Torchlight Parade More Meaningful Than Ever

A University of Texas tradition took on special meaning Wednesday night as the Longhorn community came together for the first time since its safety was threatened.

The Texas Exes Student Chapter held its annual Torchlight Parade, which intensifies school spirit before the OU game each year. The tradition dates back to 1916.

But this year, the rally was especially poignant, coming a day after a campus crisis. On Tuesday, sophomore Colton Tooley brought an AK-47 onto campus, police say, and fired several rounds in the air before killing himself in the library. Campus was locked down for hours while SWAT teams and helicopters made sure no second gunman was loose.

UT students were reflective and grateful for their safety on Wednesday, but also ready to show their Texas pride.

“A student said it right: ‘We want to be united as a university and go on in a positive way,'” Texas Exes staffer and Student Chapter advisor Taylor Nyberg said. “It showed a lot that people still felt safe, comfortable, and protected by the UTPD.”

Marchers launched their tiki-torch-lit parade at 25th and Whitis streets, processing down Guadalupe and to the Tower.

The football team, cheerleaders, pom squad, Bevo, and Coach Mack Brown were on the Main Mall to get the thousands of participants revved up.

Safety was still on everyone’s mind — Brown urged students to drive carefully to Dallas, where the “Red River Rivalry” matchup will be held Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

This year, more than ever, we say: Hook ’em.

Photo by Steve Moakley


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