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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

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Senate takes a stand for statue

Vice+President+for+student+affairs+Dr.+Daniel+J.+Pugh+makes+a+guest+appearance+in+an+effort+to+advocate+for+the+Matthew+Gaines+statue%26%238203%3B.
Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Vice President for student affairs Dr. Daniel J. Pugh makes a guest appearance in an effort to advocate for the Matthew Gaines statue​.

Student senators dressed in panda bear onesies and doctor’s lab coats stood at the podium to passionately debate the merits of a statue that could be erected in the honor of Matthew Gaines.
In their Nov. 1 general meeting that celebrated Halloween, Senate passed SB 70-10 the Matthew Gaines Statue Commemoration Bill, which took a step towards the university placing a permanent memorial of one of Texas A&M’s founders on campus.
The conversation began with remarks from a special speaker, Executive Vice President of Student Affairs Daniel Pugh, who explained the process of getting the statue erected and the benefits of having Gaines represented on campus.
As he brought up notable figures who are now statues, at A&M like E. King Gill, Sul Ross and Rudder, Pugh said these men represent the history of the school. He went on to say Matthew Gaines could be the representation of how A&M was formed.
“What’s lacking here on campus is that creation story, if you will,” Pugh said. “So if you think about the pieces that are there, we do have a lot of great celebration over time. We’ve got these visible signs that mark our time here. What we don’t have is something that marks the foundation and formation of this place.”
As the floor opened for debate senators took the podium to hotly debate the pros and cons of the statue.
From the opposition, the two main arguments were brought into debate. First, Senators said Gaines’ only connection to A&M’s College Station campus was the vote he cast in the The Morrill Land Grant Act, which helped form what is now A&M. The other opposing viewpoint stated Gaines should not be commemorated solely because he is a minority.
“I think one of the important things to remember as we are considering which things to put forward in the hall of history for our university is what it takes to become a leader and what the standard of achieving the highest recognition on our campus,” Senator Olivia Krog said. “I think one of the most important things that go along with that is character … but what should never be a factor in that is the color of one’s skin or the country from which they hail.”
This argument was met with disagreement on the grounds that Gaines lead a life of leadership and character, according to a number of senators. The argument was also made skin color had not been discussed previously to Senator Krog’s comments. Gentill Abdulla stood on the floor as one of the main voices backing the bill.
“This is about the history of Texas A&M,” Chair Abdulla said. “When it comes to the founding of the university, when it comes to celebrating the university that brought us all together we have nothing to rally behind… [Gaines’] extraordinary leadership helped create this university during the post Civil War era. His leadership is unquestionable.”
After a roll call vote was taken, the bill passed in favor of SB 70-10.
Along with the passing of SB 70-10, came the approval of a number of bills including the Interview Absence Bill, Student Voter Bill, Mental Health Services Improvement Bill and Student Debt Literacy Bill.
The 70th session will meet next on Nov. 15.

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