Louis G. Tassinary is the Associate Department Head of the Department of Visualization.
To the editor,
On the morning of Wednesday, June 19, 1930, William Roan, an African American, was found dead in a pasture near Benchley, six miles northeast of Bryan. According to Arthur F. Raper’s book, “The Tragedy of Lynching” "the heads and faculties of [Texas A&M & Allen Academy], while not in sympathy with the mob activities of June 1930, did not feel any responsibility for preventing them.” Ninety years later, it appears to many that A&M still does not feel any responsibility, choosing always to counter-argue rather than listen. To dig in rather than reach out. To deflect rather than accept.
Now is not the time for commissions or further delay. We’ve been down this road before. Endless debates about which individual will or will not be good enough to warrant a statue will devolve ineluctably into winners and losers.
I proposed that a new figure or monument supplement the Sul Ross statue, one commissioned by the university and based on a juried international competition. The new structure would be titled “The Unknown Aggie.” We would dedicate it to all students, faculty, and staff – past, present, and future – whether due to race, gender, ethnicity, creed, social class or tragedy, who were denied the opportunity to be an Aggie: either explicitly through policy, implicitly through climate or unfortunately through happenstance. And then let the pennies fall where they may.