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Flag-Burning Did Not Take Place in LSU’s Free Speech Alley

05/11/2011 05:25 PM

BATON ROUGE – The LSU student who planned to burn an American flag in Free Speech Alley today changed his mind and did not do so.


After talking with LSU officials, the student notified the university shortly before the protest was scheduled to begin that he had decided against burning the flag.  


Meanwhile, upon hearing of his planned protest, a large group of LSU students also gathered at Free Speech Alley for a counter-protest to honor the flag, recite the pledge of allegiance and sing the national anthem.  Hundreds of students showed up to support the patriotic counter-protest.   


Free Speech Alley is a long-standing tradition at LSU, dating back to the 1960s.  Students use Free Speech Alley to exercise their right to free speech and free expression.


“With our commitment to free speech occasionally comes events that offend our standards and values,” LSU Chancellor Michael Martin said.  “Burning an American flag offends the vast majority of the LSU community.  Still, freedom of speech ensures that even objectionable expressions of opinion will exist. While we accept this reality, please join me in continuing to express our support for this great nation and the symbols that represent it.”


Martin said he was pleased that the student changed his mind and opted not to burn the flag after all.


“I’m happy that after talking to university officials and realizing how many people are against flag-burning, that he thought better of it,” Martin said.  “This is what a flagship university, and Free Speech Alley, is all about – good civil discourse, dialogue between all parties and discussions of diverse opinions.  This is how students learn from each other and grow as people.  I also thought today brought out a wonderful display of patriotism among the students conducting the counter-protest.”

LSU Media Relations

LSU Media Relations