View of Thorne Hall from the Johnson Student Center quad on the campus of Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Marc Campos/ Occidental College.
View of Thorne Hall from the Johnson Student Center quad on the campus of Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Marc Campos/ Occidental College.

Who trashed a 9/11 memorial at Occidental College?

Officials at the school still don’t know, but they’re trying to find out.

Administrators at Occidental College Saturday were continuing their investigation into the removal of nearly 3,000 small American flags that had been set up as a 9/11 memorial on the campus for the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

The Conservatives of Occidental student club got permission from the Office of Student Life to display nearly 3,000 flags, representing each victim of the terrorist attacks, in the campus quad area, according to school spokesman Jim Tranquada.

The flags were placed in the quad on Sept. 10, and at some point in the early hours of Sept. 11, many of the flags were pulled up and thrown in the trash.

According to a statement posted on the school’s website this week, Occidental “launched an investigation of this act as a violation of the college’s Code of Student Conduct.”

A campuswide email was sent out on the night of Sept. 11 by Erica O’Neal Howard, acting dean of students, asking anyone with information to contact the Student Conduct Office.

“That investigation is ongoing. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against those found responsible,” the statement said. “At the same time, the president, Student Affairs and the dean of the college are working with faculty to actively engage the campus in a thoughtful conversation about free speech, the First Amendment, and balancing strong opinions with mutual respect.”

A sign anonymously posted in the area after the flags were removed said: “R.I.P. the 2,996 Americans who died in 9/11. R.I.P. the 1,455,590 innocent Iraqis who died during the U.S. invasion for something they didn’t do.”

President Barack Obama attended Occidental from 1979 to 1981 before transferring to Columbia University in New York to finish his undergraduate studies.

–City News Service

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