SEPTEMBER 7, 2021 — Editor’s note: The following message was sent today via email from President Taylor Eighmy to all faculty, staff, students and alumni:
On August 9 I wrote to you about my intention to launch a task force to embark on a thoughtful, contextual examination of UTSA’s six-year-old tradition of using the Come and Take It phrase and flag as a rallying cry at home football games. I would like to follow up with you about this matter.
Since 2016, UTSA home football games have featured a fourth quarter unfurling of an enormous Come and Take It flag across the student section, accompanied by the firing of a cannon. The last time this was used was during the 2019 season. It was not used during the entire 2020 season because of COVID-19 protocols that I had implemented.
After much research, consultation and deliberation, I am ending this rather young UTSA Athletics tradition at this time and will not be proceeding with the task force. The matter has become a distraction from our mission and is likely to continue shifting our focus away from our work yet to be accomplished. Further, we will identify the use of this phrase in our digital environment, in licensed merchandise, and in our buildings and playing fields, and will systematically and appropriately remove it.
I’d like to share the reasons why I made this decision.
The idea was first raised in 2011 in tandem with the debut of our Division 1 football program. A staff member in Athletics, turning to the historic Texas Revolutionary Battle of 1836 in Gonzales, Texas, felt the historical context around the Come and Take It phrase would offer an inspirational call for our fans and a direct challenge to our opponents. In 2013, the Mayor of Gonzales was invited to attend the Oklahoma State game and ran on the field with a smaller Come and Take It flag. The tradition was formally adopted by UTSA Athletics in 2016 prior to my arrival later in 2017.
Over the last decade, the phrase has become increasingly affiliated with cultural and political issues beyond its traditional historical context. In the time since it was last used at a home game on November 23, 2019, the phrase has been adopted by organizations and movements across the political spectrum. A simple online search of webpages, articles and images involving this phrase reveals the myriad of ways numerous organizations have adopted it for their particular cause. Many of these organizations have values and agendas that differ significantly from ours and our clear focus on excellence in intercollegiate athletics and higher education.
Since the opening of our Roadrunner Athletics Center of Excellence on August 4, I have seen this issue raise deep emotions both for and against, and even seen divisive vitriol. I especially recognize that this decision will be unpopular with many of our loyal fans.
The phrase—as well intended as it was upon inception and adoption—has increasingly become incongruent with UTSA Athletics and our institution’s mission and core values. For our athletics program and our university—each with so much promise and upward momentum—there is no benefit to becoming embroiled in a divisive issue that could carry well into the future and negatively affect our progress.
Celebrating the success of our young football program is essential. As you know, the 2021 season is a special one—we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of our program. We know that our football team and our fans deeply appreciate a rousing start to the fourth quarter. For each home game this season, we will conduct special celebrations of the individuals and groups that have made our young football program such a success. We look forward to recognizing the former staff, players and community members who have contributed greatly to the early achievements of our program. More information about these fourth quarter celebrations will be announced later today by UTSA Athletics.
I am also charging Lisa Campos, vice president for intercollegiate athletics, to work closely with our football team and staff, our Athletics Department staff, our students and Student Government Association, our Staff Senate, our Faculty Senate, our Alumni Association and others to bring forward a new fourth quarter rallying focus to debut in our fall 2022 season. We have an opportunity to create an important tradition embraced by all Roadrunners. It can eventually join our very cherished and long-standing traditions that reflect our institution and Roadrunner community.
Educational institutions such as ours prepare students to learn, to be community engaged, and—in short—to graduate and change the world. Everything we do as a university is based on our strategic plan and initiatives and especially relies on our core values, our mission, our vision, our destinations and our commitment to inclusivity. Our trajectory is bright, our importance to our community has never been more important, and our path forward must continue.
Come and practice your Spanish in a friendly and engaging environment! You will also learn about Hispanic cultures with us as we play games, watch videos, sing, and participate in many other language and cultural activities! All levels are welcome! ¡Nos vemosWillow Room (SU 2.02.12,) Main Campus
Come network with engineering employers!HEB Student Union Ballrooms 1 & 2, Main Campus
Join us for a culinary celebration on the lawn at UTSA’s Westside Community Center. UTSA Libraries will be collecting recipes and food memories and food trucks will be on hand selling bites inspired by UTSA's Mexican Cookbook Collection.UTSA Westside Community Center, 1310 Guadalupe St San Antonio, TX 78207
Participants will discuss this pervasive problem in academic publishing and how to spot the red flags through real-life examples. You will learn about legitimate open access publishing practices and how to find a high-quality open access journal.Virtual Event
Join the Alvarez Student Success Center during a fun and bright event to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Hear from our business partners about their experience as Hispanics in the business world while enjoying food, music, and our unique Loteria game!University Room (BB 2.06.04,) Main Campus
Free food, live music, workshops from COLFA and COHED. RSVP required through Rowdy link. Join us and have fun celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month!TBA
Mr. Aaron Sams, a veteran and local business consultant, will offer a training workshop focusing on the subject of pursuing government contracts. Topics to be covered include proposal writing, business development, and marketingSAWS Headquarters, SAWS Headquarters at 2800 U.S. Hwy 281 North., San Antonio
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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