Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Sign up for our twice-weekly newsletter!

Knapp releases statement on Palestinian flag incident

University President Steven Knapp released a statement on Thursday admitting a “flawed process” led to a student receiving a warning letter after he had already agreed to remove a Palestinian flag from his window, according to a release.

The statement comes several days after students began speaking out on social media that the student had to remove the flag because it was Palestinian. He had reportedly been hanging a Palestinian flag from the window of his residence hall, but a University Police Department officer requested that he remove it in October.

Students for Justice in Palestine at GWU started a petition on Wednesday calling for a GW apology.

In Knapp’s statement, he said he has instructed “relevant offices” not to send warning letters “solely because of a reported violation of a University policy.”

“I have also instructed them to ensure consistent enforcement of all university policies,” Knapp said.

Officials clarified guidelines for students hanging flags from their windows on Monday. Knapp said in Thursday’s statement the policy against hanging flags out of the windows of residence halls was adopted years ago for “safety reasons.”

Knapp wrote that a University Police Department officer had “no idea what kind of flag” it was when asking the student to remove it. The student immediately followed the officer’s orders and took the flag down. Knapp said the officer then filed a routine report, which “should have been the end of the matter.” Instead, the student received a warning letter saying he must remove the flag.

“The student was understandably alarmed and believed that the warning was based on the fact that the object he had hung from his window was a Palestinian flag,” Knapp said.

Knapp’s statement on Thursday said that he is “committed to our doing everything we can to ensure that students of all backgrounds, nationalities, and beliefs feel welcome,” and that he had personally apologized to the student.

“I have personally apologized to the student for this unfortunate incident and assured him that the University’s actions were in no way a response to his expression of his beliefs or opinions,” Knapp said.

More to Discover
Donate to The GW Hatchet