The student government at the University of California, Irvine, voted to ban all flags in the council area’s lobby — a resolution that seemed specifically pointed at the American flag. The students hope the new resolution will make the area more culturally inclusive, but it will likely be vetoed by the five-person executive cabinet.
Student government’s resolution R50-70 started off by giving an extensive list of grievances against flags in general, and specifically against the American flag.
“Flags not only serve as symbols of patriotism or weapons for nationalism, but also construct cultural mythologies and narratives that in turn charge nationalistic sentiments.”
Keeping nationalism in check in the common area might be important.
“Flags construct paradigms of conformity and sets homogenized standards for others to obtain, which in this country typically are idolized as freedom, equality and democracy.”
“The American flag has been flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism.”
The list continues at length.
The resolution passed by a narrow margin: just six in favor, four opposed, and two abstaining.
Although charged with fairly anti-flag rhetoric, the resolution essentially sums up to a change in decorations. Nevertheless, conservative media outlets were quick to jump on the story.
As Fox News put it, “let me break down the vote for you – six un-American students, four patriots and two individuals who could have a career in House Republican leadership.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, some military veterans posted on Facebook their disappointment at the new resolution, saying the American flag is a symbol of freedom, which they fought for and, in some cases, died to protect.
UC Irvine junior Daniel La added, “there’s a lot of students that aren’t happy about it. I don’t personally agree with it either.”
After the resolution criticizes the American flag, it talks briefly about free speech in the lobby.
It starts by saying that freedom of speech is a valued right of the Associated Students of the University of California, Irvine (ASUCI).
Then goes on to say, “freedom of speech, in a space that aims to be as inclusive as possible, can be interpreted as hate speech.”
Then explains that the ASUCI will make every effort to keep the common area as inclusive as possible. Whether that means they intend to take some action to curb free speech in the lobby seems unclear.
Nevertheless, it probably doesn’t matter.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the executive cabinet of Irvine’s student government is expected to meet Saturday to veto the resolution. Associated Students President Reza Zomorrodian explained he understood the intent of the resolution but disagreed with it all the same.
It looks like the American flag will be safe at UC Irvine for now.
[Image Credit: Getty Images]