Students start petition for flag removal on campus

Students start petition for flag removal on campus

If you attended elementary school in America, you might remember facing the American flag in your classroom and stating the Pledge of Allegiance by placing your right hand on your heart. However, to avoid “triggering” hurt feelings amongst illegal immigrants, six student council members attending UC Irvine wanted to remove the American flags in the ASUCI Lobby.

A petition has been made to support the decision of the student government, which features over 1,000 signatures including 60 from Irvine faculty members. However, everyone does not agree with this issue: Chancellor Harold Gilman and the executive cabinet of ASUCI vetoed the ban, and members of the public sent death threats to the six council members whose idea it was to remove the American flag from the lobby.

Chancellor Harold Gillman released a statement you can find in full on the UCI: Office of the Chancellor website; he stated the views of these six student council members are “unconventional” and “outrageous.” Gillman further expressed his feelings toward this incident that UC Irvine is an institution that has been “created by the world’s greatest democracy… and we feel privileged to be able to serve the cause of freedom and progress under the American flag. Make no mistake: The American flag proudly flies throughout the University of California, Irvine, including outside my office window, and will continue to do so.”

Other professors, such as Iranian-born literature professor Nasrin Rahimieh and African American studies professor Frank B. Wilderson III, have differing opinions from the chancellor; they continue to support the student government as well as the petition.

Both sides of the situation have understandable pros and cons. On one hand, the student government feels it is important to represent diversity and make all residents feel comfortable. Soldiers fight for this country so people can own the freedom to express their individuality, whether it is practicing their religion or representing their ethnic background. On the other hand, we live in America; there is no need to propagate a loss of patriotism for our own country. Pacific does have students who have served in the military, and these soldiers who fought for our country would be appalled to see the symbol of our nation’s freedom being removed.

Ultimately, it is difficult to imagine a petition of this kind being written at all.

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Sarah Hong