Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Ralph K.M. Hau­r­witz rhau­r­witz@states­man.com Con­tact Ralph K.M. Hau­r­witz at 512-445-3604. Twit­ter: @ralph­hau­r­witz

The wrong Latin word has been re­placed with the right Latin word on a gran­ite memo­rial to the vic­tims of the Univer­sity of Texas Tower sniper.

As orig­i­nally chis­eled, the line above the names of Charles Whit­man’s vic­tims read “In­ter­fec­tum Au­gust 1, 1966.” It has been cov­ered with a stone panel read­ing “In­ter­fecti Au­gust 1, 1966.”

The ini­tial in­scrip­tion, as three UT clas­sics pro­fes­sors were quick to point out, was gram­mat­i­cally in­cor­rect and neg­a­tive in tone, re­fer­ring to the killing of “a neuter sin­gu­lar thing” when the con­text in­volves mul­ti­ple men and women. UT of­fi­cials ac­knowl­edged that they should have con­sulted with the pro­fes­sors be­fore ap­prov­ing the word­ing.

“In­ter­fecti” is tech­ni­cally the mas­cu­line plu­ral form, but schol­ars gen­er­ally con­sider that ac­cept­able and anal­o­gous to the use of “alumni” to re­fer to men and women, even though it also is the mas­cu­line plu­ral, with “alum­nae” the fem­i­nine plu­ral.

Cook-Walden Fu­neral Homes and Ceme­ter­ies do­nated the stone panel with cor­rected word­ing, and UT paid about $600 to have it in­stalled by the quarry that pro­duced it, said J.B. Bird, a univer­sity spokesman. Cook-Walden worked with UT, clas­sics pro­fes­sors and the Tower Memo­rial Com­mit­tee on the project, he said.

The fu­neral com­pany had do­nated the mon­u­ment and a gran­ite bench with an in­scrip­tion that says “the Tower Gar­den memo­rial was made pos­si­ble” by Cook-Walden “in honor of Mr. Charles R. Walden Sr. and all those who served on that fate­ful day.”

The memo­rial, which sits on the north side of the Tower by a tur­tle pond and live oaks, was ded­i­cated in a mov­ing cer­e­mony on Aug. 1, the 50th an­niver­sary of Whit­man’s ram­page. The cor­rected word­ing was in­stalled with­out fan­fare on Dec. 29.


A stone panel read­ing “In­ter­fecti Au­gust 1, 1966” was in­stalled in late De­cem­ber on the gran­ite memo­rial to the vic­tims of the Univer­sity of Texas Tower sniper.


As orig­i­nally chis­eled, the in­scrip­tion “In­ter­fec­tum Au­gust 1, 1966” was gram­mat­i­cally in­cor­rect and neg­a­tive in tone, ac­cord­ing to three UT clas­sics pro­fes­sors.

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