VICTORY: O say, can you see? Nicki Minaj flag in Harvard dorm window flies on. 

September 28, 2021

Harvard University students are refusing to acquiesce to a school employee’s request to remove a Nicki Minaj flag from their dorm window. 

Earlier this month, four Harvard students received an email from a Harvard employee asking them to take down a flag portraying Nicki Minaj from their common room window in Mather House, a campus residence hall, on the grounds that it might be found “offensive.”

Through the perilous fight, the display — depicting Minaj in a bikini, saluting in front of the broad stripes and bright stars of the American flag — continues gallantly streaming. Over the weekend, it was clearly visible to passersby, just inside the entrance of the courtyard.

While FIRE has not confirmed whether the particular window displaying the flag belongs to the same students involved in our last report, it appears to be the same flag displayed in a window in the same residential house. 

On Sept. 10, FIRE wrote a letter to Mather House administrators, asking for clarification on the email and that they rescind the request to the students to take the flag down. But as of the dawn’s early light today, Harvard has failed to respond to FIRE’s letter.

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave?

It does.

We hope Harvard will continue to let this flag fly and will take no issue with other student window displays in the future.

And FIRE considers it a victory for all Harvard students — Barbz and non-Barbz alike. The Nicki Minaj flag is just one example of expressive window displays, which have long been a traditional avenue for college students in the land of the free and the home of the brave to communicate matters of social, political, and personal importance. 

We hope Harvard will continue to let this flag fly and will take no issue with other student window displays in the future. 


FIRE defends the rights of students and faculty members — no matter their views — at public and private universities and colleges in the United States. If your rights are in jeopardy, get in touch with us: thefire.org/alarm.


Schools:  Harvard University

Cases:  Harvard University: Students requested to remove Nicki Minaj flag from suite window