A crowdfunding page has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for UNC students who rushed to protect the American flag from touching the ground during a protest this week.

Pro-Palestinian protesters had run up the Palestinian Authority flag on the campus flagpole. UNC Chancellor Lee Roberts, accompanied by police officers, took it down and re-hung the U.S. flag.

When the protesters once again attempted to change the flags, members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity made their way to the flagpole and caught the descending flag. They held it up despite verbal and physical assaults until security personnel had cleared the area. Later that day, a fence was erected around the flagpole to prevent further incidents.

Brendan Rosenblum, one of those who stepped up to protect the flag, also carried an Israeli flag for the duration of the incident. “These people wanted to tear down the flag, and we were there to protect it,” he told News Nation. “Me and my friends did not allow that to happen. All of us felt that America, and the American flag — and for me, the Israeli flag — represent what we believe in, and we weren’t going to let anyone stop us from keeping those two things up.”

The GoFundMe page established to recognize the fraternity's actions has so far raised above $290,000, and drawn numerous expressions of admiration and support from the online community.

“It’s insane,” Rosenblum said of the campaign. “I’m not gonna say what we’re going to do with the money. All I can say is that everyone who was there appreciates the support. I think it’s important that we all stand up for what we believe in. I think fraternity members get a bad rap. But in the end we have a brotherhood, and no matter what happens, we’re going to stand by that.”

United States flag protocol forbids the flag from touching the ground both while displayed and during a raising or lowering ceremony. Disrespecting the flag is considered an exceptionally serious offense in the United States of America, and is punishable both by a fine and imprisonment.