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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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Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Rich in traditions — including the bad ones

Correction: An earlier version of this story included a photo that was incorrectly identified. 
Coming off of last week, it’s clear Aggies carry with us traditions that bring campus together — and traditions that tear it apart.
This Muster, I had the pleasure of talking about 
The Battalion with an editor from 1966. Contrary to the idea that Old Army is dead, I was glad to hear him say students today add depth to traditions. He said in his day, students simply went to Muster, while students today band together to create an entire day of events surrounding the tradition. He said the dedication students put into carrying on such an admirable tradition is something to be proud of. 
A lot of people agree with him on this, myself included. But we often glaze over the fact that Aggies have also carried on less favorable traditions, such as the legacy of denying that racism exists on campus.
It is hard to listen to your counterpart from 50 years ago say there was no racial tension on campus during his time. I still see the remnants of the 1960s in the way current students addressed the group TAMU Anti-Racism during its Friday protest. 
The group, formed after the Feb. 9 incident in which visiting high schoolers were reortedly accosted with racial slurs, stood at the foot of the Lawrence Sullivan Ross Statue, declared that “Every day is February 9th” for minority students and made two demands — that a New Student Conference seminar called “Community of Respect” be mandatory for all students and that a racial justice class be added to the core curriculum. 
The resounding response from students passing by was apathy. 
When TAMU Anti-Racism brought out Confederate flags, nearby students began to laugh and left. Others placed pennies on Sully, ignored the protest and simply walked away from The Battalion reporter asking for their comment. 
This scene is not new. I find many students don’t want to be quoted saying they oppose a protest addressing racial issues. Online, however, people are braver. 
The reaction on Twitter Friday mirrored the reaction to the Feb. 9 incident with cursing and tweets like, “May I suggest building a bridge and getting over it?,” and, “Would they mind if I snatched up one of those flags? I need a new one.” At best, it’s clear that many either flat out deny racism happens while others think racist remarks are the actions of few. 
This reaction is truly troubling and at odds with my experiences listening to interviews where minority students detail instances of discrimination. 
To clarify, I don’t agree with TAMU Anti-Racism on everything. I would call President Michael Young’s campus-wide email, in which he stated he is seeking new ideas on things like minority recruitment and retention, a reasonable response before calling it a “Disneyland-like promise.” And while many of my peers and I would benefit from a class on racial justice, there are unaddressed feasibility issues with adding a class to the core curriculum. Which subject matter will the class replace? And if its not feasible to replace a class, then how will adding hours to degree plans affect graduation rates and students’ pocket books? 
Ultimately though, the protestors are right — campus needs to have a conversation. But we can’t have it if one side is yelling and the other is plugging its ears. 
So if you think a group of your peers peacefully protesting is wrong, stop and have a conversation. Ask questions. Challenge them in a respectful way. If you are confident in your ideas, someone challenging you back should not scare you. No matter what, hear out your colleagues, because that’s what Aggies do. 
Students bought into the Aggie family so fervently last Thursday that hundreds — including Battalion editors — were turned away from an overcrowded Muster in Reed Arena. Live-streaming the ceremony from the newsroom with the candles we previously used as props for our Muster edition made it hard for me not to love this school. 
This love is not misplaced. As Aggies we perpetuate great legacies. But let’s be better than the generations before us — let’s not further the tradition of shutting out part of the Aggie family.

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