Student gov prez under fire for criticizing 'whiteness' article
- The student body president at Texas State University is facing calls for his resignation after he condemned a controversial column on “whiteness” published in the school’s student newspaper.
- The school's Pan African Action Committee took issue with Connor Clegg's calls for the author and editors to resign, calling it a “gesture of censorship reminiscent of an authoritarian regime.”
The student body president at Texas State University is facing calls for his resignation after he condemned a controversial column on “whiteness” published in the school’s student newspaper.
Student columnist Rudy Martinez published an op-ed in The University Star last week titled, “Whiteness: Your DNA is an abomination,” in which he argues that individuals aren’t “born white,” but “became white” through an “allegiance to a country that was never great.”
Addressing white people directly, Martinez writes, “Remember this: I hate you because you shouldn’t exist.”
The controversial column caused outrage and made headlines across the country, and on November 29, Clegg addressed the incident directly in a statement on behalf of student government.
“To wish for the elimination of an entire race is an ignorant, date, and close-minded opinion, one that does not belong on our campus,” the statement reads, asserting that, “The University Star has proven through this racist article that they no longer align with our core values as a university.”
Declaring it “imperative that we take necessary measures to ensure that tuition dollars do not go to fund this behavior,” Clegg states that “As the Student Body President, I am immediately requesting the resignation of columnist Rudy Martinez, Opinions Editor May Olvera, and Editor-in-Chief Denise Cervantes,” charging those individuals with allowing “divisive, racist material to stain the reputation of this great university.”
“There is no reason for over 39,000 students to be forced to invest their student fees towards this brand of journalism,” Clegg concluded.
The very next day, November 30, The University Star apologized, releasing a statement on the incident.
“We screwed up. As editors, we allowed a hateful column to be published and hurt our community,” the paper wrote, divulging that “we have taken action and fired the individual.”
Some groups, such as the Pan African Action Committee (PAAC), weren’t happy with Clegg’s response to the incident, and released an official statement calling on Clegg to resign from his position as student body president.
PAAC’s statement labelled Clegg’s response a “threat to constitutional free speech,” and a “gesture of censorship reminiscent of an authoritarian regime.” Moreover, PAAC claimed that Clegg’s demands are “an alarming precedent for Texas State’s diverse community.”
“If Connor Clegg will not resign out of respect for the Texas State community, we will take our grievances to the Dean of Students and ask for a full divestment of all student fees from the $11,556 currently allotted for his position,” PAAC’s statement concludes.
Campus Reform reached out to PAAC, which elaborated on its statement, calling Clegg’s statement a racist attack on students of color.
“We’re asking for his resignation because he broke the constitution of our student government, has remained silent on direct attacks on students of color at [TXST], and attacked our university paper because someone made comments about a group that he identifies with,” a spokesman for PAAC stated.
Some students voiced their support for Clegg’s ouster on social media, as well.
“Can i sign a petition for this? Clegg’s blatant disregard for minorities on campus is beyond infuriating. It’s time for this openly biased and racist student body president to go,” TXST student Katie Scarlett tweeted.
Others, like TXST student Cameron Fowler, voiced their support of Clegg’s efforts.
“All of these comments against white people make me feel like this campus is unsafe. Just like all the comments against non white people make me feel like the campus is unsafe,” Fowler tweeted. “How about we all relax and both sides stop being racist against the other?”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @rMitchellGunter