Student Senate Stumped on Flag Issue

In 1969, SLBI asked Clemson University to discontinue the playing of "Dixie" and the display of the Confederate flag.

In response to the Student League for Black Identity’s efforts to have the Confederate flag and the playing of “Dixie” removed from Clemson athletics, a petition boasting over three-thousand student signatures made it to the floor of the student Senate. The petition for the retention of both of these symbols made the issue center around democratic decision making, claiming that a small minority of campus should not be able to override the will of the majority of students.

A resolution was introduced in the student Senate by the Senate Judiciary Committee stating that the “Clemson University administration, student body, or athletic department would not be represented by any symbol which has ever been used as a sign of armed rebellion against the U.S. government” (“Flag Issue Still Undecided,” The Tiger). This resolution was defeated, then immediately reconsidered with amendments and passed. Immediately after this resolution had passed, the students in charge of a petition to retain the flag and “Dixie” as symbols of Clemson spirit, introduced a resolution that the Senate would endorse both the Confederate flag and the playing of ‘Dixie”. This resolution also passed, despite being contradictory to the earlier resolution.

As both resolutions were being reconsidered, a walk-out was attempted in order to break quorum in the student Senate by those members opposing the use of the Confederate flag and “Dixie.” The walk-out failed, and after much heated debate, the Senate President made a motion to reconsider both resolutions next meeting after each student Senator could meet with their fellow students in order to avoid later accusations of majority suppression, which was not successful.


Bob Thompson, “Flag Issue Still Undecided,” The Tiger Vol. LXIII No. 12 (November 7, 1969), 1.

“Majority Suppression,” The Tiger Vol. LXIII No. 12 (November 7, 1969), 2.