UTSA Reacts to Charlottesville violence


Graphics by Chase Otero, The Paisano

Gaige Davila and Samuel De Leon

“You would think that [this ideology] wouldn’t have any place in today’s society at all,” Diamonque Jones, criminal justice student, said.

Last July, over 200 community members of Charlottesville, Virginia, crowded the City Hall asking the city to cancel an August 12 rally against the removal of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s statue from Emancipation Park. The event, going by the name “Unite the Right,” would bring together nationalists, neo-Confederates and alt-right activists. At approximately 11:30 AM on August 12, a local state of emergency was declared by the city of Charlottesville and the county of Albemarle.

In the wake of the Charlottesville attack, one person died and 35 more people were injured. Organizers of the “Unite the Right” event framed their protest as a freedom of speech movement to protect their heritage. The Mayor of Charlottesville, Mike Signer, condemned the actions of those protesting the removal of the Gen. Lee statue, but did not bar it.

The results of the events in Charlottesville created conflict at Texas A&M University. Former Texas A&M student Preston Wiginton scheduled a ‘White Lives Matter’ rally for September 11, in a public space plaza on the College Station campus. A&M later canceled the event citing safety concerns in the interest of the students. The university pointed out the recent death in Charlottesville being a major concern for the rally and the safety of its student body.

UTSA is home to several activist groups, but none advocating white supremecy. Protests are semi-regular on campus, but Charlottesville’s were out of the oridnary.

“Personally, I’m truly shocked,” Travis Tatsch, computer science student, said. “I think UTSA should continue to promote diversity and awareness of this multicultural world we live in.”

Some students are concerned about the future of protests post-Charlottesville. “I would hope [how they’re viewed] changes in a way that brings white privilege to the forefront of any conversation about protesting.,” Troye Kelley, English and philosphy studetn said. “But I worry that, under the current administration, what we’ll actually see is just more of the same: alt-right mouthpieces refusing to outright condemn the bigotry and enabling the racist hatred that motivates the protesters on their side of the aisle.”

Kelley continues, “Unfortunately, we seem to live in an America where some people think it’s within their rights to violently assemble and tote Nazi salutes and flags alongside the “Stars and Stripes,” and it’s high time that we call those people exactly what they are. In no uncertain terms they are Nazis and Nazi sympathizers.”