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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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
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Texas A&M starting pitcher/relief pitcher Emiley Kennedy (11) hands the ball to starting pitcher/relief pitcher Brooke Vestal (19) during Texas A&M’s game against Texas at the Austin Super Regional at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, May 25, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Luke White, Sports Editor • May 25, 2024

As the fifth inning drew to a close in Texas A&M softball’s Super Regional matchup with No. 1 Texas on Saturday, the Aggies found themselves...

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)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
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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)
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
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Plant blast in West stirs A&M community response

The explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas – a town of less than 3,000 people located 100 miles northwest of College Station – brought students and community members into relief action Thursday.The blast, which occurred around 8 p.m. Wednesday, injured more than 160 and killed an unspecified number. The death toll was initially reported at 15 but officials would back away from estimates later in the day Thursday. A fire at the town fertilizer plant containing a reported 54,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia fertilizer ended in an explosion that shook the town and toppled houses across a five-block radius, according to the Associated Press. “We lost some really good people today,” West Mayor Tommy Muska said in a press conference.Bryan-College Station has been quick to respond to the unfolding tragedy.The state has also deployed Texas Task Force 1 – an urban search and rescue team sponsored by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service – to assist inrescue efforts.”We’re thinking about the folks in West but we’re glad that the task force is there and able to assist the local jurisdiction,” said Brian Blake, communications director for Task Force 1.The task force’s primary mission is to facilitate search and rescue. They arrived at 8 a.m. Thursday and began a wide-area search, during which rescuers traveled block-by-block to look for survivors. The task force also came equipped with a specialized canine unit.”They have all the equipment and tools necessary to shore up buildings destroyed by the blast,” Blake said. “We also have five search-and-rescue K-9 [units] that are very efficient at finding people.”The team is prepared to be completely self-sufficient for 72 hours and is deployed between three to ten days on average, though Blake said he cannot estimate how long they will be involved in rescue operations in West.The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences deployed its Veterinary Emergency Team to the explosion under orders from the state. The team will provide veterinary care for search and rescue animals in addition to domestic animals that may have been injured duringthe incident.Aggieland Outfitters set up a donation drive station Wednesday in the Post Oak Mall parking lot to take in donations. Several campus organizations quickly collaborated with the company to bring assistance to the citizens of West. The Department of Student Activities organized its own donation drive until 4 p.m. Thursday in the Koldus Building before taking the donations to the station atthe mall.Melissa Shehane, assistant director for the leadership and student center in the Department of Student Activities and Class of 2004, said the choice to help a community in need was easy upon hearing of Aggieland Outfitters’ donation drive.”We have a commitment as Aggies to do selfless service,” Shehane said. “It is best as a member of the community to work withinthe community.”Even though it had been less than 24 hours since the explosion, Shehane said the community support hadbeen substantial.The Department of Student Activities contacted SGA and MSC organizations to notify their members of ongoing efforts to help the West community. MSC FISH saw an opportunity to use its resources to help those in need.Katy King, advisor for MSC Fish and Class of 2001, said the organization is already hosting Kyle Field Day on Saturday, and it was simple to extend the scope of the community service event to include assistance for the people of West.”We’ve created a new booth for people to sign cards and write well wishes for victims,” King said. “There will also be a blood trucktaking donations.”

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