Student leaders at the University of California-Irvine voted to ban the hanging of flags from any nation, including the United States of America, in the lobby of the student government offices, but after widespread criticism, the ban was vetoed.
The executive cabinet of the Associated Students of UC Irvine met at an emergency meeting on Saturday, which resulted in a veto of the flag ban.
Student legislator Matthew Guevara had authored the bill in question on March 3. He said he had done so in an effort to make the school more “culturally inclusive.”
“Designing a culturally inclusive space aims to remove barriers that create undue effort and separation by planning and designing spaces that enable everyone to participate equally and confidentially,” read the resolution.
In a 6-4 vote, the decision to remove the flags was done so in an effort to create a “more inclusive” environment, reports Emanuella Grinberg for 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 US government has a presence,” and its “symbolism has negative and positive aspects that are interpreted differently by individuals.”
The resolution continued to say that “freedom of speech” could be interpreted as “hate speech” in some circles.
Student government President Reza Zomorrodian said he was especially hurt by the decision to ban the flags because he is a first generation American, reports Todd Starnes for Fox News.
“That’s why the flag is special to me,” he said. “I was born here. My parents came here as immigrants.”
The Pew Research Center has previously conducted studies that show Millennials are less likely to associate themselves with any sort of categorization than any other American generation. Around 3 in 10 do not have any religious association and only 26% are married by the age of 32. That results in 10 percentage points less than Generation Xers at the same point in time, and 22 points less than Baby Boomers.
The passing of the resolution was received with criticism throughout the campus community and across the nation as an offensive and unpatriotic decision. Students argued that the move did not represent the feelings of the student body as a whole, writes Peter Holley for The Washington Post.
“This misguided legislation was not endorsed or supported in any way by the campus leadership, the University of California, or the broader student body,” the ASUCI executive cabinet said in the statement posted on UCI News. “The views of a handful of students passing a resolution do not represent the opinions of the nearly 30,000 students on this campus, and have no influence on the policies and practices of the university.”
A tweet from the student government shows the American flag still flying high at the university.