Update 11:32 a.m. Jan 19 | A petition has been circulating Texas State to get the Strutters to not participate in the inaugural parade and for university officials to remove their support of the performance. The petition is on change.org, was created by Black Lives Movement: San Marcos one week ago and will be delivered to President Trauth, Strutters director Tammy Fife, Greg Abbott, the Strutters and the Texas State Board of Regents.
Currently, the petition has 253 supporters. This is not the first sign of controversy of the Strutters attendance. The Strutters deleted their Twitter account of they announced their attendance and received much criticism.
After the original article appeared, many people commented their disappointment in this performance.
“I understand that plans for this began a year ago, but I am still disappointed to hear that the Strutters will be marching for this racist, misogynistic who has treated and spoken about women the way he has,” one reader commented.
Others expressed their excitement for the Strutters acting as ambassadors for the university and for the opportunity the dancers receive.
“Great exposure for Texas State! Regardless of your politics, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for those dancers!” Ashely Craig commented on Facebook.
The Strutters will be performing at the Black Tie and Boots Ball hosted by the Texas State Society tonight and in the inaugural parade tomorrow.
As the presidential inauguration approaches, the Strutters, the university’s dance team, recently announced they will be performing in the 2017 Inaugural Parade.
University spokesperson Matt Flores said the application process began in January 2016. The Strutters announced Dec. 21 the organization was selected to participate in the inauguration.
“In actuality, the process began prior to even the primary election—so before anybody even knew who was going to be president,” Flores said.
The dance team is composed of 99 members, and approximately 85 representatives are indicated to be a part of the parade. Each individual member who committed to go is responsible for funding their own trip to Washington D.C.
“It’s an extraordinary honor for the Strutters organization itself,” Flores said. “They are among (the) best ambassadors for our university.”
Performing in a presidential inauguration is not something new for the acclaimed dance team. The Strutters performed in the inaugurations of John F. Kennedy and Texas State alumnus Lyndon B. Johnson. The organization has also marched in other large-scale events including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, People’s Republic of China and feature films.
“Anytime that organization has an opportunity to do something on that scale, we believe that it is great for the university because it’s a way for our university to put one of its best feet forward,” Flores said.
According to POLITICO, the Inaugural Committee announced 40 organizations to parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Of those 40 organizations, Texas State University is among the five collegiate organizations to participate in this event.
The Strutters’ decision to accept this invitation has received a volume of criticism on social media from students and faculty members due to president-elect Donald Trump.
Student Body President Andrew Homann stands with the Strutters and supports the dance team’s decision to perform.
“From what I understand, the Strutters have had this trip planned long before the results were announced and to turn this into a game of politics, I don’t think that is fair for the members of the Strutters who have worked so hard,” Homann said.
Criticism to perform at Trump’s inauguration is not only plaguing Texas State, but resulting all around the country. Petitions have circulated several schools in demand to refrain from participation of Trump’s inauguration.
Homann says he believes presidential inaugurations are symbolic events that celebrate the freedom of democracy, regardless of who is taking the oath.
“The inauguration represents something special to America. It is something to be celebrated by our county. Not everyone will agree with the policies of the president-elect, but what we can agree on is America is the greatest country in the world. The fact that we can have a peaceful transition of power is just one of the many examples that demonstrate it,” Homann said. “That’s why I think the Strutters should enjoy their time there because they are going there to perform for a celebratory inauguration that we’ve had in America that represents the peaceful transfer of power.”
As a representative of the student body, Homann expressed his support for all organizations at the university.
“Student Government stands with all Bobcats,” Homann said. “We simply support the aspirations and endeavors of one another.”