Threat forces cancellation of flag ban meeting at California university

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 10, 2015 11:59 PM

(Reuters) - A threat of violence forced the student council of a southern California university to cancel a meeting on a bill to ban national flags from the common area of student government offices, officials said on Tuesday.

The measure, vetoed on Saturday after being passed last week by the student legislative council of the University of California at Irvine, said national flags bore a range of cultural significances that some could interpret negatively.

Tuesday night's meeting was set to discuss overriding the veto, but was canceled after officials received a "viable threat of violence" over the controversy, the university said.

"Regardless of your opinion on the display of the American flag, we must be united in protecting the people who make this university a premier institution of higher learning," UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman said in a statement.

The resolution added that national flags, and in particular, that of the United States, had 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.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco)