Marquis Alexander

Editor’s note: From tobacco bans to text messages, these are among our favorite quotes from the past several days.

“You might say — just this one time — that what STOPS here changes the world.”
— William Sage, vice provost for health affairs for the UT System, on the new campus-wide tobacco ban, according to a press release.

“Today I was put in an awkward position by Ted Cruz, a man I’ve come to know and respect. Ted sent me a text suggesting I ask him a set-up question for Friday’s United States Senate debate. In my mind, this is nothing more than an attempt to rig the system.”
— U.S. Senate candidate Craig James on a text message he received from fellow candidate Ted Cruz, according to a press release. In the text message, Cruz asked James to question competitor and current Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Dewhurst’s absenteeism at debates.

“I think we’re at a unique time that we can reset the budgeting game in Texas. ... I’ve looked at the landscape. I’m going to be the senior statesman, so to speak. This is the time.”
— Texas Gov. Rick Perry on the possibility for a more conservative state budget in the next legislative session, according to The Texas Tribune.

“I don’t know why it’s taken so long. ... But I know the corps’ process is that they will always put the best people in the spot. I can honestly say my race didn’t play a factor. I hope it’s because I was legitimately the best person for the job.”
— Marquis Alexander on his election as the first black commander of Texas A&M University’s Corps of Cadets, according to The Associated Press.

“We explain to the parents it is a one-year scholarship that’s renewed every June. But if your son, if he has a felony or flunks out of school or doesn’t try at all, he’ll be gone for [having a felony or failing] and the third one, we’re going to try to help you get us make him try. Other than that he’ll have his scholarship.”
— UT head football coach Mack Brown on the decision to vote against turning the current system of awarding athletes one-year renewable scholarships to multiyear scholarships, according to HornsNation. The NCAA proposed the change in policy to protect student-athletes who have their scholarships cut by their universities for reasons such as not performing or getting injured, among other reasons such as the ones Brown mentions. UT aligned with the entire Big 12 conference, as well as other major football schools, to oppose the NCAA and defeated the proposal by .4 percent of the vote.

COLLEGE STATION — Nearly a half-century after African-Americans were admitted to predominantly white Texas A&M University, a black student has reached the pinnacle of one of its signature organizations.

Marquis Alexander next school year will become commander of A&M’s Corps of Cadets, a high-profile post that involves establishing the cadets’ dress codes for their military-style uniforms and setting their daily schedule, including physical training that can begin before dawn.

“There is a sense of pride that’s there,” Alexander, 22, said Wednesday, standing in front of the “Corps Arches,” an arched brick wall that marks the entrance to the dormitory area for the 2,100 members of the Aggie Corps of Cadets. “I look at it as encouragement to other people to get out and do whatever they want no matter what their background is.”

Black students represent less than 4 percent of the 40,000 undergraduate students at the College Station campus.

“A lot of people from that part of town don’t come here,” said Alexander, who already spent a year and a half in the Marine reserves before enrolling at Texas A&M in 2009.

His continuing duty as a reservist, where he’s a corporal, also makes him the first person with actual military experience to head the corps.

Texas A&M opened its doors in 1876. Blacks and women weren’t allowed until 87 years later. The first African-Americans joined the corps in 1964. The first women cadets came a decade later. Alexander, who hopes for a career as a military lawyer or intelligence work, said he wasn’t even aware he was the first black cadet commander until someone told him.

“I don’t know why it’s taken so long,” he said. “But I know the corps’ process is that they will always put the best people in the spot. I can honestly say my race didn’t play a factor. I hope it’s because I was legitimately the best person for the job.”

Printed on Friday, April 13, 2012 as: Texas A&M appoints first black Cadet commander