The University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign this week denied the Illini College Republicans permission to place 2,977 small American flags on the campus quad in memory of each person who died that terrible day.
The memorial, also placed in 2012 on the date, consists of small flags displayed around the quad, and was very well received by students. This year, though, the University denied the request for the memorial, citing "irrigation" concerns. Truth Revolt has obtained the email the Office of Student Programs and Activities sent:
I wanted to follow up with you regarding your event on 9/11 to see if you had any questions. When we met we discussed that no flags were going to go into the ground as that is against policy, but we also discussed alternatives into what you could do in which you appeared to be in favor of. I wanted to touch base to make sure that there were no other questions or concerns you had regarding the event.
This is what is outlined here:
Please let me know what questions you have or if there are any concerns from this point on as again your event is getting nearer and I want to make sure that you have a very successful and fun experience.
- Explained to you that it was against University Policy to stick anything in the ground due to the irrigation system and provided you with options as to what you could do as an alternative that involved using cups with sand and sticking the flags in them or foam with the same idea as well as cardboard or any other foundation or acceptable alternative that did not involve placing items in the ground.
- I suggested that you expand the flags throughout the quad instead of just in an isolated area, which you seemed very happy with that idea at the time of our meeting.
- The event has been approved to continue on the basis on what we discussed and agreed upon and that was not to place anything in the ground.
The "agreement" that was reached to spare the irrigation is that the Republicans will be allowed to "plant the flags on the edges all around the campus quad." Pretty much what was originally requested. Why the change? Pressure.
A member of the group tells Truth Revolt that they were able to mobilize students to make "hundreds of calls" to the Chancellor's office. A Facebook post suggesting people call in reached 10,000 engagements. The University was "overwhelmed" by the response.
The College Republicans found this to be a more than unsatisfactory answer, considering that the memorial was previously placed with no problem and causing no damage. Naturally, they objected. After some discussion and a Facebook campaign covering the issue, an agreement been reached, as outlined on the group's Facebook page late Wednesday afternoon:
The new agreement will allow the Republicans to "plant the flags on the edges all around the campus quad," which is pretty much exactly what the plan was already. So why the change of heart? Pressure.
A member of the Illini Republicans tells Truth Revolt that they were able to mobilize students to make "hundreds of calls to the Chancellor's office," and that the Facebook post organizing phone calls reached over 10,000 people. According to the students, the university was "taken aback" by the enormous response.
The flags will be placed by dozens of volunteers, most of whom were committed to placing the flags with or without the university's blessing.
On September 11th, there will be 2,997 flags on display at the University of Illinois, remembering each person who died that tragic day. But there almost weren't. Because of "irrigation."