University Blocks 9-11 Memorial

Then reverses decision after pushback from students

Students belonging to Illinois College Republicans at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign had plans to place 2,977 American flags on the campus quad in order to commemorate September, 11 2001. Their request to do so, however, was originally denied by campus administrators, which cited possible problems with irrigation.

According to an email, first reported by The Fix, Assistant Director for Student Programs and Activities Dementro Powell told the organizers of the event that “it was against University policy to stick anything in the ground due to the irrigation system.”

Marko Sukovic, Secretary of the Illinois State College Republicans, said the same event was held in 2012 and no irrigation problems ensued.

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Students across the country take part in this event every year through the Young America’s Foundation; the initiative is called the Never Forget Project. YAF began the Never Forget Project in 2003 when they noticed that most college campuses were either completely ignoring the anniversary or holding a politically correct event instead.

The flags typically used are just 4” x 6” and stapled to thin dowel rods. It is unclear how the small flags would affect the sprinkler system.

“Truly a boneheaded decision,” Sukovic said of the ban. “It is a very sensitive issue and none of their answers are proving satisfactory.”

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“Truly a boneheaded decision,” Sukovic said of the ban. “It is a very sensitive issue and none of their answers are proving satisfactory.”

The College Republicans at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign decided to push back, and asked community members and fellow students to call the chancellor’s office and demand that the College Republicans be allowed to place the flags. Students involved say that the administration was taken aback with the volume of phone calls it received.

UofI flags
The graphic circulated by the College Republicans at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign pressuring the university to reverse its decision on the 9/11 remembrance. (credit: Lauren Cooley)

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Chapter president Christopher Piper said university officials contacted him following the outcry and said in a conversation that after “looking into insurance policies,” the university reached an agreement with the patriotic students and reversed its decision.

“We look forward to being able to honor the victims of 9/11,” said Piper. The students plan to move forward with the memorial and will set up the flags on campus Friday.

Stay tuned for a compelling new CampusZette series that will explore the culture, oddities and experiences of students on college campuses. 

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