More than 60 University of California, Irvine professors have come out in support of the six student members of the Legislative Council who voted for a so-called “flag ban” on campus, according to signatures on an online petition discovered by Campus Reform.
Last week six members of the Legislative Council, essentially a sub-committee of the full student government, passed a resolution last Tuesday to ban all flags –including the American one — from being displayed in the lobby of the student government offices. This vote was vetoed by the Executive Cabinet, but not until it had caused significant uproar.
The school’s chancellor has since weighed it and the story has been a part of the national news cycle for nearly a week. Three of the students who voted for the ban have since apologized for their choice.
But now a new petition in support of the ban is circulating online.
This petition seeks to help UCI position itself with the “uncontroversial scholarly point” of flag bans and move it away from being aligned with the likes of “Fox News, a notoriously inaccurate media source associated with racism, xenophobia and U.S. nationalism.”
Signatories of the letter also assert that they stand behind the six students and ask the administration to do the same for the “safety” of the students.
It has been signed by more than 1,200 UCI students and faculty members as of Wednesday morning. At least 60 of them are professors by Campus Reform’s count.
Campus Reform reported that the letter was likely written and shared first by Rei Terada, a professor of Comparative Literature at UC Irvine.
To the Legislative Council:
We write to support the six members who offered the resolution to remove national flags from the ASUCI lobby. The university ought to respect their political position and meet its obligation to protect and promote their safety. The resolution recognized that nationalism, including U.S. nationalism, often contributes to racism and xenophobia, and that the paraphernalia of nationalism is in fact often used to intimidate. This is a more or less uncontroversial scholarly point, and in practice the resolution has drawn admiration nationally from much of the academic community. In fact, the resolution’s perspective has been completely borne out by recent events. Over the weekend, UCI has been inundated with racist, xenophobic comments and death threats against the students from people who are, precisely, invested in the paraphernalia of nationalism. UCI’s official Facebook page, for example, has filled up with violent and racist remarks. Its official moderator, representing UCI, has neither repudiated the comments nor deleted them–even the death threats. Meanwhile the university has linked its own communications to Fox News, a notoriously inaccurate media source associated with racism, xenophobia and U.S. nationalism. We are afraid that Chancellor Gillman’s response [http://chancellor.uci.edu/about/writings-and-remarks/2015/150308-statement-on-asuci-actions.html] will have the effect of licensing further harassment. We admire the courage of the resolution’s supporters amid this environment of political immaturity and threat, and support them unequivocally.