Half-staff wasn’t half respect
Justin Wells, Advertising Manager
November 3, 2011
Filed under Opinion
In honor of the late Joyce Skaryak, San Diego Mesa College President Pamela Luster had decided to have the American flag lowered to half-staff, an honor typically reserved for Unites States government officials.
An email sent to the staff on Oct. 19 from the office of the president stated “the Mesa College flag will be lowered to half-staff…to honor the memory of Joyce Skaryak.”
Even though Luster had the best intentions in mind it seems that she has struck a nerve with some faculty members.
Some on staff feel that Skaryak should be honored in another way because the flag at half-staff is meant specifically for government employees. In addition to that others on staff believe that is unfair for Skaryak to get such an honor while Jerry Schad, a staff member who passed away a month earlier, did not receive the same respect.
While some may be in agreement with Skaryak not being qualified to receive a flag at half-staff because of her job title, others who think she does not deserve it for the rule of fairness are just being unreasonable.
Just because Schad was not honored in the same way does not mean that he was not shown the same respect. It is very possible that the idea was just not suggested when coming up with a way to honor him. Surely if he did receive this honor someone would still have a problem with it because the person who passed away before Schad was not shown the same respect.
The problem itself is actually between the official U.S. flag rules and the San Diego Community College District Board policy flag rules. According to USA.gov only the President of the United States or governor can determine who can be honored with a flag at half-staff.
However the SDCCD Board Policy 600 states: “The chief administrative officer at each locations is authorized to proclaim a period of mourning, honoring deceased staff and students and to direct display of the flags at half-staff during the period of mourning.”
It easy to see how Mesa’s president may have over the looked flag rules because of what is printed in SDCCD policy, but nonetheless, even though it was a nice a gesture Skaryak did not deserve a lowered flag.
The honor was not done out of spite or disrespect to anyone, instead it was done out of appreciation and while someone else may have not received the same honor it does not mean that they are any less appreciated.
One has to wonder, if Schad and Skaryak were still with us would they be taking part in this ignorant debate or would they see this petty argument for what it is and just move on.