San Diego State University may expel two students for flying a U.S. flag, along with military flags, from their dormitory balcony.
Cameron Box, a sophomore who is also an active duty Coast Guard member, and Connor Fenwick, a junior who hopes to become an officer in the U.S. Army, claim that they are exercising their First Amendment rights, but the school claims that the array of flags has become a safety issue for the building.
According to local ABC News affiliate 10 News, the students are accused of violating a San Diego State University housing agreement that stipulates: “No items, except patio furniture designed for outdoor use, may be placed on balconies and patios. Hangings, partitions, or curtains of any type may not be used on balconies or patios.”
Surprisingly, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which often takes up free speech cases, is not going to defend the students: “”I think the university is within its rights to prohibit hanging anything from a balcony,” the local ACLU legal director told 10 News, adding that the students “probably need to find another way” to express their patriotism. The students have said that they will fight the university as far as possible, but will ultimately take down the flags rather than face expulsion and the loss of their academic scholarships and future military careers.