Along with the current national controversy of NFL players “taking a knee” during the national anthem, some disputable banners were recently displayed in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. What was written on them appeared to reference the NFL protests.
“Only girls take knees at our house,” one banner read, while the other said, “The flag isn’t the only thing that makes us stand at attention.” The signs were seen hanging from a student house near the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire campus on Lake Street.
On Saturday afternoon, police drove with Joseph Abhold, the Dean of Students at UW–Eau Claire, with the intent of telling the residents to remove the banners, but the banners had already been taken down. This was likely due to the controversy and negative reception the banners had received on social media.
“What I was able to do as the Dean of Students […] was to express to [the students who hung the banners] that I feel like it’s inconsistent with the values of the university, and it’s inconsistent with the values of the community, and to let them know that I personally very strongly disapproved of what they were doing,” Joseph Abhold said in an interview to WQOW News 18. Abhold stated that these students are, however, allowed to hang these signs due to them exercising their right to freedom of speech, as permitted by the first amendment to the United States Constitution.
While no formal actions were taken to punish the residents, Abhold believes that the negative response on social media did just that.