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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Editorial: Commander choice a further sign of recent Corps modernization

PROVIDEDAlyssa Michalke, the 2015-2016 commander of The Corps of Cadets 
Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Offici


Alyssa Michalke, the 2015-2016 commander of The Corps of Cadets 

The Class of 2016 will see four Corps of Cadets commanders in its time on campus, including the first black man and the first woman to lead the 139-year-old institution.
With Marquis Alexander in 2012 and Alyssa Michalke in 2015, the makeup of recent leadership has reflected the wealth of experience on campus to an extent unseen in Corps history.
Michalke and Alexander were selected because they were the best and most-qualified candidates. Last year, Michalke became the first female sergeant major in Corps history; she earned the role on merit. Alexander, likewise, said he didn’t know he was the first black commander until someone told him.
She and Alexander were shaped in part, though, by a Corps culture of modernization and growth instituted by Brig. Gen. Joe Ramirez, Corps commandant, when he assumed the post in 2010. The Corps has grown by more than 450 students since his arrival, resulting in seven unit reactivations. Corps GPA averages have risen and leadership has pushed against institutional hazing. For that, he and his staff deserve credit.
Still, the Corps has lagged behind similar university milestones. The first black student body president was elected in 1976, the first female in 1994. And the most visible positions associated with the Corps — the student-elected yell leaders — have never been occupied by a woman.
When Final Review passes and Michalke takes the Quad as leader of what the Corps reports could be the most cadets in 45 years, she will make history. But unless it can be repeated, history like this becomes largely symbolic.
Michalke’s job will be to lead her cadets. Ramirez and his staff will have a slightly different task — help ensure milestones like those achieved by Michalke and Alexander are signs of an inclusive culture, not outliers in the Corps’ long history.
The Battalion’s editorial opinion is determined by its Board of Opinion, with the editor in chief having final responsibility.
The Editorial Board is composed of Editor in Chief Mark Doré, Managing Editor Aimée Breaux, and Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Reiley.

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