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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Board of Regents to vote on seal for diplomas next week

Photo by File
TAMU former seal

The historic “T-Star” seal may remain on diplomas, pending a vote by the A&M Board of Regents at its November meeting next Thursday and Friday.
The issue has been added to the consent agenda, which is passed in a block vote without debate, according to a University-wide email from President Michael Young announcing the news Tuesday.
The president’s push to put the former seal on diplomas comes in response to the outcry by students and alumni after the Board of Regents’ decided last semester to change the university’s official seal from the “Block-T” superimposed over the Star of Texas to the beveled “A-T-M” logo. The new seal will still be used “on official communications,” according to the email.
“Numerous discussions have taken place between myself and student leaders, as well as with you individually, on various issues, but one that has repeated itself many times in these conversations is that of the symbol that would be on your diploma from Texas A&M,” Young said in the email. “The passion I reference above clearly manifested itself in an apparent desire to have the former, historic seal represented on your degrees.”
The student leaders who advocated for the change said they are confident the item will be passed at next Thursday’s meeting. Student Body President Joseph Benigno said the original goal was to convince administrators to revert back to the original seal, but student leaders settled for the less lofty — and more achievable ­— goal of getting the seal back on the diploma.
On the first day of fall classes the student leaders met with President Young to discuss their reasons for wanting to keep the former seal.  
“We held a meeting with President Young on the first day of school and gave him a number of reasons why we supported the old seal, and from that he began talking to board members about some of our opinions,” Speaker of the Student Senate Aaron Mitchell said.
Even with wide support from the student body and student leaders, there were still challenges to overcome to keep the seal on student diplomas.
“The most challenging part of this push would probably be the political balance. When you’re working with the Board of Regents, they have a lot of things on their agenda, so we have to choose what we want to push back on.  For a while it seemed like this was going to be a battle that we weren’t going to win, and it took a lot of convincing certain people that we could win this battle that we were fighting for the students,” said student senator Michael Murtha.
In the end students pulled together to accomplish a common goal, Benigno said.
“I think what makes this university great is its traditions and its history, and unfortunately the new seal did not really recognize that,” Benigno said. “So for me, fighting to keep the old seal any place that we can is very important.”
Many feel that it is important to preserve the symbolic seal, including Commander of the Corps of Cadets Alyssa Michalke.
“We are Aggies and we recognize the seal,” Michalke said. “It’s on everything … It has so much to do with our everyday interactions here at the University and is very special to Texas A&M for that reason.”
Benigno said the unification of the student body was crucial in getting the old seal to remain on the diplomas.
“I have been involved in student government for four years, and I don’t think I have ever seen a reaction from our student body as unified and as loud as we did about the changing of the seal.So we did everything we could to keep the old seal in as many places as possible,” Benigno said.
Mitchell said although Young has only been with the university a short time, he has already connected with the student body by hearing them out on this issue.
“I think it is important that we commend President Young for his efforts in this,” Mitchell said. “I have been in student government since my freshman year at the university and have never met someone who was more willing to sit down with the students, listen to their opinions and really try to put those ideas into action.  President Young has been great through this entire process.  We are so thankful to have him here at our university.”

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