Texas A&M: dedicated to the new segregation!
“Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” Because Texas A&M university has specifically created hiring programs that favor non-Asian minorities, a University of Texas at Austin professor, Richard Lowery, has now filed a federal class-action lawsuit, demanding that this policy end immediately and that the court appoint a monitor to guarantee this.
You can read the lawsuit here [pdf]. It was prompted by a July 8, 2022 letter [pdf] sent out by the Office of Diversity at Texas A&M that outlined a new program, dubbed ACES Plus, which would specifically to pay certain minorities more, merely because of their race:
ACES Plus was created to ensure promising faculty to come to Texas A&M. For the FY 23 and FY 24, the VP for Faculty Affairs will allocate a sum of $2 million for the ACES Plus Program. The funds will be used to provide 50% matching base salary and benefits, up to a maximum contribution of $100,000 (salary and fringe) for new mid-career and senior tenure-track hires from underrepresented minority groups [URMs], that contribute to moving the structural composition of our faculty towards parity with that of the State of Texas. Consistent with our land-grant mission, and as defined NIH policy, Texas A&M defines URMs as African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians.
Lowery saw this program as a direct violation of numerous civil rights act, and decided to sue. He hired the non-profit law firm America First Legal, which filed the suit this week. The suit also notes that Texas A&M is not simply paying these minorities more money, it is specifically favoring them in hiring.
Texas A&M University has also established faculty-hiring lines that are reserved exclusively for members of “underrepresented” (read: non-Asian) racial minorities. On August 26, 2022, a faculty member at Texas A&M’s business school e-mailed Shane A. Johnson, the head of the recruiting committee for the department of finance for 2022–23 academic year, after hearing that one of the faculty-hiring lines in the department of finance was being set aside for an “underrepresented” racial minority. See Exhibit 2 (“I heard from someone that one of our lines is reserved for an ‘underrepresented minority.’ Is that correct?”).
Later that day, Professor Johnson e-mailed back confirming that this was indeed the case: The underrepresented line would potentially be a third position, so yes reserved, but not one of our “regular” positions.
Whether Lowery’s case will prevail is somewhat questionable. He is not a professor at Texas A&M but instead teaches at University of Texas at Austin. He has also not actually applied for work at Texas A&M, nor has the school as yet actually discriminated against him. Instead, his lawsuit “sues on behalf of a class of all white and Asian men who stand ‘able and ready’ to apply for faculty appointments at Texas A&M.”
It could very well be that the court will rule that he has no standing, as the suit has not been filed by anyone who the university has directly wronged.
At the same time, Texas A&M’s policy is clearly discriminatory, violating not only the word but the spirit of numerous civil rights laws. In the past the courts looked favorably on similar lawsuits, brought by blacks against institutions who discriminated in similar ways. The court might agree this treatment should also be granted to whites like Lowery.