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The Confederate Flag on Campus - How to talk to students : Home

Understanding why students want to display the Confederate flag, the different meanings to students from all backgrounds and how staff and faculty can work with students who display or wear the flag.

The Confederate Flag

The Confederate flag has long been a controversial and divisive symbol with a complex history.  For many, it evokes heritage, geographic culture, and regional pride.  For some,  it represents racism, hatred, and violence; for numerous individuals, rebellion and nonconformity; still others, oppression, civil rights and inequality.  Undeniably,  it stands to offer a wide range of challenging issues for contemporary dialogue on college campuses everywhere.  These issues beg for understanding, knowledge, and social justice.


Discussion points

  • Symbols can mean different things to different people. Does the Confederate flag represent cultural heritage and pride or racism and hate?
  • In a democracy, which symbols (like flags) and people (monuments) from history should be honored or removed from public spaces like parks and government buildings?  How should this be determined?
  • What qualities do citizens need to live together in a diverse representative democracy?
  • In what ways can we respond to the violence and injustice of the past?
  • How can we educate our students to know and understand what it feels like from someone else's point of view?
  • What does the Confederate flag represent to you?
  • What do you think/feel when you see the Confederate flag?

Director, Madigan Library

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Tracey Amey
Madigan Library

Different meanings for different people


Special thanks to Dr. John F. Chappo, Faculty, History/History of Technology for his expert assistance with this guide.

Free Speech

Librarian, Information Literacy Initiatives

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Judy Zebrowski
Madigan Library
570-320-2400 x4115

Librarian for the School of Business, Arts & Sciences
Business & Hospitality Division