Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond is calling for the removal of the controversial on-campus statue of former A&M president Lawrence Sullivan Ross.
The statue, known as “Sully,” has been on the campus since 1919. Ross, a brigadier general in the Confederate Army, a Texas Ranger and the 19th governor of Texas, was A&M’s president from 1891 to 1898. The statue has been a source of contention in College Station, with thousands signing a petition calling for the statue’s removal and thousands of others signing a petition for it to stay. There were protests for and against the statue’s removal on campus over the weekend.
Mond, a senior who has started 34 games for the Aggies over the past three seasons, has been outspoken about the statue in recent days and amplified his stance with a Twitter post on Tuesday night.
Mond said that the contributions Ross made to Texas A&M cannot outweigh or excuse his mistreatment of black and indigenous people in Texas. In his message, Mond cited historical examples, quoted the Confederacy’s Declaration of Causes and compared Ross to “someone who murders half of a family, but gives the other half of the family millions of dollars and resources to be successful for the rest of their lives.”
“Based on your ideology, people should forgive the murderer because he made up for his horrific actions by giving half of the family an opportunity to succeed. Based on your ideology, not only should you forgive the murderer, but you should also glorify the murderer,” Mond wrote.
Additionally, Mond said the values of Texas A&M “do not align with RACISM, VIOLENCE, SLAVERY AND SEGREGATION” and reiterated his stance that the statue should be removed.
“Texas A&M University, I NEED to see ACTION,” Mond wrote.
Mond was backed on Twitter by many of his teammates, as well as former A&M football players like Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel. Additionally, many former Aggies spoke out against people protesting against the statue’s removal, including one who held a sign that read, “Aggie traditions matter.”
Disappointing to see Counter Protests against Racism..... Especially from a place I attended and called home. Embarrassing. We have to do better. https://t.co/XoqRbOgyAl
A&M president trying to address ‘challenges’ school has faced with racism
On Monday, Texas A&M president Michael Young issued a statement related to “the challenges our campus and our community have experienced with regard to racism.” In the statement, Young said he would “invite discussion for action with a diverse group of leaders and voices to meet regularly with senior leadership and myself.” Among the other efforts Young noted to promote diversity was honoring Matthew Gaines, a former slave who became the first black state senator in Texas in 1869, with an on-campus statue.
In 2017, Young defended the Ross statue’s place on campus, citing Ross’ efforts to fund Prairie View A&M, a historically black university located in Prairie View, Texas.
"Without Sul Ross, neither Texas A&M University nor Prairie View A&M University would likely exist today," Young said. "He saved our school and Prairie View through his consistent advocacy in the face of those who persistently wanted to close us down."
Texas A&M chancellor John Sharp has also been supportive of the Ross statue, saying in 2017 that “anyone who knows the true history of Lawrence Sullivan Ross would never ask for his statue to be removed.”
In 2018, Sharp wrote to the A&M student newspaper in response to a letter written to the editor and said Ross “will have his statue at Texas A&M forever.”
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