A black college student has won the fight to keep a Confederate flag in his dorm room after school officials initially told him to take it down.

The University of South Carolina Beaufort told 19-year-old Byron Thomas on Thursday he could keep the flag up, after the freshman was told two weeks ago to remove it because of student complaints.

University spokeswoman Candace Brasseur told the Beaufort Gazette Thomas was initially asked to remove the flag because it violates a student code of conduct discouraging bigotry, but the school’s legal counsel ultimately advised the university to allow him to display the flag.

When he was first told in November to take the flag down, Thomas posted a four-minute video on YouTube saying he views the Confederate flag as a sign of Southern pride, not of racism, and was not going to remove it. The video was re-posted on CNN’s iReport, where it has been viewed more than 70,000 times.

“It’s not racist for me,” Thomas, a Georgia native, said in the video. “All it is is a symbol that I see as a sign of respect, and people don’t want to see it that way.”

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