A university in south Texas has banned the “come and take it” chant and flag due to its association with “cultural and political issues beyond its traditional political context.”
University of Texas San Antonio President Taylor Eighmy made the announcement last week in an email sent to all faculty, staff, students, and alumni. While he doesn’t claim that the slogan is racist, a petition to have the slogan banned claims that it is “steeped in racist ideology and racist history.”
“It has carried those white supremacist beliefs from 1835 to today, and in that time has also been widely adopted by anti-government, pro-gun extremists, such as at the January 6th insurrection at the US Capitol,” the petition reads.
Eighmy doesn’t make such broad claims. Instead, he justifies his decision by arguing that the slogan has been adopted by organizations that have “values and agendas” that differ from the school’s.
“In the time since it was last used at a home game on Nov. 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,” he writes.
The “Come and Take It” slogan originated during the Texas Revolution at the Battle of Gonzales. When Mexican dictator Santa Anna sent troops to retake a cannon he had given to the men at Gonzales to defend against Native Americans, Texas militiamen defeated the Mexican troops with the challenge to “come and take it.”
That battle marked the first victory for Texans during the revolution, which ended in Texas’s independence from Mexico.
More recently, the slogan has been adopted by Second Amendment groups as a challenge to unconstitutional gun control policies imposed by federal and state governments. Though President Eighmy claims a “simple online search” will reveal organizations that contradict the school’s “values and agendas,” a GunsAmerica investigation revealed only pro-gun groups on the first pages of a Google search.
If Eighmy is taken at his word, he’s suggesting that the school has taken a firm stance against gun rights.
Not everyone in the UTSA bubble has supported the move—far from it. The UT System Board of Regents Chairman Kevin P. Eltife slammed the move in a statement published online.
“The Board of Regents does not support abandoning traditions and history that mean much to students alumni, and other Texans. I am very disappointed with this decision and will immediately ask our Board to establish policies that ensure that the governing body of the UT System will have the opportunity in the future to be consulted before important university traditions and observances are changed,” Eltife said.
Students have also begun flouting the new rule. At a recent game, attendees chanted “Come and Take It” and waves flags bearing the slogan.
Sound on 🔊 pic.twitter.com/ZcySu94jaO— Malak Silmi (@MalakSilmi) September 12, 2021
The school has said it will not take action against fans who show up to the games with items that have the phrase on them or are chanting it, according to the San-Antonino Express News.