University Lifts Ban on Offensive Symbolism in Student Dorms

On Tuesday, Kutztown University (KU), in Pennsylvania, backtracked on a recently proposed ban that would have barred “distasteful” and “demeaning” decorations in residence halls, specifically the Confederate flag and swastikas.

University lawyers advised school officials to refrain from implementing the ban in order to review its constitutionality.

“Kutztown University recently announced a proposed change to its housing decoration policy restricting the display of symbols that promote messages inconsistent with the values of the university,” KU University Relations announced in a press release. “As a result of this [legal] review, references to any specific content, such as symbols, will be removed from the policy.”

The statement goes on to say that the university will educate students and members of the community on the historical and modern contexts of the symbols the ban was originally intended to deter.

The initial ban was proposed last week to ensure that “obscene, distasteful displays which are demeaning to an individual’s or group’s race, ethnic [or] religious background, and/or gender or ability” would not be displayed in residence halls; it specifically noted images of Confederate flags and swastikas.

According to university spokesman Matt Santos, the proposed policy was related to concerns about students displaying the Confederate flag, but he was unaware of any such instances at KU.