Editor’s note: This letter was sent by Texas Sen. Royce West and addresses A&M’s response to Feb. 9 reports of racial slurs being directed at visiting high school students who reside in his district.
To the Student Body, Faculty and Administration of Texas A&M University,
THANK YOU to the TEXAS A&M Family for your display of true AGGIE Spirit!
In a time when many — even those in positions of power — seem to be losing their heads and yet are blaming it on others, thank you for the courageous act of facing up to one of the greatest challenges still facing our great country.
When the actions of a few sought to tarnish the image of the Maroon & White, it was you who stepped up to display many of the core values that Texas A&M President Michael Young referenced through multiple messaging since the incident.
When there were those less forthright who would deny that high school visitors to Aggieland had been confronted with spiteful words from a time in history to be bygone, it was your Student Body President, Mr. Joseph Benigno, who sternly said for them to STOP! Your actions demonstrate leadership and integrity. When brought face-to-face with the unpleasant or unfortunate, the proper course is to accept the reality of the day and to find a path to soldier forward. You did that.
I am told that many students and faculty members have shown their support in visible and tangible ways. Student leaders have been integral to the discourse. And the student body's act of selfless service was evidenced by their participation in a massive letter writing campaign and those messages were then hand-delivered to the Uplift Hampton Preparatory campus. Your example is a model worthy of emulation.
While your immediate response to an adverse situation has been commendable, I challenge you to take the next step forward. Who will help Texas A&M turn the page on divisiveness? Who will serve as ambassadors, official and unofficial, to show Blacks and Browns and Native Americans and Asian Americans and international students that they are part of the Aggie family and can thrive intellectually and socially in and about the grand, yet pastoral setting of the College Station campus?
Those persons who are willing to help break social and systemic barriers are the Aggies and Texans and Americans that the future beckons! We need you.
Our best for Texas!