A first generation Tibetan American student at a University in Massachusetts was not allowed to carry flag of Tibet by the university authorities. Kalsang Nangpa, a final year student of public health at UMass University was disallowed to carry the Tibetan flag at her graduating ceremony.
Miss Kalsang was born to Tibetan refugee parents in India and moved to USA for a brighter future. She had contacted the University officials much earlier and hence the delay and consequent denial shall not be attributed to any lapse on her part.
Miss Kalsang Nangpa is also a vocal activist of the Tibetan struggle in USA. She has planned to organize a demonstration against the policy of UMass University that allows flags of only those countries which are recognized by Department of State. So far her post has been shared more than 300 times.
Responding to an email of Miss Kalsang Nangpa in this regard, the Associate vice Chancellor Nancy Buffone said, “We are proud to have students from all over the world at UMass and so I understand and appreciate your disappointment. We must, however, abide by this policy.”
Kalsang Nangpa expressed her displeasure over the whole incident and took to Facebook voicing her displeasure she said in an interview, “I was shocked, because UMass is supposed to be very inclusive. We value equality; we value people coming in from different walks of life. I thought we stood for social justice,”
However this is not the first time that UMass has denied flags of non-recognized countries at the graduation ceremony. The similar treatment has been meted out to the Taiwanese students as well.
Though the university officials have tried to play down the incident and said that UMass University respects and celebrates the identities and cultures of its students but it has to set consistent policies. Though they do understand the students’ desires to represent their culture and their ethnicity but they have to honor the precedent which has been set and will abide by it. They also called it ‘reasonable and equitable’.