Last semester, The Battalion was one of nine college papers in the nation selected to participate in the Poynter Institute’s 2018-2019 College Media Project. The program gives extra funds and advising resources to student newspapers interested in pursuing in-depth journalism in their communities. When asked which subject we wanted to delve into, the answer was simple — Texas A&M University’s Corps of Cadets.
The Corps is a unique part of Aggieland and has completely shaped the student body in ways no other institution has seen on their own campus. Even so, the nearly 2,600 Aggies that make up the Corps are not fully understood by the rest of the almost 70,000 students due to the differences in lifestyle, rumors on campus and a general lack of communication between the two groups. We wanted to become a resource to anyone in the Corps who wants people to understand what it means to be a cadet and answer the questions of any non-Corps members who have ever wondered about this influential group.
Since the Corps is deeply rooted in A&M’s 143-year history, we knew there was a lot of ground to cover, so we have planned a series of special editions to address all necessary areas.
The edition you are reading explores the history of the Corps and gives basic introductory material about terminology, important campus monuments and student uniforms. The second round of stories will feature Corps leaders and delve into what inspires people to join the organization as well as what causes people to leave. The final round, which will be released at the end of the semester, will explore ongoing issues in the Corps including instances of hazing.
I know The Battalion staff — made up of non-regs and students who spent four years in the Corps — is more than equipped for this endeavor. While most of us don’t have a personal experience in the organization, we are fascinated with how it has influenced campus life and want to learn more about how it functions.
We have a desire to highlight the exemplary qualities of the Corps that have made the university exceptional while also shining a light on lesser-known — and often unsatisfactory — elements that people may have a desire to overlook.
Our intention is never to create controversy for controversy’s sake, but rather to start conversations and take a hard look at what is often passed off as perfection. Additionally, we want to dispel any negative rumors that may be inaccurate representations of cadets on campus and break down the barriers that seem to exist between Corps members and non-regs.
Essentially, we want to tell the whole story.
We want to address issues that often go undiscussed. We want to find perspectives that are usually overlooked and explore them more fully. We want to be a resource to this university, the Bryan-College Station community and beyond.
The Battalion’s job is to be the voice of the student body, so we encourage anyone who has stories they want to share — whether they’re positive, negative or somewhere in-between — to come to us for this series. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or come to our newsroom in the Memorial Student Center room L400.
We hope this first edition will answer questions you may have had and provide a firm foundation for the rest of our series. Thank you for reading.