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  • The Claremont Independent

Pomona to Only Fly US Flag at Graduation

According to posts and a petition circulated by student leaders of Pomona College’s International Students Mentor Program (ISMP)—the on-campus affinity group for international students—Pomona College will not fly the flags of foreign countries representing international students who graduate next month at its 2019 commencement; Pomona has flew flags of countries from which graduating international students originated from in the previous years.

According to a Facebook post circulated by one of the leaders of ISMP, “[Pomona College] just recently made a decision to prevent different national flags from flying at graduation. [P]lease fill out this petition to make sure we can see not JUST the U.S. flag but [also] flags of our respective nations at graduation.”

“[P]omona has international students from more than 40 countries & seeing all of us systematically erased at graduation would be very disappointing and a terrible decision,” she added.

The Facebook post.

According to a petition circulated by ISMP, “[t]his year, due to alleged costs associated and management problems, ONLY the United States flag will be present at graduation. Although we recognize that flags, and by extension national boundaries (and identities) are not stable, or unproblematic, flags at graduation have been important to many international students as a mark of our presence.” (emphasis original)

The petition.

“Being international does come with its share of emotional and academic hurdles, which includes overcoming the alienation that comes from not being from the US. Graduation is one of the only times international students see their countries recognized by the college, and this decision goes against Pomona’s many global initiatives,” the petition claims.

“Additionally, this erases immigrant communities and other students who don’t feel represented by the U.S. flag, culturally or otherwise,” the petition added.

Pomona College has not yet responded to the Independent’s enquiry to confirm ISMP’s claim before press time.

For every class, including the graduating one, approximately 11% of Pomona students are international students.

Last year, Pomona dropped the national anthem from its commencement after years of playing The Star Spangled Banner.

Pomona College is part of the Claremont Colleges Consortium, which also includes Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, Scripps, and Pitzer Colleges.


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