What does the New York Times have against Texas A&M, a rare public university whose student body leans right? Manny Fernandez reported Saturday from the campus in College Station, on an illegal immigrant who lost his bid for student body president: "Vying for Campus President, Illegal Immigrant Gets a Gamut of Responses." Who was to blame? A conservative student body who made him feel unwelcome.
Jose Luis Zelaya stood with a crowd of other students waiting to hear the news. It was election day at Texas A&M University here, and he was running for student body president. A victory for Mr. Zelaya, a 24-year-old graduate student from Honduras, would make history at Texas A&M: He would become its first Hispanic student body president -- and the first illegal immigrant to hold the position.
He came in fourth.
For Mr. Zelaya and the other roughly 300 Texas A&M students who are illegal immigrants, feeling both welcome and unwelcome are part of life at one of the most conservative colleges in the country. On the one hand, Mr. Zelaya and other undocumented students receive support and encouragement from university administrators, faculty members and fellow students. As Mr. Zelaya walked around campus recently, he greeted Hispanic and white friends, talked about an encouraging Facebook message he received from the university’s president, R. Bowen Loftin, after the election and hugged Marisa Suhm, the assistant director of the Department of Multicultural Services. When Mr. Zelaya graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree, he led the invocation at the ceremony.
Yet at the same time, undocumented students say they have been made to feel unwelcome. At last year’s rally, a student who is a member of a campus conservative group approached Mr. Zelaya and bluntly told him that he had reported him to the federal immigration authorities. In 2010, the student senate passed a bill opposing the state law that allows illegal immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities, though it was vetoed by the student body president.
Fernandez granted two paragraphs to the views of opposing students, then continued the sympathy tour on the plight of illegals on such a "conservative" campus.
While many undocumented students found Mr. Zelaya’s campaign inspiring, his defeat was a reminder to some of the difficulties they face gaining widespread acceptance on a campus that last year came in third in the Princeton Review’s rankings of colleges with the most conservative students. “I think we could have won” the election in any other university, said Greisa Martinez, 23, an undocumented student who co-founded a group with Mr. Zelaya called the Council for Minority Student Affairs. She said a Hispanic student told her of being in a class during which the professor, discussing the growth of Hispanics in Texas, said the state could have a Hispanic governor in the future. A number of students in the class hissed.
The Times is fixated on Texas A&M, a rare public university that leans to the right. Reporter Michael Brick hypocritically attacked conservative campus activists in an October 16, 2009 story for displaying"unchecked fervor," which "can be a raw and fearsome thing." They had previously the"embarrassed the university by throwing eggs at a picture of Mr. Obama." But If defacing a picture of a president is an automatic embarrassment, then every other college in America should be red-faced, since posters of Bush as Hitler were pretty much de rigueur at any decent campus protest.
An October 11, 2011 nonsense story on Texas Gov. Rick Perry's "racist" rock featured this slam: "in 1968, Mr. Perry left home for Texas A&M, a deeply conservative university whose yearbooks early in the century included Ku Klux Klan-robed students and a dairy group called the Kream and Kow Klub....blacks still made up less than 1 percent of the student body."