U of Kansas leaders: altered flag to remain museum display

LAWRENCE, Kan.(AP) Update: Saturday, July 14, 2018

University of Kansas leaders say they will keep an altered U.S. flag on display in a school museum, despite demands from the governor and his top election rival to remove it from campus.

The Capital-Journal reports that Chancellor Doug Girod and interim provost Carl Lejuez informed university faculty and staff Friday that the flag will remain on exhibit in Spencer Museum.

The altered flag is part of a national art project. It includes two black shapes that the artist, Josephine Meckseper, says represents a deeply polarized country.

It had been flying outside a building on the university's main campus in Lawrence, but Girod had it moved Wednesday afternoon, saying its display had generated public safety concerns.

Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer and GOP primary rival Kris Kobach called Thursday for the university to also remove from the museum the altered flag, which they called a desecration.


Update Wednesday, July 11:

The University of Kansas has removed an altered U.S. flag that was part of a public art display on the Lawrence campus.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports the flag was removed from in front of the university's Spooner Hall shortly before 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The removal came less than an hour after Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer said Chancellor Douglas Girod had promised to take down the art display.

Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach demanded the flag display be removed, saying it was disrespectful to the country's military. Kobach is running against Coyler in the Republican governor's race. The primary is next month.

Kansas congressional candidate Steve Watkins first raised the issue Wednesday but had not demanded that the flag be removed. The display, called "Untitled (Flag 2), went up on July 5.

Colyer took an apparent job at the display on Twitter, sharing photos of American flags outside the state capitol in Topeka.

"Meanwhile at the State Capitol we fly the flag proudly," a tweet from the governor's account said. The tweet included the hashtag, #ksleg.


Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer has released a statement condemning the flying of a defaced American flag at the campus of the University of Kansas.

“The disrespectful display of a desecrated American flag on the KU campus is absolutely unacceptable. Men and women have fought and bled for that flag and to use it in this manner is beyond disrespectful," Governor Colyer said. "I have communicated with KU Chancellor Doug Girod and Board of Regents President Blake Flanders to express my disappointment that a taxpayer funded institution would allow such a display of our sacred flag, and I demand that it be taken down immediately.”

A Kansas congressional candidate says a public art project involving an altered U.S. flag at the University of Kansas is disrespectful to the military.

The piece, called Untitled (Flag 2), is the last of a series of flag pieces that have flown on the Lawrence campus in the last several months as part of a national art project. Kansas is one of 11 institutions at 14 locations participating in "Pledges of Allegiance" project, which organizers say is designed to address social issues and inspire community among cultural institutions.

Steve Watkins, a combat veteran and Republican candidate for Kansas' 2nd Congressional District, says it hurts him to see the altered flag at the university.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports the flag includes two black shapes that the artist, Josephine Meckseper, says represents a deeply polarized country.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

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