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Students question American flags in classrooms

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Small American flags have been added to some classrooms around campus over spring break. (Michael Berg | Collegian)

Some students at Colorado State University have noticed a new detail in their classrooms, a small American flag hanging in a black frame at the front of the room.

Julia Andrade, a junior majoring in biomedical sciences, said she has not noticed the American flags in any of her classrooms.


“All of my classes are in the science buildings, and I haven’t noticed any flags in there,” Andrade said. “If they just showed up recently, that’s kind of strange, especially with the political turmoil that has been going on. Why now?”

Although Andrade has not noticed the flags, she does not see an issue with them being in classrooms.

“It’s not a huge deal. There’s flags all over campus,” Andrade said. “There’s a huge flag pole in the middle of campus. I don’t see (anything) wrong with that. We’ve grown up with flags in our classrooms all our lives, like in elementary school.”

Mariana Dart, a sophomore transfer student studying biology, noticed the flags during her second semester in her calculus class at the Engineering building.

“At first … I thought (the professor) had put the American flag in, but then I noticed it on the wall in another classroom,” Dart said. “I certainly have (noticed the flags) since then, so I realize they’re up.”

Dart said she did not have a strong reaction to the flags initially, but her opinions have changed in the current political climate.

“I think sometimes American flags, especially recently, are kind of like political statements in a way,” Dart said. “I was sort of like, ‘Oh, okay.’ Taken aback might be a strong word, but I wondered who had put them there and why.”

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Small American flags have been added to some classrooms around campus over spring break. (Michael Berg | Collegian)

Tom Satterly, the associate vice president for Facilities Management, wrote in an email to the Collegian that the flags are required to be in classrooms due to the state statute, C.R.S 27-91-10, that was passed in 1996.

Satterly wrote, with the addition of new buildings, Facilities Management checked other buildings that needed replacements for missing flags.


“Occasionally, flags go missing from classrooms,” Satterly wrote. “With new classrooms coming soon that will need flags, Facilities Management checked all classrooms for flags (during the fall semester) to note any additional replacement flags that were needed.”

While the reason flags go missing is unknown, Satterly mentioned some flags were removed from classrooms due to recent remodeling and classroom maintenance, and then reinstalled.

According to Satterly, 83 flags were installed in general assignment classrooms after a recent audit by Facilities Management, and about 20 flags are on hold to be installed over the summer in new building classrooms.

“When that audit was completed, new flags and frames were purchased over winter break,” Satterly wrote. “CSU crews worked to install new flags in classrooms during the spring semester, with a primary emphasis on installing flags during spring break when rooms were more accessible without classes in session.”

None of the flags were donated but were purchased by Lynn Johnson, the Vice President for University Operations, for $8,675.40 from her VPUO general fund account. The cost includes installations and materials.

Dart is unsure if the University is making a political statement by hanging the flags, but believes a statement is implied.

“I think we go to a school that is kind of in an area where it’s geographically just a popular sentiment to be patriotic,” Dart said. “I don’t know if the purpose of putting the flags (up) was political, but I think that they do kind of make a political statement regardless if that was the intention.”

Dart believes the appearance of the flags is strange since many of her professors and classmates are not from the United States and may not express a similar patriotic sentiment.

“It’s kind of interesting to be in a room full of these people who are really contributing a lot to CSU, and do not identify as from the United States, but we have these American flags up in all the rooms,” Dart said. “I don’t know if it’s necessarily someone’s intention to subordinate groups of people, but I do think it kind of has that effect … because it’s kind of pushing this patriotic message at people who might not necessarily feel that way and who aren’t even from the United States in some cases.”

Collegian reporter Haley Candelario can be reached at or on Twitter @H_Candelario98.

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Comments (7)

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  • D

    DanSep 19, 2023 at 5:53 pm

    Yeah it’s a political statement, a statement that you are in america and you should be thankful of that, not taken back. This is so incredibly offensive and it of line, it’s the American flag, I can see if it was a Confederate flag… maybe, even then I’d say you are in an American school and it’s a part of American history whether you now perceive it as bad or relate it to bad in modern days. To put a Confederate flag I a classroom would be a statement and would be gounds to be skeptical of the message the person hanging the flag is trying to make because of it’s association. Just like blm flags or pride flags are bold political statements, that are hung in publoc schools and convey a political ideology that is not agreed upon by everyone, bht the america flag is representation of freedom, liberty, and the nation in which you are in. That shouldn’t bother you, and if it does bother u then why would you be here? No one asked you be , and under the flag it allows you to worship whatever religion, speak freely and freedom of expression. It doesn’t ask you to become anything or comfort to anything, it just wants you to remember the place where you are allowed these freedoms and opportunities without forgetting it wouldnt be possible under many other nations. But it doesn’t force you to be anything, or believe anything, it’s a flag for all so to think it’s a negative statement is bizzare

  • T

    twocargarageApr 2, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Did they put the flags through a washing machine and leave them in a bag for six months before hanging them up? “Check out our half-billion dollar stadium, but don’t mind that we don’t have enough money to iron our legally-required wall decorations.”

  • D

    Douglas MillerMar 29, 2017 at 8:57 am

    It is a sign of our times that the “Stars and Stripes” are no longer considered a unifying symbol of our love of nation and its freedoms. But the secular progressives that control most colleges and universities* that insist that it is a “trigger” for anxiety and fear, and have led fights to have it removed from campuses. If that is what you feel, then why are you here? Why would you put yourself through that anxiety?

    As a missionary, I have lived in both Brazil and Mozambique. As an American, I was never triggered by the Brazilian or Mozambican flags. Indeed, I have small flags representing those nations and many more that I have just visited. I still wear Brazilian soccer jerseys and T-shirts with the Mozambican flag on them even thouh I am back in the United States. The idea of the American flag being a matter of concern for foreign students exists only because they are taught to make it exist. The question that must be asked is – Why is it being taught?

    *I am not necessarily lumping CSU in with the universities that have reputations for doin this

  • R

    Robert AndersonMar 28, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    This is the United States of America. Seeing the flag in schools should be nothing new. If you don’t like it feel free to transfer.

  • S

    Steve KetchamMar 28, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    You are, like I did (B.A. CSU grad 2010), attending a public university in the United States of America. A large portion of the funding for any public college come from the federal government. So shut up and enjoy your years in Fort Collins!

  • M

    Matt CarverMar 28, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    This article is a little early for an April Fools joke…

  • M

    Matt CarverMar 28, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    This is the United States of America, the place you chose to get your education. If you are offended by or “find it strange” that there are American flags in classrooms, you are more than welcome to remove your triggered self from this country. That flag symbolizes a lot more than this “political statement” accusation.