Jamaican flag back among the rest in the student center


Mickale Thompson

Graphic showing the Jamaican national flag hanging on a pole.

Mickale Thompson, News Editor

The removal of the Jamaican flag from the Strebel Student Center was met with a string of concerns last semester from members of the campus community. 

In response to the frustration, the Office of International Education held a flag ceremony for the Jamaican flags and students from other countries to commemorate International student week. Roughly 50 people attended the event on Nov. 17, 2022. 

However, despite the proceedings, the flag was put back earlier this month after the ceremony. 

The institution uses a three-tiered policy to decide what flags are hung up. Students who are pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree that are citizens or have dual citizenship occupied the top spot followed by scholars who are at the university for one semester in which their flag is put up the term that they are at the institution and lastly for countries that Utica University has had study connections with. 

Junior Rijah Judah was vocal in her initial stands about the flag removal. She said she felt betrayed and confused as to why the flag was removed. Looking back at the series of events she is now relieved to see the Jamaican flag put back in Strebel. 

“After the commotion surrounding the first (article) concerning the Jamaican flag’s removal, I would assume that those in charge took the time and effort to analyze our concerns,” Judah said. I felt a sense of accomplishment, that our voices were heard and action was taken in support of the student’s needs.” 

Flags at Utica are continuously removed and or replaced but the situation has generated some questions from students as to what other flags have been taken down without due diligence by the school to make sure that current members of the community do or do not align with that flag.

Some students are calling for better awareness for administrative leaders in the community to see that this problem doesn’t happen again. 

“Knowing that the school has and previously removed flags without knowing if members of the community align with that flag sets a negative tone for the university’s relationship with those students,” Judah said. “To prevent this issue from occurring again those in charge need to take the time to evaluate the university’s community and ensure everyone’s needs are being met.” 

Amara Clemente-Johnson, president of the Black Student Union, said bringing back organizations like the Caribbean Connection Association on campus could help prevent situations like these from happening again. 

“When students of color’s voices aren’t considered in decisions like that it can have consequences such as feeling excluded and underrepresented on this campus,” Johnson said. “It’s much easier to have your voice heard when it’s a group expressing a concern rather than an individual.” 

The ability for students to voice their opinions on issues that affect the community and have them heard is critical. Students like Johnson believe it’s imperative.

“When the institutions listen to us it shows that they truly stand for diversity, equity, and inclusion,” she said. “It shows students that their voices matter.”