In an interview with Fox News, former Air Force veteran and playboy model Michelle Manhart explained why she felt compelled to confiscate an American flag from protesters at Valdosta State University in Georgia who were desecrating it.
“The flag is an iconic symbol for freedom,” said Manhart. “If you are going to fight for a cause and use the First Amendment – how are you going to stomp and trample the icon that gives you that right?”However, one member of the unnamed group told the Valdosta Daily that they needed to stomp the flag because it was “a symbol of our protest.”
“When a slave understands his situation and understands he doesn’t want to be in slavery, he does not respect or revere anything his slave master has put in front of him,” a VSU student told the newspaper.
Manhart was briefly detained by police and ultimately let off with a warning.
Meanwhile, the publicly funded university addressed the protest, reluctantly siding with the demonstrators.
“We respect the rights of people to peacefully assemble and voice their opinions,” the University statement read. “Our primary concern is the safety of our students, faculty and staff and our ability to carry out our responsibilities to all our students on campus. We are monitoring the situation.”
Then the president released a statement on Saturday.
“The American flag represents everything that is best about our country,” Dr. William McKinney said. “As the Supreme Court has held, one of those things is the right to free speech, which includes the right to disrespect even the symbol of our country. While I firmly disagree with the actions of the protesters, I understand their right to protest.”