Remember those sister ‘unity trees’ planned for the Auburn and Alabama campuses? We’d forgotten about them, too, until last week.
Announced by SGA presidents of both schools in a joint press conference on Samford Lawn on Feb. 23, 2011, the project was the most kumbaya of several public efforts to soothe Tide vs. Tigers tensions following the news that the Toomer’s Oaks had been poisoned. But they aren’t standing, as Bama’s 2010-11 SGA President James described the venture, as “a lasting monument to our rivalry for generations of students.” Because they were never planted.
Not that Auburn didn’t try.
Despite being met with less the positive reactions by many Auburn fans (“A lot of the emails I received were from people thinking that we were allowing Alabama to replace the Toomer’s Corner trees,” says then Auburn SGA President Kurt Sasser, “when that wasn’t the purpose at all”), Auburn’s participation in the “grassroots student movement” was approved by Auburn’s Vice President of Student Affairs and President Gogue. Auburn’s Tree Preservation Committee was consulted. Tree species were researched. Locations were scouted.
By September, plans were in place, at least in Auburn, to plant a tree—more than likely a white oak from the College of Agriculture’s Patterson Greenhouse—on the Student Center Green Space on October 26 of that year, when student leaders from Alabama would be in town for Better Relations Day… except the one who actually needed to be there.
UA’s 2011-2012 SGA president, who had naturally assumed the reigns of Bama’s involvement in the project, resigned a month prior in the midst of investigations of “irregularities” within his administration. We’re told the trees simply fell through the crimson cracks. They were never retrieved.
You can watch our interview with 2010-2011 Alabama SGA President James Fowler after the initial unity tree press conference here.
Related: Cam talks Toomer’s.
* Selena Roberts, Auburn student journalist
* Apple CEO Tim Cook huge Auburn fan even in high school
* Shug Jordan’s houndstooth hat is prized possession of former Auburn coed who caught it after ’69 Iron Bowl, claims it predates Bear’s
* That time David Housel punked the SEC with fake recruits