Over the course of its history, UTSA has faced criticism for removing the “Come and Take It” flag.
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is experiencing controversy from its board of regents after deciding to remove Texas’ famed “Come and Take It” flag from football stadiums after some said the motto had a racist, anti-Mexican background.
According to the Texas Tribune, Regents Chairmen Kevin Eltife said in a recent statement, “The Board of Regents does not favor forsaking traditions and history that mean a lot to students, alumni, and other Texans.”
“I am deeply saddened by this decision and will immediately request that our Board develop policies ensuring that the governing body of the UT System is engaged before major university traditions and observances are modified in the future,” Eltife stated.
Eltife’s announcement comes only days after the institution said it will drop the “Come and Take It” flag-unfurling tradition at games, as well as any other ties to the slogan. After a former university lecturer established an online petition to have the saying removed from campus, UTSA President Taylor Eighmy made the decision.
Opponents claim that the slogan’s origins, which date back to the Battle of Gonzales during the Texas Revolution in 1835, are rooted in racial philosophy.
According to legend, Mexican officials gave a cannon to Texas settlers for security in Gonzales, and when the Mexican government demanded the cannon back, the settlers responded by hoisting a flag with the words “Come and Take It” imprinted on it. The canon was eventually utilized by the Texans against Mexican soldiers.
The flag has now become a symbol of Texas pride, but detractors believe that the motto is being used to promote white supremacy and anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant views.
In a statement advocating for its removal, Dr. Ellen Riojas Clark, a former bicultural and multilingual studies professor at UTSA and the petition’s originator, stated, “Referring to the infamous banner from the Battle of Gonzales, this is a saying that embodies both anti-Mexican and pro-slavery views.”
“It has carried white supremacist ideals from 1835 to today, and has been widely accepted by anti-government, pro-gun fanatics during that time, such as at the January 6 insurgency at the United States Capitol. This is a condensed version of the information.