Should the confederate flag be on public grounds? Students say no.

A Southern Pride Ride event supporting the Confederate flag on Marion’s government building led to gunshots. The University Press asked students their opinion on having Confederate flags on public buildings.


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Bibi Patel, Contributing Writer

About 2,000 vehicles adorned with confederate flags took part in a 17-mile Florida Southern Pride Ride in Ocala on July 12. Six gunshots rang out as the event came to an end.

The ride was organized to support Marion County’s decision to reinstate the confederate flag on the McPherson Governmental Complex. It was taken down after the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

According to the New York Times, Dylann Roof, the man responsible for the killing of nine people at the church, was seen in photos holding a Confederate flag in one hand and a gun in the other while he posed at known Confederate sites, resulting in the current debate over  whether the confederate flag and should be displayed on public buildings.

The University Press asked students to share their thoughts on the matter.

Senior mechanical engineering major Kate McPartland believes the flag should not be on display on public buildings in Florida.

“The confederate flag does not belong on any government-related grounds,” she said. “As far as our constitutional rights are concerned, Americans have the right to display any flag as they please, but for federal representatives to display a symbol of a time of division, racism, and violence in the nation’s history is sending out a terrible message that our country has not progressed beyond these things and it continues to divide the American people.”

Junior accounting major Ian Picard offered believes, “While the flag represents a ‘culture’ or ‘lifestyle,’ it is just as much a symbol of a pro-slavery nation and a symbol of states that seceded from the union. Now they’re back. If you want to show your state’s heritage, use your state flag.”

Anil Kurumlu, a sophomore biology major, actually called the Confederate flag a symbol of treason. “No, the flag should not be there [at McPherson Governmental Complex or any government building]. It represents treason against the Union and everything the Confederacy stood for, the main one being slavery. Nobody wants to be reminded of America’s greatest embarrassment. What was so special about those four years over one hundred years ago? Is there nothing else southerners can use to symbolize their southern heritage of over 200 years?”

A poll was conducted on University Press’s Facebook page where students were asked if they thought the flag should be displayed on public grounds in Florida.

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Bibi Patel is a contributing writer for the University Press. If you would like to contact her regarding this or other articles, email her at [email protected].