UNC chancellor personally raises American flag on campus after Gaza activists remove it, put up Palestinian flag

May 1, 2024 | Political News

UNC Chapel Hill's interim chancellor personally replaced an American flag that was pulled down on campus by Gaza Camp protestors on Tuesday, with a group of young men surrounding the American flag on campus at UNC Chapel Hill to protect it from getting torn down by Gaza Camp protesters. Gaza Camp protestors had torn the flag down to put up a Palestine flag.  

According to the Daily Tarheel, on Tuesday, a group of Gaza Camp protesters at UNC took down the American flag and put up a Palestine flag in its place. UNC Interim Chancellor Lee H. Roberts then returned it to its proper place. The Gaza Camp protesters tried to remove it once again, however, a group of young male college students stood on the quad to protect the flag.  

The group of young men could be seen holding up the flag, preventing it from touching the ground with another young man holding an Israeli flag who had water bottles thrown at him.  

A college student by the name of Guillermo Estrada posted about his experience on social media in a thread.  

“Today was a sad yet empowering day at Chapel Hill. When I walked to class, I saw the Palestinian flag raised on our quad flag pole, and was immediately upset at the act that these ‘protestors' had made,” he stated. “I cannot say I am fully educated on the Israel/Palestine conflict, but it upset me that my country's flag was disrespected in order to advocate for another.” 

He then recounted, “Shortly after, Chancellor Roberts came with police officers to hang the flag once again. They were met with profanity, middle fingers, thrown bottles, rocks, and water.” 

As Roberts returned to the quad to put up the flag, chants of “USA, USA, USA!” were made by students at the scene.  

“The flag represents all of us. Take that flag, and put up another flag, no matter what other flag it is. That's antithetical to who we are and what this university stands for [and] what we have done for 229 years,” Roberts said after hanging the American flag again.  

Estrada recounted online that, “When the flag was raised once again, the greek community began singing the National anthem. As the Chancellor left, the quad erupted into chaos as protestors began removing the flag once again, preparing to destroy it.” 

“My fraternity brother and others ran over to hold it up, in order for it not to touch the ground. People began throwing water bottles at us, rocks, sticks, calling us profane names. We stood for an hour defending the flag so many fight to protect,” he added.  

According to the Tarheel, the group of students holding up the flag later moved to the steps of the South building on campus.  

The flag was reinstated with barriers around it in the evening.