How bad do you want it?
It really boils down to a simple question.
When it comes to Texas Tech getting veterinary school, how hard are Texas Tech officials, regents and alums willing to fight? Because make no mistake, it’s going to be a fight with Texas A&M, the Texas Legislature, “Big Money” interest downstate and more. So, how hard are you willing to fight?
Last week in the local Lubbock paper Matt Dotray had a fine write-up detailing where we are and how we got here when it comes to Texas Tech trying to get a Vet school in West Texas. On this past Sunday the unknown writers of the A-J Editorial Board penned a piece trying to lay-out why Tech and West Texas deserve a Vet school and the battle in progress.
Welcome to the party.
The facts are simple.
West Texas and the rest of the state need more Vets, particularly Large Animal Vets. Texas A&M can’t and won’t be able to supply the needs of the state now or going forward no matter how much money they say they will pour into their program. They know it, their graduates know it, the Legislature knows it and the families that are involved in farming and ranching around the State of Texas and for sure beyond the I-35 corridor damn well know it.
So, how much does it matter to Tech officials and Red Raiders in general?
What are you willing to do for one of the most critical functions of our economy in West Texas and the Panhandle? What are you willing to do for the people who created the backbone of what is Texas Tech University?
Texas A&M officials including Chancellor John Sharp have made it clear this is a battle they will bring all of their money and political capital to. They have decided this is a Hill To Die On when it comes to politics and more.
How hard are Tech folks willing to fight that battle?
I will say right now that any official, from Chancellor Duncan to President Schovanec on down to the Board of Regents; who aren’t willing to go toe-to-toe politically, economically and more – aren’t worthy of being Red Raiders and should resign now or be replaced by the local elected delegation to the Texas Legislature in whatever means they can do so and as fast as they can.
This is a battle that goes to the heart of what Texas Tech is and should be about.
Texas Tech is first and foremost a university that should serve the people and the industry of West Texas. It’s why it was created and it should never lose that mission. If that’s a problem for folks, I don’t care.
That’s why Texas Tech exists and why it should fight this fight.
There will be some who say that West Texas doesn’t have the political clout or the money to go against Texas A&M. If that’s the case and if you believe that we should all move to New Mexico and live in Hobbs. . .
West Texas has plenty of power and clout. Charles Perry swings a big stick in the conservative Senate down in Austin. Dustin Burrows and John Frullo can bond with other house members to create a block of votes that come crunch time folks down south may need on issue they care about. Don’t tell me West Texas doesn’t have political power. It’s a matter of the resolve and will to utilize it when needed.
When it comes to money, West Texas has plenty.
I’m reminded right now of a time when Texas Tech was barging into the SWC in the 1950’s. SMU was a hold-out vote. They didn’t want to sully the conference with little ol’ Texas Tech. Folks in West Texas responded by cutting up their Neiman-Marcus charge cards and mailing them back to Dallas. In short order, SMU was voting for Texas Tech to be in the SWC.
It takes that kind of resolve to fight things like this. I fear Lubbock, Lubbock leaders and West Texans have gotten soft when it comes to banding together and doing what is right for our region. Instead, far too many are willing to sit back and wait for scraps from the table of UT and Texas A&M. It’s time for that to change and this is an issue worthy of it.
Could it get ugly? Yes.
Could friendships, business relationships and more be compromised? Yes.
Could some politicians find themselves under intense pressure to abandon their people? Yes.
Is it worth it?
I’ve been told that Texas A&M has an “Honor Code”.
If that’s the case then John Sharp and every other Aggie is in violation of it because they are doing nothing honorable for themselves, Texas A&M and most certainly the State of Texas when it comes to serving the men and women, families and institutions who don’t give a damn about political turf-wars; but just need a vet on a Saturday night during calving season to save their farm or ranch.
The honorable thing, Aggies, would be to say you welcome more great Texans doing great things for Texas and will partner with Texas Tech to make that happen in West Texas and beyond.
As for my fellow Red Raiders, if you care, if it matters, then embolden your elected officials by writing and calling them and telling them you’ll back them to the hilt. Then call Texas Tech officials in Lubbock and demand they be as vocal and public as Texas A&M officials. Do not let them lose the war of PR. Finally, tell they Texas Tech Board of Regents that if they like watching football games and going to see Chris Beard coach basketball on charter jets, they have one job to do. Beat Texas A&M. Otherwise, it’s time to go Regent Shopping.
This is a big state.
Texas deserves better than to have to fight Aggies to take care of animals . . .
Editor’s Note: Edited to replace “Charles Perry” with “John Frullo” in a paragraph. We regret the error.