DJ quits after guest burns flag on Emory U. radio





Emory University's student radio station quit after an American flag was burned in the studio during her show, and the guest responsible for the act was assaulted following the broadcast.

Kisha Hope resigned from her duties as host of Atlanta's WMRE show 'Girls Wear Boxers Too' after the Sept. 28 airing. Alex Dreyer appeared as a guest on Hope's program to discuss his political views of the Sept. 11 aftermath.

'Basically, the discussion that lead up to the flag burning incident was nothing more than Alex [Dreyer] talking about how he is anti-war, anti-government and his opinions about the pseudo-patriotism going on all around the country,' Hope said.

Hope said Dreyer had come to the show prepared with printed copies of the American flag. His intention was to have people call in and he would rip a flag on air in their name. The show received calls supporting and threatening them for expressing their opinions over the airwaves.

Dreyer then decided to exercise his First Amendment rights and burned one of the flags. The radio station and university are handling the matter as a fire code violation and not a freedom of expression issue.

'This is not an incident about the First Amendment,' said WMRE General Manager P'nina Mosman. 'This is an incident about someone starting a fire. It is a serious safety hazard, and it violates every rule the university and WMRE have.

'I have since encouraged all my other DJs ' I have more than 100 of them ' to espouse their political, religious or whatever views during their shows,' Mosman added.

If Hope had not quit she would have been relieved of her DJ duties because of the fire code violations, Mosman said.

Following the show, two male students assaulted Dreyer outside the studio building. Campus police responded and Emory's Conduct Council is investigating the incident.

Dreyer decided not to press charges with the city police, so the investigation is being handled internally through the university. University officials refused to release the names of the alleged attackers, or the punishment they might receive. Assault is grounds for expulsion according to the disciplinary code.

In Virginia, a George Mason University student also chose to express his political views by burning an American flag. Police arrested Oleg Asserin for his actions.

Asserin was charged with two crimes, a felony of setting a fire capable of spreading, and a misdemeanor of burning the U.S. flag.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia is seeking to have the misdemeanor charge dismissed, claiming that the 1960 flag-burning law is unconstitutional. Virginia is among 48 states with a law prohibiting the desecration of the flag, even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. Johnson (1989) that flag burning is protected speech.


reports, Winter 2001-02