This past October, George Washington University (GWU) campus police forced a student, sophomore Ramie Abounaja, to remove the Palestinian flag he had flying outside his dormitory window, citing complaints from other students. Abounaja complied but then a week later received a letter from administrators warning that subsequent complaints could lead to disciplinary action. Campus officials have stated that no object, including flags, are allowed to be hung outside of on-campus residential halls for safety reasons.
However, noting that other flags have long freely hung from GWU housing, students have rallied around Abounaja claiming he was the victim of selective and discriminatory application of the housing code. While GW President, Steven Knapp, has since apologized to Abounaja, students say it is not enough. On Friday, supporters rallied in a park near campus by bringing their own flags to wave, citing it as a fundamental right of free expression. Tarek Kouddous, supporter of Abounaja and organizer of the rally says, "If we do not speak out against this kind of structural behavior, this mentality could carry onto other facets of student life."
But do other college students support free speech? Reason TV's Zach Weissmueller went to Occidental College to ask students what they think about free speech and microagressions: