Recently, another incident has arisen in regard to flying the Confederate flag. This time, the flags in question are on display at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. The institution was originally known as Washington College, but General Robert E. Lee served as president after the Civil War until the time of his death in 1870. That’s when his name was added to the name of the college.
Now twelve law students at the university, who refer to themselves as “The Committee,” have demanded that the president, Ken Ruscio, remove the flags from campus. The only flags that are on display are inside General Lee’s chapel. The students have issued four demands, and promise to engage in civil disobedience if their terms are not met by September.
1. We demand that the University fully recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on the undergraduate campus.
2. We demand that the University stop allowing neo-confederates to march on campus with confederate flags on Lee-Jackson Day.
3. We demand that the University immediately remove all confederate flags from its property and premises, including those flags located within Lee Chapel.
4. We demand that the University issue an official apology for the University’s participation in chattel slavery, including a denunciation of General Robert E. Lee’s participation in slavery.
The law students also added this statement:
We expect that from these immediate actions, a long-term, continued commitment to improving the state of racial justice and honor on campus will develop. We believe the student body is eager to learn about, work toward and directly confront both the past and current bigotry and racial discrimination found on our campus. We are confident that when these demands are met, our University will be one step closer to achieving a community that welcomes students of color and frees them from the psychological shackles that currently exist. We are eager to turn our campus into a shining example—a beacon of hope—for not only the town of Lexington, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the South, but for the entire nation.
I find this entire issue to be preposterous. “The Committee” claims that the University is racist, but I think they are actually the ones who are racists. Lee was a man of his time who honored his state, and to alleviate the flags from the chapel where he is buried is disrespectful, to say the least. Instead of being offended, these students should worry about their grades. Changing history by eradicating things they deem offensive because they fail to understand, and have failed to do their homework, is alarming. Is this what our country has to look forward to? Lee Chapel is on the Register of Historic Places. Should we disregard everything that only a few find incommodious? If it starts with Confederate flags placed on the graves of its commanders, where will it end? And by denying reenactors to honor their hero by marching on campus is refusing their constitutional rights. Any law student should know that.
The debate continues. To read others’ opinions on the matter, please visit: