Occidental College students vandalize 9/11 memorial
The Occidental College Republican Club said it had planted 2,997 tiny flags — one for each of the victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks — on the quad of the Los Angeles liberal arts college of 2,100 students.
“Vandals crushed, snapped and threw in the garbage every single flag,” the college GOP club said on Facebook. “Not one was left in the ground. Not only did they destroy the memorial, they put posters and fliers up that shamed the victims of 9/11.
“This is beyond politics, this is about those lives that were so tragically taken.”
The temporary memorial had a sign saying, “9/11 Never Forget Project,” along with an “R.I.P.” message to those killed in the attack; it was flanked by small flags that also lined the sidewalk.
“Of course, we put them back in the ground,” the club said of the flags. “If you try to destroy it, we will rebuild it.”
Campus police are investigating and expect to report any student suspects to the campus disciplinary committee. The college is handling the vandalism as an internal matter.
“The right and freedom to debate complex, contentious issues and disagree with each other is fundamental to what we do at Oxy,” said Erica O’Neal Howard, acting dean of students, in a statement. “At the same time, we may not express ourselves in ways that prevent others from engaging in protected speech.”