags from The Red Flag Campaign, a movement that promotes increased awareness of dating violence, were burned about three weeks ago.

The Red Flag Campaign specifically advocates the bystander intervention strategy, which involves saying something if you identify dating violence.

The vandalism was considered so significant that the administration promptly sent out an email to condemn the action, and rightly so. The destruction of the flags shows a distinct lack of respect for freedom of speech, although almost everyone would agree that the vandals were most likely drunken mischief-makers who probably did not give much thought to the implications of their actions.

I don’t personally think many UMW students favor dating violence, but it is still important that the administration addressed the incident.

There is probably a good chance the police will not apprehend the perpetrators. It is likely that they themselves do not even recall committing the crime, due to their possible inebriation. However, even if there were no malicious intent on the part of the arsonist, the situation is still a poor reflection on UMW and is certainly not representative of the tolerance and respect that the school tirelessly promotes. Thankfully, intolerant actions such as these are generally rare on campus, and, hopefully, they will remain that way.