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Is flying the American flag optional? New campus decision sparks controversy

The University of California (UC) Davis student senate made it an option to display the American flag during meetings, which stirred up controversy not only among other students on campus who say they take on a more patriotic point of view, but with numerous social media users who called people ‘snowflakes’ for supporting the option.

The Sac Bee reports that Senate Bill 76 was passed on Thursday, which allows the current law to be amended to make flying the U.S. flag optional during every senate meeting of the Associated Students at UC Davis.

“The concept of United States of America and patriotism is different for every individual, it should not be compulsory that the flag is in view at all times during Senate meetings,” the resolution reads.

According to Jose Antonio Meneses, the person responsible for introducing the amendment, the new resolution ensures that students in the senate are following proper rules. Under federal law, student government isn’t allowed to require the U.S. flag to be displayed at meetings.

“It wasn’t political in any way. But because it is the United States flag … it’s a touchy subject to talk about. We want to make sure we are not sued,” said Meneses.

Michael Gofman, a student senator who opposed the changes, disagreed with Meneses. He said that the “governing bodies within the U.S.” are required to display the flag, which includes the student senate. As a first-generation American whose parents fled the Soviet Union for a better life, Gofman feels that the bill “is a slap in the face.”

“It was a purely political issue from the start.”

Gofman wasn’t the only one to disagree. Numerous people across several social media platforms joined in to protest the changes, even resorting to referring to the students who support the change as “snowflakes.” Many alumni were in disagreement as well, and vowed to never donate to the school again as long as the amended bill is in place.

Becca Payne, a student senate member who supported the bill, said that to many, the flag represents a negative meaning.

“The flag to a lot of people represents capitalism, colonialism and the genocide of indigenous people, and this is why we don’t want the flag in meetings.”

For now, UC students who support the bill made it clear that wanted to make sure it was known that the flag was not outright banned, but instead, “made an option.”