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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Possible Academic Building renaming draws student ire

After news circulated that the Academic Building could be renamed after Gov. Rick Perry, students have taken to social media channels to voice concern.
Out of the chatter emerged a Student Senate resolution, a planned protest of the Board of Regents meeting and an online petition with more than 7,000 signatures as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.
The board will meet at 3:30 p.m. Thursday to consider adopting a resolution to rename the 100-year-old campus landmark the Governor Rick Perry ’72 Building in honor of the Texas governor.
Walter Hart, sociology graduate student, has organized a 2:30 p.m. protest to take place outside the meeting. Hart said the goal is to show the regents that students have a serious concern about the renaming of the building. He said the protest is a way to show the regents they should hear student opinion before making any decisions.
“If it’s an open meeting, we plan on sitting in, and if we have the opportunity, to express our opinion in an orderly fashion,” Hart said. “Really the goal is to show another level of concern and opposition towards the renaming of the building.”
Austin Aguirre, student senator and political science senior, authored a Student Senate resolution sent to the board in opposition of the renaming. Although Student Senate is not in session until the spring, the resolution was submitted for consideration.
“The resolution is voicing the opinions of the Student Senate to the Board of Regents saying that we’re against renaming the Academic Building for the reason that are listed in the resolution,” Aguirre said.
Political science junior Joseph Hood, a co-author of the Student Senate resolution, created a Facebook page calling attention to his petition created to oppose the renaming of the Academic Building. The petition, which is being signed by students and former students alike, was not created out of malice toward the outgoing governor, Hood said.
“We have nothing against Gov. Perry, but we really feel like the Academic Building is a name that shouldn’t be named after one individual,” Hood said. “There’s too much tradition, there’s too much spirit.”
While he supported the regents’ resolution — intended to honor his “outstanding dedication and service” — Hood said the board should stop short of renaming the building.
“I think it’s very clear that Gov. Perry does deserve the recognition, but what I’m just hoping is that they can give him that recognition but then step back and look at other ways to honor him on campus without naming the Academic Building after Gov. Perry,” Hood said.
Entomology junior Renee Holmes said the Academic Building’s sense of tradition is too important to change the building’s name in honor of one person.
“I personally feel that the Academic Building means so much traditionally and symbolically — with Silver Taps being held there, Sully and serving as the meeting place for so many traditions and being a central structure on campus — that its name needs to remain the Academic Building in part because it has always been called that and we are a school about upholding tradition, but also because it means so much to so many Aggies, especially the ones we have lost, that it should not be named after one Aggie,” Holmes said. “That building is about the Aggie family as a whole body, not one individual person, no matter how great of a donor he may be.”
Harrison Dawley, history sophomore, said the majority of the student body would be upset if the building were renamed.
“If Rick Perry is such a good Ag like he says he is, I don’t think he’d be happy about this either,” Dawley said. “If he’s a good Ag like he says he is and everything, I don’t think he’d be too happy about changing one of the most iconic buildings’ names on campus.”
Hood said the building is the heart of Aggieland.
“Personally for me, one of the traditions that’s most important to me is Silver Taps,” Hood said. “I just can’t imagine going to Silver Taps, and the Silver Taps coming from a building that bears the name of some individual. To me, having those notes come from that, it wouldn’t come across as sincere, if you will. It would come across as being presented by whoever the building would be named after. The building is 100 years old and is near and dear to our hearts.”
Not all students are opposed to the idea, however. Marketing senior Michael Zachary O’Neal said he doesn’t see a problem with renaming the building after Gov. Perry.
“Although the academic building is an age-old tradition here at Texas A&M University, naming it after Rick Perry, regardless of peoples’ opinions of his college GPA or political platforms, is definitely not the worst possibility,” O’Neal said.
Hood encouraged students to contact Student Senate with concerns and to reach out to the Board of Regents themselves by contacting [email protected].
Lindsey Gawlik contributed to this report.

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