American flag artwork on UC's campus drawing controversy

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Controversial artwork by a University of Cincinnati student is getting a lot of attention from faculty and staff, some are even calling it disgraceful.

This display has been up for the last two weeks at the Victory Parkway Campus. Some students have even complained to campus police to get the display taken down.

Every time students pass the Waiting Room Gallery they see the American flag hanging from a noose, then an American flag hanging upside down.

The image is not sitting well with some.

"I kind of feel like it's almost offensive in a way," said Kyle Apshago, a student at UC.

"Honestly, I think it's disheartening to see  kids or not kids but whoever made that, feels that way about the country right now," said Lucy Markovich, a student at UC.

The artist behind this display is Harry Sanchez. He is a graduate student at UC and said he wanted to create something to express how he feels about the current climate in the country.

His inspiration with the upside down flag come from the movie "The Last Castle."

"It's a sign for distress. A military sign for distress. I really feel like the country right now is in distress everything is going wild and people are so upset everything is so polarizing. One group is so hateful to another group and there's such a lack of understanding It seems like if we don't get past this we're going to crumble as a nation and what we stand for," he said. 

Several are taking a stand against his message. In the past two weeks, someone covered the windows with paper towels and board.

When that was taken down, pictures of veterans were taped over the display windows.

Sanchez said instead of blocking his message he wishes those bothered by it would talk to him to get a better understanding.

"Have a conversation like decent human beings. Like we're supposed to be able to do. You should be able to talk to people with a different point of view," said Sanchez.

Markovich said with images so disturbing on display you have to expect that some students would be uncomfortable with the artwork hanging in the gallery.

"You have every right to think the way you think and feel the way you do, but you have to take into account how that might make the other people feel," she said.

The university is not making Sanchez take down his artwork because of freedom of expression. He said once his artwork is graded he plans to take it out of the gallery, which will likely be on Friday.

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