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

Some international students at Texas A&M have been struggling to pick up groceries because of limited transportation options from campus to H-E-B and Walmart on Texas Avenue.
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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Kaiden Wilson (30) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
United they fall
June 24, 2024
Texas A&M pitcher Kaiden Wilson (30) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Winner-take-all
June 23, 2024

Why are our Yell Leaders not a mirror of our student body?

Aggieland+Yearbook+Letter+to+the+Editor
Photo by File
Aggieland Yearbook Letter to the Editor

As a second-generation Aggie and a granddaughter of a professor at Texas A&M, my family introduced me to the beauty of the unbreakable traditions of Aggieland from a young age. I recall wondering what it took to become one of the individuals in the white janitor uniforms who ran around Kyle Field with the indisputable air of respect from all Aggies around me. Now, as a student here at A&M, I’ve realized one of the qualifications of a Yell Leader seems to be being a white male.
According to College Factual, the racial demographics of A&M is 63 percent white, 22.6 percent Hispanic/Latino, 6.9 percent Asian, 3 percent African American, 1.4 percent Non-Resident Alien and 3.3 percent ethnicity unknown. Gender diversity is 48.5 percent female and 51.5 percent male. How then can our Yell Leaders, who are supposed to be the face of our campus, embody the character and culture of students if they are lagging so far behind in adequate representation? These demographics should serve as a reminder to the Aggie family that our student body is so much more diverse than the undiversified and unrepresentative lineup we have seen in the history of Yell Leaders.
With student body elections approaching quickly, it is essential to ask the unspoken and formidable questions regarding this side of Aggieland. What is stopping our students from considering a candidate who could be more representative of the diverse composition of our student body? What is holding back students who don’t identify as the most significant demographic on our campus from running?
The answers to these questions boil down to one simple phrase: the status quo. I don’t recall there being a rulebook stating women cannot be Yell Leaders. I don’t remember it specifying that the position must be occupied by the majority demographic of students. While students initially created Yell Leaders as a silly means to an end, it has transformed into the symbolic embodiment of the core values of A&M. We must remember Yell Leaders ultimately hold equal weight as those in student government to advocate and represent us. If Yell Leaders are supposed to mirror the character of our campus, they should be more reflective of the diversity of every Aggie, not just those who adhere to the traditional and outdated sense of the position.
Although we have the voice to decide who will serve as the leaders and ambassadors of our campus, we bypass the opportunity to alter the status quo in fear of either change or rejection. Controlled by the belief that a tradition must remain complacent, past and present Aggies have thrown away the prospect of supporting candidates who would personify our campus. We must understand the unyielding power of a diverse range of values and character in leadership, especially in roles arguably more influential than student body president. We must realize that inclusivity of all Aggies is so much more important than the maintenance of a tradition set in its ways. As soon as we do, we will awake to the notion that just because a pattern is customary to a few, it does not equate to being immutable by all.
We must end these gaps in diversity which have kept competent and passionate Aggies from running. No student should feel the discouragement that arises from non-representation. No student should feel as though they could not win an election because their identification does not match that of the usual pattern. When Aggies recognize that distancing ourselves from the status quo will only fortify our tradition, many will finally see our reflection staring back at us from Kyle Field.

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