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Texas A&M President Michael K. Young announces action plan for improving race relations on campus

Texas A&M President Michael K. Young announces action plan for improving race relations on campus

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Texas A&M University

Texas A&M student Emma Oliver walks her dog, Berkeley, past the War Hymn Monument outside Kyle Field on Thursday, April 30, 2020.

Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young announced Monday afternoon a 10-step plan that aims to help the racial climate on campus.

Among the steps are having a "diverse group of leaders and voices" to meet with A&M's senior leadership and Young, along with creating strategies "to combat hate and exclusion while fostering more inclusive values for our campuses."

The university plans to honor Matthew Gaines with a campus statue, Young said in the plan, which was published on the Office of the President's website. Gaines was a former slave who became Washington County's first black state senator. He was instrumental in passing Senate Bill 276, which created the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas under the Land Grant College Act of 1862, also known as the Morrill Act. Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp announced Saturday he would donate $100,000 to the statue project.

The Department of Multicultural Services will be expanded in the Memorial Student Center. "To improve campus climate means to have a meaningful, physical representation for meetings, support and facilitation of dialogs and action," Young said.

The university will increase recruiting underrepresented students, Young said, with scholarships and other resources, and increase funding for the Race and Ethnic Studies Institute. A&M will launch an "anti-discrimination bystander intervention training," which is described as an effort "to educate and train our campus community to step in to stand up against racism and to foster a positive climate."

The university will also support student groups with voter registration efforts.

Lawrence Sullivan Ross, the former Texas A&M president who was a Confederate general and whose campus statue has been a subject of debate in recent weeks and the past several years, was not mentioned.

Separate from Young's plan, A&M students compiled a plan titled "20 for 20: 20 Ways for Texas A&M to Fearlessly Confront Racism in 2020," which was emailed Monday to A&M officials and media outlets. The plan includes relocating the Ross statue to Cushing Memorial Library, providing the funding to complete the Gaines statue, adding a race, gender and ethnicity studies course requirement, and adding financial resources and training to improve the campus climate. 

For Young's complete 10-part plan, go to president.tamu.edu.

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