Trinity College removed American flags from students' window but allowed pride flags to remain for days later

The dean reportedly said some students were offended by the Gadsden and Thin Line flags

Trinity College in Connecticut forcibly removed two variations of the American flag from a dormitory window last week despite allowing other flags, like the pride flag, to remain for days after the incident. 

Roommates Finn McCole and Lucas Turco spoke to Fox News Digital about the incident, which was caught on video and first reported by Libs of TikTok. McCole said the flags were put up on Wednesday night and by the next day the college administration came to take down the flags. 

On Thursday, several university employees showed up outside their dorm room to take down the two flags, one of which was the American flag with the Gadsden "Don't Tread on Me" graphic superimposed on it and the other was a "Thin Line" flag - a black and white American flag with blue, green and red stripes, representing police, military and federal agents, and firefighters, respectively.

The two students asked one woman in the video why she was taking the flags down and repeatedly told her not to touch their property. "Excuse me, why are you touching our property?" Turco asked the woman. 

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Lucas Turco, student at Trinity College, stands in front of his flags that were taken down by school officials.

Lucas Turco, student at Trinity College, stands in front of his flags that were taken down by school officials. (Photo Credit: Finn McCole )

The woman responded by repeatedly telling the students they were asked to take down the flags. McCole and Turco asked why their flags were being targeted when other students had flags hanging from their window. 

"No prior request was made for us to remove the flags," McCole told Fox News Digital. "The two women from administration showed up at our dorm and said we have an official order from the dean to remove them immediately." 

"When we requested to speak to the dean, they responded by calling campus facilities to bring a ladder to our dorm. The woman then ripped the flags down, as seen on video," McCole said. 

Both McCole and Turco said that despite what the university official claimed in the video, they never received any notification to remove the flags. 

"This occurrence was our only explicit warning. There are no emails requesting us to take down the flags," McCole said.

Flinn McCole, student at Trinity College, converses with the school officials who moments later took down his flags.

Flinn McCole, student at Trinity College, converses with the school officials who moments later took down his flags. (Photo Credit: Lucas Turco)

While one university employee in the video said other students would be asked to take down their flags, McCole and Turco told Fox News Digital that the university waited a few days before sending a campus-wide email highlighting their policy of no objects being permitted outside students' windows. The email was sent out on Monday and told students that "regardless of the content, all items hanging or posted outside of your windows need to be removed and placed within your room immediately." 

Fox News Digital asked Trinity College why McCole and Turco's flags were forcibly removed on Thursday but the email to the rest of the student body wasn't sent until Monday. They didn't answer that specific question, but instead pointed to their university policy and said the incident showed that there needs to be "more consistent enforcement" of the rules. 

"The Trinity College Student Handbook states that objects are not allowed to be placed outside of residence hall windows for safety reasons. According to the Student Handbook: "No objects of any type (including liquid), may be thrown, dropped, pushed out of, placed outside of, or allowed to fall from any residential building window. Students found responsible for such actions will face residential censure," a spokesperson wrote in an email to Fox News Digital. "This event has highlighted the need for more consistent enforcement of handbook rules, and the college is working with the student body to create awareness and compliance. The dean of student life is addressing the issue with the entire student body to ensure compliance with the handbook and has reiterated the rule to the student body in a communication this week. The dean’s office will directly work with students for more consistent enforcement."

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A school official at Trinity College physically took down two students' American flags from outside their dorm while allowing other flags, such as the LGBT and trans flags, to remain up.  

A school official at Trinity College physically took down two students' American flags from outside their dorm while allowing other flags, such as the LGBT and trans flags, to remain up.   (Photo credit: Finn McCole)

Prior to the incident, other students had other flags hanging from their windows. The students sent Fox News Digital several pictures showing the pride flag and the transgender pride flag hanging outside of windows. 

McCole and Turco said they spoke to Dean of Student Life Dr. Jody Goodman and Assistant Dean and Coordinator of Student Standards John Selders on Friday. The students said during the phone call, the university apologized and acknowledged the situation was handled poorly. When the students asked the dean why their flags were targeted, the dean allegedly told them it was because the campus was receiving complaints that the flags were offensive.

"The deans said our flags were taken down because some students were offended by them. In my opinion anyone could be offended by anything and so it is completely subjective, thus deeming it not a valid reason to take our flags down," Turco said. "Yes, other flags such as trans flags and LGBTQ flags remained hanging and were never forcibly removed by the school. Which Finn and I do not have a problem with, we believe all people should be allowed to fly their flags."

"I cannot comment as to why the school targeted our flags, but I believe the video speaks for itself," he added.

A school official at Trinity College physically took down two students' American flags from outside their dorm while allowing other flags, such as the LGBT and trans flags, to remain up.  

A school official at Trinity College physically took down two students' American flags from outside their dorm while allowing other flags, such as the LGBT and trans flags, to remain up.   (Photo credit: Finn McCole)

When asked what the reaction on campus has been, McCole and Turco said they have received some messages of encouragement but have also received some hostile responses on social media, mostly from anonymous accounts. 

"On campus there are many students who have commended us for our bravery and support the message we are fighting for. The only real backlash we have gotten has come from the anonymous social media app Yik Yak," Turco said. "I suppose some students feel more confident speaking anonymously behind a screen."

A school official at Trinity College physically took down two students' American flags from outside their dorm while allowing other flags, such as the LGBT and trans flags, to remain up.  

A school official at Trinity College physically took down two students' American flags from outside their dorm while allowing other flags, such as the LGBT and trans flags, to remain up.   (Photo credit: Finn McCole)

"Does Finn McCole, a rich straight white man, really think he's oppressed???" one YikYak user wrote. "No [because] wtf why is he comparing his minor inconvenience with the suppression of the LGBT community [shaking my head]." 

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On Instagram, one of their fellow students called the flags "a disgusting display of white nationalist ideals".

"[Y]our flags aren't patriotism they are a symbol of fascism and systemic racism. symbols of hatred and violence. grow the [f*ck] up and try to learn something about the actual history of this country and the harm caused by those institutions," the student commented.