Baylor University labels conservative group's 9/11 flag display 'sensitive content'

The campus of Baylor University, a private Christian school in Waco, Texas. | (Photo: Baylor University/Matthew Minard)

Baylor University in Texas received backlash from conservatives last Friday after it placed a sign in front of an annual on-campus 9/11 flag display, warning students of “sensitive content” in accordance with a “standard process” enacted last year.

The student group Young Conservatives of Texas at Baylor cried foul last Friday, telling supporters on Twitter that its on-campus display of the over 2,000 United States flags “to memorialize those who tragically perished in the 9/11 attacks is now considered ‘Sensitive Content.’”

In a tweet, Young Conservatives of Texas shared a video showing small American flags planted in the grass of a common area on campus with one white sign in the ground stating: “Please be advised: sensitive content.” 

In a statement, Young Conservatives of Texas at Baylor Chapter Chairman Jake Neidert explained that his group places 2,977 Americans flags in the grass at Baylor’s Fountain Mall each year on Sept. 11 to honor the victims and first responders who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. 

The display only includes flags with no “no signage or political messaging,” according to Neidert. 

“Every year we do our best to ensure that this event is about America not politics,” he said. “Upon our initial request to place the memorial this year, we made it clear to Baylor Student Activities that this was not a political event.”

Neidert stated that Baylor’s Department of Student Activities informed the student group about 24 hours in advance of the demonstration that it would place “expression activity” signs near the flags.

“These signs amount to nothing short of a trigger warning for an event that should unite all Americans,” Neidert argued. “As Baylor students, this is incredibly saddening for us to see. 9/11 is a day that we can forget our political identities and come together to remember those who died and celebrate the triumph of our nation over evil.”

In his statement, Neidert asked Baylor, one of the largest Baptist universities in the world, to apologize for displaying the warning signs. 

On Twitter, Baylor University responded. 

“We fully support the 9/11 display of American flags, regret that the signage we used has taken away from the intent of the display, and apologize for any misunderstanding this may have caused,” the tweet from the school reads

Along with a tweet, the university included a photo of a three-paragraph statement calling the Young Conservatives display “moving.” 

The university clarified that the 9/11 display is the “only official student event that has been allowed since the start of the fall semester.” 

“Out of reverence for the exhibit of flags and in knowing that its moving symbolism could evoke a wide range of emotions, signage was placed near the display notifying those who passed by of its potential impact,” the school said. “This is a standard part of our process regarding outdoor displays which we implemented last year based on feedback from our campus community.”

Online, conservatives were quick to condemn the school. 

“Baylor University posted a trigger warning at a display of American flags honoring the fallen of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. What in the world is going on at Baylor?” asked popular conservative columnist, author and radio host Todd Starnes. 

Baylor University held its own 9/11 tribute on Friday. At 12:15 p.m., the on-campus bell tower, the McLane Carillon, began a 26-minute performance to honor the victims of 9/11.

“Today, we remember those whose lives were changed forever on September 11, 2001. #NeverForget,” a tweet from Baylor University on Friday reads.

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

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