Tempers rose inside the University Center as temperatures dropped outside Tuesday afternoon as the Progressive Student Union petitioned the removal of the Ernest Hereford bust and namesake.
Jeremiah Harris, Progressive Student Union vice president, said the organization stood beside the bust to promote awareness of the alleged racism surrounding Hereford and gauge interest in his removal from the UC.
Mark Napieralski, Progressive Student Union president authored a Student Government resolution last year calling for the removal of Hereford's namesake and bust. The resolution was unanimously killed by senators in the Nov. 6 meeting.
Education sophomore Ben Moran said the protest was a waste of time for the Progressive Student Union because most students don’t really care enough about the issue to stop and talk, let alone sign a petition.
The resolution to remove Ernest Hereford’s name and bust from the University Center died in …
He said the reason he stopped at the petition was to slap the bust, which he always does for good luck before a test or project.
“More people care that Dr Pepper isn’t on campus than, you know, whether this bust is there,” Moran said.
The bust could be removed tomorrow and no one would notice until someone went to slap it before a test, he said.
Harris said it’s up to the students to decide whether or not to remove the bust, the organization is only asking for signatures to petition its removal and to change the center’s namesake.
For change to happen, Student Government must approve it, he said.
Napieralski, Progressive Student Union president, said to get on the Student Government ballot, the organization must accumulate 1500 student signatures.
So far, they’ve reached 900 signatures, but they need 600 more by Friday. If they’re unable to meet that deadline, they’ll be forced to wait until next semester to start the petition again, Napieralski said.
Harris said the organization isn’t trying to sway students’ opinions.
“We’re not trying to hold the ballot right here when we talk to someone,” Harris said. “You can have your stance, but what we’re saying is allow students to have that stance as well and to actually use that voice through student elections.”
With posters and a megaphone at the ready, the Progressive Student Union started their Maver…
Criminal justice junior Yasmine Soto said removing the bust from the UC is unlikely to change anything.
For her, the bust is a part of the UC, and it doesn’t impact her current perception of racism or the university.
“Walking in here and seeing the statue does nothing to me,” Soto said. “It does not make me feel ‘less-than’ or it does not make me feel like I can’t do anything else that [anyone else] can do.”
Still, Harris said it’s important that the university remove Hereford because UTA is among the most diverse universities in the country. The university needs to back up under-represented communities, he said.
“What we’re not trying to do is erase history,” Harris said. “When you look at it, we’re trying to promote history that’s lesser talked about it.”