EDITORIAL – Allowing Russian flag at TRU’s International Days an insult

(Image: CFJC Today)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THERE’S AN ARGUMENT to be made for flying the Russian flag at public events in this country but it’s not a good one.

Thompson Rivers University allowed that flag to be displayed during its annual International Days last week. The event is one of the biggest and most important at the university each year, a celebration of the diversity of the student population.

But a damper was put on it when the flag of Russia was paraded along with those of other nations, including Ukraine, through the campus. The university defended the move, saying it continues to condemn the war launched against Ukraine by Russia but that TRU celebrates its students regardless of what country they come from.

The university doesn’t get it. Whether or not Russian students support the horrible, inhumane, despicable war their country is waging against Ukraine is irrelevant. The Russian flag today represents crimes against humanity and, in fact, a war on democracy that has impacts far beyond the borders of Ukraine.

Allowing the flag of such a place to be on display here is odious. Refusing to allow it would have reinforced the message to Russian students that their country is committing a terrible act that compounds itself each and every day. It’s a message they should take home with them.

It would have sent another message as well — to students of other countries including our own that we as Canadians and citizens of the world stand united with Ukraine. We’ve taken sides, and it’s the right one.

The issue of flags at TRU is no different than banning Russian athletes from competing under their own flag at international competitions. To do otherwise but ban the Russian flag is to confirm that we put sports or other public events above the tragedy of war on our priority list.

That’s not the way it should be, and TRU should do some serious rethinking about its responsibilities.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, alternate TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9489 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – Allowing Russian flag at TRU’s International Days an insult

  1. R Marcus Lowe // March 16, 2023 at 9:45 AM // Reply

    The flag of Ukraine is on my truck antenna. If anything is to be stated it should not be absence of Russia flag but a LARGER flag of Ukraine because, like it or not, WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.

  2. Sean McGuinness // March 16, 2023 at 7:36 AM // Reply

    Agreed. Who’s call was it to put up the flag? I wonder.

  3. Oh please! Flying the American flag for all they have done blatantly and covertly in the Middle East, South and Central America and Africa should also be avoided. A lesson on imperialism should be given at TRU with an invitation for you to attend.

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