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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

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
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
A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Bryan-College Station Regional participants announced
Ian Curtis, Sports Writer • May 27, 2024

For the second time in three seasons, No. 3 national seed Texas A&M baseball will host the Bryan-College Station Regional, where it’ll...

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
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Column: Campus sign fiasco shows we can all be too quick to judge

Photo by Provided

Signs posted around campus Thursday depict negative images of fraternities and non-cadet yell leaders.

In case you missed the outrage over Thursday’s campus prank, here’s the short of it: Propaganda-style signs riffing on the relationship between the Corps of Cadets and fraternities went rampant on social media. Students took to Facebook and Twitter claiming the perpetrators of these signs were not “real Aggies.” The Corps of Cadets said the cartoons displayed on the signs did not align with the organization’s core values. The Mugdown, a satirical outlet, claimed responsibility. In a statement, it refused to apologize and defended its intentions to bring to light longstanding tensions between the Corps and the “non-reg” student body.
Satire, by definition, is the use of humor and exaggeration to expose societal truths or opinions, often uncomfortable. It has been around for centuries. Even in the medieval era, people often turned to the court jester in times of distress as the only one permitted to deliver the uncomfortable truths through a humorous — and, in turn, comforting — perspective. Modern satire is often a parody of topical, hot-button issues presented in a mainstream journalistic format. It is a product of humor, and humor is formed from opinions.
Condemning The Mugdown’s staff is not the problem. Tension between Corps and fraternities is not the problem. The problem is the attack on our voices as members of the student body.
Social media amplifies the number of opinions we read and affords everyone a voice, whether they choose to associate themselves with the media or not. We’re not only entitled to our opinion, we’re fighting for it. Such freedom of decision instigates a faster cycle of opinion formations, coupled with ultra sensitive knee-jerk reactions to any differing mindsets.
The Mugdown, as with any comedic outlet, is not perfect. When your job involves catering to an audience full of diverse backgrounds, experiences and outlooks, it is inevitable that some jokes will resonate more than they will with others. Sometimes, they won’t resonate at all. The organization’s motives have never reflected malice for one group in particular — rather, they’ve satirized all parties of Texas A&M equally. if we can look at “signgate” and proclaim we all have a right to voice our beliefs, we must also mirror that with the statement that no one deserves to be unheard for voicing their beliefs. Reflecting this sentiment, no one deserves to shunned as a member of Texas A&M for this, either.
At the same time, any publication in a position of influence and visibility should keep its diverse reader base in mind and not make such a strong declaration of a heated rivalry between the Corps and non-reg students. While there are members of the student body who do feel these tensions, there are also many who believe no such divide exists and actively promote campus unity.
In a university of more than 50,000 students, there are a mass of varying opinions fluttering on every corner of campus — whether they belong to The Mugdown, the Corps, Greek life members or anyone else. One sensitivity combating another, especially through social media exposure, turns educated arguments into knee-jerks. For the respective parties, it’s easy to defend themselves behind the shields of “satire” and “Aggie core values.”
Satire is known to comfort the tormented while tormenting the comfortable. The issue with such an approach at a university is we are all students first, regardless of the organization with which we’re affiliated. Pitting one party against another is cultish and mean, and instigates a deeper divide.
One of the core values of A&M is leadership, and leadership is the willingness to be simultaneously different while open to the opinions of others. Characterizing The Mugdown’s actions as hateful or malicious is wrong. Similarly, a schism between the Corps and the rest of the student body isn’t a “reality,” nor is it a “truth that others are unwilling to admit.” They are simply opinions formed by one’s individual experiences and interpretations of their environment. And there is nothing un-Aggie about that.

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