Calls for Change Reverberate Following Racist Video at Texas A&M

Students and others are calling on Texas A&M officials to take action against a student shown using a series of racist slurs in a video that surfaced on social media.EXPAND
Students and others are calling on Texas A&M officials to take action against a student shown using a series of racist slurs in a video that surfaced on social media.
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Calls for change are continuing at Texas A&M University a little over a week after a video surfaced online of a student using a series of racist slurs while delivering a fake biology lecture.

In the video, the student, who is white, stands in front of a chalkboard, holding a beer and pointing at a drawing of a Punnett square, a type of diagram that geneticists use to explain genetic variation and inherited traits. The student launches into an elaborate, creatively racist explanation of terms for the children of black parents. Among other names, he refers to a baby who appears to be white but is born to two black parents as a "nigglet."

The video was recorded on Snapchat and then posted to Twitter on June 28. After it surfaced, a number of Twitter users tweeted at the university, some calling for the student to face consequences, including expulsion. In most cases, the university tweeted back a boilerplate paragraph: "This behavior is abhorrent. Thank you for alerting us to it. We have passed this along so Texas A&M officials can look into it."

Last week, Texas A&M senior Morgan Gimblet launched an online petition calling for the student to be reprimanded and for "transparency and serious repercussions" in response to such incidents. On Wednesday morning, the petition had 1,600 signatures.

On Monday, Gimblet posted a letter to Texas A&M President Michael Young, asking to meet with him to discuss how the university handles such issues.

"In the spirit of support to help the University address and prevent issues of racism and discrimination from happening again, I created the petition," Gimblet wrote. "I understand that the administration works tirelessly to handle these issues, and I would like to be included in change by advocating for increased accountability."

Days after the video surfaced, Young issued a statement saying the university's Student Conduct Office is investigating the incident, but outcomes won't be made public because of restrictions under the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA.

In the statement, Young encourages students and others to report such incidents to the university. He calls the behavior in the video "abhorrent and against the core values that we share and to which we aspire in all we do, including those of respect, excellence and integrity."

"Throughout our campus, there are so many Aggies representing the best of who we are in serving, loving and respecting each other," Young wrote. "Incidents like this hit us at our core. To be clear, those who champion those beliefs represented in this video are not welcomed at Texas A&M University."

On the same day, KBTX-TV, the CBS affiliate in College Station, reported that the student had released a statement apologizing for the video.

"A video of myself that I am extremely ashamed of was released over the weekend. My state of mind while the video was made last week in no way excuses my words or actions. In hindsight, I realize what I said and did was wrong and very hurtful to many," the student wrote. "I also realize that I have to do work within myself. I am extremely sorry from the bottom of my heart, as this is not who I was raised to be, and not who I want to be. I cannot begin to understand but will work to be more aware of, the pain these words cause people. I am deeply sorry."

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