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

The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
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Neil Jhurani, Sports Writer • May 23, 2024

A warm, summer evening bestowed Hoover, Alabama on Wednesday night when the No. 4 Texas A&M Aggies faced the No. 15 Mississippi State Bulldogs...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Achieving a diverse University

It is no secret that one of Texas A&M’s top priorities is to make the University more diverse. According to the A&M Web site, in trying to achieve this goal, A&M President Robert M. Gates and University officials have been focusing on Vision 2020 diversity initiatives to target minorities.
Gates will be working under restraints set forth by the Hopwood v. Texas decision, but he plans to adopt innovative minority recruitment programs and to provide additional scholarship money for minorities, according to a Jan. 15 Battalion article on Gates’ top priorities.
However, diversity will remain only a goal and forever short of reality until the administration and students grasp the importance of cultural diversity.
In a Feb. 18 Battalion article, during a student-faculty panel discussion, Gates said diversity is needed at A&M because corporate America and other schools will not look kindly upon a flagship university that fails to change with the times. It is true that A&M is standing still in a progressive nation in regard to its diversity, and unless this changes, the University will continue to be viewed as a conservative repellent to minorities. However, statistical representation alone is not a just reason for increasing the population of certain minorities.
What must be considered is the strength and knowledge found in a diverse population. It must be understood that different cultures bring a widening of the mind and spirit. Because A&M students are for the most part surrounded by people of the same race and culture, they only get variations of the same race and culture. They cannot experience the values and views that other cultures hold, which, if experienced, can help college students expand beyond the values and views to which they have been exclusively exposed.
University officials and students must realize the value a person of a different ethnic group, creed, gender or sexuality brings, differences not found in any textbook. It is knowledge that is especially vital outside College Station’s city limits, and is necessary for achieving success in any field. During the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Men hate each other because they fear each other, and they fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they are often separated from each other.” One cannot imagine a much greater separation of people than is seen at A&M. The value of diversity cannot be stymied by opposition to the means of achieving it. Diversity, whether it is achieved by racial preference, more scholarship money for minorities or rigorous recruitment, is crucial for any university atmosphere.
If A&M is to become diverse, both administrators and students must realize the importance of cultural diversity beyond outside appearance. Of course, “ghetto” parties thrown by students, which degrade blacks, and stereotypical political cartoons drawn by students cannot be considered welcoming by college applicants of minority status.
But there are several other factors; in particular, the Southern Heritage Society bearing shirts displaying the Confederate flag. These shirts have been questioned since last March, when The Battalion ran a news article and several mail calls voicing the opinions of people who associate the flag with hate, especially on a campus with such a tumultuous racial history. The Confederate flag is a symbol of the Old South and the denial of equality and basic human rights of blacks, unless Southern Heritage Society is now making a bold statement for the rights of states to nullify federal law.
It would be presumptuous to assume that the members of this organization with such shirts are racist, and no one can deny these students the rights to wear shirts with Confederate flags, just as people have the right to criticize them for wearing such shirts. But how would many white A&M students know how blacks feel when, according to the Texas A&M Office of Institutional Studies and Planning, not even three out of every 100 students they see on campus are black? Members of the Southern Heritage Society likely fail to consider that the Confederate states were fighting for, among other things, the loathsome right to keep blacks in bondage. Because this southern culture has resulted in decades of social oppression still extant today, the Confederate flag is nothing short of repugnant and painful to the eyes of blacks.
But this is the mindset when people at a university, or anywhere, are surrounded only by those culturally similar to themselves. A&M students are being deprived of the cultural understanding obtained in a diverse population.During a Feb. 17 panel on diversity, Mathew Maddox, president of the Young Conservatives at A&M, personified opposition against university programs aiding the progress of diversity, citing that such plans go against having a color-blind society and that no attention should be given to differences between races. It is true that the eyes of the law should be blind to such attributes as race, gender and creed, but is being color-blind necessarily good in relationships between people? Being blind to race implies disregard for the different cultures dictated by race. However, these dissimilarities should not only be noticed, but celebrated. One should not pretend these cultural differences do not exist, but should realize each culture is valuable for being unique.
Until the Aggie community recognizes what it can gain by opening its arms to all types of people, the educational experience A&M provides will continue to lack the entirety it should, and is capable of, obtaining. In the words of former President Kennedy, “The price of the democratic way of life is a growing appreciation of people’s differences, not merely as tolerable, but as the essence of a rich and rewarding human experience.”

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