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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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June 16, 2024

A stop at Sully

Geographic+information+science+and+technology+senior+and+Deputy+Corps+Commander%26%23160%3BEnnis+Rios%26%23160%3Bstopped+at+the+Lawrence+Sullivan+Ross+statue+in+Academic+Plaza+to+read+the+names+of+the+Class+of+2019+Aggies+that+have+died.
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Geographic information science and technology senior and Deputy Corps Commander Ennis Rios stopped at the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue in Academic Plaza to read the names of the Class of 2019 Aggies that have died.

Students from the Class of 2019 turned out in hundreds at the statue of Lawrence Sullivan Ross during their Elephant Walk, despite its absence on the walk’s official route.
After Class Councils made the decision to omit the Sully statue from the Elephant Walk route, leaders in the Corps of Cadets orchestrated their own stop at the monument of the former Texas A&M president and Confederate general.
Before the senior class stepped off the quad to embark on their journey, senior yell leader Gavin Suel said students could choose to stray from the set path if they chose but stressed the importance of solidarity among the class.
“I highly encourage every single person here to follow me and the other yell leaders as we walk to the admin building right now,” Suel said. “As we pass the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue in Academic Plaza, if you wish to linger in Academic Plaza, please do. I highly encourage everyone to stay together and remember that Elephant Walk is about unity of the senior class. That’s what being part of the Aggie Family is about as well.”
Elephant Walk director Julia Tisch said the decision not to stop at the Sul Ross statue was made in an effort to make the walk more inclusive. 

“We really just feel like there are a bunch of students here who are about to graduate and who have still yet to feel like A&M is their home just because of certain traditions that they don’t feel included in or just the way they’ve been treated or viewed by their peers or their professors,” Tisch said. “This is a small other way that could help some students feel more welcomed here right before they graduate.”
As the class set out on their path, a few groups of students headed to Academic Plaza to take photos and honor the Sul Ross statue. Aerospace engineering senior Robby Thomas chose not to walk with the class. Instead, he stood in Academic Plaza and waited for others to join him at the statue. Thomas said he would not participate in a “butchered tradition.”
“Sully’s the reason that A&M is still here, because the university was going bankrupt and he saved it,” Thomas said. “Sure he was a Confederate general, but just because he was a Confederate doesn’t mean he’s a racist or all of the other nasty things people are saying about him. He’s still a major part of our history and the reason why A&M is still here.”
Between the official stops at the YMCA building and Kyle Field, hundreds of students flocked around the Sul Ross statue and chanted the words inscribed on the statue’s pedestal. Ennis Rios, deputy corps commander and geographic information science and technology senior, stood atop the statue and gave a brief speech emphasizing Ross’ contributions to the university.
“We’re stopped here in the Academic Plaza at the statue of Lawrence Sullivan Ross, a man who was not perfect, but he loved his university,” Rios said. “It was through his actions that A&M, our university, was preserved.”
While he stood, Rios read the names of deceased students in the Class of 2019. The crowd responded “Here” to each name.
“The first Silver Taps in 1898 was held in honor of Sully and has been taking place ever since,” Rios said. “Behind you are the Silver Taps and the Muster monuments as well as the flagpole where the Silver Taps notices are posted. It’s here that each month, we honor our fallen classmates, and it’s here that we will honor them one last time as the Class of ‘19. It is through us and through the traditions of this great university that our classmates will live forever.”
Microbiology senior and Company A-2 recruiting officer Natalie Taylor said students honor the memory of Ross because of his service to Texas A&M.
“We’re not all perfect, and yes he made mistakes and we don’t all agree with those, but he saved this university,” Taylor said. “We are here because of him. That is why he is so important in our hearts, because of what he meant to this university.”

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  • During Elephant Walk, students made their way to Academic Plaza to stop at the statue of Lawrence Sullivan “Sully” Ross. Cadets recited the inscription on the pedestal, one of the things that they are required to memorize as a freshman.

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