Pennsylvania’s Bryn Mawr, a liberal arts college, isn’t accustomed to seeing Southern racist relics like the Confederate flag hanging around campus. But earlier this month, two students apparently thought it would be cool to show their Southern heritage by handing the flag in their dormitory.
From The Phoenix:
According to Michelle Lee ?15, a student at Bryn Mawr and a resident of Radnor Hall, two girls posted a confederate flag in a shared dormitory space during the middle of the week of September 7th. When other students in the dormitory asked the girls to remove the flag, they refused, arguing the flag was a token of their Southern pride and was not offensive or racist. After the dorm president asked the girls for the flag to be taken down, they created with tape a line on their floor meant to represent the Mason-Dixon line. Following a second request from the hall’s dorm team for the flag to be removed, the girls placed it inside their room, where it was clearly visible from outside their window. Following the event, there was a rapid response from the student body.
The Mason-Dixon line is symbolic of the cultural boundary between the north and south.
An email was sent out by dean Judy Balthazar that said this:
?Late last week, two students tacked a Confederate flag on the wall outside their dorm rooms and taped a ?Mason Dixon line? onto the carpet, both of which they removed when confronted by fellow students in leadership positions. We take pride in the fact that two institutions that lie at the core of our community?self-governance and the honor code?empowered our students to confront this issue. Nonetheless, this situation has sparked emotional reactions among many community members.?
Her initial email was followed by one two days later that said this:
?I am particularly sorry for the hurt caused by my failure to acknowledge the drawn-out nature of the situation and for the implication that this was a problem that students should resolve entirely on their own. And I especially regret the continued distress caused by the prolonged visibility of the flag.?
The offending students show no remorse for their actions, even after a mediator became involved.
?The whole time they essentially did not apologize for it ? they just feigned ignorance,? Swarthmore student Michelle Lee said. ?They were like, wait, what does the Mason-Dixon line mean? We didn’t get that this would mean such a horrible thing to you people. Their apology was just not a real apology.?
?There is no way anyone can claim we live in a post-racial society, especially when campuses like Bryn Mawr, that pride themselves on being progressive, do not know how to properly handle the situation,? said Rina Patel, a first year at Bryn Mawr. ?It’s extremely disheartening for the people of color at Bryn Mawr that it took this long to get the administration to take it seriously. This demonstration is definitely not the end of this. We hope to continue the conversation and ensure that Bryn Mawr is a safe place for all.?
There is a video below of students protesting the incident at Bryn Mawr. Let us know your thoughts at the Liberal America Facebook page. Sign up for our free daily newsletter to receive more great stories like this one.
Tiffany Willis is the founder and editor-in-chief of Liberal America. An unapologetic member of the Christian Left, she has spent most of her career actively working with ?the least of these? and disadvantaged and oppressed populations. She’s passionate about their struggles. To stay on top of topics she discusses,?like her?Facebook page,?follow her on Twitter, or?connect with her via LinkedIn. She also has?a?grossly neglected personal blog?and a?literary quotes blog that is a labor of love. Find her somewhere and join the discussion.