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

Advertisement
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
Advertisement
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)
Down but not out
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...

Advertisement
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
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).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M student uses racial slur in group message with over 1,000 Aggies

In+the+Sports+Pass+2019+GroupMe%2C+racial+slurs+and+inappropriate+images+were+sent+by+anonymous+accounts+and+one+A%26amp%3BM+student.+%28Slurs+censored%29%26%23160%3B
Provided

In the “Sports Pass 2019” GroupMe, racial slurs and inappropriate images were sent by anonymous accounts and one A&M student. (Slurs censored) 

Texas A&M has issued security recommendations to students using the popular group messaging app GroupMe after anonymous accounts posting slurs and pornography invaded several student groups. But in one such case, an A&M student responded by posting a slur herself, sparking outcry on social media.

In the 2019 Sports Pass GroupMe, animal science senior Meagan Snow sent a message using the N-word while anonymous accounts under the username Tyrone Gay sent multiple pornographic images into the stream of A&M students looking to buy and sell sports passes. Some in the group identified the Tyrone Gay accounts as bots, though it’s unclear whether they were truly automated accounts or simply an anonymous individual or group posting manually.
International studies sophomore Alexia Hernandez reported the incident to A&M’s Stop Hate system and took to Twitter with screenshots of Snow’s comment and subsequent apology.
Hernandez took screenshots of the conversation and tweeted them on Sept. 2 in a post that has garnered over 200 retweets.

In an email on Sept. 3, the Texas A&M Division of IT advised students and faculty to adjust the settings of their group messages to prevent malicious bots from being added to the chat.
“If you are using the ‘GroupMe’ app for your classes or organizations, we recommend using ‘closed’ groups instead of ‘open’ groups,” the email said. “Closed groups enable you to prevent unwanted individuals from joining by allowing you to approve and remove members.”
Snow sent her message into the GroupMe on Aug. 31 around 9:30 p.m. and followed up with an apologetic message an hour and a half later. At the time of publication, Snow had not responded to an email request from The Battalion.
“When I saw [her] responses, I was horrified and disgusted,” Hernandez said. “I was angry; I was saying ‘why is a student of A&M that embodies our core values, one of which is respect, going to say this horrible slur?’”
The group boasted over 1,700 Aggies, and as an active member, Hernandez noticed the short comment in the midst of the images.
“She claims she was drunk and that she was still drunk,” Hernandez said. “But to me, when you’re drunk, you tend to say things that are kind of on your mind and in the back of your head. [There is] no excuse, drunk or sober, to say anything like that. If you don’t hold those hateful values at your heart, you would never say that in the first place.”
Hernandez said several students accepted Snow’s apology despite not being a part of the community that was targeted.
“That’s sending the message that you can say something abhorrent, but you can make a not-really-genuine apology and people forgive you,” Hernandez said. “The people who accepted the apology were not people of color.”
Hernandez said she was disappointed by the response she received to her Stop Hate report.

“The bulk of the message was really just about the bot, which really wasn’t my what my report was about, but I understand why that was important as well,” Hernandez said. “I just kind of felt a little surprised that [Snow’s comment] wasn’t what they were concentrating on.”
Dean of Student Life Anne Reber said that when responding to incidents like these, the university’s approach is informed by students’ rights to free speech. Typically a student has to cause disruption on campus for A&M to be able to take action, she said.
“If a Stop Hate report comes in and it contains behavior that potentially violates our student code of conduct, then it is possible that we will follow up by calling that student in or maybe even conducting a student conduct investigation,” Reber said. “But if you’re just talking about speech, then it’s just that much more difficult because of the First Amendment.”
Despite the racist comment, Hernandez said that she doesn’t want Snow to be forced out of A&M. But she said she hopes that the incident will push the university to take student’s hate speech more seriously.
“I’m not saying I want her expelled or anything, but there can’t just be a slap on the wrist for severe instances such as this,” Hernandez said. “This contributes to the campus culture. This is why people of color don’t want to come here.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *