On Monday afternoon, Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) joined Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) and several of their colleagues to jointly announce that they will introduce a Senate Constitutional Amendment on Wednesday prohibiting state-funded colleges and universities from banning the flag of the United States of America on school property.
Legislators in attendance were joined by Pete Conaty, an advocate representing veterans groups, Ted Adams, president of Chapter 500, Vietnam Veterans of American and Fred Romero president of the Cesar Chavez Chapter of the American GI Forum and other representatives from veterans service organizations.
“Like so many across our state and country, I was deeply troubled by the decision made to remove the American flag from the lobby of the student government offices at UC Irvine,” said Senator Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga. “I commend the executive cabinet for vetoing this action, but last week’s series of events is still discouraging. The flag represents generations of brave men and women who gave everything to secure the liberties and freedoms that form the foundation of our country. To ban its display dishonors their sacrifice.”
“I came to this country as an immigrant searching for freedom and democracy and I would not be here today if it were not for the American flag,” said Senator Nguyen. “The veterans that are with us here today and the thousands of servicemen and women fighting throughout the world deserve for us to make every effort to ensure that the American flag is proudly displayed at public universities and colleges throughout California. That is why we have introduced this Senate Constitutional Amendment”
The introduction of this legislation, was prompted by an incident that occurred last week at the University of California, Irvine where the Legislative Student Council passed Resolution R50-70 banning the displays of all flags, citing efforts to be inclusive of others and potential negative interpretations of the flag. On Saturday, the Executive Cabinet of the Associated Students of the University of California, Irvine voted to veto the ban of the flag.
Nevertheless, this unfortunate event served to draw attention to a potential problem that could reoccur at another college or university campus in the future. The senate constitutional amendment would ensure that incidents like this do not happen again.
"Over 2.5 million servicemen and women have died in combat to defend the American flag, and the values and ideals associated with it. It is with great pride that we display this symbol of our freedom at our public universities in California,” said Assemblyman Don Wagner, who represents portions of Irvine.
Assemblyman Matt Harper who represents California’s 74th Assembly District, which encompasses UC Irvine also expressed his disappointment with the events that transpired last week, “I have a growing concern about what is happening in student government on our UC campuses.”
"As a veteran with family who gave their life defending our flag, I will do everything in my power to protect the most recognized symbol of freedom and liberty that the world has ever seen,” expressed Assemblyman Bill Brough.
Senator Pat Bates, who represents California’s 36th District also shared her thoughts on the Senate Constitutional Amendment, “Our veterans and active-duty personnel have fought hard to protect the ideals of freedom and equality that the American flag stands for, and that is why I support the Senate Constitutional Amendment that bars state-funded colleges and universities from banning the flag,” said Senator Pat Bates.
“The flag of the United States represents freedom and liberty throughout the world and reminds us of the men and women that have sacrificed their lives to protect our Rights. In addition to these sacrifices, seeing the American Flag should also remind us of the bravery that our current members of the military and the impact their service is having on their families. Today we stand together in defense of our flag, our freedoms and the millions of people that put their lives on the line to protect those freedoms,” said Senator Jean Fuller.
“The flag is more than just the symbol for our country,” said Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff. “It’s a reminder to all of us that the freedoms we enjoy in a society like ours are not free. They were bought and paid for by the sacrifice of others. The flag is a symbol of this freedom. Where this flag flies, freedom lives.”
If the constitutional amendment is passed by the State Legislature and approved by California voters on the November 2016 ballot, it would prohibit all University of California, California State University, and Community Colleges campuses from banning display of the American flag.
Legislators hold a press conference on Monday, March 9, to propose a Senate Constitutional Amendment that would prohibit state-funded colleges and universities from banning American flags on their campuses.