The chief of a publicly funded university has backtracked quickly on his claim that the image of a Confederate flag in a three-year-old photograph was “offensive” and “possibly even threatening.”
That claim was made by University of Missouri-Columbia Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin in a statement that was posted online.
At the Reason.com blog, Robby Soave wrote about it and quoted from it.
He reported that a Twitter account was collecting images of fraternities around the country, and one of them showed several people holding the Confederate flag in front of Columbia’s Phi Kappa Theta house.
The Maneater blog reported that the photograph “was likely taken in the days surrounding a September 8, 2012, football game between the University of Georgia and MU. Three of the five men in the photo are wearing Bulldogs apparel and a University of Georgia flag flies alongside the Confederate Navy Jack.”
Loftin immediately jumped at the challenge, announcing an investigation to identify those in the picture.
“Especially considering recent events in South Carolina concerning the Confederate flag, this photo may be considered offensive and possibly even threatening to some of our community members,” his statement said.
“MU officials do not condone any activities that could threaten the safety of our community.”
However, by Thursday, his statement had vanished from the school website.
In its place was one that backtracked rapidly.
“Yesterday, I received several messages via social media from concerned students and friends of MU about a photo taken at a Greek fraternity house near campus where individuals were posing with a Confederate flag,” he wrote. “After reviewing the photo and the context in which it was taken, we determined that it was taken three years ago and no MU students were in the photo.
“Based on this information, we will not be taking any additional actions.”
The Reason commentary noted, “Saying a photograph of the Confederate flag is offensive is one thing. Labeling it a threat is quite another. No one’s safety is impugned by the old photo, and it’s ludicrous to think otherwise.”
Lawmakers in South Carolina recently voted to remove a Confederate flag that had been flying outside their statehouse in Columbia because of June 17 mass shooting in Charleston.
The suspect there, Dylann Roof, is accused of murdering nine members of a Bible study group at a church.
During the investigation, photographs of Roof with a Confederate flag surfaced, sparking outrage at the emblem some people feel represents an era of hate, while others feel it represents a southern heritage.
The nation reacted to extremes, with networks taking old “Dukes of Hazzard” reruns off the air because the car, the General Lee, had a Confederate flag painted on its top. Major retailers all over suspended sales of Confederate-themed products, too.
Old pic of Confederate flag a safety threat?
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 21:49:06 GMT