Student leaders at the University of California Irvine vetoed a resolution on Saturday that would have banned any flag, including the American flag, from being displayed in the lobby of student government offices.
NBC Los Angeles reported that the ASUCI Legislative Council voted on Tuesday to pass the resolution to remove all flags from all nations in order to create a “more inclusive” environment. The “flags and decoration adjustment for inclusivity” resolution passed in a 6-4 vote, with two abstentions.
The UCI administration issued a statement stating “this misguided decision was not endorsed or supported in any way by the campus leadership, the University of California, or the broader student body. The American flag is still proudly flying throughout our campus and will continue to do so.”
According to CNN, the resolution said “the American flag is commonly flown in government public service locations, military related entities, at homes, in foreign lands where the U.S. government has a presence,” and its “symbolism has negative and positive aspects that are interpreted differently by individuals.”
ASUCI President Reza Zomorrodian was against the move and convened the Executive Cabinet of student government to gather on Saturday to veto the legislation.
Zomorrodian stated, “I stand firmly against this piece of legislation. As chair of the Executive Cabinet, we will be having conversation about this piece of legislation and deciding what course of action the cabinet will take collectively.”
The passing of the resolution brought in opposition from both within and outside the campus community, being hailed as offensive and unpatriotic.
One of several commenters on the ASUCI’s Facebook student page wrote, “As a military veteran, American citizen and taxpayer, I find this piece of ‘legislation’ highly offensive. This is a public school, supported by taxpayers, (yes, I know, most of you pay tuition, as well, but that does not cover the entire cost), and it is appropriate to display the United States Flag on campus. Please reconsider your actions and rescind this resolution.”
CNN reported that several students also expressed their disappointment in the resolution, stating it did not represent the student body as a whole.
“As much as I hope that their decision gets vetoed and that the administration will take some accountability for allowing such a controversial issue to be voted on in the first place, I also hope that people will stop generalizing us and saying that they will refuse to hire UCI students or that the generous donations of our alumni will fall, or even worse that we are not proud Americans. The majority of us would be proud to stand out there and wave the flag ourselves if need be,” said a student commenter.
The Executive Cabinet released a statement saying, “We fundamentally disagree with the actions taken by ASUCI Legislative Council and their passage of R50-70 as counter to the ideals that allow us to operate as an autonomous student government organization with the freedoms of speech and expression associated with it. It is these very symbols that represent our constitutional rights that have allowed for our representative creation and our ability to openly debate all ranges of issues and pay tribute to how those liberties were attained.”