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Students Fight Star-Spangled Banner Ban – and Win

This story originally appeared on CampusReform.org and was written by Emily Cochran:

The Star-Spangled Banner was banned at Goshen College, a private, Mennonite school, because of, according to President Jim Brenneman, the college’s value of “compassionate peacemaking seeming to be in conflict with the anthem’s militaristic language” – referring to the “rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air” lyrics.

Ryan Troyer, a sophomore computer science major, Goshen College soccer player, and all-around great American, was opposed to the ban.  He decided to do something about it. 

“First, some of my friends and I started a group in support of the anthem at Goshen, even [though] there was one formed against it.  We then started giving signs for students who support the anthem to hang on the doors of their rooms.”

The ban gained national attention, including from Time magazine and the American Spectator.

Now, “partly as a response to community and campus pressure for the anthem to be played,” administration has reconsidered its stance on the ban.  A task force panel composed of students and faculty decided that the best solution was for an instrumental version of the Star-Spangled Banner to be played before sporting events.

On Sunday March 14, Goshen College will honor America with the national anthem for the first time – and it is thanks in part to Ryan Troyer and his freedom-loving friends.

But Ryan is not quitting the fight for freedom on his campus now.

“Our next plan is to start a college recognized conservative club to help students with these ideological views feel less alone on this campus where their views are a vast minority among students and faculty, as well as take action to promote freedom on campus.  This college also brings in convocation speakers whose views have always been contrary to ours, and we would like to convince the college to diversify the speakers and bring in some with opposing views.”

The battle for conservative values on college campuses is not an easy fight, but as Ryan and his friends have shown, it can be won.  If your school practices a policy that infringes upon your conservative values, or if you would like to start a conservative group on campus for fellow freedom-loving students, the Campus Services Coordinator in your region can help you plan your first steps toward action.

“Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave” – and at Goshen College.

Matthew Hurtt is a Campus Services Coordinator for the Leadership Institute’s CampusReform.org and can be reached at MHurtt@campusreform.org.

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