The student council of a southern California university passed a bill that would ban the hanging of any national flag in the common area of student government offices, school officials said on Friday.
The measure, passed by six undergraduates on the University of California at Irvine’s student legislative council, said that national flags bear a range of cultural significances that could be interpreted negatively by some.
The resolution added that national flags – citing the United States flag in particular – have been “flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism” and “serve as symbols of patriotism or weapons for nationalism.”
“Freedom of speech, in a space that aims to be as inclusive as possible can be interpreted as hate speech,” the bill said.
The Executive Cabinet of the school’s student government will meet on Saturday to discuss vetoing the bill, Associated Students of UCI President Reza Zomorrodian said in a statement.
“I stand firmly against this piece of legislation, though I understand the authors intent and supporters intent, I disagree with the solution the council has come to,” Zomorrodian said, adding that the bill was not supported by campus leadership.
The Los Angeles Times reported that if vetoed, the bill would return to the legislative council where it would have to be passed by a two-thirds majority to override the rejection.
A post on the university’s Facebook page on Friday made light of the bill reading in part, “Contrary to what you might be hearing, flags are still flying at UC Irvine,” alongside a picture of the American flag. Many of the more than 350 comments on the post decried the bill.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Robert Birsel)