Editors note: all COVID-19 numbers were current as of Sep. 2 at 4 p.m.
Is this the end of the Texas Tech dynasty? God I hope not, but Tech must start taking swift actions to preserve whatever prestige we have left. Tech has weathered many scandals over the course of nearly a century, but I’m afraid that it may take years to restore our reputation.
By my count, we have had to face three scandals or challenges of varying degrees. The first one we faced was the Marlene Stollings scandal that made national headlines when USA Today broke the story. With beyond a doubt, one of the biggest scandals we had to face this year, but nothing Tech hasn’t faced before in the world of athletics.
In 2009, Mike Leach, the then head football coach for Tech, was accused of mistreating a player while in his former position. Now in 2020, we have the former Lady Raiders head coach being accused of creating a toxic practice environment. Not only that, but the strength and conditioning coach was accused of sexual harassment by players. How does this make Tech look?
The fact that there are reports of Stollings retaliating against players who reported the strength and conditioning coach by making practice harder after talking to Judi Henry, who oversees Title IX issues is appalling. Henry is also executive senior associate athletic director and senior women’s administrator for athletics.
Tech has pledged change, to strengthen communications between players and staff. I will definitely hold Tech to this. I also want to call every Tech fan, student, faculty and staff to hold Tech to their word. I feel that we forget these athletes are students as well, they are still finding their footing in the world. Why should we blame them or come after them when it’s the coaching staff and the athletics department’s job to report these scandals first?
I applaud the players who spoke in the USA Today article. You followed the chain of command and nobody listened, you had no other choice. You wanted to be heard, and you wanted to make the public aware what was going on, you were heard loud and clear.
The next scandal Tech had to face was for Greek life. The racist videos surfaced the other week were appalling to say the least. We are living in 2020, in the middle of the social justice movement, that type of vile language has no place in our society today. Most people may not even have been surprised the video came from Greek life at Tech.
Fraternities and sororities here at Tech are a constant problem. It feels that every year, if not every semester, the President of Texas Tech must release a statement saying the same thing every time. That the university is appalled by the recent action for the Greek life community and are reviewing and updating the policies they have.
How many times will you review the policies? How many times are you going to vow the commitment to encourage diversity and inclusion on campus? Tech takes immense pride in being a diverse university from students around the world, as they should. The current have made great strides to ensure that this is true.
Putting certain fraternities and sororities on probation will only do so much, and some communities are repeated offenders and yet they have been given multiple chances. Why? I wish I could tell you. I am not even going to touch the alleged accusations of sexual harassment and assault in this opinion, because that is a whole other can of worms that can be opened at a later date.
So again, I ask you, how many more press releases saying you are appalled by the recent actions and a vow of change are you going to make? How many more letters will SGA have to release condemning such actions? How much longer will minority students feel unsafe and unwelcomed on campus? I ask you, do you think it’s time to take another look at some fraternity and sorority chatters and possibly revoke some?
We pride ourselves as being a leader in the realm of academics, let’s be leaders in social movements too. Let's talk the talk and actually walk the walk. No more turning a blind eye, take action now.
This brings me to my third and final challenge Tech is facing, COVID-19. At the time of this writing, Sept. 2, Tech broke the 500 cases mark according to the Texas Tech Commitment COVID-19 dashboard. Also, on Sept. 2, the City of Lubbock held a news conference with one of the panelists being President Schovanec.
The president talked about how Tech has planned extensively for reopening campus this fall but has yet to share any information of these plans to students and parents. When talking to students and parents, their main concern is Tech closing campus once more, and they are worried that they will be blindsided once again.
We want information, and we want transparency, because it’s our lives that are being messed with. Students last year lost jobs all of a sudden and faculty and staff scrambled to move content online. We want to know the plans in place. We want to know the number of cases that will send us home for the rest of the semester. I know myself waking up every morning thinking, is this the day that Tech will announce that we are closing. Is today the day I find myself without a job again.
Tech has a lot of improvement it needs to do but so do our students. We need to grow up and deal with this pandemic as adults. You can clearly see what your actions are doing to other students, what will it take for you to realize that this isn’t a joke? A student to end up in the hospital or worse? Grow up and be adults.
Tech has faced a lot of challenges this year and will keep on facing them for the years to come. I love being able to attend this school and singing the Matador song with pride at any event. However, Tech must start taking swift and stern actions when facing these current challenges to prevent our prestigious academic reputation from being tarnished.
We need change, and we need it now. No more small changes to appease the masses, we need big changes that will move us forward. Gone is the life we once knew, one where we turned away from acknowledging injustices and talking about hard to talk about topics.
I urge the administration of Tech to do what’s right, what is justice not only for me but for my fellow students as well. Be the beacon of light in this dark time, and we will forever sing songs of love to thee.