A racist exchange between a Texas A&M University student and a visiting high schooler to the College Station campus coincided with the A&M-Kingsville Political and Social Justice club composing a “Tunnel of Oppression” to discuss issues of racism on college campuses.
The South Texan spoke with A.J. Gomez, president of the Coalition for Political and Social Justice, about the display which is located on the first floor Memorial Student Union Building through Feb. 18.
Q: What, in your opinion, separates this campus from others that might have as rich of a dichotomy of international students?
A: On the topic of discrimination, because of the university’s ever growing population and small space, an intermingling of students from all walks of life is created. This in turn creates a student body with an understanding of different cultures and backgrounds.
Q: While things have changed vastly since the Chicano Movement era of the 60’s and 70’s, TAMUK, as well as the City of Kingsville, has a history of being racist towards minorities. What has happened in the university’s history that has stifled that type of be
A: The diminishing racism on this campus can more than likely be attributed to the education of those people who acted on racism. Also, society has changed in recent years towards the tolerance of all minorities.
Q: Is there any sort of outreach for international or ethnic students that might feel that they are being oppressed or otherwise ignored by other students, faculty, or staff on campus?
A: The student organizations that come to mind are the Coalition for Political and Social Justice, the International Students Organization, and the Social Justice & Advocacy committee of SGA.
Q: What can the university do to make sure that this type of behavior is not allowed or considered acceptable?
A: The university should enforce their no tolerance policy towards racist acts, and educate the student body on the effects of racism.
Q: The Uplift Hampton Prep students were confronted by a Texas A&M College Station student wearing confederate flag memorabilia; in your opinion, should students be allowed to wear whatever they want or would that impede on their amendment rights?
A: Personally, I believe that students should be able to wear the clothing of their choosing within reason. For example, if a student is wearing a t-shirt with a blatantly racist statement on it, then said student should change into an article of clothing that meets the university’s ethics policy.
Q: Texas A&M College Station officials are calling for the students who shouted the racial slurs to be expelled. If such an occurrence were to take place here at TAMUK, what would be the potential consequence?
A: I believe that there should be a no tolerance policy on racism, and it is up to the discretion of the university to decide on the severity of the punishment.
Follow Raul Altamirano on Twitter: @raulsotx