In response to recent social media discussions and emails to Texas A&M administration, President Michael K. Young and Chancellor John Sharp released a campus-wide email revealing the creation of a task force on race relations and a commission on historic representations.
The task force will address racist behaviors on campus and educate the student body through prevention and bystander intervention training.
“Racists are not welcome at Texas A&M,” Sharp said. “The law may not allow us to expel students who use ‘free speech’ as an excuse to spew hatred and racism, but we do not have to let racist conduct and actions go unchallenged. If we have to challenge them and call them out publicly, we will. We are Aggies – brothers and sisters – and we ask anyone who cannot abide by our Core Values to stay away.”
Additionally, the commission will evaluate the names, history and placement of statues, buildings and monuments on campus, beginning with the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue that has recently become the center of campus debate.
“Both groups will bring a wide range of perspectives through their experience and expertise,” the statement read. “It is time for a unified approach on how we address the representation of people who contributed to Texas A&M throughout our history and how we want to shape the expectations and behavior of our community to stand firmly against racism.”
While Sharp said his opinion on Sul Ross hasn’t changed, he has seen the negative impact racism has had on students at A&M.
“I have spent the last few nights reading on social media about the experiences of minority students and their families with racism in our community. It is heartbreaking – and unacceptable,” Sharp said. ”While my personal opinion has not changed about the importance of Lawrence Sullivan Ross to Texas A&M, we Aggies must stand united against racism and love one another.”
Young said he hopes these groups can improve the campus atmosphere and begin to address the recent issues that have been brought to light.
“With this and more actions to come, we have an opportunity to continue our path to excellence not only in academics and research but also in our respect of each other,” the statement read. ”I count on all Aggies to contribute to the success of each other and our communities.”
According to the statement, Sharp and Young have agreed that the university will act upon the findings, resolutions and recommendations of these groups within the next several months. In the coming days, the membership and process of both groups will be announced. Visit tx.ag/June17Note for more information.