Outside the Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M University a group called “Texas A&M Anti-Racism” practiced protest chants.

Their October 6 “No More Emails March” was one of several demonstrations this semester. This one was in response to multiple mass emails from university President Michael K. Young addressing on-campus racism – action protesters such as Emilio Bernal say doesn’t go far enough.

“What we’re trying to say is we don’t want anymore emails, we don’t want anymore fake apologies,” Bernal says. “We want to see real change, we want to see more students and faculty of color here, we want to see a mandatory anti-racism class, and that’s just to begin with.”

The Texas A&M Anti-Racism group formed last February after a group of touring high school students were the victims of hate speech. The group hopes to combat what they call a culture and history of racism at A&M.

The group met with President Young and other university administrators last spring about creating a mandatory racism awareness class. Group member Justin Hale was a part of those meetings – he says Young was supportive.

“A great quote he had coming out that meeting was ‘to deny racism at A&M is blind’ and I think he hit the nail on the head,” Hale says. 

But Hale says progress in forming the course is slower than he’d like. Administrators cite funding and faculty availability issues as a barrier but Hale is skeptical.

“We’re at one of the most affluent schools in America, and especially the state of Texas,” he says. “We built a half a billion dollar stadium within two years, heck this year we’ve built a parking garage that they wanted within a couple of months. We have more than enough money and this has been an issue that has taken course over decades, over decades, so time is really just up.”

The demand for such an anti-racism class mirrors pre-existing efforts within the university to revamp A&M’s International and Cultural Diversity or IDC credit – a degree requirement all students must fulfill in order to graduate. For administrators, it’s the obvious place to direct the student group’s demands, but Dr. Julie Harlin, co-chair of the Core Curriculum Committee, says a single class would be too difficult to implement.

“When we’re trying to serve as many students as we have on this campus, 45,000 undergraduates, trying to have one course requirement has all kinds of challenges that logistically we could not navigate,” Harlin says. 

Right now there isn’t a single class at A&M that every student has to take. Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Daniel Pugh says the it’s hard to fit a new class into every degree plan.

“It’s got to fit across all of the different colleges and it’s got to fit within the constructs of what the state says we have to do within a core curriculum,” Pugh says. “And you can’t just add on another three hours or six hours – it’s got to fit within that degree number that’s there.”

Instead of a single class labeled as “anti-racism”, the Core Curriculum Committee will propose a new requirement called “Cultural Discourse” filled with several different course options and a common online module.

But students like junior Jessica Carachure doubt such courses would be welcomed, or effective, at all.

“I feel like it’s hard to change people’s opinions on things and there would be a lot of conflicts coming up from that like people saying ‘I don’t need this class I already know this’ and stuff, so, I don’t know about that,” Carachure says. 

TAMU Anti-Racism member Amanda Gomez sees things differently.

“People of color for decades on this campus have faced violence, not a few minutes of discomfort, not a class-period of discomfort – actually violence, verbal assault, physical assault,” Gomez says. “So I think two or three times a week, being in a class you might not want to be in isn’t so bad compared to that.”

While TAMU Anti-Racism has been critical of what they see as a slow response by administrators to their complaints, pilot classes similar to the group’s proposals could be coming to the A&M campus as soon as next semester.

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  • Frieda Norris November 7, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Рerfectly!

  • Anonymous November 6, 2016 at 2:02 am

    This is ridiculous, students being forced to pay for a class like this is down right insulting.

  • Nick Ashcroft November 4, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    I would suggest a class focussed on identifying bullies and preventing bullying of any kind, a larger issue of which race-based assault is a part of. But being familiar with these so-called ‘social justice’, ‘anti-racist’ types, I doubt that this course would focus on actual racist harassment. It would instead use politically-charged misinformation to teach students about the ‘history’ of discrimination against minorities; and rather than identifying as the problem hateful and misguided demagogues who saw others as inferior and less deserving of respect just because of their skin colour, the class would instead ostentatiously emphasise that it was whites who were the ‘oppressors’.

  • Tom Smith November 4, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Well there’s one less charity I’ll spend my money on. Texas A&M is not a racist school. The problem is the school’s president is a spineless Harvard grad who will automatically cave whenever a minority sheds a tear.

  • - November 4, 2016 at 12:04 am

    This is beyond stupid.

  • Anonymous November 3, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Saying you want colored people to take over and be ahead is racist. It’s discriminatory against white people. I hate racism on all fronts but no class is going to change racist people. I pray that this doesn’t get passed.

  • Sul Ross November 3, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Waste of time, effort and money that won’t actually solve anything.

  • Beth November 3, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Some of the comments on here already are the exact reason we need this class.

  • Amber November 3, 2016 at 11:15 am

    This sounds like a great idea! Minorities need a voice on campus. I’ve had to deal with a number of issues on campus being a woman of color. Implementing cultural awareness could help people realize the reality of what they do, say, and think. I understand the difficulty of making it required but I highly doubt anyone that needs to take this course would willingly take it. I’m excited to see how this all works out! Good bull!

  • Ag2001 November 3, 2016 at 8:06 am

    This is stupid. I am Hispanic and had no problems 97-01. Made all sorts of friends. Quit pretending you are a victim.

    • Daniel November 5, 2016 at 3:58 am

      Quit pretending that your experience is the one everyone should or will have.

    • Anonymous November 12, 2016 at 8:16 am

      I’m pretty sure she wasn’t the only hispanic that had this experience.

  • John Davies November 2, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    As a person of color,I’m all for increasing the numbers of ppl of color. Our demographics are skyrocketing and it’s time for us to take control. Time for us to be the majority in universities and then graduate and be the majority in the workplace and power

    • James J November 4, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      Listen to yourself! This isn’t how the problem gets solved, this is how it gets worse. The day that we can stop talking about racial majority and minorities is the day that racism can fade away. This is the problem with Black Lives Matter. Many people truly want equality, yet many others are racist themselves in their protests.

      I hope that someday we can all live Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. He was a model citizen to all people.

    • Anonymous November 12, 2016 at 8:16 am

      Why? Maybe you should take a anti-racist class…

  • Lawrence Ross November 2, 2016 at 11:56 am

    This is pretty stupid. Hopefully their agenda fails.