Student leaders at the University of California-Irvine vetoed a resolution on Saturday that would have banned hanging flags of any nation, including America's Stars and Stripes, in the lobby of student government offices, amid widespread criticism from students and alumni.
The Legislative Council of the Associated Students of the University of California, Irvine's passed the resolution, "Flags and decoration adjustment for inclusivity," in a 6-4 vote Tuesday with the stated intention of creating a "more inclusive" environment.
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."
Its passage drew widespread opposition from the campus community and beyond for being offensive and unpatriotic.
"As a military veteran, American citizen and taxpayer, I find this piece of 'legislation' highly offensive," a commenter said on the ASUCI 's Facebook student page, in one of the more mildly worded complaints. "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."
Current students also registered their dissatisfaction with the resolution, saying the resolution does 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," another commenter said.
The UCI administration issued a statement saying "this misguided decision was not endorsed or supported in any way by the campus leadership, the University of California, or the broader student body."
Student-body President Reza Zomorrodian also publicly opposed the legislation, leading the Executive Cabinet of student government to convene on Saturday to veto the legislation.
"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," the executive cabinet said in a statement. "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."