Flag flying for doctoral thesis defences arouses interest

The university has previously flown the Swedish flag and, in cases where international doctoral students have requested it, their national flag at the public defences of doctoral theses. In February, the Iranian flag sparked strong reactions from the public, prompting the university to review its policy.

Since the new flag protocol came into force on 13 March, it led to three doctoral students being caught between the new and the old protocol. That is, they had been asked which flag they wanted to raise but were later informed that their national flag would not be flown, with reference to the new flag protocol. This has given rise to reactions on social media, among other things.

“This decision applies to flags flown on the flagpoles at Akademiplatsen, where a foreign flag being flown without context can easily be misinterpreted, for example as an expression of political support or collaboration. There is a misunderstanding that this decision was made because of a doctoral student's desire to fly the Palestinian flag. I want to be very clear and say that this is not the case. This change to protocol is based on the fact that there have recently been strong reactions to the flags we have flown. It is unfortunate that a number of doctoral students were caught in the middle, and I fully understand that this arouses emotions. We are proud of our international doctoral students and they are welcome to celebrate with their national flags in the room where they defend their theses,” said Ann-Christin Andreasson, Director of the Communications Office at the University of Borås.