UCI student government bans U.S., other flags from its lobby; veto likely

In a push for what has been described as cultural inclusion, the student government at UC Irvine voted to ban the display of all flags, including the American flag, in an area of the campus.

The resolution passed Thursday by the legislative council of the campus’ Associated Students would remove all flags from the common lobby area of student government offices.

Written by student Matthew Guevara of the School of Social Ecology, the resolution states, “The American flag has been flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism” and notes that flags “construct paradigms of conformity and sets homogenized standards.”

The resolution goes on to say that “freedom of speech, in a space that aims to be as inclusive as possible, can be interpreted as hate speech.”

The resolution passed on a 6-4 vote by the student legislative council, with two abstentions.

The resolution “is not endorsed or supported in any way by the campus leadership,” according to a statement on UCI’s website written by Associated Students President Reza Zomorrodian.

The measure is likely to be short-lived. The student government’s five-person executive cabinet is expected to meet Saturday to vote on a motion to veto the resolution, the statement said.

If vetoed, the resolution would head back to the legislative council, which would have to pass the measure with a two-thirds majority to override the veto.

Writing on the UCI Associated Students Facebook page, Zomorrodian said she opposed the resolution. “Though I understand the authors’ intent and supporters’ intent,” she wrote, “I disagree with the solution council has come to.”

Writing below Zomorrodian’s remarks, one commentor called the students traitors. Some military veterans wrote that they were disturbed and disspointed by the students’ action. One wrote that the American flag symbolizes “principles of freedom” that service members fought and died to uphold.

UCI junior Daniel La, 21, said he didn’t think the vote was “representative of the school.”

“There’s a lot of students that aren’t happy about it,” he said. “I don’t personally agree with it either.”