It took the pressure of countless people on social media across America to convince the University of IllinoisChampaign-Urbana of what should have been self-evident to them in the first place: banning American flags during a 9/11 memorial is a profoundly unpatriotic gesture.
The school caved to a request by the University of Illinois College Republicans to plant American flags in the ground on campus this Friday — 2,977 in all, to commemorate all of the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
The College Republicans had announced the event on their Facebook page, but later had to issue a retraction, saying, “Developing Story: University of Illinois denies College Republicans permission to plant American Flagson the Quad for a 9/11 remembrance project. More details soon.”
The ban on using American flags for the remembrance lit up social media, and the university quickly caved. In an email sent to the group, school administrators used concerns over the campus’ irrigation system as their reason for denying the first request.
The letter explained that they had advised the group “it was against University Policy to stick anything in the ground due to the irrigation system and provided you with options as to what you could do as an alternative that involved using cups with sand and sticking the flags in them or foam with the same idea as well as cardboard or any other foundation or acceptable alternative that did not involve placing items in the ground.”
Disregarding the fact that administrators at the University of Illinois apparently don’t know what a run-on sentence is — you’d think they would have been able to find an English major to run it by — this still raises the question of how they would know that the College Republicans weren’t going to use said methods and cancelled it because of that.
Regardless, the university said in the email: “The event has been approved to continue on the basis on what we discussed and agreed upon and that was not to place anything in the ground.”