This week, some white college students at Texas A&M decided it was appropriate to greet 60 minority high school students, visiting from a charter school in Dallas, with racial taunts and slurs.
On Tuesday, students from Uplift Hampton Preparatory, a Dallas charter school, were on a tour at the College Station campus when a white college-age woman approached two black high school girls and asked them what they thought of her earrings.
They were miniature Confederate flags.
Then, a few minutes later on the tour, a group of white college students lounging in a grassy area yelled out to the high schoolers, “Go back where you came from” — and punctuated that comment with “the most well-known racial slur directed toward African Americans,” Texas Senator Royce West, who was disgusted by what happened, said in a letter.
Texas A&M officials on several tiers responded swiftly to the incident. A Texas A&M tour guide called campus police immediately, and while the first officer had apparently said he couldn't do anything because of freedom of speech, a complaint was soon filed, and university President Michael Young said the incident is now under investigation.
“I am outraged and tremendously disappointed in the behavior displayed by a group of students on our College Station campus yesterday,” Young said in a university-wide memo. “I deeply regret the pain and hurt feelings this incident caused these young students.”
Sara Ortega, a spokeswoman with Uplift Education, said that the students gathered in a private assembly to discuss with teachers and counselors how the incident affected them. She said the students have been commended for handling the situation with grace and composure, and that Uplift was pleased with the university's response.
In his letter, West said that he expects the university to “strongly discipline” the college students who promoted racism — or even that they be expelled.
“When those [high school] students’ stories are told to parents and friends,” Royce wrote, “they will no doubt help further the belief that the home of the Aggies has a campus environment that has been hostile to Black students; that is, those who are not athletes.”
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.