Texas A&M is seeking more information about a series of racist notes found on a Black student’s car windshield Wednesday and is offering a $1,200 reward leading to the identification of the person or persons responsible, A&M President Michael K. Young announced Thursday afternoon.
The student tweeted photos of his car with three messages on it that included a racial slur, “You don’t belong here,” and “All lives matter” in the parking lot of his College Station apartment. His photo caption on Twitter reads, “I hate it here. Y’all still don’t think A&M is racist? #RacismAtTAMUFeelsLike.”
The tweet, which had been reshared more than 4,100 times as of Thursday afternoon, garnered outrage online, with numerous members of the A&M community and beyond offering the student their support, while others responded with criticism or skepticism.
Young wrote Thursday that the A&M police department is working with the Park West apartment complex to investigate the act.
“Yesterday afternoon I learned of a detestable racist event — messages of hate were left on the car windshield of a Texas A&M student,” Young wrote. “Acts of racism are irreconcilable with the values we uphold here at Texas A&M University. Those who promote hate, discrimination and disrespect are not welcomed at this institution. We are tired of bigoted members of our community marring the experiences of students of color.
“For those found responsible of racial or ethnic harassment, we can and will enforce appropriate sanctions under our code of student conduct, which allows us to pursue action against stalking, harassment and related retaliation that violate a person’s civil rights,” Young wrote. “As Aggies, we often talk about our core values. We need to live them. Let me be clear: Incidents like the one yesterday have no place at Texas A&M. Anyone who believes that hate is acceptable is not wanted at Texas A&M.”
Park West released a statement Wednesday that denounced the act and articulated a commitment to assist with the investigation.
“We do not tolerate this type of behavior,” the statement reads. “Park West always aims to cultivate an environment where our staff and residents can feel like we are their home away from home.”
Young said that those with information should call 979-845-8897 or email email@example.com.
The series of notes comes amid a strong push from Black and other people of color in the larger Aggie community who have called for A&M to address what they describe as an at-times hostile culture. On social media, current and former students — as well as faculty and staff — have shared experiences of racism on the Texas A&M campus using #RacismAtTAMUFeelsLike, which trended nationally on Twitter last week. Young and the university have recently announced a series of measures to address racism and discrimination at A&M, including a 10-step plan, a forthcoming Task Force on Race Relations and The Commission on Historic Representations.
Some Black A&M community members and groups have coalesced to form a new coalition called Black Leaders on Campus (BLOC) and released a series of demands that includes calls for substantial inclusion and bias training and courses, a doubling of the number of Black faculty at A&M by 2025 and the removal of the Sul Ross statue. BLOC and other organizations are holding a march and protest at 5 p.m. Friday at the Administration Building.
“The time for action is now. Our voices will be heard. We are done being silent,” reads the online poster for Friday’s march.
The statue of Lawrence Sullivan Ross on the Texas A&M campus was cleaned of graffiti on Wednesday after being vandalized earlier this month. Ross was a Confederate general who later served as governor of Texas before becoming Texas A&M’s president, where he served from 1891 until his death in 1898. The debate over whether to keep the statue where it is or move it to Cushing Library has been fiercely revived in recent weeks, with protesters and counter-protesters making their respective cases on campus June 13.
A&M announced last week a commission to study the future of the statue.