Inside Aggieland with a Corps of Cadets-Inspired Resignation
The day after R. Bowen Loftin was given the job in January as the university's president, Lieutenant General John Van Alstyne, who served as commandant over the Corps for seven years, resigned.
Van Alstyne hasn't said much about his reasoning, and Loftin, in a written statement, didn't say much either. But earlier this week, Don Cloud, a member of Aggie Spirit Development Council who also gave a lot of money to the school, decided to end his relationship with Texas A&M.
Cloud wrote a heated e-mail to Lieutenant General Joe Weber, A&M's vice president for student affairs, saying he wanted "no further association with you whatsoever," according to the Bryan-College Station Eagle.
Cloud, who served as student commander of the Corps in the 1950s, added, "Your incessant lobbying to have the Corps report to you instead of the President has cost Texas A&M the loss of the finest commandant in at least 54 years."
Weber, who went to A&M and served as a cadet with Governor Rick Perry, has been at the center of these troubles involving the Corps.
He got the job as vice president for student affairs in August 2008, about a month after Murano announced that the Corps would begin reporting directly to her. Paul Burka recently wrote on his blog, "Weber was brought in, I believe, to bring back Bonfire, which thankfully has not happened yet, and to make the Corps more 'red ass.'"
At least one person, Van Alstyne's wife, thought Weber wanted control of the Corps. From a leaked e-mail from Anita Van Alstyne, that was, according to its subject line, "spoken from my heart":
I will not attend any function at which any of the governor's cronies will be in attendence. He has chosen to put a drunken, coed groping (adjective removed) in power as the Vice President of Student Affairs of this wonderful university, and I will not be a party to that, nor do I want my husband disgraced by their behavior.
[Loftin] had his staff lie about what had occurred and why John retired. Loftin came to John's office...and told John that it was his intention to put the Corps of Cadets under the control of [Weber]. After the [Weber] had been in office for one semester, John and I had a long talk and agreed that he could not, nor would I tolerate, his having to work for another asshole; we are too old and tired for that.
It is my great sorrow that we will not be able to save [the Corps of Cadets] from Rick Perry, Mike McKinney, Bowen Loftin and the Board of Regents.
A representative from Texas A&M could not be reached for comment, but we'll be sure to update as soon as we hear back from the university.