Senate Bill 76, introduced by Student Senator Jose Meneses, states that “it shall not be compulsory for the flag of the United State of America to be displayed at ASUCD Senate meetings.”
“It should be at the discretion of the Senate whether presenting the flag is presently necessary,” the bill continues. “Considering that the flag is seldom present at Senate meetings, it should not be mandated by the Bylaws as a codified practice.”
The UC-Davis College Republicans are outraged by the bill, and have called it a “slap in the face” to American military members.
“The University of California has long been a public university dedicated to the education of its students. The flag of the United States of America stands for the educational opportunity provided by America, as well as the sacrifice of our military soldiers and veterans to provide us with this freedom,” Deborah Porter, political director of the UC-Davis College Republicans, told Campus Reform.
“Restricting the flag to be displayed at the mercy of the President pro-tempore is a slap in the face to our military members, and their sacrifice, even to the death, for our freedoms. I hold our military members in high respect, and thus vehemently oppose Senate Bill 76.”
The change has also sparked outrage from alumni, who have been emailing the student Senate saying that they will no longer be donating to the university, the Sacramento Bee reported.
“When I introduced the bill, I didn’t know it would be controversial,” Meneses told the Sacramento Bee.
Meneses claims that he was simply trying to make the Student Senate in compliance with federal law, which says that an organization cannot mandate displaying the flag.
“The opinion in that case is that you can’t force people to pledge your allegiance, by (the flag) being there; by extension, you are pledging your allegiance to a symbol that you don’t relate to or that you don’t equate yourself with,” Meneses said, citing a 1943 US Supreme Court decision that West Virginia couldn’t force students to pledge allegiance to the flag.