Since construction started at the University of Massachusetts Boston three years ago, there has been a lack of a prominent United States of America flag on the campus. In a nonpartisan effort, students in College Republicans, working alongside students in College Democrats as well as other student organizations, have teamed up with the Student Veterans Center to put up a brand new flagpole. They’ve launched a campaign to bring awareness to the importance of a U.S. flag—symbolically and lawfully.
President of College Republicans, Jeff Suddy, stated, “When I got to UMass Boston, I noticed that it [the US flag] wasn’t really on display anywhere. The Campus Center had a lot of construction--which is fine but it’s hard to find . . . where is the flag?” After talking to the Student Veterans Center and finding out they don’t know where it was, Suddy made a phone call to facilities asking just that. They informed him there were three flagpoles located in the library forecourt. He said, “I live right down the road so I walked over immediately after that phone call, I walked all over the library and there were no flagpoles.” They canvassed the campus and found that the only thing, “that could’ve been claimed as a flagpole, was the large flagpole at the top of University Drive North, which is owned by JFK Library.”
When digging even more Suddy found out, “There’s the softball field which is between Clark Athletic Center and the dormitories. So just to the left of that, beyond the fence, there’s a flagpole—and it is there, it’s probably about 15 feet tall, so it’s shorter than light poles, telephone poles, and there’s no flag on it. So, I sent Andrew [Weiss] an email and said, hey can we kinda set up a time to sit down and meet and discuss this flagpole situation.” Weiss is the director of the Office of Campus Master Planning team. He often works with the Office of Facilities Management and “collaborates with UMass Boston’s building partners.”
In an email interview, Sara Wulff, coordinator of the Student Veterans’ Center, said, “There are many groups involved in campaigning for a flag on campus. There are on campus entities that are getting involved in the matter, and there are off campus entities that we are trying to reach out to in order to get involved in our campaign as well.”
Wulff also stated where they’re going from this point on. “From here, I project this to take about a year until we see a formal set of flags on campus. The university's administration needs to get the funding for the flag poles and the flags, and the cost of installation squared away first. Then, they need to finalize where it is that they are going to put the flag on campus. Personally, I would like to see the flags right in the front of Campus Center on the new green space. It is one of the most highly photographed locations on campus that the university uses for advertisements, and its a location that you can see the school from the bridge, highway, and harbor.”
United States Flag Code, section six states, “The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.” When the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) voted on the matter, UMass Boston administration told the students to talk to the Facilities Department again.