HOLLYWOOD, Md. (Nov. 17, 2016)—Students attending St. Mary's College of Maryland desecrated a United States flag flying from the post office there at St. Mary's City, college president Tuajuanda Jordan wrote in an e-mail to the campus community.
The incident occurred Nov. 9 or Nov. 10, according to reports from the college, and the leadership there has said they will cooperate with federal authorities in the investigation.
"The U.S. flag that flies from the flagpole in front of the St. Mary's City post office was found shredded and flying at half-staff on the flagpole on Thursday morning by a resident of the county," Jordan wrote. "We have determined that this act was done by some college students."
Jordan said desecration of the flag was a protected form of free speech under the U.S. Constitution but the recent act at the post office was a case of vandalism.
"Vandalism is a form of protest that we cannot tolerate in our community," Jordan wrote. "Acts of destruction, against people or things, do not move communities forward."
Mike Bruckler, assistant vice president at the college for marketing and communications, said that the college's safety office was cooperating with the U.S. postal inspectors in their investigation.
Bruckler said that the college had performed its own investigation and had found out who the students were that had been involved.
"Their names have been forwarded to the student conduct office," Bruckler said.
Penny Mullins, an inspector with the U.S. Postal Service, said it was unclear yet whether the student names had been given to federal authorities but postal inspectors were working the case.
"We're following up on it," Mullins told The County Times.
A "Peace and Unity" march took place at the college the night of Nov. 10, Bruckler said, and another source at the college said that students of all political persuasions took part in it to show that despite a divisive presidential election "we are still a community."
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