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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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Campus leaders respond to ‘bad bull’ at Kent State game

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Photo by Photo by Samuel Falade

Head Yell Leader Memo Salinas addressed the student body following the Sept. 4 game against Kent State as a reminder to uphold the Aggie Core Values. 

Following the season opener against Kent State, student leaders and former students shared reminders of Aggie game day etiquette.
After various plays in the game, students began chanting “bullshit” to the referees as well as other obscenities, including a “f*** Joe Biden” chant, heard from the 12th Man. Many current and former students have taken to social media to express their disapproval of chants that occurred during Saturday’s game.
Head Yell Leader Memo Salinas issued a letter to the student body regarding the obscenities on Sept. 7.
“Texas A&M is a cut above the rest. As Aggies, we show and live out our Core Values of Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect and Selfless Service in all that we do,” Salinas said in the press release. “Sporting events are the front porch of representing Texas A&M spirit and tradition, and our Core Values should be shown to the millions of people watching worldwide.”
Salinas reminded students instead of booing, Aggies “horse laugh” or hiss, which is a tradition which dates back to 1910.
“Whenever we disagree with something, especially at a sporting event, we have always expressed our disapproval in a unique way — by hissing,” Salinas said. “This is a way to distinguish ourselves from every other fanbase in the country, another tradition that has set us apart from all the others.”
After Salinas released his letter on social media, Texas A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork commended his letter on Twitter.
Additionally, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Rt. Brig. Gen. Joe Ramirez also shared his support on Twitter and reminded students of the university Core Values.
Karen Johnston-Ashton, Class of 1982, said she hopes the 12th Man will remember its roots in upcoming games and keep the same level of class as those who have come before them.
“While I understand the cause of some calls at football games are ridiculously stupid, officiating is what officiating is,” Johnston-Ashton said. “It has been since long ago in the Southwest Conference, but [chanting] curse words, [such as] ‘bullshit’ is just not the Aggie way of handling stuff like that.”
Johnston-Ashton said politics should not have a place in the game, instead Aggies should focus on sharing the positive environment of Kyle Field.
“Even as we graduate from the university and move on as former students, we still operate on Honesty, Integrity, and those [Core] Values,” Johnston-Ashton said. “It upsets me to see so much poor behavior at football games, especially the changing of cursing at our serving president. I don’t care whether people agree or disagree with [whomever the] president is.”
Student Body President Natalie Parks encouraged students to take part in unique gameday traditions which are special to A&M and set the university apart from others. Parks said the symbol of the 12th Man is being watched by other Aggies and opposing teams’ guests.
“Every single thing that we’re doing, even in moments of frustration, we [should] carry ourselves differently as the Texas A&M student body because we are upholding the Aggie Core Values in everything that we do,” Parks said. “One of those Core Values is Respect, which is one that I personally try to hit home in my own life. And I think over the course of this past year, [with] COVID[-19], and just all the craziness that we experienced, Respect has really been highlighted as such a critical focal point of what we represent as students, as humans and as Aggies.”
Parks said she urges students to take part in gameday traditions such as uncovering when the Aggie War Hymn is played, stepping off the wood when a player is hurt and standing for the game as the 12th Man in the stands.
“It’s such a powerful gesture when collectively we all come together as Aggies to do those [traditions], and that’s why they’re important,” Parks said. “So even if in the moment, it doesn’t make sense, or it might be frustrating, or there’s a lot going on, there’s a purpose and a reason for why we do all these little game day traditions, from the tiniest things to the biggest things.”
Since games are broadcasted, Parks reminded Aggies they are viewed across the country by current, former and prospective students as well as other fans.
“I like the way that Aggies do things, it’s different, it’s unique, but it sets us apart from all the other fan bases across the country,” Parks said. “It’s another thing that really shows going back to the Core Value of Respect, we respect every person and every team that we play.”
Parks said on game days, the ‘Howdy’ flower bed outside Rudder Tower is blanketed with flowers the color of the opposing team with a sign that welcomes them to campus. Although a lesser known game day tradition, she said she believes it speaks volumes about the welcoming environment of A&M’s campus.
“I always thought that that was really special, it was just a little thing that shows our Aggie hospitality,” Parks said. “We’re happy that they’re here, even though we plan to beat the hell out of them, [in the game] of course. So it really is just the little things, from the hissing to the flowers to just greeting our opponents before and after [the game] that shows good sportsmanship and the spirit we hold so dearly.”
As a former student, Johnston-Ashton said she still holds the Aggie community and traditions near and dear and hopes to see the 12th Man reflect on the “bad bull” at the game.
“Go to the games [and] participate. Wear your masks, please, [being at the game is like] being with 120,000 of your closest friends,” Johnston-Ashton said. “Respect the officials, they have bad days, too. Respect the team, respect the yell leaders, do what they tell you to do, that’s what they’re there for.”
As the season continues and more guests make their way to Aggieland, Parks told students to display Core Values to make everyone feel welcome on campus.
“I really encourage the community to come together and work to make the rest of this football season extremely hyped, extremely positive and extremely redass,” Parks said. “Remember that game day etiquette and respect are so critical to who we are as a community, and how we want to present ourselves to the other communities that get to come to Aggieland and experience our game days because they’re different, they’re incredible, they’re exciting, the energy is there.”

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