More than 100 call for ouster of Texas State Student Government leader


Highlights

Clegg said last week he would not resign and that he does not fear an impeachment attempt.

Clegg apologized for his “foolish comments” on social media.

More than 100 students rallied Monday night at Texas State University, calling for the ouster of Student Government President Connor Clegg at a raucous meeting of the student Senate.

Student groups, including the Pan African Action Committee, said Clegg should be removed from office after several of his old Instagram posts surfaced last week with racist and other offensive comments.

“Tell me, Connor, how can I trust you as my president?” said Emmy Orioha, president of the Pan African Action Committee. “I’m telling you to do what’s right or have every single student here continue to come out.”

Dozens of students carrying signs with messages such as “Don’t defend racism” chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, Connor Clegg has got to go,” before the student government hearing began.

After being addressed by mostly angry students over nearly two hours, Clegg said he would announce whether he will step down within a week. “I didn’t come here tonight to talk, I came to listen to all of you,” he said. “Again, I’m sorry. I’ve taken everything you’ve said to heart.”

Student leaders said they would pursue Clegg’s impeachment through the student Senate if he doesn’t step down. Clegg had previously told the American-Statesman he would not resign and that he didn’t think his opponents had the votes to force him out.

The heated student government hearing comes as Texas State University grapples with more than a year of racially charged incidents. Since the November 2016 election, Texas State has been targeted by neo-Nazi hate groups that have hung banners across campus buildings and distributed racist flyers on a regular basis. The school is also struggling with issues of free speech and last week hosted a Texas Senate committee hearing about free speech on college campuses.

Several students of color said at the hearing they feel unsafe on campus after dark because of the threatening flyers. One woman told student leaders she carries a boxcutter when walking home.

Many students also directed their ire at Texas State President Denise Trauth, who they say hasn’t adequately addressed the white supremacist groups targeting the campus. “Impeach Clegg, impeach Trauth, impeach Trump,” one student cried out at the hearing.

A small number of speakers and student representatives spoke out in Clegg’s defense.

Clegg had previously clashed with student activists and the University Star after the newspaper printed a column on “whiteness” that Trauth called out as racist. Clegg threatened to defund the student paper if the column’s writer and editor did not resign. Columnist Rudy Martinez was later fired by the newspaper’s editorial board.

READ: Texas State hosts forum on campus free speech

Last week, Martinez published Clegg’s offensive Instagram posts on his Facebook page.

Clegg apologized for his “foolish comments” on Instagram made while traveling in Europe before enrolling at the school.

“I had no idea about the beauty of rich diversity,” he said. “I’ve learned to value these other cultures and worked to expand my horizons here at Texas State.”

Over the weekend, flyers and graffiti targeting Clegg and Trauth were found on campus, according to the University Star. In one flyer, a photo of Clegg and Trauth was edited with the label “Racist” over Clegg’s eyes and the word “Enabler” over Trauth. A spray-painted message on a campus building read, “President Trauth Supports Racism. Step Down,” before it was covered up.

BACKGROUND: Clashes at Texas colleges highlighted free speech issues in 2017



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Highs in the upper 90s expected for Memorial Day weekend in Austin
Highs in the upper 90s expected for Memorial Day weekend in Austin

It will be a sunny and hot Memorial Day weekend in Austin, starting off Saturday with a high temperature of 99 degrees and a heat index of 104, according to the National Weather Service. Highs will stay in the upper 90s through the holiday on Monday, so stay safe and keep hydrated if you are spending time outdoors. At night, the temperature will fall...
Community news: CodeNext hearings scheduled for Tuesday, Saturday

TRAVIS COUNTY DOWNTOWN AUSTIN CodeNext hearings scheduled The city of Austin is considering a comprehensive revision to the Land Development Code, called CodeNext, and the City Council will host public hearings at 10 a.m. Tuesday and Saturday at City Hall, 301 W. Second St. The code affects what, where and how much can be built in Austin. It covers...
Where to honor those who gave their all
Where to honor those who gave their all

No matter where you are in Central Texas, there will be a place nearby to remember those who died while serving the country’s armed forces. The following are among the places to go this Memorial Day weekend: TRAVIS COUNTY West Austin: World War II close assault re-enactments at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday at Camp Mabry, 2200 W. 35th St. East Austin...
PolitiFact: Death penalty is now only for those 18 and older
PolitiFact: Death penalty is now only for those 18 and older

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling keeps the 17-year-old who has admitted being the shooter at Santa Fe High School from facing the death penalty because he’s not 18. Still, a meme brought to our attention by readers suggests Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who is white, is getting some type of special treatment. It contrasts his case with that of an African-American...
Is new wastewater treatment plant to blame for algae in river?
Is new wastewater treatment plant to blame for algae in river?

The South San Gabriel River was so clear as it flowed past Frank and LaWann Tull’s house on Waterford Lane in Georgetown that they held baptisms for their church in April 2016 and April 2017. But this year they couldn’t. Around the beginning of April, t he river became blanketed with thick coats of algae that...
More Stories