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Tuesday, July 23, 2024 | Back issues
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Texas Aggies Apologize for Racial Taunts

DALLAS (CN) - Texas A&M University officials apologized Tuesday to black and Hispanic Dallas high school students who were subjected to insults and racial slurs during a campus visit last week.

Texas A&M President Michael Young, Chancellor John Sharp and student body president Joseph Benigno met with students at Uplift Hampton Preparatory charter school, apologized and praised their measured reaction.

Young said they are "precisely the kinds of students we would love to see enrolling" at the public university.

"We wanted to meet directly with the students, and I wanted to tell them how deeply sorry I was, and how sorry so many people are about what happened," Young told reporters. "It does not represent the values that we really hold dear at A&M."

White Aggies approached 60 visiting Uplift Hampton students on Feb. 9 and told them they "were not welcome" on the College Station campus, and the confrontation escalated, a state senator said last week.

"The initial confrontation began when a white female student approached two female African-American Uplift Hampton students to ask their opinion of her earrings, which were Confederate flag replicas," State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, said.

"This was exacerbated by a group of white, male and female students, who within earshot of the first event, told a larger group of the high school visitors, part of the Road to College at Uplift Education Program, to 'Go back where you came from.' They continued their taunts by using the most well-known racial slur that's directed toward African-Americans and also made other references to the Confederate flag."

Texas A&M officials who accompanied the high schoolers reported the incident.

Benigno presented the high schoolers with several thousand letters from Texas A&M students apologizing for the incident.

"Yesterday we had a coordinated effort with tables around campus and we distributed stationery to different student organizations for students to express how sorry they were to the high school students about what happened to them," Benigno said. "Their experience was in no way representative of what Texas A&M really stands for. It was really satisfying to have those letters in a big box, these thousands of letters to show them and say, 'This is what we really stand for.'"

Young said the school's investigation is proceeding "very rapidly" and he hopes to have it completed next week. He said some of the Aggies involved have been identified.

Follow @davejourno
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