Survey: W&L Community Divided Over Confederate Flags

Shortly after President Ruscio’s announcement early last week concerning the new flag policy for Lee Chapel, The Spectator sent out a survey in order to gauge the W&L community’s opinion on the matter.

The survey was sent to nearly 2,200 alumni and to all current undergraduates except for incoming freshmen. 433 alumni responded to the survey, along with 433 students.

The findings are presented below:

Do you agree with President Ruscio’s recent decision to remove the Confederate flags from Lee Chapel and instead display a Confederate flag in the museum downstairs?






Do you think public pressure caused President Ruscio to make this decision?







Do you think President Ruscio handled the Committee’s demands appropriately? 







Do you think W&L is heading in the right direction?






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5 replies »

  1. You absolutely made the right decision, and your comments were balanced and were
    right on point. The downside risk of W&L receiving national attention for the wrong reason by continuing to fly the flags surely outweighed the upside of continuing to fly them in a prominent place. At the same time, you used the word regretable in terms of part of our countriy’s history, and explained that some artifacts should continue to be displayed appripriately within a museum setting. Robert E. Lee’s outstanding contribution as president of Washington & Lee during which he helped heal the wounds of the war by helping to reunite students fron the North & South provides us with the foundation of the concept of “finishing well.” For example, he started the tradition for each student to acknowledge another person in some form or fashion when passing them by. I believe that R.E.L., upon reflection, would want W&L to continue as a welcoming environment for high and deep thinking individuals of all race, colors and creeds.


    Bob Lyford
    W.&L. 1977

  2. So, what other demands of the “committee” are you “high and deep thinking individuals” willing to submit your pride and honor to’ not to mention breaking state law.

  3. Let’s set the record straight–W&L did not “fly the flags”..”in a prominent place.” The banners were discreetly posted in the back corners of the chapel–only visible during a tour or on the front row. President Ruscio was handed a card and he played it skillfully. His recent decision is another sad step in the effort to change the university’s ethos and identity. Fortunately I have other educational institutions that respect my heritage, active student participation in daily life, and upholding the honor code. The school has lost my financial support.

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