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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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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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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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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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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

Defeating discrimination

 
 

Recently, a former Texas A&M student was attacked on Northgate simply because he was gay. Though the assault was unprovoked and clearly motivated out of hate for people who are or appear to be gay, nobody attempted to assist him. Instead, according to the victim, people actually drove by encouraging such violence, an action reprehensible to anyone with common decency.
Those who listen to or read the news have heard of such attacks taking place around the nation. The most well-known hate crime involving homosexuals occurred in 1998 against a young college student named Matthew Shepard. Shepard was tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyo., pistol-whipped and left for dead in the freezing night. Six days later, he died of injuries resulting from the attack. While the Northgate incident didn’t result in death or even any life-threatening injuries, the message of fear and harassment it sent to the gay and lesbian community at A&M is clear: You are not wanted in Aggieland.
The attack represents blatant ignorance about not only human rights in general, but also about what it means to be an Aggie and how students attending A&M should treat others. Freshmen attending New Student Conferences are taught in large meetings and forums that Aggieland is a community of respect. The reason so many students choose to go to A&M is because of its reputation as a friendly campus.The actions of the two men who attacked the former student contradict the values and beliefs that make A&M what it is.
According to the FBI, there were more than 1,500 hate crimes committed against homosexuals in the year 2000. While statistics for the last few years are still being reviewed as cases are investigated and channeled through the legal system, this number probably hasn’t changed much. But 1,500 hate crimes is 1,500 too many. People seem to think that these sorts of incidents happen somewhere far away from their community. Yet, the disturbing fact remains that the attack against the gay former student happened at A&M’s front door.
In a society and democracy that upholds equality, liberty and justice, such attacks must be prevented in the future. Regardless of whether people think homosexuality is moral, every person who values the principles of human rights, such as those championed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Ghandi, must do their part to make sure hate crimes never happen in our community again
However, some questions still remain. Where were the police when this attack happened? Surely their time would be better spent monitoring the activities taking place on Northgate, where excessive alcohol consumption can lead to bar fights and even hate crimes, than handing out noise citations and MIPs.
Furthermore, why didn’t anyone stop and help this person? Instead, people drove by encouraging the aggressors as they attacked the victim. If people stand by and watch such an attack take place and refuse to offer aid or at the very least alert law enforcement, they are aiding and abetting the crime itself.
If people attend A&M partly because of its friendly atmosphere of respect and integrity, they must do their part to make sure that environment remains. Ignoring such incidents not only demolishes the good reputation A&M has as a friendly campus, but it also sends a message to those who would discriminate against others of different sexual orientations that their violent actions are tolerable.
As Aggies, students need to do their part to help A&M keep the amiable tone it has. As Americans, citizens need to speak out against all types of hate crimes and violence. By working with local law enforcement, the owners of bars and restaurants along Northgate and other members of the student body, Aggies across this campus can send a strong message that hate might be tolerated in other parts of the world, whether in Iran or in Wyoming, but that it will not be tolerated on our campus.

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