California student group vetoes ban of flag from lobby

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — A panel at the University of California, Irvine on Saturday vetoed a student council vote to ban display of the American flag — or any other national flag — from its lobby, bringing a quick end to a prohibition that lasted just two days and won the school broad negative attention.

The UC Irvine executive cabinet voted 4-1 in a private meeting to overturn the ban that was narrowly passed by the campus’s Associated Students two days earlier.

“We see the flag as transcending policy and politics, it represents American values,” Reza Zomorrodian, council president and head of the executive cabinet, said after the veto, according to the Orange County Register.

The student council approved the resolution on a 6-4 vote Thursday, with two abstentions.

The resolution authored by student Matthew Guevara of the university’s social ecology school lists 25 reasons for the ban, saying that the American flag has been flown in times of “colonialism and imperialism” and could symbolize American “exceptionalism and superiority.” The resolution says “freedom of speech, in a space that aims to be as inclusive as possible, can be interpreted as hate speech.”

The American flag had hung on a wall in the student government suite. A few weeks ago, someone removed the flag and put it on the desk of Zomorrodian, with an anonymous note saying it shouldn’t be in the lobby.

The executive members decided to put up the flag again. Then the resolution was brought to the council.

Word of the ban spread quickly on Friday — including to the state Capitol in Sacramento.

On Friday, state Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Santa Ana, said she and other legislators may introduce a state constitutional amendment to prohibit “state-funded universities and college campuses from banning the United States flag.”

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Online:

The Orange County Register

USC News: “UCI student executive council vetoes flag resolution”

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