When a head of state or government visits the University to give a public speech or to meet with Harvard’s president, our office arranges for the visitor’s national flag to fly from University Hall alongside the United States flag. Protocol dictates that the dimensions of the visitor’s national flag must be the same as those of the United States flag; in the case of University Hall, 10’ x 15’. Only countries and governments recognized by the U.S. Department of State may have their national flag flown.
When the United States flag is flown at half-staff on federal property—by presidential proclamation or as a sign of national tribute—Harvard has the option to follow suit by flying the United States flag at half-staff at University Hall. The University Marshal, in consultation with Harvard’s president, will make this decision, and will notify the deans of the various schools who may also choose to act similarly. Nothing prohibits the United States flag from flying at halfstaff as a tribute for a loss closer to home, but this is rarely done.