The state attorney general's office says a Confederate flag hanging in a chapel at The Citadel is protected by state law and may remain.
A Charleston County councilman had wanted to withhold nearly $1 million in funding from the Charleston military school unless the flag was removed.
But an opinion issued Tuesday by state Solicitor General Robert Cook concludes that the flag is protected by the state's Heritage Act, passed in 2000.
The legislation protects monuments and memorials on public property that are dedicated either to any wars in which the nation fought or to African American or Native American history.
The "Confederate Naval Jack" in the chapel was a gift to the college. Cook's opinion says no one can force its removal or relocation.