Stetson Law School apologizes for approving Blue Lives Matter flag after denying Black Lives Matter flag

A flag display at Stetson Law School is causing controversy and concerns among some students.

Many of them saying they felt uncomfortable coming to campus because of it.

Stetson’s Black Law Students Association president, Deja Gordon, said her group wanted to memorialize Black people killed at the hands of law enforcement. So, during Black history month they planned a tiny flag display on in the front lawn of the library on campus.

Gordan said the school denied their request to use Black Lives Matter flags.

“The reason we were denied was regarding a policy and that policy stated that we couldn’t fly or place flags in the ground that were not nationally recognized,” Gordon said. “We later found out that, that policy was incorrect.”

They ended up using red flags and yard signs instead with statistics on them. “They specifically call out the fact that Black people are 2.9 times more likely to be killed by police than white people in the U.S. And it specifically talks about how we stand in solidarity with the Black lives lost to police brutality during Black History Month,” said Gordon.

Right after their time was up for their flag display, another group, the Stetson Republicans, planted their tiny flag display in that same spot. The group’s president said they wanted to honor the lives of law enforcement killed in the line of duty. They planted more than 70 tiny Blue Lives Matter flags that were approved by the school.

Gordon said the timing of the other group’s flag display felt like retaliation.

“We are not anti-police. However, we don’t believe that any statements should be made to counter a movement that is honoring Black lives,” she said.

“We would appreciate it if that response or that flag display was displayed in May, which is the month where police are honored, fallen police officers. And second, the flag that honors fallen officers is the American flag, not the Blue Lives Matter flag.”

After several student complaints, the Stetson Republicans replaced the Blue Lives Matter Flags with American Flags. The Stetson Republicans president declined to comment.

Even with their differences, Gordon said the larger issue is with the school’s handling of the situation.

“We want to be clear, we don’t have any issues with the Stetson Republican Group. The Black law students do not have an issue. It’s with a policy that is directly in adversity to what we were told previously,” Gordon said. “The policy is not clear one way or another and it disproportionately affected Black students on this campus.”

In an email to students, school administrators acknowledged what they called “conflicting guidance” and said this was “different guidance from the Office of Student Affairs was given to each organization.”

The email also said the school will be evaluating the flag policy for the future and suspending it for now.


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