TOPEKA – Governor Jeff Colyer has released the following statement condemning the defacement of an American flag flying on the campus of the University of Kansas.
“The disrespectful display of a desecrated American flag on the KU campus is absolutely unacceptable. Men and women have fought and bled for that flag and to use it in this manner is beyond disrespectful. I have communicated with KU Chancellor Doug Girod and Board of Regents President Blake Flanders to express my disappointment that a taxpayer funded institution would allow such a display of our sacred flag, and I demand that it be taken down immediately.”
The piece, called Untitled (Flag 2), is the last of a series of flag pieces that have flown on the Lawrence campus in the last several months as part of a national art project. Kansas is one of 11 institutions at 14 locations participating in “Pledges of Allegiance” project, which organizers say is designed to address social issues and inspire community among cultural institutions.
The Lawrence Journal-World reports the flag includes two black shapes that the artist, Josephine Meckseper, says represents a deeply polarized country. It also includes a black and white sock that Meckseper says takes on new meaning during the current controversy over immigration.
Steve Watkins, a Republican candidate for Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District, says it hurts him to see the altered flag at the university.
“To those who would trample, burn, or deface the flag, thank a soldier,” Watkins’ statement began. “It hurts me to see a defaced flag fly at the University of Kansas.”
Ian Ballinger, a communications major at KU, said in an interview with Campus Reform: “As a born and raised Kansan and somebody that loves being a part of this university and loves being a Jayhawk, I find this to be the exact opposite of what it means to call yourself a Jayhawk.”
“Unfortunately, you see universities across the country being overrun by far left activists and postmodernists,” Ballinger added. “This display is not representative of what the University of Kansas, the school I grew up loving and still love to this day, stands for.”
“As a U.S. Navy veteran and student at the University of Kansas currently seeking my Master’s degree, I find the ‘artwork’ that currently flies at Spooner Hall heinous and abhorrent,” Ian Appling told Campus Reform. “I do strongly believe in the United States’ Constitution and swore an oath to defend it, which includes the individual citizen’s right to use our flag in an expression of freedom of speech.”
“With that being said, this desecrated American flag is currently flying on a public University’s campus, where Kansas and Federal taxpayer money is sent to provide an unbiased center of learning and discourse,” Appling pointed out. “Any public space or property that shows bias of this proportion should have all taxpayer funds indefinitely suspended until proper action is completed, formal apologies sent out, all faculty involved should be thoroughly investigated, and examples made.”
The University of Kansas College Republicans denounced the school’s decision to fly the flag, stating in a tweet, “Words cannot even begin to describe how big of an embarrassment this is.”
Republican Kansas Rep. Robert Marshall chimed in, tweeting: “No, this isn’t “art”, this is an embarrassment. Shame on KU, a public university, for flying this desecrated American flag over their campus.”
Top Photo: The Commons at KU