Society

UC Irvine Student Executive Council Vetoes Ban On American Flag

| by Kathryn Schroeder
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The ban on hanging a U.S. flag in the common lobby area of the student government offices has been vetoed at the University of California, Irvine by the Executive Cabinet of the Associated Students of the university.

Earlier this week, six undergraduate students from the Associated Students of University of California, Irvine passed a resolution that banned hanging any flag in the area, including the American flag, citing that it specifically was a symbol of “colonialism and imperialism,” Opposing Views previously reported. The vote was six to four, with two abstentions.

The intention was to create a “more inclusive” environment, reports NBC Los Angeles.

Student Matthew Guevara wrote the resolution, which said, in part, "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."

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University campus leadership, the University of California, and the broader student body, found their legislation to be “misguided” and did not endorse or support it in any way.

“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,” the ASUCI Executive Cabinet wrote in a statement released on the UCI News section of the University’s website.

“The American flag is still proudly flying throughout our campus and will continue to do so,” the statement read.

The following statement was released after the veto vote by the Executive Cabinet:

We the Executive Cabinet of the Associated Students of the University of California, Irvine convened on March 7, 2015 to officially veto ASUCI Legislative Council legislation R50-70, “Flags and decoration adjustment for inclusivity.” We engage in this action to veto under the constitutional authority granted to us under Article V, Section B, Sub-Section 2 of the ASUCI Constitution stating:

“Vetoing, as seen fit, any measures adopted by the Legislative Council, provided such an action be exercised only once per measure, and within six (6) days from the date of the measure being passed, after which time, the measure shall become legislation with or without the Executive Cabinet’s approval.”

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.

As students in an academic institution we encourage all students on campus to participate in open debate about a wide array of issues and to actively engage in academic curiosity, which lies at the backbone of a preeminent academic research institution. It is this freedom to be able to navigate and explore topics on a wide range of issues that we see at risk if we begin to engage in a particular form of regulation of free speech and its expression through symbols in any space associated with our organization.

We as well want to reaffirm our commitment to diversity as a campus in all aspects and ideals associated with it. The concept of inclusion and diversity is a core pillar in the mission of University of California system and we wish to continue to work to have these important discussions of what our campus is doing to make this a priority.

Sources: UCI News, NBC Los Angleles / Photo Source: inagist