November 16, 2022
Dear Members of the Trinity College Campus Community,
Trinity College recently has been in a maelstrom of controversy, both internally and externally, because of flags that were removed from outside of student residence-hall windows. While it is clear that we have a long-standing safety policy in the Student Handbook about the hanging of flags, as well as any other objects, outside of residential-hall windows, our policy about the hanging of flags or symbols in other college external spaces requires further examination.
There has been and will continue to be civil discourse regarding flags, the power of symbols, and freedom of expression on campus. However, I believe that we as a college can move more quickly toward a policy on one topic: decision-making regarding our official college flagpoles.
For this reason, I am sharing a draft policy regarding flags flying from official college flagpoles, including the pole on the Main Quad. This draft policy is open for comment from November 16, 2022, to January 17, 2023. All comments on this policy will be reviewed and considered by a multi-constituent advisory group that I have asked Faculty Secretary Susan Masino to design with me. This advisory group will make a recommendation to the College Policy Review Committee and to me in February 2023. A final policy, signed by the president, will be shared with the campus community early in the spring 2023 semester.
Until this policy has been finalized, no new requests for the raising of a flag on official college flagpoles will be considered; requests that have been supported in the past, however, will be considered.
The use of our official college flagpoles is a clear representation of our institutional voice, and I appreciate your input on this important policy. With your help, this policy will be better, more comprehensive, and, most importantly, represent the values of our community.
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience