The undergraduate governing body at the University of California, Irvine, voted this week to remove the American flag and all other flags from its lobby, after arguing in part that flags are “symbols of patriotism or weapons of nationalism.”
According to Campus Reform, R50-70, authored by Social Ecology Representative Matthew Guevara, was passed by the Associated Students of University of California Irvine (ASUCI) by a vote of 6-4, with two abstentions. The language of the bill claims that flags “construct cultural mythologies and narratives that in turn charge nationalistic sentiments,” and further charges that “flags construct paradigms of conformity and sets homogenized standards for others to obtain which in this country typically are idolized as freedom, equality, and democracy.”
The bill’s long case against the hanging of American flags includes the accusation that it “has been flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism,” and that “symbolism has negative and positive aspects that are interpreted differently by individuals.
“[F]reedom of speech, in a space that claims to be as inclusive as possible can be interpreted as hate speech,” the bill continues.
The language of the legislation concludes with with three resolutions: “Let it be resolved that ASUCI make every effort to make the Associated Students main lobby space as inclusive as possible.” “Let it further be resolved that no flag, of any nation, may be hanged on the walls of the Associate Student main lobby space.” “Let it be further be resolved that if a decorative item is in the Associate student lobby space and issues arise, the solution will be to remove the item if there is considerable request to do so.”
On Thursday, ASUCI President Reza Zomorrodian spoke out against the legislation in a post to the organization’s Facebook page.
“I stand firmly against this piece of legislation, though I understand the authors intent, I disagree with the solution Council has come to,” Zomorrodian wrote. “As Chair of the Executive Cabinet we will be having a conversation about this piece of legislation and deciding what course of action the cabinet will take collectively.”