More black and Latino youths are seeking degrees and some of them are trying to join the more than 58,000 students enrolled at Texas A&M University.
A group of 60 inner-city high school juniors participating in the Road to College program at Uplift Education were reportedly harassed with racial slurs by university students at the College Station campus, where they were on a tour.
A group of white college students hurled epithets at the high schoolers and told them to “go back where you came from.” Two white women approached two black female teenagers and asked if they like their earrings -- which were fashioned after the Confederate flag, KXAS reported.
Democratic Sen. Royce West of Texas said in a statement the incident was witnessed by university officials accompanying the high school students. The college's leadership is reviewing the incidents, reports KXAS.
“It's 2016 and within months of other race-related events that have taken place on college campuses in Oklahoma, Missouri and elsewhere nationally. They have in common that they have been triggered by a climate of racially-tinged conflict and other acts of intolerance,” West wrote.
“These discussions related to the Confederate flag began last summer following the massacre of innocent worshippers at a Charleston, South Carolina, church. Yet there are those who still defend Confederate symbols and ideologies.”
University officials met with the teens to assure them that those students didn’t reflect the school’s values. “They were really sincere," said Jayla Alex-Johnson, one of the teens on the tour. "And they couldn’t believe what happened, like neither of us could, and they just really apologized and told us that this shouldn’t be happening at their school.”
Michael K. Young, president of Texas A&M University, said in a statement that “appropriate action will be taken.”
"I deeply regret the pain and hurt feelings this incident caused these young students. Be assured that we take such allegations very seriously," he said.
"While the actions of a few certainly do not represent our institution as a whole, it is the responsibility of all of us to stop any incidents that could be considered hateful or biased-based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or any other factor."