Allendale Campus to enlarge U.S flag

Allison Ribick

On Grand Valley State University’s Allendale Campus, the American flag, flown near the Student Services building, is currently not up to the regulations of the United States Flag Code and other United States Government flag specifications.

A group of GVSU cadets in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps noticed the disproportionate nature of the flag and its pole while guarding the colors on Sept. 11 as a part of the 9/11: Never Forget project. They brought their concerns to Benjamin Soltis, a Student Senator at GVSU.

The American flag in question is 10 feet by 15 feet and was thought to have hung on a 60-foot flagpole. The flagpole was measured again by GVSU’s Facilities Services after Soltis contacted them. They found that the flagpole is actually 75 feet tall.

“If Grand Valley displays this flag, it should be the right size,” Soltis said.

Soltis wrote and submitted three resolutions regarding this issue to GVSU’s Student Senate. Two of them aimed at supporting Michigan and the United States Constitution at GVSU as a symbolic gesture, but they were suspended indefinitely.

The F-14-02 resolution passed on Dec. 4. It encouraged GVSU Facilities Services to put up a 12 foot by 18 foot flag, the appropriate size for a 75-foot flagpole.

“Whereas, the Federal Government of the United States recommends the flag is at approximately 1/4th the height of the pole it is flying on,” the resolution states.

According to the United States Flag Code and local Veterans Associations, the resolution also mentions that the old flag be disposed of in the proper way, as done by the American Legion and Boy Scouts.

“It should be disposed of in a ceremonial manner,” Soltis said. “It represents a lot more than just the fabric you hang up on a pole.”

Soltis said the ceremony involves cutting out each individual stripe and the square of stars, and then burning them individually.

The resolution and Soltis noted that GVSU Facilities Services already does a great job maintaining the university in their work across campus.

In addition to fitting with government regulations, Soltis said replacing the flag will help GVSU maintain aesthetics because the flag is beginning to show wear due to its age.

Since Student Senate cannot have binding resolutions with their authority, the resolution acts as a strong encouragement to Facilities Services to obtain the correct size United States flag to replace the one that is currently flying near the Student Services building on the Allendale Campus.

As for when the flag replacement will occur, Soltis said he hopes Facilities Services completes the switch once they have the resources to do so. Facilities has responded to the suggestion by ordering a flag of proper size to be put into place upon its arrival.

“My recommendation is to do it sooner rather than later,” Soltis said. “It’s something that some our service members may notice before they graduate, and that’s one of the things they’ll be defending.”