As classes were winding down last week, a protest was revving up on the Davidson College campus. Students hung rainbow gay pride flags from windows of the “New Dorm” early in the week, in defiance of the college’s order that a student remove a flag from his window.
Max Feinstein prompted the display following his column in The Davidsonian student newspaper on Dec. 6, titled “Rally for our flags!” In the column, he recounted how the college’s residence life director had ordered him to remove his gay pride flag.
The reasons, according to Feinstein: safety, aesthetics and the worry that “a bystander may mistake a flag outside a window [as] representative of the values of all the inhabitants of the dorm, and not just the individual who hangs the flag.”
Feinstein said he was told it was a college policy, even though other kinds of flags hang outside windows elsewhere on campus.
Last week, fellow students showed support for Feinstein by protesting with their own flags, hung from windows in the New Dorm.
And now it’s attracting attention beyond Davidson On Monday, it earned a headline in the Huffington Post, “Show Of Solidarity For Gay Davidson College Student Prohibited From Flying Rainbow Pride Flag”.
In a statement Tuesday, the college’s vice president and dean of student life Tom Shandley defended the policy. And he announced plans to form a campus-wide committee in the spring semester to discuss the issue.
“Davidson College is a community that values diversity and inclusivity, and we celebrate the dignity and worth of every person. We encourage students to decorate the interior of their on-campus living space in a way that conveys their values and individuality. We also uphold a long-standing practice of not displaying banners, flags, or signs on the exterior of the residence halls.
“We recognize that there are different views among the student body on this long-standing practice. In order to pave the way for a good dialogue, we are asking a campus committee comprised of students, faculty, and staff to gather and discuss the considerations that should be made on this issue at the beginning of the spring semester. We look forward to hearing the outcome of the conversation.”