Texas A&M associate professor arrested during Saturday's protest

Michael Alvard, a Texas A&M professor, asked police "Are you sure you want to...
Michael Alvard, a Texas A&M professor, asked police "Are you sure you want to do this?" as he was taken into custody during Saturday's protest near the Sully statue.(KBTX)
Published: Jun. 14, 2020 at 4:21 PM CDT
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The only person arrested during the Sully statue protest and counter-protest on Saturday was a Texas A&M associate professor who crossed barrier tape put up by the university, KBTX has confirmed.

Michael Alvard, 61, of College Station was taken into custody and charged with one count of criminal trespassing. He was released the same day on a bond of $2,000.

Online records show Alvard is an Associate Professor for the school's Department of Anthropology.

An arrest report from the Texas A&M Police Department says Alvard crossed the barrier tape and entered into an 'exclusion zone' that separated the two opposing groups that gathered Saturday afternoon near the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue in the Academic Plaza.

Alvard was holding a bullhorn and clipboard when he was taken into custody by two officers as the crowd chanted "let him speak."

The arrest report says Alvard was repeatedly asked to return to the area behind the tape but refused to do so. The report states Alvard told police he had a right to be in that area because Texas A&M is public property. An officer responded and said the exclusion zone was not open to the public at that time.

According to the probable cause statement, Alvard, refusing to comply with officers, attempted several times to speak on his bullhorn before being placed in handcuffs. As that happened, he asked the police "Are you sure you want to do this?"

After Alvard was detained, a majority of the anti-Sully crowd crossed the barrier into the exclusion zone to be physically closer to the counter-protesters on the other side. No other arrests were made.

Alvard was then taken to a temporary booking area at another location on campus and then transported to the Brazos County Detention Center.

KBTX has reached out to Alvard for a statement about his arrest.

On Sunday, he posted on his personal Facebook page:

"I want to remind everyone that Texas A&M University allowed the white supremacist Richard Spencer to spew his hate on campus in 2017 while it prevented me from standing in the center of Academic Plaza to peacefully voice my opinion about Sullivan Ross and the statue. Whose side are they on?"

According to a Facebook page belonging to Young Democratic Socialist of America at Texas A&M University, $3,000 was raised to help cover the costs of bail for Alvard. Any extra raised will be donated to the Bail Project, which works to fight mass incarceration, according to the post.

UPDATE: On Sunday night, Alvard sent the following statement to KBTX via email:
"I’m a white male of privilege. Yesterday, I knew that the police would not kill me or throw me to the ground or stomp on my neck. I can afford to post bail. I’m not the story. The story is the lives of black people and other people of color in our community who must suffer day-in and day-out with the institutional racism that the Ross statue represents. The real heroes are the young people who organized the rally and marched to demand change. They are the future, and the A&M administration is going to have to confront that reality very soon. Those young people invited me to speak yesterday. My plan was to direct my comments to the Administration of Texas A&M University, and the Texas A&M University System: Chancellor John Sharp, President Michael Young, and the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. I had planned to ask those men, and the one woman, to think about the Aggie values that we are reminded of so frequently, and to try to understand that the values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty and especially respect are NOT consistent with a life of ethnic cleansing, violence, slavery, segregation, or the Jim Crow racism that featured so conspicuously in the life of Sullivan Ross. I had planned on closing by quoting the words from a recent message that President Young sent to the Aggie Community in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. He wrote, “As a university, as a community and as a nation, we must remember that our history and our future are informed by the values that guide us and the ideals that shape us”. I had planned on asking President Young to heed his own words and to decide for himself which values are to guide us here in Aggieland. The values of hate and division or the values of love and inclusion.

We have reached $3000 dollars to help with the bail costs for our professor. All excess will be donated to the Bail Project which works to fight mass incarceration. Donations venmo @MutualAidBCS

Posted by Young Democratic Socialists of America at Texas A&M University on Saturday, June 13, 2020