The lawsuit alleges that the Texas A&M Accountability, Climate, Equity, and Scholarship (ACES) Fellowship Program violates federal civil rights law, setting aside professor positions for specific racial groups.
Lowery is suing the Texas A&M Board of Regents, Vice President and Associate Provost of Diversity Annie S. McGowan, and Vice President of Faculty Affairs N.K. Anand. Lowery is represented by America First Legal (AFL), a conservative legal advocacy organization.
In a letter obtained by AFL sent on July 8, McGowan and Anand wrote to all university deans that the school will be setting aside $2,000,000 for a program to hire professors from “underrepresented minority groups” (URMs). The money would be used to match the fellows’ base salary up to $100,000.
They wrote, “Texas A&M defines URMs as African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians.” Asian Americans were excluded from this list.
McGowan and Anand also argued in the letter that given Texas A&M’s official designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), the university is charged with increasing the presence of faculty of color.
The Texas A&M website confirms the goal of the program, stating, “Applications from women, minorities, and members of other underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged and will be actively sought.”
54 percent of Texas A&M faculty are white, while only seven percent are Hispanic and four percent are black.
AFL claimed in their official complaint that, “The racial preferences and set-asides established by Texas A&M prevent Professor Lowery from competing with other applicants for these faculty positions on an equal basis.”
They also wrote, “Professor Lowery 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.”
AFL alleges that this policy violates Titles VI and IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
They also claim that the policy violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, which reads, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives Federal funds or other Federal financial assistance.” Title XI prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.
Laylan Copelin, a spokesperson for Texas A&M, responded to the lawsuit saying, “It’s an unusual job application when Mr. Lowery says in the lawsuit he is ‘able and ready’ to apply for a faculty appointment at Texas A&M. But our lawyers will review the lawsuit, confer with Texas A&M and take appropriate action as warranted.”
In a press release following the lawsuit, AFL President Stephen Miller said, “Texas A&M is hiring — and excluding — professors solely due to the physical appearance of their skin or the ancestry of their family tree. This is vile and outrageous.”
“Our lawsuit will send tremors through our corrupt institutions of ‘higher learning’ making clear that racial discrimination will be met with righteous legal action in our courts of law,” he continued.
AFL and Lowery seek to enjoin Texas A&M from hiring faculty based on race or sex, a public acknowledgment that they violated Title VI and the equal protection clause, and the appointment of a court monitor to ensure that the university complies with the injunction.
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Hudson Callender is a reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of San Antonio, Texas. Hudson recently graduated cum laude from Trinity University with majors in Economics and Political Science, and loves to study ancient history. Hudson is also an avid mountaineer, backpacker, and paddler, often leading trips to remote wilderness areas. Outside of his love for nature, history, and Lone Star beer, Hudson spends his weekends arguing with his friends about football, and will always stick up for the Baylor Bears, Dallas Cowboys, and San Antonio Spurs.