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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M seal change stirs online pushback

A%26M+seal
PROVIDED
A&M seal

In a move that resulted in social media outcry, the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved a change to the university seal and the MSC Flag Room’s name at its Wednesday meeting.

The student body responded quickly to the seal change. An online petition garnered thousands of signatures and Student Senate passing a last-minute resolution against the change.

The “T-star” logo in the center of the seal will now be replaced by the beveled “Block T” logo.  According to a report by The Eagle, “the change will take place gradually through ‘normal obsolescence.’” The logo has remained unchanged since 1963.

Nike designed the beveled “Block T” in 1999, but former A&M President R. Bowen Loftin did not mandate its use across the university until 2011. 

The Board also approved a number of other items, including the renaming of the Flag Room in the Memorial Student Center as well as the naming of the exterior columns 

of Kyle Field, but specific names were not disclosed.

In response to the board’s decision, Hannah Weger, speaker of the Student Senate, authored a last-minute resolution titled “The Preserving Tradition Resolution,” stating that “the student senate requests the Board vote to revert the official seal of Texas A&M University to its former state.” The resolution passed unanimously by the Student Senate during the 67th legislation’s final open forum.

Weger said the idea of changing the seal is “ridiculous.”

“I came to this school because … I felt like the culture and traditions were frozen in time,” Weger said. “Nothing or anybody could change them. And it’s what made A&M so different. It’s what makes us special. And so, sure, a lot of people are going to complain saying, ‘Oh, it’s not a big deal,’ but it is a big deal.” 

The seal and the logo are meant to be two completely separate items, Weger said. She said the seal is used more exclusively and means more to people.

“One’s meant to showcase the features of our athletics teams and marketing — that’s the logo, the Block T A&M you see it everywhere or when we’re playing football. People identify us by that, it’s on the helmets,” Weger said. “But the seal is more than that, the seal has everything to do with the academics of the institution, it has everything to do with the professionalism of this school and what getting a degree from here means. That’s why it’s not blasted on everything — it’s kind of sacred.”

Incoming Speaker of the Student Senate Aaron Mitchell said he was disappointed by the Board of Regents decision because people were only alerted 48 hours before it was approved. 

“I was a little bit disappointed in that,” Mitchell said. “I know the Board of Regents has our best interest at heart at all times, I’d just like it if they were a little more transparent in the future.”

Many students have risen up to protest the seal change, changing their Facebook profile pictures to the old seal and signing an online petition against the change. The petition has gained more than 4,100 signatures at time of press Wednesday. 

In the description section of the change.org petition, Cameron Palmer, author of the petition and environmental sciences junior, said the “new seal does not reflect Texas A&M students or traditions and we believe that it needs to be changed.”

Palmer said he decided to make the petition after seeing on his social media feeds all the anger and disappointment stemming from his friends on the decision. 

“It just seemed like it was another peg that the Board of Regents was kind of pulling out from underneath us to devalue the traditions and the things we hold dear here,” Palmer said. “And aside from that we just thought the new seal was cartoonish and ugly, [and] we didn’t feel A&M needs to be marketed.”

Palmer said when the petition gets to the Board of Regents he hopes one of the members will speak to him and explain why they made this decision.

“My message is for the Board of Regents to stop doing things that the student body doesn’t agree with,” Palmer said. “Especially when the student body is backed by former Ags and even future Ags who don’t like the direction that it’s going.”

Many students were also angered by the idea of renaming the Flag Room. Kathryn Fajfar, senior geography major, said military traditions like the meaning of the MSC were among the  reasons she decided to leave Illinois to attend A&M. 

“The MSC is a living memorial for all of the Aggies who have died serving our country in any war,” Fajar said. “It’s been called the living room of the Texas A&M campus … To have a place like that named after one specific person is like renaming the university after a corporation, like Samsung’s Texas A&M University. I know it’s an extreme example, but it proves a point.”

Anthony Marich, agricultural leadership and development junior, said he thinks changing either the seal or the name of the Flag Room is a terrible idea. 

“If they name it after a person, or a thing, it completely eliminates the purpose of the Flag Room, in my opinion,” Marich said. “The Flag Room is the room in the MSC that embodies the units within the Corps of Cadets, and then represents the branches of the military. All of the members of the military. If you name it after someone it will eliminate that purpose. As for the seal, I can understand wanting to unify the brand, but why not unify the brand with the old seal?”

Other students have said they feel the Board of Regents has overstepped its boundaries. Kevin Knapick, renewable resources junior, said he feels the disregard given for student opinion by the Board of Regents is heartbreaking. 

“I love and chose this university because of its traditions and to see the executives who are charged with its operations ignoring and belittling those traditions is heartbreaking,” Knapick said. “Texas A&M holds six core values — excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service — and the Board of Regents is supposed to promote these, but by making these changes without input from the current and former students I believe they have torn our core values to shreds.”

 

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