According to an article in The Stanford Review, a fraternity at Stanford University had a distinctly “Don’t Tread On Me” moment in 2017 when an administrator encouraged it to take down the American flag so it could outlast probation: it defied the advice and replaced its flag with an even bigger one.
Antigone Xenopoulos, from the class of 2020, writes in the Review that according to Pablo Lozano, class of 2018, and corroborated by other students, the Sigma Chi fraternity, which no longer is on Stanford’s campus, was on probation in 2017, but wanted to meet with administration officials in order to expedite the lifting of probation and guarantee it could survive on campus.
Lozano said the fraternity wanted to help its cause by becoming “an ally of the university.” Xenopoulos writes, “An administrator assigned to serve as a liaison between Residential Education and Sigma Chi – let’s call him Mr. Z – was, in Lozano’s words, ‘supportive’ in trying to help Sigma Chi outlast probation and ‘transparent’ in explaining often obscure bureaucratic processes.”
But one evening in autumn 2017, according to Lozano, Mr. Z, eating dinner at the fraternity, suggested that the fraternity remove the three-by-five-foot American flag flying in front of the fraternity house, adding that jettisoning the flag would mitigate against stereotypes others had when they regarded the fraternity.
Xenopoulos writes, “Lozano understood Mr. Z to imply that the American flag, as a symbol, could be intimidating, aggressive or alienating. Mr. Z’s tone further signaled to Lozano that he found the mere sight of the American flag to be offensive.”
Lozano recalled that some members of the fraternity were upset by the suggestion. He noted that Stanford’s post office flies an American flag, and that Mr. Z didn’t object to a Dominican flag a student at the fraternity flew from his window or the Palestinian flag hung across the street at Columbae.
Lozano stated that at his suggestion, the fraternity responded to Mr. Z’s suggestion by replacing the three-by-five-foot American flag with a four-by-six-foot flag. The smaller flag was framed and displayed in the fraternity. He called the action a “silent but visible protest” against limning the American flag as a symbol that would damage a group’s reputation.
Xenopoulos notes that at Stanford’s 2018 graduation ceremony, the national anthem was not played.
The students at the fraternity who flew the bigger American flag resisted the siren call of anti-Americanism that seems to be growing among members of their generation. As The Daily Wire reported in late November:
A new poll conducted for the Foundation for Liberty and American Greatness (FLAG) found that a huge percentage of younger Americans are expressing their disdain for American ideals; almost half believe America isn’t great, and roughly 20% think the American flag is “a sign of intolerance and hatred.” 29% were okay with burning the American flag.
Half of those surveyed believe the United States is sexist (50%) and racist (49%); 46% of younger Americans do not agree that “America is the greatest country in the world”; 38% of younger Americans do not agree that “America has a history that we should be proud of”; 14% of millennials agree that “America was never a great country and it never will be”; 38% felt that “America is more racist than other countries.”