The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, October 04, 1978, Image 2

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About 50 students gathered Tuesday morning near the Memorial Stu- failed to move after several students asked him to.
dent Center, when junior Lindsey Scoggin was lying on the grass, and
Here comes the grass again:
Respect memories
Battalion Staff
People got hot yesterday about some
body sitting on the Memorial Student
Center grass. Most wanted him off, and a
few applauded his refusal to leave.
Passing by, I didn’t know why he got on
the grass, and disliked seeing him sitting
there, so I joined the mainly civilian crowd
to hear what was going on.
I was ashamed.
The arguments two girls were using
were astonishing. They said that by step
ping on the grass he hurt America. They
said “Highway 6 Runs Both Ways,” and
“love it or leave it,” ad nauseum.
They used all the wrong, narrow
minded arguments for what I thought was
right, and I wanted to crawl in hole and
pull it in after me.
They used asinine arguments for a basi-
A&M tradition, either. Friendliness and
courtesy are supposed to be our
trademark. The violence, though it might
have been the quickest and most satisfying
route, would have been wrong.
And I was glad nobody tried that ap
The reason is that violence is associated
with dogma and dogma is associated with
dead ideas. And traditions are ideas, see?
Not walking on the grass in itself is no
big deal. In fact, if it were just a tradition
for its own sake, I’d say “Why not break
it?” myself.
I’m hoping that Aggie traditions don’t
become icons to be worshipped because
then they’ll be useless stiflers of thought
on campus.
Texas A&M could become like Christ
mas, which has its roots in the celebration
of Jesus Christ’s birth. It is now X-mas,
cally rational and logical stand. ' J stripped of much of its Christian joy, a day
Why not respect a tradition most people ’ 'ifnprtrtaTit to miffiy orily because they buy
foffow and stay off the grass? ea6h'bfhfefe. gifts^., ■
Admittedly, as the MSC Council
pointed out last year, the grass has never
been a memorial — but has become one
with the passage of time. Originally the
aim was to keep students off the newly
planted grass, but now it has come to sym
bolize the respect people have for a bunch
of faceless Aggies who died in warfare for
our country.
I doubt many were John Waynes, and
figure most were killed against their will
and best endeavors.
Yet they still died in the country’s de
fense and I’m grateful.
That is why I think not walking on the
grass is a simple and nice tradition.
But I don’t think it was worth getting
hyper and completely irrational about. For
all I know that guy didn’t know he was on
the grass and then got stubom when he
was brusquely told to get off.
He might have reacted better if the
reason behind the tradition had been
explained calmly. Then he might have
realized why people feel the way they do
on that subject.
I would hope he’d then have enough
decency to respect what others feel and
refrain afterwards from stepping on the
Then again, maybe he would have still
stayed on the grass. But won’t excuse
threatening him. That’s not true Texas
One hopes the answer to “Why
shouldn’t I walk on the grass?” is not sim
ply “because.”
One hopes it will be a human answer,
not a righteous flare-up about an assault on
A&M’s tradition.
The tradition is never important. The
idea behind it is. Once that idea is gone,
then all is left is a shell, a facade.
And staying off the grass is a nice way to
demonstrate a polite, quiet sort of
gratitude for those who sacrificed their
lives for us all.
The answer lies in the students. They
ought to pass around a petition for a re
ferendum on whether the grass should be
memorialized. That would keep the issue
out of the grasp of administrators and stu
dent government and leave the issue to
the students.
Thus the students will decide on a tradi
tion themselves. Are they not the true ar
biters of what will and won’t be tradition?
If the vote is yes, then the grass will be a
university memorial. It also means school
regulation in addition to the force of tradi
tion will protect it. If a person obstinately
refuses to stay off the grass, then students
will be able to call the campus police to
enforce the regulation instead of growing
violent themselves.
Happily that will mean Aggies will work
through a system, and an indiviual won’t
be threatened with harm.
Right to choose.
I’ve looked. I’ve honestly looked hard.
But nowhere can I find anything official
that states that the Memorial Student
Center grass is a memorial of any kind,
much less to the same people whom the
building is dedicated to.
OK, OK, you reply, that’s a subject that
can be argued for hours. But why bring it
up again nowr
At one point, a black student walked
and offered his hand to the grass-sitter,
telling him to stick by his guns. As he left,
very angry and very rascist comments fil
led the air. Somehow, I wasn’t surprised.
Well, anyway, I could go on all day de
scribing the small insanities committed by
this friendly, tradition-loving group. But
there’s something that I mentioned earlier
that I want to return to.
The answer is simple, “fellow” Aggies. I
was witness to a little incident Tuesday
morning that made me angry at first but
now seems lost somewhere out in that
limbo far beyond the absurd. You know
what I’m talking about... somewhere out
around insanity. Come to think of it,
perhaps insane is the right word for it.
What happened, in over-simplified
terms, is this: A student was sitting on the
sacred grass. He was studying. Yes, study
ing. Remember studying? It’s what we
came here for.
Anyway, it wasn’t long before this stu
dent looked up and noticed that the con
crete around his grassy seat was filled with
a less than friendly crowd.
In the beginning, way back when the
MSC policies were laid down, there was
included a line which read “the use of the
Memorial Student Center grounds will be
left to the discretion of the individual.”
So it seems that the grass was never
memorialized at all in any way, shape,
fashion or form. Some of you may re
member last year when Student Govern
ment passed a resolution that recom
mended that the MSC Council officially
memorialize the grass.
No, let me re-phrase that: they were
mad. Plain downright, butt-kicking mad.
The guy on the grass held his ground (no
pun intended) but it wasn’t long before
things were getting serious.
The crowd kept growing and steadily
became more and more vocal. One young
lady (I use the term lightly) was very vocal
about the situation, continually berating
the student and his attitudes, as well as
everything else about him she could think
of at the moment. She even went so far as
to go out into the grass herself and take the
guy’s books and sandals, telling him that
he would get them back when got off the
blessed turf.
However, there are apparently none of
you who remember that the recommenda
tion was rejected by the council. In fact,
they adopted a formal policy which stated,
in part, that “the use of the Memorial Stu
dent Center grounds will not be discour
Look, folks, this is a stupid issue to
begin with. There are people being killed
by starvation, wars, and disease all over
the world, and here at Texas A&M, the
world-renowned institute of higher learn
ing, we are arguing, no, threatening each
other over a few measly blades of grass
which are fictitiously dedicated to a bunch
of guys who already have a whole building
Things got a little more heated when the
student finally surrendered and moved to
the sidewalk. The crowd didn’t seem wil
ling to accept this as a concession and they
stuck with him.
Let’s try to be sane about this. If you
want to consider the grass a memorial to
the dead, then do so. But don’t expect
others to think the same way. Grass is
During the final few minutes of the
episode, the student was asked loudly,
(and I’m dead serious) if he were Com
munist, or maybe even a Socialist. He was
even approached by one big Aggie who
told him sternly that no, he didn’t have to
keep off the grass, but if he didn’t, he
would have his arm broken.
comfortable and pleasant thing to relax on
and the area around the MSC is especially
beautiful. Just try to ignore the few who
like to sit on the grass instead of hard con
crete benches.
And there’s another point. Some people
don’t bow their heads when they pray.
Does that mean they’re atheists? Just be
cause a person treads on the precious
MSC grass doesn’t mean he is trying to slap
A&M traditions in the face.
Letters to the Editor
After every game people write comments
on observed behavior during yell practice
and the game, and I’d like to put in my 10
(inflated 2) cents on the occasion of this —
my fifth season here at A&M.
It is incomprehensible that gentlemen
(?) come to college without having
learned, among other manners, to remove
Gentlemen - off with your hats
their hats and caps in classes and while eat-
i n g> but not to show that much respect
during the prayer, national anthem, and
Spirit at games in intolerable. If Ags are
supposed really to care about each other
and want to help each other, one has to
wonder about those immediately adjacent
to those who foil to uncover.
Would it be so bad thoughtfully and
kindly to remind them of the custom? It
takes a lot of character to be a gentleman
(synonomous with Aggie) these days, to
maintain our time-honored principles, and
to stand firm in our respect for God, our
country (as expressed by the flag and na
tional anthem), and the greatest damn
university anywhere.
—Jim Metcalf, ’75, ’80
Slouch I
by Jim Earle
Thirsty game
This past Saturday several students were
surprised to find a new ruling at Kyle
Field. The ruling was that no more coolers
or drink containers were to be allowed in
the stands.
According to the ticket checkers in the
upper deck, the ruling became effective
that morning.
How were the students suppose to be
aware of this? When was the decision
made? And who made it? The concession
stand stockholders?
We wonder if the people making this
decision realize the impact of this new
rule. First, all that is offered are sugar con
taining drinks, some students for medical
reasons can not have sugar. Secondly, the
cost is for a “sip” of coke with lots of ice is
very high, one would need a bank roll to
keep from dehydrating. Third, letting the
students take their own drinks helps pre
vent many more cases of heat exhaustion
from happening.
Does this mean that the university will
become liable for people with no money
for drinks or with medical problems that
are overcome by the hear? Dehydration
can be very dangerous. This ruling is
analagous to crossing the desert with no
water, but allowed to buy drinks from the
desert concession stand. If the price for
the addition to the stadium expanion is
“HEAT STROKE” for students, then to
hell with it. No expansion is worth a stu
dent’s life.
If the problem is that the school is afraid
of people taking alcohol into the stadium,
then check the containers, otherwise leave
things alone and let us bring our drinks.
—Melinda Biersdorfer, ‘78
Mendee Welker, ‘78
H. Lynn Millegan, ‘79
Editor's note: this letter was accom
panied by 26 other signatures.
I recently became aware that this year’s
budget passed by Student Government
included a cutback in funds allocated for
Parents’ Day and Aggie Muster. As a
former Student Government vice presi
dent, I seriously question the Senate’s
budgeting priorities.
Surely these traditional A&M functions,
Parents’ Day and Aggie Muster, deserve
full funding, especially since these ac
tivities directly benefit so many students.
If the Senate chooses to spend Aggie Mus
ter and Parents’ Day money elsewhere.
is their responsibility to ensure that stu
dents will receive comparable benefits
do not believe they have done so.
I sincerely hope that the Senate will re
consider its budgeting priorities and will
restore full funding to Aggie Muster and
Parents’ Day.
—William C. Altman
Drives get $10,000 from A&M
Texas A&M University employees have contributed more than
$10,000 so far to the joint College Station United Fund and Bryan-
Brazos County United Way drives, said Chuck Cargill, campus chair
man. The drive ends Oct. 31.
Texas refinery fire prompts suit
The Texas City Refining Corp., owner of the refinery in Galveston
hit by explosion and fire in May, has sued the U.S. Department of
Energy to temporarily sidestep complex government regulations. The
refinery said it will be put out of business if forced to comply with the
regulations involving oil entitlements. The refinery is attempting to
win exemption temporarily from the energy department’s entitlement
program. That program, aimed at insuring an equitable distribution of
less expensive “old” crude oil, distributes the cheap oil on the basis of
previous months’ purchases. U.S. District Judge Finis Cowan has
issued a temporary restraining order preventing the Department of
Energy from enforcing the regulations, at least until a hearing on the
suit next Tuesday.
Three killed in refinery explosion
Two explosions and a fire ripped through a Conoco oil refinery in
Denver Tuesday morning killing three workers, injuring at least eight
others and sending a fireball 500 feet into the sky. A second explosion
burst a storage tank about an hour later. A spokesman at the Colorado
School of Mines earthquakener said the explosion registered 3.5 on the
Richter scale at the center's seismograph. Police said a search of the
plant area prompted by an anonymous telephone call indicating the
explosion was sabotage produced no evidence of a bomb.
New strategy for Gulf swimmer
Aides to marathon swimmer Stella Taylor aboard the boat Idle Day
devised a new strategy Tuesday to beat the Gulf Stream currents in her
bid to swim from the Bahamas to Florida. The new plan called for
Taylor to “go north with” the Gulf Stream for a few hours, rather than
continue battling with the currents. Then, aides hope a 3:45 p. m. EDT
incoming tide will help push her ashore. The new strategy, said aide
Joe Edwards, will take up to 10 hours. Besides strength, he said Taylor
would need “a lot of powerful prayers. ”
Hearst abductors sentenced
Symbionese Liberation Army members William and Emily Harris
are not afraid of years behind bars — they are confident they one day
will return to the streets to work for social change. That was the thrust
of a statement they issued when they pleaded guilty in Oakland, Calif,
to simple kidnap charges for the Feb. 4, 1974, abduction of Patricia
Hearst from her Berkeley, Calif, apartment. Harris, 33, and his
31-year-old wife appeared Tuesday before Alameda County Superior
Court Judge Stanley P. Golde for sentencing on charges of kidnapping
Miss Hearst, kidnapping a man whose car was used in the abduction,
robbing Hearst s fiance, Steven Weed, and false imprisonment. Ac
cording to the criminal statutes, the couple could be eligible for parole
in 1983 or 1984 under terms of the charges.
Sugar price hike gets boost
The Senate Finance Committee, ignoring President Carter’s warn-
ing about inflationary consequences, Tuesday in Washington ap
proved a sugar industry bill setting the market price of raw sugar at 17
cents a pound. The president opposes a provision which woidd escalate
the 17-cent price twice a year, based on changes in the Wholesale Price
Index and parity. The ways and means bill sets a 15-cent market price
that could remain stable over the next five years. The administration
lias promised that if sugar producers’ costs rose above 15 cents, the
administration would make up the difference with payments to pro
ducers. Domestically-produced sugar, which makes up 55 percent of
U.S. consumption, is now supported by the government at 14.65 cents
a pound.
be partly cloud y today and fair to cool to-
night w'tb mild temperatures. The high will be in the mid-80s
Nnht t onH OW ,n J he OW 60s ' Winds wil1 be light and variable to
light and southernly tonight.
The Battalion
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Battalion, Room 216, Reed McDonald Building, College
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Managing Editor Liz New4
Assistant Managing Editor . .Karen Rog eI |
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Pendleton, Sean
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