Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin emailed a statement to students, faculty and staff on Friday addressing controversy this week over an anti-gay Student Senate bill. However, gay campus activist Camden Breeding, former president of the GLBT Aggies, notes that Loftin’s statement fails to include any specific mention of the LGBT community. Breeding also says Loftin’s statement was released because an LGBT Aggie received a death threat. Breeding’s Facebook post, shared with his permission, is followed after the jump by Loftin’s full statement.
To Texas A&M University Students, Faculty and Staff:
As President of one of the nation’s leading teaching, research and service universities, I am firmly committed to creating and maintaining a welcoming campus environment, one that values our differences as well as our individual and unique contributions to the Aggie Family. At the same time, I am committed to defending and embracing our First Amendment rights and responsibilities of free speech.
This week there has been significant discourse about how we fund our campus priorities, especially those that directly impact our students. This discourse has, in some cases, lacked civility and discounted each individual’s right to free expression of their ideas and beliefs.
While “The Religious Funding Exemption Bill” has now been dealt with by both the legislative and executive branches of our student government, I want to address how the climate that emerged during its creation, modification and disposition negatively impacted one of our most sacred core values: respect.
Respect includes conveying to all of our students, faculty and staff, regardless of their social and cultural identities, that they are welcomed in Aggieland for what they can contribute to and derive from our educational mission. Everyone brings something to our educational environment,including the support structures provided by the university to ensure that our students thrive.
Although differences of opinion in an institution committed to education are normal, if not intrinsic, we must commit ourselves to the highest standards of communication, expecting, and even seeking,to have our beliefs and ideas challenged in respectful and constructive ways.
Texas A&M University will continue to be a marketplace of ideas, a place that is welcoming to all as it maintains and strengthens civil and constructive dialogue. The 12th Man always stands together, ready to support the Aggie Family.
Thanks and Gig ’em!
R. Bowen Loftin ’71