The Big Conversation
An incident earlier this week on the campus of Texas A&M University where students visiting from an inner-city Dallas charter school were harassed with racial slurs is spurring an investigation.
The Tribune’s Matthew Watkins reported that two black students in a group of about 60 juniors from Uplift Hampton Preparatory “were approached by a white woman wearing Confederate flag earrings. … the white woman showed the students her earrings and asked them what they thought about them. Then a group of ‘white male and female students’ began taunting the students ‘using the most well-known racial slur that's directed toward African Americans,’” according to state Sen. Royce West, whose district includes the school.
Campus police called to the scene did not charge anyone. Watkins wrote that “the responding officer told people at the scene that the harassers were expressing their First Amendment rights, according to West. University officials are now reviewing the incident, West said.”
A&M President Michael Young promised in an e-mail that the matter "will be thoroughly investigated to the fullest extent possible" with West calling for strong discipline, if not the expulsion of the A&M students.
Watkins reported that Uplift Hampton officials said they were disappointed by the incident but appreciative of the university administration’s response.
“The charter school is devoted to helping economically disadvantaged students get into college,” Watkins wrote. “Many come from families with no experience in higher education, and campus tours are their first encounters with universities.”
Disclosure: Texas A&M University is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
Trib Must Reads
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Quote to Note
"Mexico got him to do it because Mexico wants to keep the border just the way it is because they’re making a fortune and we’re losing.”
— Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, ripping into Pope Francis' upcoming trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, which he believes shows a lack of understanding about immigration by the pope.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• A Conversation with Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. and Rep. Jose Manuel Lozano on Feb. 25 at Texas A&M University-Kingsville
• Live Post-Primary TribCast on March 2 at the Austin Club
• Protecting Houston Before the Next Big Storm on March 3 at San Jacinto College Maritime Technology and Training Center in La Porte.
• A Conversation with Sid Miller, Texas Agriculture Commissioner on March 10 at the Austin Club
• A Conversation with Sen. Carlos Uresti and Rep. Poncho Nevárez on April 13 at Sul Ross State University in Alpine
• A Symposium on the Texas Economy on April 29 at the University of Houston