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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Letter to the Editor: Star article on Shead allegations

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I’m writing in regard to the very disturbing allegations about coach Danny Kaspar made by Jaylen Shead and other players.  I’m very glad to know that the university is taking this seriously and has started an investigation with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX.  As a history professor with over 15 years of service at Texas State, I wanted to provide you a faculty perspective on the departure of Jaylen Shead from our university, and I’m joined here by many of my colleagues in the history department, where he was a major. Simply put, we are absolutely devastated and outraged that Mr. Shead felt forced to leave our university, and we are very disturbed to hear charges of racism concerning the Athletics Department.
I had Mr. Shead in my sophomore-level world history course (2312) in his first semester at Texas State, and he was absolutely a star.  He earned high grades in my class, but more than that, he was engaged and extremely thoughtful—the ideal student.  He sat in the first row, raised his hand reliably when I asked questions, and had interesting things to say that revealed not only an understanding of our reading but often a critique of it.  If Mr. Shead was not in class I knew there was a problem, both for him and for me—for him, in that he was ill, and for me, in that, I lost one of my best participants in the class.  Beyond that, he was kind to other students and simply a lovely person.  All of this meant that I went out of my way to encourage Mr. Shead to take more of my upper-level classes (which I certainly don’t do lightly) and also nominated him as our departmental representative for a student advisory board to the dean, a position which he won and accepted.  My colleagues in the department have also remembered over email that he excelled in their classes as well, and they join me in their belief that he was a valued and integral member of our history program.
Any allegation should be taken seriously by the athletic department, but part of the intention of this letter is to allow greater insight into this particular allegation and to offer evidence that Mr. Shead is a very serious, responsible, and gifted athlete-scholar: In other words, I find it difficult to believe that Mr. Shead would speak up unless there was a serious problem.  But more than that, the point of this letter is to urge you to consider the larger repercussions of this entire situation: Texas State lost a wonderful person. The history department lost a key member of its student leadership and a most promising scholar. But beyond that, we are worried that our institution has failed a broader population of our black students. We would hope that the athletic department would be a source of support and uplift for our athletes, but these claims point to potentially deep problems. We are disturbed to think that this could happen at our university, particularly after we have already had so many larger problems with the culture of racism on our campus.  We have an obligation to all of our students, and the athletic department is letting down the university as a whole if there is not a serious investigation of the coach and a larger change of culture.  While we appreciate that an outside investigation must take place, we also challenge you to develop a plan that goes much further, to make sure that our athletes are treated with the basic human respect they deserve, and to make sure that racism within the institution is both questioned and addressed.
Dr. Anadelia Romo (taught Mr. Shead in HIST 2312) and the undersigned members of the History Department
Dr. Shannon Duffy (taught Mr. Shead in HIST 3363)
Dr. Deirdre Lannon (taught Mr. Shead in HIST 3358T)
Dr. Margaret Menninger (taught Mr. Shead in HIST 4337)
Dr. Josh Paddison (taught Mr. Shead in HIST 3346)
Dr. Tom Alter
Dr. Nancy Berlage
Dr. Elizabeth Bishop
Dr. Ron Brown
Dr. Sarah Coleman
Ms. Trace Etienne-Gray
Dr. Dwonna Goldstone
Dr. Jeff Helgeson
Dr. Debra Law
Dr. Ken Margerison
Dr. Jason Mellard
Dr. Angela Murphy
Dr. Joaquín Rivaya-Martínez
Ms. Roberta Ruiz
Dr. Jessica Pliley
Dr. José Carlos de la Puente
Dr. Ellen Tillman
Mr. Dan Utley
Dr. Louie Valencia

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