Officials at a Dallas preparatory school are using a reported incident of racial harassment and taunting of their students during a recent visit to Texas A&M University as a teaching opportunity.
In the next few weeks, a town hall will be held at Uplift Hampton Preparatory School to discuss the issue of racism on college campuses, according to Uplift’s CEO, Yasmin Bhatia.
“We want to move toward actionable solutions that create diverse and inclusive student bodies that respect each other’s differences,” Bhatia told NBCBLK via email.
NBC Dallas-Fort Worth: Black Students Visiting Texas A&M University Harassed, Told to Go Home
Sixty of Uplift’s juniors were at the university as part of the Road to College Uplift Education Program Tuesday when, according to reports, some college students approached the teens in two instances.
In one, a white female allegedly approached two black female teens and asked if the they liked their confederate flag inspired earrings. In the other, a separate group of white college students reportedly told the kids they were not welcome at the university and to “go back where you came from” according to a statement released by Texas Senator Royce West, D-23rd District.
Officials from the university witnessed the encounters, according to West.
Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young released a statement on Wednesday expressing his disappointment, outrage and regret of the incident.
"Be assured that we take such allegations very seriously," the statement read. "Our police department responded to the scene following the reported incident and we are currently fully assessing it. This troubling incident will be thoroughly investigated to the fullest extent possible and appropriate action will be taken."
Bhatia said the Uplift students are doing well and processing the experience.
"Uplift staff quickly provided counseling support," Bhatia said. "In addition, we brought in an outside facilitator to lead discussions around racism and diversity with our scholars and families."
Bhatia has not spoken directly with officials from the university, but said there had been communication.
"Our head of Road To College Program has been in direct contact with the A&M leadership team. Texas A&M has promised to fully investigate this incident and hold those involved accountable for their actions," she said. "They also promised to provide follow up programming to our scholars, family and staff who were impacted by the incident to help process what happened."
Moving forward, Bhatia said that Uplift is further committed to "building college students who are academically and socially ready to succeed in a more complicated world where tolerance and acceptance is being regularly challenged."