Texas A&M's Sul Ross statue vandalized with accusation of racism
Texas A&M's iconic statue of Lawrence Sullivan "Sul" Ross, known best by Aggies as "Sully" was vandalized Tuesday with accusations of racism.
The graffiti, written on the base of the statue, read "Sully and A&M are racist #BLM" and "F--k A&M.”
“It baffles me that someone would write that,” said first-year A&M student Karla Jimenez.
KBTX alerted Texas A&M facilities officials to the graffiti, who sent a crew to clean the statue.
“I know there are people like that everywhere and I’m sure there are some at A&M but associating the entire school with a huge controversial matter like this doesn’t seem right,” said Michelle Dang a student at A&M.
University officials say they cleaned the stature per their Campus Beautification Policy, where they won’t infringe on free speech but will not tolerate the defacing of school property.
The Sully statue is the oldest on campus and has been a fixture in front of Texas A&M's Academic Building since its 1918 dedication.
Lawrence Sullivan Ross was a Brigadier General during the Civil War and commander of the Texas Cavalry Brigade. After the war, he served as a Texas state senator, governor of Texas and, ultimately, president of the troubled Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, which eventually became Texas A&M University.
Under Ross' leadership, the school grew and returned to its status as a prominent and respected state school. Traditions including the first Aggie Ring and the formation of the Aggie Band were established while Ross served the university. Ross died at his College Station home in January 1898.
In 2017, questions surfaced about whether the Ross statue would remain in its current place on campus after Confederate statues were removed overnight at the University of Texas. Texas A&M President Michael K. Young said the Ross statue would remain on campus to honor his role as president of the university.
“Lawrence Sullivan 'Sul' Ross is honored on our campus as a former president of the school. Without Sul Ross, neither Texas A&M University nor Prairie View A&M University would likely exist today. He saved our school and Prairie View through his consistent advocacy in the face of those who persistently wanted to close us down,” said Young.
Young's statements were echoed by Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp.
“Anyone who knows the true history of Lawrence Sullivan Ross would never ask his statue to be removed. It will not be removed,” said Sharp.