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OP-ED: Don’t forget what made you special

Hilaree Foreman, Editor-in-Chief

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On  Tuesday, Tarleton State University revealed the new Texan Rider logo and long story short, I hate it. And I don’t hate it for the aesthetics or the if the horse really looks like a horse, I hate it because it has solidified to me that the Tarleton I chose my senior year of high school in 2012 is no longer here.

Now I know you’re probably thinking, “Well schools are supposed to change…blah blah blah,” but hear me out. For many people like myself, I chose to come to Tarleton because I liked the idea of a smallish school that was just big enough that everyone wouldn’t know me, but I also would never feel lost in a sea of students to where my own professor didn’t know my name. Although I’m from a very large city (Houston, TX) I spent a lot of time while I was growing up in small town East Texas, so me acclimating to small town a life and atmosphere was no problem. I knew when I was deciding on college that I didn’t want to go to a UT or an A&M because I didn’t want to one of 50,000 people and I knew when I came to visit, although I was clear minority population-wise, (I’m black in case you hadn’t noticed by now) that this was the place that I wanted be.

For about the past three years here at Tarleton, there has been something under construction. It first started with the construction of Heritage Hall and it seems as though the campus will be under construction for at least the next 4-5 year AFTER I graduate this spring.

I know growth of any kind will always be inevitable in any forum, especially in higher education, but how much is too much? Along with construction over the years, there have also been whispers and rumors of Tarleton turning to a Division I school and that is where I really think we need to pump the brakes and just think for a second. Are we beginning to lose what made us special?

I chose Tarleton because of the small, family atmosphere and how students were genuinely happy to be here. My freshman year when the total student population was probably at least a third or fourth smaller, football and basketball games were packed out and students were true fans of their school. Midnight Madness, Yell Contest and pretty much any other campus event was the place to be because people wanted to support their school. Now at basketball games, the bottom section of the home side is hardly filled, and even then, it’s more local residents than students and our population is significantly larger.

The spirit of Tarleton is being lost and it didn’t begin with the changing of the logo. It began when students felt as if there wasn’t a reason to support their athletes and fellow students, it began when students are almost encouraged to go home on the weekends because resources on campus are so limited. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I do not recognize the school that I first came to when I was still a wide-eyed freshman in the fall of 2012.

There is a way to grow without forgetting who you that made students want to come here. There isn’t a need for brand new dorms that are now pretty much non-affordable options for students who come from a working class background like myself. Tarleton prides itself on being one of the most affordable options in Texas and I’m not sure how they can keep that claim up. The going rate for some residence halls are $3,500-3,700. That’s not even including a $1,500 meal plan plus tuition which may be at least $4,000.

All that I’m saying is that if you are still the Tarleton I love and really care about the spirit of Oscar P, show it.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “OP-ED: Don’t forget what made you special”

  1. Herbie R Taylor on January 23rd, 2017 8:18 pm

    Well said. I attended a basketball game there last Thursday and there was no place to park. I am 74 and disabled. Very difficult situation for a 1964 graduate of Tarleton who over the years has supported Tarleton financially. Makes me wonder if my continued support is wanted or needed.

    [Reply]

  2. Margaret Lemke on January 24th, 2017 2:42 pm

    First let me say I am by no means disagreeing with your article. I think it is well-written and I agree with your frustration of construction, parking and lost school spirit. However, I would like to pose a question to you. What do you propose Tarleton does to mitigate the extensive growth of the school, student population and construction?

    [Reply]

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OP-ED: Don’t forget what made you special