Confederate flag hangs from window near Oregon State campus
As students return to class at Oregon State University, a confederate flag hangs in a window directly across the street from the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center prompting strong responses from city and university officials.
A spokesperson for the university says school officials noticed the flag Tuesday night. It hangs from the inside of a tenant's window in an off-campus building known as the Pillar, on SW Monroe Ave. Chi Alpha Ministries runs the building, but the top two floors are part of a men's co-op that is unaffiliated with the university or Chi Alpha.
"Oregon State University is very disappointed by this flag's presence," said Steve Clark, Vice President of University Relations.
"The confederate flag has come to symbolize a history of racism and slavery in the United States. It can be a way to intimidate those who are affected by the presence of the confederate flag," said Charlene Alexander, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at OSU.
Alexander added that it is unfortunate that the flag hangs across the street from the Black Cultural Center. No one working at the center would comment on the flag's presence.
Chi Alpha Ministries told KATU News in a statement that they have asked the tenant to remove the flag, but he refused to take it down. They are now exploring their legal options to "have this remedied as soon as possible." The statement ended with, "Chi Alpha wholly rejects any racist implications of this action and welcomes students from all backgrounds."
A sign reading "Chi Alpha and God hate racism" now stands in front of the building.
Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber posted the following on Facebook Thursday morning: "This is clearly a taunt. To me it is wrong, against my values and those of Corvallis. It is legal but that does not make it something that belongs in Corvallis."
KATU News spoke to several students about the flag's presence across the street from the Black Cultural Center.
I think whoever put that up there has very little empathy," said Michael Kalk. "They probably have difficult stepping outside themselves and seeing what that could mean from people with other perspectives."
Kalk added, "I think they have the right to have it up there, but I don't think they should have it up there."
"It's just an unnecessary gesture. I can't pretend to know whether it was intentionally displayed to be right across there or not but it just seems like, with mountain tensions in America as whole, why continue that? Why add to the problem, we should be trying to de-escalate things," said Carl Sievert, a student.
Erin Bush, also a student, felt different. She says the tenant could be expressing his beliefs and he absolutely has the right to keep the flag up.
"If there are not black slurs yelled from the window, I think people have the right to represent themselves and represent what they believe in however they choose to do so," Bush said. "That student chooses to represent their believes in their own home through their window, I think that is 100 percent okay."
KATU could not reach the tenant for comment.