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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Views differ on Gov. Perry’s endorsement of Bonfire return

 
 

During last Thursday’s Bonfire Memorial Dedication ceremony, Gov. Rick Perry told thousands of Aggies and grieving parents of Bonfire victims that he “look(s) forward to the day that the Bonfire tradition returns to this campus.”
Neva Hand, mother of 1999 Bonfire victim Jamie Lynn Hand, was surprised that Perry used that particular situation to mention the return of Bonfire.
“Gov. Perry was speaking before a packed house of mainly Aggies this past weekend, (so it) was a safe thing to say politically in front of that group,” Hand said.
Hand said she doesn’t want the possibility of anyone going through what she went through five years ago.
“Honestly, it is not the tradition I am against, it is the possibility of something like what happened five years ago happening again,” she said.
Robert Black, Perry’s deputy press secretary, said in an e-mail Monday, “I will let Gov. Perry’s comment speak for itself.”
Adviser to Student Bonfire Robert Steinhagen said he agrees with Perry; however, he only wants to see Bonfire return if cut and stack remain part of the tradition. He said the tradition was not flawed, but the design of the structure, which was under administration supervision, was at fault.
“I think it is clear that most Aggies will like to see the Bonfire return and not kill the tradition that 12 students died building,” Steinhagen said. “The memorial is a beautiful memorial, but my only concern is that I don’t feel the University should honor the dead before taking care of the living such as the injured (in the Bonfire).”
Steinhagen said that not contributing enough to the injured students is disappointing and doesn’t reflect well on the Aggie spirit.
Senior chemical engineering and English major Scott Smith said he looks forward to the day Bonfire returns not only as a symbol for a game but also as a display for our spirit. He said building the Bonfire can only be great if it is a student-run event from beginning to end.
“I don’t want Bonfire to return to campus if the building of Bonfire is going to be constructed by companies,” Smith said.
This year is the first year Smith helped build and attend an off-campus bonfire.
“I love the Aggie tradition, and I was very excited to be a part of building and attending the bonfire,” Smith said.
However, some Aggies did not think Perry’s comments affected the day. Senior accounting major and student body president Jack Hildebrand, said there was not much that could have been changed.
“I didn’t think one way or another about Gov. Perry’s comments, I just thought the day was perfect,” Hildebrand said.

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