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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students divided on flag expense

    UA students and faculty are not opposed to a recent bill that would mandate an American flag in every classroom at the UA, but they do wonder about the practicality of the bill.

    Bill HB 2583 would require school districts, charter schools, community college districts and the Arizona Board of Regents to purchase and display U.S. flags in each classroom in accordance with federal law, according to the bill.

    Teti Gomez, an aerospace engineering junior, said she doesn’t think students would notice if there were flags in every classroom.

    “”People usually look for clocks, not for flags,”” Gomez said.

    The flags would have to be manufactured in the United States and also be at least 2 feet by 3 feet in size, the bill states.

    Darlene Uzdan, assistant manager of All The Kings Flags, a discount flag specialist, said top-of-the line rayon flags run about $13.50 a piece and brackets to hold flags would cost about $2.65 each.

    Uzdan said the UA would probably get a good deal on the flags and priced the overall purchase at a minimum of $4,000.

    According to UA Real Estate Administration, there are 433 instructional rooms at the UA, including class laboratories, farms for agricultural students, or patient rooms with beds and mannequins for nursing students, said Jose Teran, a management analyst for Real Estate Administration.

    Al Tarcola, director of Facilities Management, said although there are many factors to consider about the flags such as placement and size, he has no problem placing flags in every classroom.

    “”If we are given the directive and the resources we will certainly do that,”” Tarcola said. “”It is our business to do that.””

    Justin Slagle, a chemical engineering sophomore, said although he doesn’t think having flags in every classroom is necessary, it doesn’t hurt either.

    “”I grew up with it in every classroom,”” Slagle said. “”It’s not necessarily a bad thing.””

    Slagle said he is fine with the flags as long as they don’t take away from funding for anything like class availability or faculty salaries.

    Astrid Duffy, a creative writing senior, said she doesn’t see how having an American flag in every classroom could promote patriotism.

    “”I think they should worry about increasing awareness about other countries (as well),”” Duffy said.

    Jean Braucher, a professor of law and adviser for the American Civil Liberties Union club at the UA, said the proposal does not raise a civil liberties issue, but has the potential to raise an academic freedom issue.

    “”Something being on a wall in a classroom is not compelling anything,”” Braucher said.

    Braucher said academic freedom could be compromised if a faculty member doesn’t want a flag in the classroom for whatever reason.

    “”When you start requiring (the flags) in higher education, because it’s novel it starts to have more of a feeling of expression,”” Braucher said.

    President Peter Likins said he has no objections to having flags in the classroom, but he does think the bill is impractical.

    “”It is a very substantial challenge for a university to maintain those flags and follow proper protocol so you are properly respectful for the rules of engagement,”” Likins said.

    Likins mentioned that UA classrooms are not locked up at night like elementary or secondary schools, which could increase the risk of flag theft. He said it will be expensive to maintain the flags and make sure they are not stolen or vandalized.

    “”It’s just a practical question,”” Likins said. “”It’s not a question of ideology.””

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