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Thread: Student Flag Project Draws Controversy in Maine

  1. #1
    Forum General Brian Baldwin's Avatar
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    Default Student Flag Project Draws Controversy in Maine

    A Maine college student has caused a firestorm after plastering the floor of a campus building with American flags to see if anyone would trample Old Glory.
    Susan Crane, a student at the University of Maine, Farmington, placed hundreds of flags on the floor of the school's student center Tuesday for an art class assignment. She set down the flags in a maze-like pattern to document whether students and staff would step on them.
    But instead of fostering dialogue, the experiment drew demonstrators, among them Vietnam War veteran Charles Bennett.
    "As far as I was concerned, that was desecration of the American flag," Bennett told He went down to the student center to protest the display after a friend told him what was going on, he said.
    Bennett was among a vocal group that protested the treatment of the Stars and Stripes.
    Crane did not return a request for an interview, but she told the Franklin County Daily Bulldog that she chose to use the flag so passers-by could reflect on their patriotism.
    "It sparked conversation and thought about how we feel about our flag, which I think is very important," Crane told the paper. "It was a very hard thing for me to do, to put the flag on the floor."
    She said she filmed students from the knees down to see if they would walk on the flags. More than 95 percent did not.
    "The strong emotions caught me by surprise. The veterans said, 'A lot of people died for that flag,'" Crane told the paper. "I had a hard time with it. Most others asked, 'What's this about?'"
    The university gave Crane permission to arrange the project, which she designed to fulfill a requirement for her class, the Cultural Relationship of Art and the Personal Politic.
    Bennett said he was irritated that the school permitted the project at all. He planned a protest for Thursday afternoon.
    "It's a patriotic feeling that I have," he said. "That's what I fought for for our freedoms so they could do things, but don't do it with the American flag."
    The school expected the project would cause a stir.
    "Certainly passions are always swirling around the flag," said Celeste Branham, vice president of student and community services at the university. "Particularly in a time when there's a lot of controversy about our involvement in Iraq, we expected that the passions would be heightened, and we were not at all surprised by the reaction."
    Branham said it's the role of a university to spark debate as part of the learning process.
    The project was supposed to stay up for 24 hours, but the flags were removed 10 hours into the experiment after a fire marshal asked Crane to move them to the side of the hallway, the Daily Bulldog said.
    Branham said the school wouldn't hesitate to allow the project to go on again.
    "We were supporting and would continue to support any student's First Amendment right to free expression under the law," she said.,2933,351624,00.html

    Not sure how I feel about this experiment but I'm glad that 95% didn't step on the flag.
    Brian Baldwin

    Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil.... For I am the meanest S.O.B. in the valley.

    "A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in... And how many want out." - Tony Blair on America

    It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

    It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

    It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

    It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.

    -Father Denis O'Brien of the United States Marine Corp.

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  2. #2
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Student Flag Project Draws Controversy in Maine

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Baldwin View Post
    Not sure how I feel about this experiment but I'm glad that 95% didn't step on the flag.
    I too am surprised at that.

    I do think that someone would have been completely justified in picking up those flags. Since I'm sure they couldn't be picked up out of respect without getting arrested, we'd have to use the safety excuse. You see, they presented a fire hazard since not only are they loose cloth openly lying around but also a safety hazard as someone walking on them could get caught up in the cloth and trip. It's for the children...

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