By Adam Smith
At a workshop to help students prepare for the recent State Senate freedom of speech hearing, members of the Pan African Action Committee, known as PAAC, expressed their frustration with Texas State University and what they see as a lack of support for minority students.
Especially concerning to the committee are the recent incidents of white supremacist flyers being posted on campus. Former PAAC President, Tafari Robertson, said that these kinds of propaganda flyers represent more than just an expression of free speech.
“We’re not talking about just words or just free speech,” Robertson said. “We’re talking about people who are curating a community of neo-Nazis on our campus. We’ve seen the most reported incidents of flyers representing neo-Nazis and the alt-right of any campus in Texas.”
PAAC member and student senator, Claudia Gasponi, thinks the flyers are a direct call to action to hurt Texas State minority students. Gasponi believes university administration and student body president, Connor Clegg, have not done enough to protect those students.
“Connor Clegg gave a 20-minute speech before we voted on the immigration attorney piece to tell people that the administration would not take us seriously and that is why we should not vote for it,” said Gasponi. “The current student body administration and the actual administration are silencing students’ needs.”
The piece of legislation Gasponi referenced would have urged the university to hire an attorney to protect undocumented students against the threat of arrest and deportation.
Another issue that concerns PAAC is the under-representation of African-American professors here at Texas State. Robertson said it is important for students to have access to African-American professors and wants the university to create a black studies program.
“We only have about 5 percent black faculty and staff,” said Robertson. “That includes administrators.”
The Pan African Action Committee meets every Wednesday evening from 5-7 p.m. in the Lampasas 500 Multicultural Lounge.
Featured image by Adam Smith.