Following the unfortunate decision of the University of Irvine Student Council to ban the United States flag from their lobby, Senator Janet Nguyen, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, Senator Pat Bates, Assemblyman Matt Harper and Assemblyman Don Wagner are exploring options to ensure that the flag is restored.
If banning the American flag from public universities and college campuses is not already unconstitutional under the First Amendment, Senator Nguyen and her colleagues are ready to introduce a Senate Constitutional Amendment that prohibits State funded universities and college campuses from banning the United States Flag.
UC Irvine’s student council approved the ban on Thursday by passing Resolution R50-70. The resolution, authored by Matthew Guevara, effectively bans the displays of all flags citing, among other things, that the interpretation of the flag depends on one’s experience and can consequently serve as a negative symbol of colonialism for some. An argument in favor of making the lobby space as inclusive as possible was also cited in the resolution.
“As an alumni of the University of California, Irvine, but most importantly as an immigrant who came to the United States in search of freedom and democracy, I am disheartened that the student council has chosen to remove the American flag from its lobby,” said Senator Janet Nguyen. “Millions have sacrificed to defend freedom and democracy for over 200 years while brave service men and women continue to risk their lives everyday so that we can fly the American flag with dignity and pride. I cannot stand idly by while this beacon of freedom is banned.”
Assemblyman Don Wagner, who currently represents the 68th Assembly District, expressed his consternation with the student’s decision.
“Freedom of speech is one of the many principles that the American flag stands for and I am disappointed that this group of students have chosen to utilize that very right to take down a sacred symbol for liberty. Senator Nguyen and I agree that this is a travesty and if need be, we will take a stand to protect the display of the American flag,” said Assemblyman Don Wagner.
Should a Senate Constitutional Amendment be necessary to ensure that the American flag is returned, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, Senator Pat Bates, Assemblyman Matt Harper and Assemblyman Don Wagner will join Senator Janet Nguyen to introduce the constitutional amendment first thing Monday morning, which if approved by the Senate and the Assembly, would need to be approved by California voters in an upcoming election.