August 27, 2018 – All students and staff receive an email notification that the confederate flag was displayed earlier in the day within the ULS Gettysburg campus refectory.  The email references the Student handbook which states:

No symbols depicting imagery associated with hate groups or hate speech shall be permitted for display on campus. This prohibition includes the symbols of Nazi Germany, all forms of the Swastika, that which is referred to (incorrectly) as the “Confederate flag” or “stars and bars” (more accurately, the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia), and symbols used by the KKK and other supremacist organizations. The only exception to this policy applies to the use of such images in historical exhibits and displays that are placed in proper historical context and for educational purposes, which must be pre-approved by Seminary officials. 

The Seminary will not allow the display of any such symbols associates with the Confederate States of America (in any form) due to the fact that at this time, outside the Seminary Ridge Museum, no proper, unambiguous historical context can be created. 

The display of the confederate flag has brought a number of conversations to the student body. Specifically, did Biggerstaff / Destination Gettysburg receive approval by any employee of the seminary prior to the display on August 27? The handbook clearly states that display is prohibited outside of the Seminary Ridge Museum which is in keeping with other institutions of higher learning like the University of Mississippi which does not fly the Mississippi state flag due to its incorporation of the confederate emblem. Yet it has come to the attention of the students that congregational internship sites are currently displaying the confederate flag on their properties. While individual autonomous congregations may choose to display symbols of hate speech, we rightly question the validity of ULS placing students at these sites as a requirement of their degrees.

Dear ULS Community,

An outside tourism group, Destination Gettysburg, briefly displayed a confederate flag during a musical performance in the United Lutheran Seminary, Gettysburg Campus refectory Tuesday, Aug. 27. The group had contracted with Biggerstaff’s, a local Gettysburg company, who rents the refractory from ULS as part of a catering agreement.

Members of the ULS senior staff were informed of the display, which occurred during lunch in the refectory, and CFO Scott Ganley requested, directly to Destination Gettysburg, that the flag be taken down immediately. Biggerstaff’s, and Destination Gettysburg, were then both reminded that displays of the confederate flag are not permitted on either ULS campus.

You may find more information on ULS’s policy on the confederate flag in the student and employee handbooks.

Employee Handbook: Page 63

Student Handbook: Page 27

If you have any questions surrounding this incident please contact Barry Hill, ULS Chief Communications Officer.

Destination Gettysburg issued a formal written apology on Sept. 5, 2018. This announcement is part of the timeline of racism at United Lutheran Seminary