OU student gov scraps Pledge of Allegiance, says it's 'incompatible' with US Constitution
A student government group at the University of Oklahoma passed a resolution removing the Pledge of Allegiance from its agenda.
The Undergraduate Student Congress claimed that the pledge “is incompatible with the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment as pledging your allegiance to the flag of the United States as one nation under God” is in conflict to the right of freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, and petitioning the government.
The resolution passed Tuesday by a vote of 15-11, reported KFOR-TV.
OU senior Gabi Thompson, who sponsored the resolution, stated that her motivation for removing the pledge was because it was written for the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America, which she believes to be problematic.
"It was written as a celebration of Columbus Day in 1892, and in the city of Norman we don't celebrate Columbus Day, we celebrate Indigenous People's Day,” Thompson told KFOR-TV.
OU’s international community makes up 10 percent of the student body, according to Thompson.
The OU College Republicans wrote a response stating that “while we respect everyone’s right to not say the Pledge of Allegiance, we would urge them to do otherwise. The Pledge of Allegiance transcends partisanship, race, ethnicity, and all of the divides in our country. It reminds us that though we may disagree, or look different, or not worship the same, we are one nation, indivisible.”
The response also stated that it is no different than our flag or national anthem and that these “symbols of freedom” are recognized and celebrated throughout the world, including in Hong Kong, where protesters wave the flag and sing the Star-Spangled Banner.
Celeste Barber, the former Santa Barbara City College professor who is now suing her former employer after being heckled while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during the public comment section of a board of trustees meeting, reacted to the news in Oklahoma in an exclusive statement to Campus Reform.
"What these students, and they are misguided, are attempting to do is to silence the free expression of speech in this country, and that can never, never be permitted," Barber said.
"This controversy over the Pledge of Allegiance is not about the requirement, to be forced, to be compelled, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. It's just the reverse. For those of us who love reciting the pledge, who respect the flag, it's about reminding folks that it's about our right to recite the pledge in a public forum when we choose to do so. No one is ever compelled to recite the pledge or anything else in this country if they don't wish to do so," Barber added.
As for the Pledge of Allegiance's ties to Columbus Day, Barber acknowledged, "yes, it is true that the Pledge of Allegiance came about during the anniversary of Columbus Day, but what was the reason behind it? It was for the massive wave of immigrants who were coming into our country at that time to help them assimilate."
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