Nominee for Secretary of Defense Deals With Racism on Campus

Last week, Robert M. Gates, current president of Texas A&M University, was named Secretary of Defense by President Bush. One day before Gates was nominated, the university president issued a letter to the Texas A&M community denouncing a video that had been placed on the Internet by three students. The video showed one student in blackface being whipped by a white student with a Texas A&M towel. In his letter, Gates called the video “moronic” and said he was “utterly disgusted” with its contents. He vowed that the students involved in making the video “will have to live with the consequences of their actions for a very long time.” The students later agreed to leave the university rather than face disciplinary procedures or expulsion.

Gates will stay on at Texas A&M until he is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Blacks are only 2.6 percent of the more than 36,000 undegraduate students at Texas A&M.