College students make U.S. flag voluntary at meetings

DAVIS, Calif. (CBS13) — The student Senate at the University of California-Davis will no longer fly the American flag in meetings after a vote on Thursday night.

The move is not an outright ban on the American flag during meetings, but the decision does make it voluntary. Even that has sparked outrage on campus.


While the American flag is a symbol of our country’s freedom, it’s a symbol too controversial to fly for some at UC Davis.

“We don’t have to have this show and demonstration of patriotism everywhere in our society,” said student Senate board member Itmar Waksman.

Born in Israel, Waksman was recently naturalized, but he believes the American flag doesn’t need to be in view at all times. The bill he wrote said in part, “The concept of the United States of America and patriotism is different for every individual.”

He wants to start a conversation.

“About how polarized our society is, and how divided we are,” he said.

Fellow student senator Michael Gofman voted to keep the flag and views the bill as anti-American. His parents emigrated from the Soviet Union — a place where he says they had no rights — to the United States.

“They saw this country as completely different, where they were able to do what they want with their future, and I see a flag as representing all of that — freedom, liberty and opportunity,” he said.

But Becca Payne is with Waksman and helped him garner enough support to remove the flag.

“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 [Associated Students, University of California, Davis] meetings,” she said.

The university’s administration is distancing itself from the matter, with a school spokesman saying it’s strictly a student matter.

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