Trinity College: Viewpoint Discriminatory Removal of Student’s Gadsden, Thin Lines Flags


Trinity College

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

On October 31, 2022, a video went viral showing a Trinity College employee removing a student’s Gadsden flag and thin blue, red, and green line American flag from hanging out of his dorm room window. The employee said the college had asked all students to remove flags from their windows but did not respond when the student asked why she forcibly removed his flags while other students’ flags remained up. On November 1, FIRE wrote Trinity, explaining that while it may impose reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on the display of flags and other expressive material on campus, the free speech promises it makes to students preclude it from selectively enforcing those policies based on the viewpoint expressed. The next day, Trinity emailed students that it did not aim to restrict their expressive rights and that no student may hang flags from their windows, regardless of viewpoint expressed.