In a historic vote, and a major step towards eroding nationalism, the UC Irvine student Leadership Panel voted for a more “inclusive space” by banning the American flag. The Associated Students of UCI passed R50-70 which removed all flags including the stars and stripes from the Associated Students main lobby.
Matthew Guerva has authored a bill that is aimed at including as many people as possible, and sees flags of any nation as symbols that can be taken both positively and negatively. The negative effects however turn a public inclusive space into an exclusive space.
A part of the bill reads “(F)lags 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 reason for the removal of the American Flag was according to the resolution is that free speech in an area that aims to be as inclusive as possible can be considered hate speech. The resolution goes on to state that since “the American flag has been flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism,” its display “does not express only selective aspects of its symbolism but the entire spectrum of its interpretation.”
If these actions are all symbolized by the flying of “Old Glory” then I would be inclined to agree with Matthew that having the flag displayed in an area designed to be inclusive as possible would be a form of hate speech. Any student could be offended at the atrocities committed to his countrymen in the name of that flag. In the name of everything the flag represents. UC Irvine students have made a drastic stand against the nationalism that is engrained in our society everywhere from product advertisement to the lessons in our history books and Hollywood movies like American Sniper.
March 7, 2015.
UC Irvine responded to the vote with a statement of denouncement that epitomized the reason for the removal of the flags in the first place. Claiming UC Irvine is an institution that was created by the “Worlds greatest democracy”. In response to the attempted removal UC Irvine has promised to install more flagpoles near the campus entrance.
The student body president Reza Zomorrodian called it “Horrible”, and an “Attack on American values” He also added that legislation like this ia a constant reminder of those “values” we cherish are in part, guaranteed by the “sacrifices” made and the “struggles” waged to secure the “freedom and democracy” that the flag symbolizes.