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Let’s Carry the Banner Higher, K-State

K-State has a proud history of inclusiveness. But we’ve been complacent for too long, and it’s time to correct that.

Veryl Switzer Running With the Football

President Myers and Mr. Taylor,

K-State and Manhattan have, at least by comparison to the rest of the country, a proud history of inclusiveness. The city was founded by New England abolitionists and K-State was one of few schools to admit men and women equally from the day it opened in 1863, and admitted Black students before the turn of the century.

As an alum (Class of 2006) and lawyer, I understand the lack of options available to address even vile and bigoted speech by students. But K-State can and should revisit its inclusive past and address decades of complacency to celebrate previous achievements and create a more-welcoming atmosphere.

K-State broke the conference color barrier in football, basketball and baseball. But you would never know it by looking at the names of any building in the athletic complex. Jackie Robinson is widely celebrated in baseball for breaking the color barrier, but K-State lacks even a simple plaque, much less a dedicated stadium or arena area celebrating Harold Robinson, Veryl Switzer, Gene Wilson or Earl Woods.

And that’s just athletics. As far as I can tell, not a single academic building on campus is named for a person of color. Surely John Brooks Slaughter or Joseph Searles III or George Washington Owens is deserving of such a visible honor.

K-State is a wonderful place with mostly kind and welcoming people. This has been a staple through time, from Manhattan’s abolitionist founding to breaking the color barrier. But the memories are growing stale, all but one of K-State’s athletic trailblazers has died, and there are no visible reminders. We should prominently display these reminders as an example of what K-State has been and should continue to be.

Warm regards,

Tye Burger, B.S. Journalism & Mass Communications 2006, Houston Law Center 2009

***Now it’s your turn. If you want to sign on to this letter to Pres. Myers and Gene Taylor, send your name (and year of graduation or attendance, if you wish) to bringonthecats - at - gmail dot com. And share this post with the hashtag #CarryTheBannerKSU