US Marine Vet Takes Action After Prof Forces Students to Step on American Flag for Art Show

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A disabled U.S. Marine veteran is taking action after a professor at his college cut an American flag in half and laid it on the ground for students to step on.

Jess Karcher, a student at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, saw the flag during the school’s 2018 Full-time Faculty Exhibition, an art show that runs through Feb. 21.

“So it appears this is ok to do at central campus Broward College. This is a American Flag Painted white and cut in half and used as a door mat,” Karcher wrote in a Friday Facebook post, while also attaching a photo of the flag.

“I am not sure what the message is they are trying to give, but there was a camera taking pictures of people unknowingly steeping (sic) on it,” he added.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=554249531634689&set=a.157878964605083.1073741827.100011489419131&type=3&theater

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Assistant Professor of Art Lisa Rockford was later identified as the teacher responsible for the art display, which was placed at the entrance to the exhibit.

According to Karcher, she set it up in such a way people would unknowingly step on the flag, while she waited with a camera and laughed. Another professor tried to warn the Marine veteran not to accidentally trample on it, but Rockford still reportedly tried to keep up the ruse.

“When one of the professors tried to stop me from stepping on it, the artist said ‘don’t say anything,’” Karcher told Campus Reform.

“I did not realize it was a flag until after I left the show and a professor told me what it was. So when I went back down to check it out, (and) it was a flag.”

Do you think this sort of display is defensible under the First Amendment?

Shocked and appalled by the art display, Karcher wrote a letter to school President David Armstrong, emphasizing that it was “extremely disrespectful,” as well as a “kick in the gut.”

“I am sorry to have to write this letter to you, but I am a student at Broward College Central Campus and I am a disable (sic) Marine Corps Veteran,” he wrote. “People are stepping on the flag as they enter most of whom don’t realize its an American flag.”

“I find this extremely disrespectful and kick in the gut as a veteran. I have lost many friends whose caskets were draped with that same flag.”

Despite the apparent disrespectful nature of the art display, school officials have thus far refused to do anything about it, instead citing Rockford’s freedom of speech.

“Broward College understands that the piece, currently on exhibit, is controversial,” the school said in a statement to Campus Reform.

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“The provocative nature of the piece is protected by the artist’s (c)onsitutional rights, specifically the First Amendment right to the Freedom of Speech,” the institution added.

“The piece represents the opinions of the individual artist and they are not indicative of the values at Broward College, the Rosemary Duffy Larson Gallery, or the other artists featured in the exhibition.”

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Joe Setyon is a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who has spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon is deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
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