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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Students protest white supremacy, lack of administrative efforts

Photo by Photo by Cameron Johnson

Students for a Democratic Society, Democrats of Bryan-College Station, and Aggie Rosies hold a protest in front of the Texas A&M Academic Building on Friday, Sep. 2, 2022.

Gathered in Academic Plaza, students showed a passionate response to what they perceived as Texas A&M administrative missteps. 

A protest against systemic racism was held in Academic Plaza on Sept. 2, hosted by Young Democrats of Bryan-College Station, Students for a Democratic Society and Aggie Rosies.

Wildlife and fisheries senior Kaitlen Vargas said the protest was in response to a lack of administration action regarding on-going campus issues. 

“The next steps we’re hoping for are really just being able to get in contact with administration, because so far, they’ve really not been wanting to talk to us,” Vargas said. “We’ve done quite a few sit downs, lots of back and forth emails. We’re really hoping to gain the respect and notoriety from the campus to understand that, like, we’re not an organization that’s actively trying to tear down the school.” 

Frey Miller, senior visualization major and Students for a Democratic Society member, said their organization, along with community members, met with administration to discuss the statue and the meeting was underwhelming.

“The administrative members basically told us that there was nothing that they could do, and they could not take a stance on the issue,” Miller said. “This is entirely false. They do have the ability to take a stance on the issue in the form of a request to take action, specifically regarding historical monuments on campus, and then send this request to Texas A&M or to Texas legislation regarding Texas public universities, and they simply have not done this.”

The Student Senate held a university-wide vote in the spring of 2020 that showed that 80% of Black students want a change to the statue.

“Texas A&M students have called for change, they have called for the removal of the statue,” Miller said. “These voices are not being listened to, and the administration has not taken action.”
Vargas said the reason the group protested was because they love A&M and only want it to improve.
“We are actively seeking improvement, we want our school to advance for everyone,” Vargas said. “It shouldn’t be a controversial topic to want to improve. I just want people to realize that we’re not here because we hate our school or because we hate the people who work here. We’re here because we want to see change, and the only way to see change is by protesting, by organizing, by being active in your community.” 
Race, gender and ethnicity senior Ellis Howard said they attended the protest to show their frustration with the Sullivan Ross statue located in front of the Academic Building. 

“[The statue has] been here for over 100 years,” Howard said. “He’s been put up to honor the Confederacy. The fact that A&M has completely disregarded this and has actively silenced Black student voices and disregarded facts and history to leave it up to satisfy predominantly white donors is despicable.”

Howard said they hope to see more diversity on A&M’s campus, to directly reflect administrative efforts. 

“We’re also here to speak for more equitable policies for minority students, faculty and staff,” Howard said. “So while the statue is kind of like the poster child of white supremacy at A&M, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. It goes deeper with other traditions rooted in white supremacy. It goes deeper with other policies that affect minority students, faculty and staff.” 
Howard criticized A&M’s lack of support for minority students and said they recommend recruiting and funding. 

“Specifically, we’re calling for targeted recruitment from minority schools,” Howard said. “We’re calling for more scholarships to minority students. We’re calling for funding to minority programs and organizations, stuff that can actively help the conditions of minority students at A&M, which admin is not doing really well. They’ve failed to adequately fund these programs and create new ones that actually do stuff. The Black student population has been 2.4% since 2006 — and that’s atrocious. It shouldn’t be that way.”

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