Every few weeks in the news cycle, a sensitive, difficult topic arises about Texas A&M University. Due to this topic’s nature, many students shy away from discussing it, creating a taboo around the subject and avoiding it in conversation. This hard-hitting issue lies under the surface, but dominates social media when it flares up, sometimes even leading to protests. Thankfully, Aggies across campus can rely on administrative officials to quickly and effectively deal with the issue when it is thrown once more into social media discourse.
Lab dogs at Texas A&M University are a difficult issue to come to terms with. Golden Retrievers suffering from Muscular Dystrophy are kept for research and experiments to help Texas A&M find a cure for the genetic disorder. Every few weeks, university administrators are tasked with handling the press coverage or social media outcry from PETA’s initial claims.
“PETA is responsible for the negative press we have to deal with in regards to our lab dogs,” said Emmanuel Summa, a university spokesman familiar with the issue. “When sensitive and taboo topics like this arise, the university prefers to handle them with speed and transparency. Issues that make our students feel uncomfortable at their own school must be dealt with by decisive action, not by creating commissions or sending out emails to the student body.”
It all began when moderators for the Texas A&M University Facebook and Twitter accounts noticed an influx in the amount of negative traffic on their pages. “Usually with an incident of racism or sexism, we see a quick flash of outrage before users move onto another issue by the next day,” said Rob Hughes, a student worker in the Texas A&M Marketing Department. “With this though, it reanimates every few weeks after the PETA video picks up again and a new wave of commenters storm our social media pages. Thankfully, each time such an egregious incident has occured, university officials have been more than willing to get in front of it.”
Lately, the University has been able to respond with less vitriol, since students have shown themselves increasingly willing to fight on behalf of the university since PETA’s action resulted in a protest that interrupted Texas A&M’s SXSW Snapchat story.
The University’s decision to provide an immediate and direct response to an incident has empowered students to openly discuss the topic. Regardless, the university maintains that lesser issues should follow the current policy of slow and well managed inaction.
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