Watch CBS News

Student Gov't Meeting Over UCI Flag Flap Canceled Due To 'Violence' Threat

IRVINE ( — A student government meeting at UC Irvine scheduled for Tuesday evening was canceled due to what school officials described as a violent threat.

Officials would not specify the threat, but described it as a "viable threat of violence" that was serious enough to cancel the meeting, which was planned in response to a vote last week to ban the display of all flags before a higher student panel overturned it.

The meeting this evening was to discuss overriding the veto, according to UCI spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon.

"Regardless of your opinion on the display of the American flag, we must be united in protecting the people who make this university a premier institution of higher learning," said Chancellor Howard Gillman in a statement. "Our campus must be a place for safe and civil discourse. We continue to call on everyone to condemn all harassment and threats of violence."

GOP lawmakers and veterans have called for legislation to protect the American flag after last week's vote.

Sen. Janet Nguyen of Garden Grove on Monday announced a proposed constitutional amendment to block publicly funded universities from banning the American flag.

As an immigrant from Vietnam, Nguyen said she would not be a lawmaker today if it weren't for the principles of freedom and democracy the flag represents.

The amendment would need a two-thirds vote of the Democratically controlled state Legislature to appear on the ballot in 2016.

As KCAL9's Stacey Butler reports, vocal crowds gathered outside the student center at UCI on Tuesday evening.

"Don't tell me to be quiet! Get out of my face," one woman said. "You put this flag up and you're like, 'America this, America that!' It does nothing for you."

Robert McLogan, a flag supporter, countered: "Your First Amendment right is being expressed right now. That's what this flag stands in the embodiment of the Constitution."

Meanwhile, UCI has increased security and asked students to be aware of their surroundings, especially the six who voted in favor of the ban after their names and photos were posted on social media.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.