Posts Tagged ‘Texas A&M’

Aggies John Scroggs and Paul Robles exchanged commitment vows at Bryan's Messina Hof winery in 2003. Five years later, they legally married on the steps of San Francisco's ornate City Hall. Gay marriage motivated two Texas A&M academics, Clair Nixon and Jeff Puryear, to donate thousands of dollars to invalidate 18,000 same-sex nuptials perfomed in California, including Scroggs and Robles'.

Second in a Series.

The Century Oak‘s arching limbs form a natural grotto, a shaded refuge of tranquility on Texas A&M’s bustling campus of 48,000 students.  For generations, students proposed marriage under this hallowed canopy.  Thus, in April of 2002, it was only natural that John Scroggs would invite a very special fellow Aggie to accept perpetual commitment in this sacred place where so many of his classmates began their lives together.  In this story, however, cherished tradition takes a hard left turn.

Scroggs’ chosen life partner was another gay man, Paul Robles, also a student and fellow university employee.  Since Texas A&M’s inception in 1876, throughout its first nine decades as an all-male, military college, and after women were allowed to enroll in 1963, Aggieland love stories followed the traditional plot:  boy meets girl.  When John took his broken computer to Paul for repair in 1998, boy meets boy was still a hostile concept at a university that, in the penultimate decade of the twentieth century, had fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid certification of a gay student organization. (more…)


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Clair Nixon, professor of accounting in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M, who has served as bishop of a local Mormon congregation, has ten children. Recently he donated $3,000 to oppose same-sex marriage in California, an action that threatens to delegitimize the marriage of two fellow Aggies, John Scroggs and Paul Robles.

Part one of a series.

Jeffrey Puryear and Clair Nixon form the Aggie archetype. Both earned degrees from Texas A&M and both returned to their alma mater to contribute to its academic mission. Each is devoted to his family, work, and church, owns his own house and pays taxes—conforming in every way to the image that Texas A&M markets regarding the solid citizenship and family devotion practiced by Aggies worldwide.

John Scroggs and Paul Robles are also Texas A&M former students who have remained in Aggieland as faithful university employees. Although younger and not as far advanced in their careers, they also own their own home and pay taxes, serve jury duty, vote in local elections, and donate to charity. Each has lived in College Station for almost 20 years. Their maroon blood runs thick.

Only one characteristic differentiates Scroggs and Robles from most Aggies. They are a gay couple, long-time companions who took advantage of a brief window of opportunity to be married legally in California this past summer. Although breaking up another Aggie’s marriage is definitely not an activity encouraged by the Aggie Code of Honor, it’s precisely what Puryear and Nixon—and arguably many conservative Aggies—would like to do to these one-time students, classmates and dedicated Texas A&M employees. (more…)

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No Aggie Ring, but a Set of Senior Boots

When Robert Gates left Texas A&M for the Pentagon several years ago, at Pappy Bush’s behest to pull incompetent W.’s chestnuts out of the Iraq War fires, a debate raged on Aggie web forums:  Should possibly the greatest president in Texas A&M history be awarded the vaunted Aggie Ring?  Eventually, common sense prevailed and Gates assumed his position among A&M’s storied leaders, beside Earl Rudder and Sullivan Ross, but without the sacred ring one must earn through the student experience.  Instead, the Corps of Cadets that Gates joined on early-morning runs awarded him a pair of custom-made senior boots—which is no small honor for a non-student in Aggieland.

The rave reviews of the Gates administration stand in stark contrast to the enmity heaped upon his predecessor, Ray Bowen, and the lukewarm reception afford his successor, Elsa Murano.  Yet, his administration was not perfect, despite the Teflon coating that remains two years after he vacated the eighth floor of Rudder Tower.  With Gates’ willingness to stay on as Secretary of Defense under Barack Obama, not every Aggie’s choice for president, is it now time to seek a more critical examination of his four years as A&M’s president?  Will his willingness to serve a hated Democrat open the door to a critical review of his administration as our university’s leader? (more…)

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It was election night, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.   At precisely 10 p.m. Central Standard Time, the west coast polls closed.  Instantaneously, the networks projected that the United States of America had elected its first African-American president.  At that precise moment, thanks to the resaurant’s wi-fi connection, I pressed the “send” button to post this video on the Politics forum of the Texags.com web site.  I had been working on it, off and on, for about a week, in anticipation of Barack Obama’s victory that would bedevil the conservative political sensitivity of the god-fearing, Limbaugh-listening, arch political conservatives who inhabit this forum.

I entitled it, We’re So Sorry, Right-Wing Aggies. I’ll admit, I did it to make them mad.  There’s not a lot of tolerance for left-wing though on that forum, so I thought I’d tap the moment for a bit of fun.

You should have seen the reaction.  Some 50 Aggies watched the clip on Blip.tv within just a few minutes.  Their anger flowed back with every click of the reply button.  How dare I include Earl Rudder in this video!  It’s riddled too many inaccuracies to list, one replied.  Two insisted that Alan Keyes was right to advocate repeal of the 17th Amendment.   One correspondent said he wanted to punch me in the face. (more…)

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