Breaking: UC Irvine American Flag Ban Was Vetoed, But Controversy Isn’t Over Yet

UPDATE: The Associated Students University of California Irvine’s executive cabinet has moved to veto the bill proposed by the student body. The outcome was nearly unanimous with four votes to one as the end result. This outcome means that American and other national flags will NOT be removed from the UC Irvine campus.

At least for now.

It’s possible the veto may be overridden if the student body is able to summon a two-third majority vote. An update on the final outcome will be made in the near future.

Was the University of California at Irvine student government right to ban the U.S. flag? The students voted not only to do away with the American flag, but any national flag. The logic behind the decision is that such flags are symbols of imperialism and colonialism. Not only that, but the council felt the presence of flags created an issue concerning ultra-patriotism.

The bill, which passed after a narrow win, said that flying flags could even be construed as a form of hate speech.

“Freedom of speech, in a space that aims to be as inclusive as possible can be interpreted as hate speech.”

Associated Students of UCI President Reza Zomorrodian does not agree with this bill, and the Executive Cabinet may vote to veto the bill.

“I stand firmly against this piece of legislation, though I understand the authors’ intent and supporters intent, I disagree with the solution the council has come to.”

He also considered the UC Irvine flag ban to be an attack on what’s great about America.

“[The move to ban the American flag is] an attack on American values; a lot of people want to come to the United States for a reason…it’s because of the freedoms we have.”

Members of the public are outraged at the move by UC Irvine to get rid of the U.S. flag. Some are even suggesting that American flags be purchased and sent to Irvine in protest of the student body’s decision.

#Lets_Send_USA_FlagsTo_UC_Irvine @FoxNews @RealDeanCain @GovMikeHuckabee I am buying $1.00 flag today and sending it to #UCIrvine

— Mel (@Melita1964) March 7, 2015

However, it doesn’t matter what the persons outside of UC Irvine think; public sentiment for or against the proposal won’t settle the matter. It seems that only the student government body at UC Irvine can do that.

If the UC Irvine Executive Cabinet is successful, then the bill will ultimately fail. However, if the UC Irvine flag ban holds, it would set a remarkable precedent. And not everyone is comfortable with it.

As the story goes viral, more conservative social media users are clamouring for the college to have its budget cut by the American government.

Others have insulted the student government at UC Irvine as being un-American and a threat to American values.

What’s interesting about this backlash is that it actually validates the very point that these students at UC Irvine were most concerned about: An ultra-nationalist point of view that is driven by a refusal to question thoughts and behaviors that are potentially harmful.

Was UC Irvine right to ban the American flag and other national flags? Is there a better approach to their concerns that could have been taken?

[Image Credit: Cristian Ramírez]