As President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union address before Congress and the nation, a professor at Broward College (BC) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has chosen to desecrate the American flag in the name of “art.”
Lisa Rockford, an assistant art professor, converted Old Glory into a doormat by painting it white, cutting it in half, and putting it down on the floor.
The art display — if one can even call it that — is part of an exhibition featuring the work of full-time faculty. It’s currently on display at the Rosemary Duffy Larson Gallery on BC’s main campus and runs through February 21.
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A veteran from New York — a father of four who has not seen the exhibit and has no interest in ever doing so — told LifeZette he thinks the use of the flag in such a manner is an outrage.
“That professor should be fired,” he said.
“The art and opinions expressed in the art included in the exhibit are the opinions of the individual artists, and do not indicate an opinion or support from Broward College. Broward College supports the United States Constitution, the right to the Freedom of Speech, and the American Flag,” reads a gallery disclaimer. Campus Reform reported the story earlier.
As unsettling as the doormat display is, what’s especially appalling is that the professor allegedly has a camera set up to take pictures of exhibit guests as they unknowingly trample on the flag. That’s according to BC student Jess Karcher, who is also a disabled Marine Corps veteran and is mentioned in the Campus Reform article. He is outraged.
“I find this extremely disrespectful and a kick in the gut as a veteran. I have lost friends whose caskets were draped with the same flag,” wrote Karcher in a heartfelt letter to David Armstrong, president of the college.
Karcher also told Campus Reform, “When one of the professors tried to stop me from stepping on [the flag], the artist said, ‘Don’t say anything.’ I did not realize it was a flag until after I left the show and a professor told me what it was … I went back down to check it out, [and] it was a flag.”
Beyond the blatant desecration of the flag and the deception involved in the presentation, it’s unclear what the assistant professor thought she would gain from such an unpatriotic stunt. LifeZette reached out to Rockford for comment but did not hear back by publication time.
“Broward College supports the United States Constitution, the right to the freedom of speech, and the American flag.”
Here is what’s clear: The very flag Rockford is desecrating is what’s allowing her the freedom to do what she has done in the first place. And to be sure, flag protests have become cliché as a way to protest the Trump administration and anything else people don’t like. In other words, Rockford fails to make the grade for originality.
Meanwhile, with some 67,000 students spread across 12 campuses, Broward College is publicly funded.
A spokesperson for BC provided Campus Reform with the following statement: “Broward College understands that the piece, currently on exhibit, is controversial. The provocative nature of the piece is protected by the artist’s constitutional rights, specifically the First Amendment right to the freedom of speech. The piece represents the opinions of the individual artist, and they are not indicative of the values at Broward College, the Rosemary Duffy Larson Gallery, or the other artists featured in the exhibition.”
The statement added this: “Broward College supports the United States Constitution, the right to the freedom of speech, and the American flag. The College has taken measures to ensure attendees of the exhibit know the art and opinions expressed are controversial and do not represent the institution’s values.”
The New York veteran also said of the artist and what she did to the American flag, “It is just nuts.”
Elizabeth Economou, a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor, is based in Seattle. Follow her on Twitter.