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Fraternity Penalized For Flying Too-Large U.S. Flag

May 31, 1988

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) _ Fraternity members have been ordered to perform community service at a veterans hospital for flying a huge U.S. flag in violation of a rule aimed at stopping another fraternity from displaying a Confederate banner.

″I don’t want to cause any problems,″ said Barry King, president of the Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter. ″We just want to fly the American flag.″

The Interfraternity Council Court at Auburn University ordered Tau Kappa Epsilon members to work at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tuskegee after they flew the 18-by-12 foot flag during a party.

The incident violated a 3-year-old school rule designed to block the Kappa Alpha fraternity from draping its house with a huge Confederate battle flag. Under the rule, fraternities are barred from flying flags larger than 5 feet by 7 feet.

School officials enacted the flag rule in 1985 amid protests by black students, who claimed that the Confederate banner hung on the front of the Kappa Alpha house symbolized racial oppression.

Tau Kappa Epsilon is challenging the flag rule, and a university committee on fraternities and sororities will likely consider revamping the guideline, Grant Davis, assistant dean of students, said Monday.

Ken Smith, chairman of the fraternity court, told The Auburn Plainsman, the university’s student newspaper, that ″none of us had a problem with them flying the flag″ at the April 28 party.

But, he said, some action had to be taken because the rule against oversized flags was violated.

″It was an awkward situation because you don’t want to fine a fraternity for flying the American flag,″ he said.

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