On February 27, 2017, I and a couple hundred others silently protested and watched as our sitting Student Government President Connor Clegg, seated high atop his pillar of white privilege, got off on a total of six charges brought against him before the Supreme Court. The decision was unanimous: “Not Guilty.” Keep in mind, Clegg appointed five of these justices, the other two were appointed by the former Student Government president, and Special Adviser to Clegg, Andrew Homann.
He walked away unscathed.
This comes mere months after Clegg lead the public persecution of former The University Star’s opinions columnist Rudy Martinez, in the aftermath of the release of his column “Your DNA is an Abomination.” Clegg attacked Martinez, and The University Star as a whole, for utilizing the very same right, freedom of speech, that Clegg used in his defense that evening.
I can’t say that I, or anyone else participating in the protest, was surprised by the outcome. Events like the Student Government Supreme Court’s impeachment decision is one we have seen time and again in this country. Justice being denied to people of color while another white man is spared even a slap on the wrist. Given Texas State’s indifference and passiveness concerning issues affecting students of color, and the clear disparities seen between the questioning of the defendant and prosecution that night, things were made explicitly clear: this administration has no real intention of taking the action we have so contentiously called for time and time again.
The feelings of safety and of having leadership we can trust in, are being continually denied. The student Supreme Court, and the higher echelon of leadership, which include the likes of Texas State President Denise Trauth, have failed at protecting the interests of all the students they represent. They have allowed students to be the subject of harassment by white supremacist groups and have given Clegg permission to foster an environment that allows those non-inclusive ideals to flourish. We tried changing our current conditions through bureaucratic means and failed: The time for being “peaceful” and “cordial” is over.
Now it is a question of self-defense versus masochism.
Though we continue to be ignored, and safety, a basic necessity, is not promised to us, we are not threatening anyone with violence. Self-defense manifests itself in a multitude of ways, and we aim to engage in a prolonged campaign whose ultimate goal is a brighter day at our institution.
This is a rallying cry for those who continue to have their voices stifled and dismissed at Texas State. Join us and fight with us, for the struggles we face within the confines of academia are mirrored in society—and it will be our responsibility, once we graduate, to join the larger conflict that has always been at the root of this country’s identity: that of the color line.
However, we must remember that this project we are embarking upon is a fun one. Our revolution’s roster does not include the solemn and the dreary but rather the willing and the daring, and it is our firm belief that the future belongs to the daring.
Join us, not to take cover, but to confront this storm at its very core.