Students and veterans at Cal State University Bakersfield (CSUB) reacted to news of a short-lived vote by the student government at UC Irvine (UCI) to ban the American flag–and all other flags–from being displayed in any common area in student government offices. The ban on Old Glory was vetoed just two days later.
“It’s preposterous. You know, I can’t understand it,” said veteran Gary Lockhart in an interview with local ABC News affiliate KERO 23 ABC. “I think if they want to take the flag away from the university, they should think about all the grants they get from the United States government and the fact that many men have died so they can make their opinion known. But that’s not the way to do it.”
CSUB student John Clement empathized with the nation’s servicemen and women as well. “They fought hard for our country. I feel like they take pride whenever they see the American flag, no matter where it’s at…so just choosing to take down a flag could hit them pretty hard,” Clement told Kero 23 ABC.
Students at UC Irvine said the reason for the flag ban, which had initially passed by a narrow 6-4 vote, with 2 abstentions, was to avoid triggering an emotional response from illegal immigrants. A student council member who also voted in favor of banning the American flag said it reminded her “Dreamer” friends of their constant battle to attain U.S. citizenship.
California state Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Santa Ana) has proposed legislation to amend the state constitution in order to prohibit banning the American flag from public schools and universities. Nguyen said that while government code mandates that the American flag should be flown on campuses, that the University of California system acts like “it’s own constitutional entity.”
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