The Latest: University of Kansas says flag moved for safety

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Latest on Kansas Republican candidates criticizing the University of Kansas for an art display involving an altered flag (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

University of Kansas Chancellor Doug Girod says a controversial public art exhibit featuring an altered U.S. flag was moved because of concerns over public safety.

The chancellor says the flag display will be relocated to the Spencer Museum of Art on the Lawrence campus.

The flag art had been displayed in front of Spooner Hall on the campus since July 5. On Wednesday, Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach had called for the flag display to be removed, saying it was disrespectful to the U.S. military.

Girod said in a statement after the exhibit was taken down that the conversation around the display caused public safety concerns on the campus, although he did not elaborate. He says the university wants to foster dialogue on difficult issues but couldn't allow the discussion to put people or property in harm's way.

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4:50 p.m.

The University of Kansas has removed an altered U.S. flag that was part of a public art display on the Lawrence campus.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports the flag was removed from in front of the university's Spooner Hall shortly before 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The removal came less than an hour after Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer said Chancellor Douglas Girod had promised to take down the art display.

Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach demanded the flag display be removed, saying it was disrespectful to the country's military. Kobach is running against Coyler in the Republican governor's race. The primary is next month.

Kansas congressional candidate Steve Watkins first raised the issue Wednesday but had not demanded that the flag be removed. The display, called "Untitled (Flag 2), went up on July 5.

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3:45 p.m.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer's spokesman says the top administrator at the University of Kansas has promised to take down an art display that involves an altered U.S. flag.

Colyer spokesman Kendall Marr said the governor spoke Wednesday afternoon with university Chancellor Douglas Girod about the display. Marr said Girod promised that the altered flag would be taken down quickly.

The governor had called the display disrespectful to the flag. Both he and Secretary of State Kris Kobach said it should be taken down.

The piece, called "Untitled (Flag 2)," is the last of a series of flag pieces that have flown on the Lawrence campus since last fall as part of a national art project called "Pledges of Allegiance," which involves 11 institutions at 14 locations across the country.

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3:15 p.m.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer and Secretary of State Kris Kobach are demanding that the University of Kansas take down an art display that involves an altered U.S. flag.

The piece, called "Untitled (Flag 2)," is the last of a series of flag pieces that have flown on the Lawrence campus since last fall as part of a national art project called "Pledges of Allegiance," which involves 11 institutions at 14 locations across the country.

Colyer faces Kobach in the GOP gubernatorial primary in August.

He said Wednesday the "disrespectful" display is "absolutely unacceptable" and should be taken down immediately. He said he had contacted Kansas chancellor Doug Girod and Board of Regents President Blake Flanders about the display.

Kobach says it is outrageous that a public university would display a desecrated flag.

University spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson says private money paid for the project, which was intended to encourage conversation about the current political climate.

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12:25 p.m.

Kansas congressional candidate Steve Watkins says a public art project involving an altered U.S. flag at the University of Kansas is disrespectful to the military.

The piece, called Untitled (Flag 2), is the last of a series of flag pieces that have flown on the Lawrence campus in the last several months as part of a national art project. Kansas is one of 11 institutions at 14 locations participating in "Pledges of Allegiance" project, which organizers say is designed to address social issues and inspire community among cultural institutions.

The flag includes two black shapes that the artist, Josephine Meckseper, says represents a deeply polarized country. It also includes a black and white sock that Meckseper says takes on new meaning during the current controversy over immigration.

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