After sparking perhaps the largest controversy of last year, Brigid L. Kerrigan '91 told the Crimson: "[I'm] just a blonde girl from Virginia."

At the end of February, Kerrigan had hung a Confederate flag from her fourth-floor Kirkland House window facing Dunster Street.

And suddenly, the transplanted Southern belle launched her career as self-appointed defender of the First Amendment.

THEN Shortly after Kerrigan hung the flag, a group of more than 70 students gathered in the Kirkland dining hall to protest.

Kerrigan claimed the Confederate banner represented her pride in the customs and traditions of the South, but many felt that those traditions could not be separated from the South's "peculiar institution"--slavery.


In addition to the 70 who engaged in a Black Student Association-sponsored eatin in Kirkland, an equal number marched from Kirkland to Cabot, where Tim McCormack `92 had displayed yet another Confederate flag.

Even many of those on campus who respected Kerrigan's right to display the flag nevertheless said they found it offensive and requested that she remove it out of respect. One other student tried something different.

Jacinda T. Townsend `92 draped a Swastika from her window, hoping the University would force her, Kerrigan and McCormack to remove their banners.

The widespread protests and the concomitant condemnation, however, were futile. Long after Townsend had removed the swastika, Kerrigan's banner winked complacently at those she said were trying to infringe on her right to free speech.

The flag remained until early June after Kerrigan received her degree and left Cambridge.

NOW Does she have any regrets? "Absolutely not. Not for a minute," says Kerrigan, now a first-year student at the University of Virginia Law School.

"Through the publicity I gained, although most of it was negative, I've gotten to meet a number of people who are interested in educating for liberty."

Kerrigan's nationwide exposure on the CBS Evening News and in--among others--The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek helped win her a position as a guest lecturer at Randolph-Macon Women's College in Lynchburg, Va.

As part of Randolph-Macon's American Culture Program, Kerrigan spoke on "political correctness and free speech codes on campus," she says.

Kerrigan has also been asked to speak before various civic groups in the South.

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