The Residential Student Congress unanimously passed a resolution last Monday stating that Baker Flagpole, which flies the flag of the United States throughout the night, violates the U.S. Flag Code.
The resolution cites 4 U.S.C. 6(a), which states: “it is universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open” and that “the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.”
To resolve this violation, the resolution requests nighttime lighting at Baker Flagpole during dark hours.
Caleb Sturman ’19, Becker House representative of the RSC, brought the violation to the attention of the RSC and proposed the original resolution.
“I just read the Flag Code for fun several years back and [Baker Flagpole’s lack of lighting] had been bothering me for a while and eventually I just kind of decided that this might be a thing that RSC could address,” Sturman said. “Last semester I was appointed to be Becker House representative to the RSC, so once I had that ability I wanted to bring it to the University’s attention.”
Prawallika Gangidi ’17, campus development coordinator of the RSC, added that this resolution was especially important because the Baker Flagpole is a part of the War Memorial at Lyon and McFaddin Halls, honoring Cornellians who died in World War I.
“Mostly [the RSC] focuses on improving residential life in terms of advocacy and programming for residents, so [the flag code violation] isn’t necessarily something that’s directly within our purview,” Gangidi said. “But we thought it was an important resolution to pass out of respect for our flag and for our veterans.”
Holly Grace ’18, vice president of the RSC, added the demand to light up McGraw Tower with green on Veterans Day brought the resolution to be considered.
“This also came to our attention because of the lighting of the clock tower this year that the veterans pushed for,” Grace said. “It went along nicely with helping veterans get more respect on campus and was something that we recognized we could do to have them be recognized.”
The resolution requests that the violation and resolution be brought to a number of bodies, including all branches of ROTC on campus, the Director of Facilities, the Director of West Campus, the Quill and Dagger Society, and the Society of Scabbard and Blade, according to the RSC.
Meanwhile, the RSC Financial Committee will be looking into the costs of lighting and will present an estimate to the appropriate sources of funding, according to Gangidi.
“Once the resolution is passed along to the appropriate bodies, for the most part the issue is now out of RSC’s control,” Gangidi said. “I anticipate that any further involvement would likely, if at all, be geared towards potentially working with the University to secure funding to implement the necessary changes.”