LIMA — At University of Northwestern Ohio in Lima, a memo went out recently that curtails the display of flags or political signage on campus. They’re prohibited from windows, balconies, patios, external doors or in common areas outside of dormitories.
The private university already bans the display of Confederate flags of any type or size as pointed out in the UNOH Dorm Rules and Regulations, listed in the student handbook.
“We’re not the first university. Many universities have those stipulations because it stems from the racism aspect of it,” said Stephanie Malloy, director of public relations and marketing at UNOH.
But you may still see flags flying on UNOH student vehicles.
“We did not ban the display of flags or political signage on any vehicles. Their vehicle is their own personal property, so we are not impeding on that at all,” she said.
The public display of political signage and flags has more to do with appearances than anything else.
“It’s just really to remove the political things from the public spaces and also to clean up the dorm areas so it looks professional,” she said.
But what happens inside the dorms, they won’t try to control.
“Students living on campus are permitted to show support for political parties, figures or countries of their origin in their dorm that are not outwardly visible, so you can put it on your residence hall walls, your interior doors, your kitchen or your bathroom,” Malloy added.
With so many international students attending UNOH, one might suspect that the university is trying to curtail nationalistic pride.
“We are not banning the display of international flags either. We even maintain our own international flag display that represents all of the countries that current students come from in our 13,000 Student Commons Building,” she said.
Malloy says the memo may have been released prematurely, without going through proper channels.
“I am aware of a memo that was sent out which may have created some of the confusion among students so we are currently revising it and hope to send that out [this week] to clear up any misunderstanding the students might have about it,” she said.
Ohio Northern University said it has no policy regarding political signs or flags in residence halls. Bluffton University could not be reached for comment.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409