Tag Archives: TAMU

Texas Tech, Texas A&M battle over veterinary medicine

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp came to the Panhandle the other day to announce plans to enhance West Texas A&M’s veterinary medicine education program.

Sharp wants to maintain A&M’s monopoly on veterinary medicine throughout the state. I cannot blame him for looking out for the university system he administers.

Oh, but wait. His plan for WT have the appearance of a sort of pre-emptive strike to prevent Texas Tech University from building a school of veterinary medicine in Amarillo, which is a live option on the table for the community … and for Tech Chancellor Bob Duncan.

Duncan and Sharp have distinct differences of opinion on whether Texas Tech should proceed with construction of a veterinary college in Amarillo. Duncan came to town not long ago to pitch the case to community leaders, suggesting that Tech’s board of regents are committed to establishing a vet school next to Tech’s existing Health Sciences Center in Amarillo.

Sharp, meanwhile, is pulling out many stops to prevent Tech from proceeding. The top Aggie is a savvy enough politician to understand what the announcement that boosts WT’s role in veterinary medicine means to any potential competition. Then again, Duncan has been around the Texas political pea patch a time or two himself, so he must be acutely aware of what Sharp might be trying to accomplish.

I happen to believe that Texas — with 268,000 square miles and 27 million residents — is big enough to accommodate two schools of veterinary medicine. Duncan has high praise for the veterinary education that A&M provides. He also believes Texas Tech can provide a top-drawer education for veterinary medicine students who want to be educated here at home and who might want to remain in the Panhandle after they receive their DVM degrees from Texas Tech.

I happen to agree with Duncan.

I also believe the A&M initiative is good for West Texas A&M, it’s good for the community … but it shouldn’t forestall Texas Tech’s efforts to establish a veterinary medicine presence in Amarillo.

Hey, let’s settle down in Aggieland

One game does not a college football season make.

Listen up, Texas A&M University football fans — and at least one regent. The Aggies’ epic meltdown this past weekend in Los Angeles against UCLA shouldn’t by itself spell the end of head coach Kevin Sumlin’s tenure.

A&M System Regent Tony Buzbee, a Houston lawyer, has posted a demand on Facebook that Sumlin get the axe.

I don’t know all that much about football. I have no idea how much Buzbee knows. Maybe he’s a gridiron guru in disguise.

The Aggies were leading the Bruins by 34 points. Then the Bruins stormed back. UCLA won the game 45-44. The Aggies and their fans/boosters are understandably stunned and staggered.

Buzbee posted this on Facebook:

“But tonight I am very disappointed and I have to say this. Kevin Sumlin was out-coached tonight, which isn’t new. He recruits well, but can’t coach the big games, or the close games. Our players were better tonight. Our players were more talented tonight. But our coaches were dominated on national TV, yet again. I’m only one vote on the Board of Regents but when the time comes my vote will be that Kevin Sumlin needs to GO.

“In my view he should go now. We owe it to our school and our players. We can do better.”

I will stipulate that I am not an Aggie. I didn’t attend college in Texas. I have no dog in this fight. I don’t follow Texas college football all that closely. My own gridiron loyalty lies way up yonder, in Oregon, my home state and where I attended college. I’ve been cheering — and of late jeering — the Oregon Ducks for many years.

Buzbee, though, got his undergrad degree at Texas A&M. So he feels it, man.

I’ll conclude with this: If the Aggies choke again in their next game or in the game after that, then I’d be willing to listen to gripes about Coach Sumlin. Until then, let the man do his job and let the student-athletes play their hearts out for him.

A&M regents get an earful from students

Renaming a building after a living politician can be a dicey proposition no matter the circumstance.

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents has found that out. The board cancelled a meeting today in which it was to consider naming the Academic Building after outgoing Gov. Rick Perry. Students protested vehemently on social media about it, apparently upset at the lack of prior notice and the opportunity to comment on the proposal.

Then came the governor himself, declining to have the building named after him.


This all turned out for the better on at least a couple of levels.

I’ve said already that A&M shouldn’t name a building after a politician who’s got some felony indictments hanging over him. The case involving accusations of abuse of power and coercion need to be resolved. They’re a long way from that end.

Second, the students had a right to have their say. Let’s face it, higher education has taken a huge hit from the Texas Legislature and from the governor. Texas A&M, one of the state’s premier public university systems, has not been immune from deep budget cuts. Should students have the right to oppose naming a historic structure after a governor on whose watch the state slashed from higher education? Yeah, I think so.

For his part, Perry declined the “honor” of having the building named in his honor, saying in prepared remarks tonight that “do so because certain places on this campus, like our most sacred traditions, transcend any one individual. They are bigger than any one of us and represent our shared heritage. And I want to keep it that way.”

No mention, of course, of the legal trouble or of the student protests, or of the cancelled meeting.

That’s OK.

The A&M Board of Regents should set this bad idea aside.