After a reported incident of racism on Texas A&M’s campus stoked widespread condemnation from students and administrators alike, A&M’s Student Government Association hopes to deliver 10,000 handwritten letters to the targeted high schoolers with one message — racism is not an Aggie value.
SGA will set up tables throughout Texas A&M for students to stop by and write to the affected high schoolers Monday, and organizations across campus have pledged to have their members participate. The letters will be collected and hand delivered to the high schoolers by the end of the week.
Joseph Benigno, Texas A&M’s student body president, said the letter campaign is a way for students to tell the high schoolers about true Aggie values.
“The true Texas A&M is a very friendly and welcoming place, and it’s loving and cares for every member of the Aggie family and we go out of our way to make sure that everyone feels welcome here,” Benigno said. “So I don’t want their experience at Texas A&M to be defined by that memory. I want their memory to be a Texas A&M that responded very well in the face of crisis and clearly stood up for what it really believed in, and not stood for hate.”
The letter-writing campaign comes days after a group of visiting high school students from Uplift Hampton Preparatory School in Dallas were reportedly the target of racial slurs. The group was near Walton and Hullabaloo residence halls when a group of students yelled slurs at them and told them to “go back where you came from,” according to a statement from Texas Senator Royce West, who represents the region Uplift resides in.
The Association of Former Students — one of Texas A&M’s charitable gift foundations — bought the stationary for SGA to use across campus. The letters will be hand delivered to the high school later this week.
Benigno said he hopes for all 10,000 to be written by students who visit the SGA tables scattered throughout campus, and by those participating through student organizations who join the campaign. Benigno said among the organizations participating, the Interfraternity Council and the Collegiate Panhellenic Council both said every member within the A&M fraternities and sororities will write a letter.
Benigno said he hopes students will rise to the opportunity.
“We’re going to encourage them to write whatever they feel, but we would love for students to write about how what happened to the high school students does not represent Texas A&M’s values,” Benigno said. “At Texas A&M we try to pride ourselves on being the friendliest campus in the nation and so in no way what they experienced representative of our core values or what we truly stand for, and hopefully that can be communicated through the letters.”
Tables will be available at eight locations around campus all day Monday for students who wish to participate. The tables will be at the MSC, Rudder Plaza, Wehner, Academic Plaza, Fish Pond, H20 Fountain near the Chemistry building, Harrington and Kyle Field.