Flag ban flap highlights misguided attempt at inclusivity

Illustration by Trevor Moore

What the hell was UC Irvine’s Legislative Council thinking?

On March 6, six of the council members voted to remove all flags, including the American flag, from the student government’s office.

In less than a week, the decision was vetoed by the Executive Cabinet, the chancellor of UC Irvine released a statement calling the decision “outrageous and indefensible” and the council has been unable to meet on three occasions because of violent security threats.

While violence is never the answer, I am furious and appalled and only have one thing to say:

Check your privilege, Legislative Council.

Now, that’s not a phrase I utter often, but it’s the only thing I can think of that remotely begins to describe the motivations of those who voted to approve the ban.

The claim was that they were only trying to make the office more inclusive by banning all flags. Instead, they insulted the foundation of this nation.

Those students were able to vote on that legislation as a part of their collegiate government, one that they are able to have because America has men and women who have given their lives for our nation in an effort to keep it free.

That flag is a symbol of all the lives that have been lost over centuries of forming and defending this nation’s freedom and ideals.

But it’s not just about the American flag being banned. What about every other country?

Is it really inclusive when they take down everyone’s flag that was already there? I’d say it’s more insulting than anything.

How would UC Irvine’s international students feel if the flag of their home country would’ve been taken down as well? If that were me, I’d feel even less welcomed and more excluded.

The flag system that the office had before was fine. There were flags from other cultures and countries in that office, too, not just America’s.

Their decision was basically like having all the flags taken out of Chico State’s Bell Memorial Union because it’s not inclusive, when there’s already more flags than I can count without my eyes crossing.

Ultimately, I think that the members of that Legislative Council need to think long and hard about the decision they tried to make on behalf of everyone.

Maybe instead of being overly sensitive and passive, they should take pride in their country and truly represent inclusiveness by leaving all of the flags alone.

Megan Mann can be reached at [email protected] or @meganisthemann on Twitter.