Opinions

Head Coach Jason Gonzales argues a call in the third-inning. Photo by Fares Sabawi

With dominating pitching and the offense scoring a combined 18 runs in the first inning in each game of their three game series, the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Javelina baseball team crushed Texas College 15-4, 12-5 and 9-2 to complete the three game sweep.
In game one with the offense clicking early, TAMUK was in control from the start behind short stop Wesley Aguilar leading the way.

“I felt good since the beginning of the game,” said Aguilar. “I just wanted to keep the ball to the right center gap and connect on line drives. It’s a long season but we just need to keep playing our Javelina baseball with pitching and defense.” Aguilar finished the night 3-for-4 with two runs scored.

For starting pitcher Ryan Benitez, it was a bounce back performance from a week ago as he finished the night with 6 strikeouts giving up only 6 hits.

“I just wanted to come out and throw strikes,” said Benitez. “We have a lot of new players but we are starting to come together as a team. We just need to continue what we did tonight and continue to hit the ball.”

Every Javelina touched base against the Steers with a season-high 15 hits in the blowout.

“It’s huge to come out and get runs early,” said head coach Jason Gonzales. “It allows our pitcher to charge and get hitters and throw strikes. When you have a lead like we did, you have to keep putting the weight on the other team and we are learning to do that. Hopefully that momentum can carry us into tomorrow’s game.”

For the Steers, their top of the lineup seemed to be the only offense for them as first baseman and number two hitter Anthony Lehman finished the night 2-4 with 2 RBI in the loss.

Second baseman Ryan Fickel for the Javelinas and Aguilar combined for 5 hits, while Hayden Vesely and Clint Wallace combined for 5 RBI.
“We just need to keep playing and keep hitting, so the bullpen can rest so we can be ready for conference,” said Aguilar.

“Our priority is to win the first game like we did and once we have done that our goal is to win the second game,” said Gonzales. “If we can do that, then we can go for the sweep having won the series. We will work hard to come out tomorrow to get the series win and hopefully have the opportunity to adjust our goals.”

The Javelinas would continue to soar in game 2 as they came out swinging early once again, this time led by Cline Andrews, who finished the night going 3-5 with 3 RBI.

After putting up 6 runs in the first, Matt Terones did the rest as he picked up his first victory of the season after striking out 5 Steers in 5.0 innings pitched. “Our starting pitcher is getting better,” said Gonzales. “Anytime those guys and go out there and give us a comfortable lead, I expect us to keep getting hits and the plate and go in with a mindset where we can finish a game.”

In the final game, starting pitcher Hayden James allowed just three hits in 5.0 innings and another big first and fourth-inning gave the Javelinas breathing room as they scored big early once again. Andrews finished off his weekend going  3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI.

“I’m proud of these guys that were able to come and win three games this weekend,” Gonzales said. “We still have a lot of work to do and teams are only going to get better here on out.”

With the three game sweep, the Javelinas find themselves at 6-4 before they begin Lone Star Conference play against West Texas A&M University this Friday for a four game series with the Buffs at Nolan Ryan Field.

“We will need to continue to work hard and get ready for those guys,” said Gonzales. They are a good team and we will need to be ready because from here on out it only gets harder but I know our guys are ready for the challenge.”

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Life is one of the most complicated things to figure out. The thing is, we all have to experience it, whether we like it or not.

I was once the “I don’t know how he does it” guy, and I single handedly burned myself to the ground in a matter of two years.

I went from being a triple-major honor student, to a guy who has had to repeat a class four times already.

I went from getting promoted at work, and demoted the following semester.

I went from being one of the best in my French horn studio, to giving a humiliating performance in front of my peers and professors on a night that was suppose to be one of the best nights of my college career.

And, I wish I could blame drugs for whatever went wrong in my life, but I am ashamed to admit I am drug-free.

There was no outside source that I could blame for my actions and results, just myself.

After everything that has happened in my life, I only have one request for the people in my life.

Do not feel sorry for me.

I am quite happy with how my life is going.

In fact, I welcome misfortune into my life because I believe those ugly moments are the things that make a person stronger.

Those moments are mine, and belong to no one else.

Of course, I am not saying you should do nothing after unwanted events happen.

The most important thing you should do is learn and reflect on them.

Learn what NOT to do. And, when you are having an average day, reflect and be thankful that you are not in an ugly place.

If your life looks the same as it looked two years ago, you are not living. Life is about growth, not comfort.

If you have failed in life, school or love, pick yourself back up and keep on trying.

As for me, I am doing okay. I may not be as close to perfection as I was two years ago, but I am sure stronger than I was before.

“A flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”

They say you should use your time wisely. Who are ‘they’ anyway? They advise this and that.

Were ‘they’ really college students like us? Doubtful. After this semester has progressed I think I may have underestimated how much time I really have.

Having more than forty hours of schoolwork, job duties, organization planning and just making time to have a social life, I’ve realized I don’t make time to sleep.

I’m on my last semester of TAMUK and ready to graduate and instead of planning for post graduation, I’m planning for tomorrow’s full schedule.

I’m constantly stressing over time. A friend of mine always says, “If only we could function without sleep.” Thinking of that would be great, you could get so much more done, but that’s probably just me being a nerd.

It gets you thinking, how do adults do it? Not that we aren’t adults but we pretty much are still children.

I see my mom stress out working 60-plus hours a week, which is physically impossible sometimes, and at the end of the day she talks about how much more she needs to do.

I don’t know if life will get easier or worse in the real world. Is it just as bad? I hate to be a negative Nancy but I’ve really come to realize how precious time is.

This is why ‘they’ advise you time manage…schedules, to do list, etc. College is supposed to be your stepping-stones to the real world. The more you take, the more you learn.

The moral of the story is, we are only college students, young professionals and time is precious.

You should be professional about school but also remember that it’s college. Have fun and take time for yourself because in the end this could be the best four years of your life, or the worst.

It really just depends on how you use your time. Just keep it light, get stuff done, and breathe in and out. That’s what ‘they’ said we should do.

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Oklahoma state representative Dan Fisher introduced HB 1380, which would defund AP U.S. History.

If we don’t know our history we’re doomed to repeat it, but Oklahoma doesn’t seem to be concerned with that age-old adage.

Last week, Oklahoma state representative Dan Fisher authored a bill that would effectively eliminate the College Board’s Advance Placement U.S. History. The bill has yet to be voted on, but it has already passed through a committee hearing.

It isn’t about inaccuracies in the curriculum, Fisher said, but about the attitude.

“In essence, we have a new emphasis on what is bad about America,” Fisher said according to CNN.

Fisher and other Oklahoma lawmakers agree that the course simply isn’t pro-America as much as it ought to be.

Instead, HB 1380 identifies a number of speeches and documents that would replace the so-called anti-American curriculum instead, the Gettysburg Address and the Federalist papers among the examples.

Oklahoma’s lawmakers aren’t the only one with this concern. Georgia’s House Education Committee has also questioned the AP course, calling it radical revisionist history. The Republican National Committee passed a resolution over the summer echoing the same sentiments.

There’s no doubt that the nation’s history isn’t as gleaming as they’d like it to be, but it is the truth. AP U.S. History is not embellishing details, it just so happens that the details are ones these lawmakers would rather have left out.

While it’s nicer to re-imagine American history through rose-colored glasses, it’s foolish, too.

History can’t be changed just because the past isn’t patriotic. If anything, it must be taught to keep the country from reverting to mistakes made in the past.

We cannot forget the darkest moments of American history.  We cannot forget the countless decades of racism, from signs that read, “Irish need not apply” to the struggles endured by African-Americans.

We cannot forget the plight of women in this country, who couldn’t even cast a ballot until the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920.

Just because future generations learn of America’s failure does not mean patriotism is waning.

Although America still has a long way to go, it has progressed rapidly because people who love this country fought to change it for the better.

Defunding AP U.S. History to teach only the most basic cornerstones of the American story takes out all the color that students need to better grasp life in older days.

Leaving the truth out only dumbs down future generations. The less we teach them, the less they’ll know, and the more likely they’ll repeat the mistakes of the past.

It was in fact the freedom of knowledge and the freedom of information that the Founding Fathers seek, not its prohibition.

The men and women’s basketball teams are both coming off losses to West Texas A&M University on Saturday, with just one month until the Lone Star Conference basketball tournament in Allen, Texas. 

For the lady Javelinas, an 81-57 loss to the number one team in the LSC, proved to be one of their toughest losses of the season. The Javelina women’s basketball team has struggled overall this season under first year head coach Wade Scott, however the potential to win is there.

Although the team is off to a school worse 0-20 record this season, six of the games have been decided in the final two minutes, where TAMUK has lost by 10 or less. The ability to finish games and come out on top has been the issue for the Javelinas.

Although this season has been rough, the talent on the roster makes the future bright and coach Scott is just getting started. With players like Lauren Jay, Ruby Robertson, who comes off the bench and brings a spark to the offense and sophomore Micah Weaver who leads the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game, the Javelinas are well on their way to finish the season with more than a few wins.

Lets face the facts; the Lone Star Conference is not a push over conference. It is loaded with talent and every team that comes to play is ready, including TAMUK. For the women’s team, whether it is making free throws to close out a game or making better decisions in the final minutes, a team win takes time and a young team takes time to gel.

That time may not be now, but the time is close. As for the men’s basketball team who is playing under another first year coach in Johnny Estelle, playing with the best in the LSC has been something these Javelinas have done all season long, despite their 7-14 record. Looking back at an 85-67 loss to the No. 8 ranked team in the nation Angelo State University, the Javelinas went to the locker room at half-time trailing by 4-points.

The Rams were carrying a 10-game winning streak and had come into the matchup with only one loss. The ball movement and the chemistry that the Javelinas showed in that game was on par with the best team in the LSC.

Team chemistry has shined all season long  for these guys and despite the record, every game has been competitive in the first-half. Sometimes you just have to give credit to the LSC and its competition. Like the women’s team, it is just a matter of time before this team breaks out.

The talent is there and these players know that. Four of the Javelinas  seven wins have come at home and coach Estelle knows what a home court advantage can do for a team. “Javelina Nation needs to pack the house and support us,” Estelle said. “We need their energy and I guarantee if we can pack the house and get loud, we will compete and come out with a win.”

Well you heard it there hog nation, these guys need your support and the girls do as well. Your chants of defense and your explosiveness after a Duan Wright dunk really do fire up your Javelinas.

Whether its body paint with your teams colors or just holding a sign, it truly does make a difference

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I’ve never been the type of person to do anything crazy.

If I were to describe myself to you, I’d be the first to admit how dull I am. I’ve never liked standing out from the crowd, and I’ve always been the person to follow rather than lead.

The great thing about life, though, is that we’re always due for a paradigm shift, even in the most ridiculous of places.

As editor, I like to check in with my coworkers from time to time, make sure everything’s okay, ask if they need help…you know, the thing a boss is supposed to do and all.

It was never my intention to get into that snow pit during Fun in the Snow –  you’d know that because I was wearing gym shorts –  but my friend and coworker, Dante, insisted on it.

So reluctantly, I enter the snowball arena with him, and at first, we’re just messing around, throwing a few at each other, and then we see this guy, covered from head to toe in black, with a small camera protected by a cover attached to his chest. We’ll call him the Phantom Snowman.

We continue minding our own business, eventually noticing that the phantom is riling everyone up, throwing snowballs at random people. We quickly pick a side and start throwing snowballs in defense.

At some point, this phantom decides to stand in the center of the area and proclaim, “Who wants to build a snowman?” at the top of his lungs.

The response was a few snowballs thrown at him. Undeterred, he set to work on a snowman. Captivated by his recklessness, Dante and I stared for a few minutes before he finally said, “Dude, let’s go help him build that snowman.”

I dismissed the notion immediately, saying that was crazy and certain death by snowball. The poor phantom kept getting hit, as if to illustrate my point.

Dante shrugged, then said, “A crazy leader needs crazy followers.”

I had no response to that, so I agreed. We strode into the center, and I was certain people were looking at us like we were insane. “We’re here to help,” we said.

I don’t want to claim that what we did started something, but at the time, it seemed like it. Not too long after we got down to help, others came too.  Eventually, after multiple snowballs to the back and neck, the snowman was complete, small carrot and all.

I was left with a wonderful memory of the event, but more importantly, it got me thinking about how this reflected reality.

If nobody is brave enough to take a step forward, can change truly happen? We talk all the time about how things should be better, but what do we ourselves do about it?

Our generation is faced with many problems, globally and internally. Society needs its leaders, those “crazy followers.” It needs people that are brave enough to be apathetic to what others think.

Will you be that one person standing in the crowd, content to watch from afar? Or will you take that crazy step forward, willing to sacrifice what it takes?

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It’s really easy to get caught up while you’re telling a story.

The first time you tell it, the events are the freshest in your memory, so you recall the story accurately. The second time you tell it, you decide to add a little more color, embellishing parts of the story to make it more memorable. Over time, the story takes on a life of its own and bears little to no resemblance of the events that actually took place.

This common occurrence happens to most of us without any consequence, but NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams is finding out the hard way that these lies can come back to haunt you.

The award-winning journalist claimed that while covering the Iraq War in 2003, the helicopter he was in was shot at with an RPG missile before the pilot was able to safely land the aircraft.

Williams has retold the story several times since the original report broke 12 years ago, each time with a few different details, making the story something of legend.

As more and more people began to see the inconsistencies, Williams apologized to the American public for what he described as a “terrible mistake.”

Williams admitted it was not the helicopter he was traveling in, but the one in front of him that suffered damage from an RPG.

It turns out the only fire Williams came under is the metaphorical type from the public since he issued the apology.

In retrospect, it’s a small lie. The events he recounted happened in his proximity, even if they didn’t happen to him. When put in context, it pales in comparison to the inaccuracies spread by our own government to get the United States involved in Iraq in the first place.

But was the embellishment really worth it?

Since Williams’ apology, his reporting on every other topic has been called into question, especially during Hurricane Katrina. A shadow of doubt has been cast over Williams so strong that he is now taking a hiatus from his desk at Nightly News.

Whether his lie is a by-product of an environment that prefers ratings over truth or just an example of a story that got out of hand, one thing is certain: maybe it’s best if journalists stick to the facts, even when they aren’t as sensational as we’d like them to be.

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syringe vaccination grayIn today’s environment, every issue becomes a partisan debate, even if it involves common sense.

Vaccinations are the latest example of this tragedy, and the issue is getting worse before it gets better.

According to an article published in USA Today, a 13-state sample survey indicated that one in seven schools have vaccination rates below 90 percent. That number is even lower for private schools, which are more likely to offer vaccination exemptions.

The dip in the vaccination rate has caught the attention of several health organizations because it has led to the return of diseases that were once thought to be eradicated, like measles.

Parents have begun to stray away from vaccinations out of skepticism and fear that vaccinations are somehow linked to autism.

News networks are beginning to ride that fear for ratings. Just ask Sean Hannity, who said last week that although his kids were vaccinated, parents should not be forced to because it encroaches on their liberty. The old saying goes “to each their own.”

However, vaccinations should not be viewed as a personal liberty. It’s an issue that affects all of us. Health officials have said that the recent measles outbreak was easily preventable if more children had been vaccinated.

Anti-vaxxers have found a way to prevail with their antiquated mindset, and the entire public is suffering because of it.

All states need to tighten up on this issue and limit the number of exemptions that are granted to every family.

If vaccination rates returned to nearly 100 percent, we can once again live in a world where measles are eradicated.

Until then, we’ll have to deal with this debate—even if it makes us sick to our stomachs.

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University responds to letter on sexual assault policy

A letter to the editor in the December 3, 2014 edition of The South Texan suggests that the administration is not interested in justice or due process in cases of sexual assault. Nothing could be further from the truth. We care about the health and well-being of all students, and we are here to listen to our students. I spent 20 years as a counselor for military servicemen and women struggling with addiction, violence and other issues. I have seen the impact of violence not only on the individuals but also their families and communities, and I am just as committed to addressing it on campus as I was in my previous roles.

The letter to the editor includes several highly charged allegations that are not based in fact and reflect neither the existing climate on campus nor the intentions of the administration. It’s important to address each allegation and provide clarification as we continue to enhance our procedures and programs.

Allegation 1: Texas A&M University-Kingsville does not have sexual assault grievance policies and procedures in place to provide investigation and adjudication.

The Texas A&M University System has a policy that addresses sexual misconduct/harassment, and every campus within the System adheres to that policy. As is the case with any System policy, we have the opportunity to provide university-specific rules and procedures to complement the System policy and provide additional detail to the adjudication process. Our rule regarding sexual misconduct was submitted to the Office of General Counsel in the fall and will be implemented as soon as it is approved.

In addition, our Student Code of Conduct provides information regarding our procedures. It is important to note that this is an ongoing process, and as we receive additional clarification from the federal government related to complying with Title IX, Clery Act and other federal mandates, we will further enhance our response procedures.

We hired a full-time professional last year whose primary duty is Title IX compliance.  One of her responsibilities is to address sexual assault/harassment training across our campus, and she developed a comprehensive training program for all University employees including Resident Assistants. More than 30 trainings have taken place. Information regarding how and where to report incidents also has been disseminated across campus, and efforts will continue each semester.

Allegation 2: The university does not provide an adequate number of counselors trained to deal with sexual assault cases.

We have a professional counselor at Student Health & Wellness, and are seeking to hire two more. We also partner with the Women’s Shelter of South Texas to provide counseling. In addition, we designated five Title IX deputy coordinators across campus. The campus also maintains a pool of trained investigators who handle reported cases of assault or harassment. In the Fall semester, we also brought the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault to campus to provide two days of training for a group of invited faculty and staff who most often participate in investigations and hearings. This semester, we are hosting a program called Sex Signals on campus. It is aimed at raising sexual assault awareness, and it is sponsored by Residence Life, Student Health & Wellness, and Student Activities. There are two opportunities to see it: at noon and 5:30 p.m. on February 4 in Ballroom A of the Memorial Student Union Building.

In addition, PEP Talk, our student peer educator group sponsored by Student Health & Wellness, provides training to student groups regarding issues such as consent, relationships, and sexual assault. This group hosts activities throughout the year to raise awareness and provide information and has received recognition at the regional level for its efforts. The use of peer educators and the development of a bystander intervention educational program is considered a best practice, and we believe it benefits our campus.

Allegation 3: The university does not properly send out timely warning notifications as specified by the Clery Act.

This allegation is completely unfounded. The Clery Act is a federal mandate, and we not only believe in the value of it, but also take it very seriously in terms of warning our campus about potentially dangerous situations. According to the Clery Handbook, timely warnings are intended to enable people to protect themselves from crimes or dangerous situations when there is a determination that an alleged incident poses a continuing danger to the campus community.  According to guidance provided in the handbook “….If the alleged perpetrator was apprehended, there is no continuing risk.”

Each notification is decided on a case-by-case basis depending on the circumstances and the existence of continued danger on the campus. Our university has used this tool numerous times over the years, and it is important to note that the information may come in the form of phone calls, text messages, or emails.  Typically the messages will be sent from the university’s Chief of Police or Emergency Management Team or will be delivered with the heading “Timely Warning Notification”.  Our most recent bulletin of this nature was sent in November, and this tool will be used any time we believe a warning is necessary to protect our campus.

Allegation 4: The administration does not support development of a Women’s Center on campus.

We have a demonstrated track record for responding positively to requests for services. For example, we now have a university shuttle service that stemmed from surveys and discussions led by the Student Government Association. We also have a variety of sustainability efforts on campus – and an Office of Campus Sustainability – in response to campus feedback. If the campus wants a Women and Gender Center, we will certainly enter into discussions to determine how to meet the needs of the campus. We know that some employees were interviewed by the Women and Gender Studies Group regarding the feasibility of a center, but we haven’t received an update on the status of that study.

In closing, it is important to point out that our efforts are on-going and we are committed to listening to students and enhancing our procedures and programs. We appreciate and respect the serious nature of sexual assault/harassment allegations and investigations, and we are committed to providing ALL of the services required for such serious issues in an impartial and compassionate manner. Those services are complex and include training, counseling, investigating, and adjudicating reported cases. Sometimes that can be done utilizing campus resources alone, but more often it requires an integrated effort by several entities on campus and in our community. We believe that collaborative efforts serve our students well, and we welcome input through the appropriate and established channels so that misinformation does not hamper our ongoing efforts.

On the behalf of Dr. Tallant,

Cheryl Chain Executive Director of Marketing and Communications.

Women’s shelter refutes claims of previous letter

When reading the letter to the editor submitted by Charles Garza, I wanted to feel excited. Having a young man concerned about sexual assault and the impact it has on victims is a huge step towards ending the problem. However, as I read it, I realized that Mr. Garza wrote things about the Women’s Shelter of South Texan that are simply not true.

It is true that the residential services of the Women’s Shelter of South Texas are located more than 50 miles away in Nueces County, but Mr. Garza did not add that the organization has an outreach office located in Kingsville to provide services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Should a client require residential services, the agency will make arrangements to transport the client to Nueces County. The agency did have a vacancy in the Kingsville office, which was filled as soon as a suitable candidate was found. The Women’s Shelter of South Texas strives to hire from within the communities we serve, as it is most advantageous to have an employee that knows the community. In the interim, there were staff members available to serve clients.

The Women’s Shelter of South Texas is not under internal review for poor management or for anything else for that matter. The agency has experienced some turnover, but we have not had nine counselors resign or be terminated in recent months. The organization does not experience turnover any more than any other business.

As much as I want to set the record straight, my real concern is that victims will not seek out the services they need due to misinformation. I am not sure of the source of this information. I am not sure of the source of this information, but I would have been more than happy to talk with Mr. Garza and address any concerns he had in regards to the agency and our ability to respond. The Women’s Shelter of South Texas is in its 37th year of service provision and has served literally thousands of women, men and children with shelter, counseling, case management, rape crisis services and legal advocacy. It is my hope to work closely with the community, Texas A&M Kingsville and its faculty and students to ensure that the needs of sexual assault victims are met. That being said, the real goal is to create a community and campus that does not tolerate violence of any kind. The Women’s Shelter of South Texas wants to be a part of making that a reality.

Frances Wilson

President and CEO Women’s Shelter of South Texas.

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The Texas A&M-Kingsville “It’s On Us” event on Nov. 19 was held with good intentions but poorly executed. The fact that the student discussion turned into a seminar on how to protect yourself from being accused of rape leads one to believe that either the university is not truly aware of the issue, doesn’t care, or both.

At one point Kirsten Compary, Dean of Students, said, “We are going to teach people not to be victims.” The school doesn’t need to train anyone not to be victims; the school needs to teach people not to rape. The whole purpose and meaning of the event was quickly lost.

The fact that there is no policy on sexual assault is evidence that the school does not take this matter seriously. When questioned about the lack of policy, Compary said that our university had one. But then when students pointed out that neither the Student Handbook nor her own Dean of Students webpage had a sexual assault policy, Compary backtracked and said that a policy is up for review. Really? But we were told last semester that a comprehensive policy on sexual assault, harassment, and stalking would be in place by the beginning of this academic year. But here’s where it gets better: Compary said that a policy does nothing to prevent sexual assault from occurring.

She ignored the fact that one, a university policy makes the school in compliance with federal law. A lack of policy means a lack of accountability. Two, these policies do help prevent sexual assault and allow students who have been assaulted to feel more comfortable coming forward. Why would students come forward when they don’t know if there is an official grievance and adjudication policy? (by the way, as of this writing, there isn’t one).

Official policy ensures that there are consequences for those who rape and creates an overall safer environment on campus. Dean Compary cannot sit on a panel and say that the policy is of the upmost importance to her and then say that policies don’t work.

When questioned about the lack of a qualified counselor on campus to help sexual assault victims, the head of Student Health Services, Jo-Elda Castillo Alaniz, said that they work with the Women’s Shelter of South Texas, but that also students feel more comfortable dealing with the counselor at the Health and Wellness Center. But the Women’s Shelter that the university works with is more than fifty miles away and has been under internal review for poor management.

Nine counselors have either been fired or quit recently, including the local Kingsville Victim Advocate (who has since been replaced and works at a satellite office downtown). However, the position remained vacant during those first few weeks of the academic year when first-year women are most likely to be sexually assaulted (Google “sexual assault red zone” to learn more about this).

The Women’s Shelter of South Texas is not an adequate resource to refer the students to at this time. Further, even if students feel more comfortable when talking with the counselor on campus (there is only one counselor employed to serve approximately 8,500 students), that should not deter from the fact that no one is specifically qualified at Health and Wellness to deal with survivors of sexual assault.

When asked about the lack of a Women and Gender Center on campus, the panel answered that there was one fifteen years ago, but that no one used it—so it wasn’t needed. Have they bothered to ask students now?

They neglected to mention that students in a service-learning project funded by the university last semester assessed the need and desire to revitalize a Women’s Center on campus. Guess what they concluded? They agreed that the university should have one.  Women and Gender Centers provide support groups for survivors of sexual violence, a place for LGBT students to meet and feel safe, lactation stations for mothers, and many other needed services. Just because administrators feel as if there doesn’t need to be a center doesn’t mean that one isn’t needed.

Amy O’Neill, the Title IX Coordinator, gave her speech on Title IX policies. The lawyer refused to use the phrase “survivor” at an event that is supposed to raise awareness of sexual assault and highlight what the university is doing to help survivors—which seems to suggest that the school is not worried about justice and due process for the survivor.

Rather, they are worried about protecting the university’s best interest. Also, timely warnings mandated by the Clery Act have not been properly sent out, and O’Neill was well aware of that. If students do not receive timely warnings, the school is harboring an unsafe environment. Why has nothing been done to resolve this issue? Does the school have the students’ best interest in mind?

This type of event can be helpful for raising awareness of the serious issue of sexual assault that systematically impacts universities nationwide. But there is no point in having these events if the university does not have a policy regarding sexual assault nor provides adequate services or a safe haven for all survivors. The university needs to not only assure students that a safe environment is being made for them, but TAMUK administrators need to act on their assurances.

Like it was said at the event, “if you’re going to talk the talk, then walk the walk.”

Signed,

Charles Garza, Senior Political Science and History major, and concerned Texas A&M-Kingsville students