Anti-Racism

In the spring 2016 semester, the TAMU Anti-Racism met with President Michael Young to discuss logistics of a social justice course.

The student group called TAMU Anti-Racism is calling for more racial awareness on campus in the form of new, mandatory curriculum.

TAMU Anti-Racism, a group of students who have staged several protests in response to what they perceive as racist acts and attitudes on campus, plans to continue to raise awareness about their cause. In addition to protests, TAMU Anti-Racism is calling for the university to mandate a racism awareness class as part of all students’ core curriculum.

“As Aggies of color, we pay too much tuition to put up with racism on our campus,” said Emilio Bernal, a sociology senior and member of TAMU Anti-Racism. “Racial justice is just as important as mathematics, English and science, and needs to be treated as such.”

The group, which is calling for the social justice course to be a standard three-credit-hour course, met with A&M President Michael Young in the spring to discuss the formation of the course. During the meeting, Young did not agree the course should be referred to as a “social justice” course, but said core principles of social justice TAMU Anti-Racism has asked for will be incorporated.

“It’s not just one and done,” Young said during the spring meeting. “It would entail more than just a history of racism. That doesn’t necessarily put [students] in the context of [their] current situation.”

Despite the meeting, Bernal said TAMU Anti-Racism still doesn’t feel confident about the university’s commitment. He said the organization feels as though Young is willing to do enough to appear to care, but will be unwilling to go through with the change.

“They don’t want to rock the boat,” Bernal said. “I wish they were as good at creating real and lasting change on our campus as they are at sending out emails superficially apologizing for our school’s racism and sexism, emails pretending that we’re all one big happy Aggie family, emails lying and attempting to pacify Aggies of color.”

In addition to meeting with Young, members of TAMU Anti-Racism also have been in recent contact with members of faculty who have expressed interest in teaching the course.

“We have the resources — qualified teachers who are willing to lead the course,” Bernal said.

The teachers Bernal refers to are communication professors Srivi Ramasubramanian, Leroy Dorsey said and Mays Business School research fellow Leonard Bierman.  Members of TAMU Anti-Racism have been working alongside these professors to discuss logistics of the proposed course.

“Such classes will serve to make students more well-rounded and aware of real world issues,” Ramasubramanian said. “They fit in with the intended goals of ICD [International and Cultural Diversity] courses.”

 Apart from teaching students about being tolerant, Bernal and other TAMU Anti-Racism members hope the class will achieve other goals in conjunction with the approval of the class.

“We have three main pillars we want to see accomplished,” Bernal said. “We want this mandatory class, more minority students and faculty on campus, and for there to be penalties for racist behavior on campus.”

Whether the class will be a semester-long course or a seminar-style lecture is still to be decided.

“The Core Curriculum Council is still considering different models for implementation of the ICD graduation requirement,” said Julie Harlin and Andrew Klein, co-chairs of the Core Curriculum Council, in an emailed statement. “We have been meeting with many different constituent groups to explore options.”

The A&M Core Curriculum Council, which determines what courses and curriculum are consistent among A&M’s many colleges, has been looking at similar courses at other universities — like the University of Missouri and the University of Oklahoma — for guidance.

“The CCC studied the core curriculum and graduation requirements at several peer institutions,” Harlin and Klein said in their statement. “Most have similar curricular requirements.”

Not everyone is in favor of the class becoming mandatory, like applied exercise physiology junior Josh Widger.

“I don’t think it’s necessary; it could actually be detrimental in some cases,” Widger said. “It would be a waste of time to make it a semester-long course. If anything, do a seminar during the New Student Conference over it, but even then it doesn’t feel totally necessary. Most people don’t harbor these attitudes, and we don’t need to tell people how to think.”

Widger also said he feels as though the environment on campus doesn’t match what TAMU Anti-Racism is saying.

“In my experience, Aggies are very welcoming and friendly to everyone, regardless of race, religion or background,” Widger said.

Bernal said the logistics of the course have already been determined, and it could be introduced as early as next semester if the university commits to the course.

 “All we need is a permanent financial commitment from our university,” Bernal said. 

(10) comments

MaggieAggie

Racism works both ways. My son gets called a "cracker" frequently by someone in his dorm. Do you plan to address this type of racist behavior too?

Barron79

Now this is absolute crazy talk. Don't get me wrong,racism is wrong, but to force this class on others is in my belief unjust. What are you expecting? People to be nice to one another all of a sudden? If your going to make a mandatory core class why not have one for sexual assaults since that seems to be a national topic of interest or perhaps a "what it means to be an Aggie" class. If you think your paying too much tuition and your feelings are getting hurt, go somewhere else. How about the flip side - I pay too much tuition to have to go to a bullshit awareness class that doesn't further my education progress.

Barron79

Now this is absolute crazy talk. Don't get me wrong,racism is wrong, but to force this class on others is in my belief unjust. What are you expecting? People to be nice to one another all of a sudden? If your going to make a mandatory core class why not have one for sexual assaults since that seems to be a national topic of interest or perhaps a "what it means to be an Aggie" class. If you think your paying too much tuition and your feelings are getting hurt, go somewhere else. How about the flip side - I pay too much tuition to have to go to an awareness class that doesn't further my education progress.

aggiemom

This is ridiculous...tuition is expensive enough! Racism is wrong and most people know that and behave accordingly. Maybe these students need to take a long, hard look at themselves and their motives.

oldarmyforever

It breaks my heart to see what Texas A&M has become. All parents who think you are sending your child to a "conservative" university - think again! What can we do to stop this madness? Sorry, I can't donate enough money for anything substantial - which is all this place seems interested in these days.

redbear

Wow!! When I was a student we TALKED to each other. We didn't need a class, a lecturer, or a mediator. I have a lot of life long friends I made at A&M. They are an incredibly diverse group of people and I have never thought of them in terms of "labels" or "groups", just Aggies. Put down the cell phone and TALK!!!!! Geez!!

nikkiplat

As a white female Aggie, I am completely bewildered by these comments. It is unfathomable that other FELLOW Aggies would have a response like the ones below -as a family we are not supposed to invalidate other Aggies feelings, you take a moment to think about how you could continue to foster the "family" oriented environment A&M prides itself in instead. How dare you all act like this idea is far out. Racism exists all over and it is even more prevalent here in the south. Segregation was still around 50 years ago and I walk around campus and College Station and still see things like confederate flags hung in windows and students using the n-word. A class on social justice would be more than beneficial - it is crucial for the diverse future this school is heading towards.

redbear

What part of communicating with each other is invalidating? Racism exists ALL over the world, in various guises, and practices. I have lived in several states and I have found racism is alive and well all over the country, not just the south. Yes some people still fly confederate flags, or mock foreign students. A mandatory class is not going to stop it. As students you have freedom of expression as long as it is not harmful. Something may be offensive but not harmful. If you came to TAMU and expected not to encounter differing opinions, values, and behavior you should have gone to a school with safe zones. Instead you are invalidating US because we don't have the same values or opinions you do. Talking, communicating works best! Try it!!

stunstun

as a minority. this is retarded.

Cato

Finally! It's about time we got some PROGRESS at A&M. It's about time that all of us evil, oppressive, bigoted white boys got some re-education. Remember, lads, if you look in the mirror and aren't absolutely disgusted with the color of your skin and the history of your people, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.

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