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Opinion: Preserve all-male yell leader tradition

Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07

Before this year, I didn't even know women could, much less would, campaign for yell leader.

After examining the facts, I concluded that having a female elected yell leader is not going to happen — at least not this year. And I think the tradition of an all-male yell leader squad should continue.

A non-Corps member who seeks election faces more challenges than the traditional cadet hopeful. Every year, there are a couple of sophomores and juniors who try to break from the tradition of yell leader cadets. These challengers have even won on occasion — but in most years, five cadets emerge victorious. This reflects the student body's general preference for male, cadet yell leaders.

So, if it is hard for male, non-reg Aggies to be elected yell leader, I see it as nearly impossible for a female, non-reg Aggie to successfully gain election. It's simply the student body's preference.

In fact, every attempt by a woman to gain election since the first campaigned in the 1980s has resulted in a loss. This tells me that Texas A&M is just not ready for a female yell leader.

Yell leader is arguably the most prominent student leadership role on campus, and the custom of an all-male squad is very entrenched. Texas A&M University prides itself in being the only school in Division I football that does not have cheerleaders. Since 1907, our yell leaders have defined, animated and led the student body yelling for our team.

In all that time, Texas A&M has never allowed a woman to occupy a position even remotely comparable to a cheerleader on Kyle Field. Our University has changed some of its oldest traditions to include women, but I think the tradition of an all-male yell leader squad should remain untouched.

But, some of you may say, professional and collegiate teams across the nation allow or employ scantily clad women to cavort across their court or field. That may be. But we are Texas A&M, an institution that stands — or should stand — for honor, integrity, leadership and tradition. If we allow the dance team on Kyle Field, or a woman to hold the position of yell leader just to get with the times and modernize, how are we different than any other school in the nation? If we allow one, what is to stop the other from happening?

I am a Fightin' Texas Aggie who cherishes my school's traditions. I am not an anti-feminist or a "chauvinist pig." While I applaud any woman who seeks election for her dedication to our school and her desire to participate in one of our greatest traditions, I do not think female yell leaders are right for this University.



Tim Bardin is a senior finance major.

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1 comments Log in to Comment

Thu Feb 23 2012 11:16
Your argument is lacking. Just because you think the tradition should continue it doesn't follow that a female yell leader "is not going to happen." What are the facts you have examined? Every attempt by a woman to be elected president of the United States has resulted in a loss too, so far; and yet that is no argument against qualified women running in the future. Since 1907, you say, "...Texas A&M has never allowed a woman to occupy a position even remotely comparableto a cheerleader on Kyle Field." Is that, in your mind, an argument not to change? First of all, historically, your argument cannot be sustained: between 1876 and 1963 the university didn't allow women to earn degrees and yet that changed! There was a time when ALL A&M students had to be members of the Corps of Cadets and that too changed. For generations this country had a "tradition" of segregating the races. That too, fortunately, changed! Your statement also seems to shift the issue to the authority of the university to "allow" this to happen. Well, traditions be what they may, in the 21st century there is no place for segregation of genders (or races, or identities, or sexual orientation, etc.) in a PUBLICLY funded university. The university should not ALLOW any activities to be segregated by gender where women and men are equally capable and equally qualified. Traditions are fine but decisions of what can and cannot be ALLOWED in a state university should not be based on tradition if they result in any form of discrimination. As a man who has been married many years, I can appreciate the need for separate activities for the guys and the ladies once in a while but, as a citizen, I cannot accept any tradition at a tax-supported public institution that segregates students based on gender (as long as there are equally qualified, capable, and willing candidates of the other group/s.) That should be the deciding factor not old traditions.

Federico Salas-Isnardi, doctoral student in Adult Education, Texas A&M

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