The legal group founded by longtime Donald Trump advisor Stephen Miller has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Texas A&M University, alleging that the school has “discriminatory practices” against hiring white and Asian men.
America First Legal filed the lawsuit on behalf of Richard Lowery, an associate professor of finance at the University of Texas at Austin. Lowery is suing Texas A&M University, along with a handful of high-ranking university officials. He claims that a university program dedicated to hiring underrepresented minorities violates his civil rights.
The lawsuit alleges that A&M is just one of countless universities engaging in discrimination. The complaint implies that “female or non-Asian minorities” are “inferior faculty candidates” whose hiring is necessarily at the expense of “white and Asian men.”
“The Texas A&M University System, along with nearly every university in the United States, discriminates on account of race and sex when hiring its faculty, by giving discriminatory preferences to female or non-Asian minorities at the expense of white and Asian men,” the complaint says. “This practice, popularly known as ‘affirmative action,’ has led universities to hire and promote inferior faculty candidates over individuals with better scholarship, better credentials, and better teaching ability.”
The complaint says that these alleged hiring practices violate federal anti-discrimination law and accuses the federal Department of Education of “look[ing] the other way.”
“These discriminatory, illegal, and anti-meritocratic practices have been egged on by woke ideologues who populate the so-called diversity, equity, and inclusion offices at public and private universities throughout the United States,” the complaint says. “The existence of these offices is subverting meritocracy and encouraging wholesale violations of civil-rights laws throughout our nation’s university system.”
The lawsuit relies on two communications originating from the university in support of its discrimination claim.
One is a memo sent from A&M’s Office of Diversity in July, acknowledging that the Department of Education recognized A&M as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and announcing that $2 million in funds would be allocated for the school’s Accountability, Climate, Equity, and Scholarship (ACES) Fellows Program.
According to the lawsuit, Lowery is particularly bothered by the school’s efforts to have its faculty population resemble that of the state in which it is located.
The memo cites the following passage from the memo (emphasis in complaint):
Effective July 1, 2021, Texas A&M was officially recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the United States Department of Education. As an HSI, Texas A&M is charged with expanding the capacity of low-income, first generation Hispanic students, and other underserved students and their communities. Increasing opportunities for underserved students to interact and engage with faculty that share their ethnic, life, and cultural experiences are essential to achieving this goal. The presence of faculty of color is also integral to the University’s mission to provide the highest quality of undergraduate and graduate education and develop new understandings through research and creativity
ACES [Accountability, Climate, Equity, and Scholarship] 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, 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.
“Texas A&M’s decision to set aside funds to supplement the salaries of faculty members from ‘underrepresented minority groups’ is a flagrant violation of Title VI,” the complaint says (citations omitted). “Texas A&M’s proclaimed goal of establishing a faculty whose racial composition attains ‘parity with that of the state of Texas’ seeks to achieve racial balancing, which is flatly illegal under Title VI and the binding precedent of the Supreme Court.”
The complaint also cites an email between a faculty member and Shane A. Johnson, who ran the recruiting committee for the department of finance for the 2022-23 academic year. Those emails, the complaint alleges, show that the university has established impermissible “faculty-hiring lines that are reserved exclusively for members of ‘underrepresented’ (read: non-Asian) racial minorities.”
“I heard from someone that one of our lines is reserved for an ‘underrepresented minority,'” the email from the faculty member, whose name is redacted in the exhibit attached to the complaint wrote on Aug. 26. “Is that correct?”
“The underrepresented line would potentially be a third position, so yes reserved, but not for one of our ‘regular’ positions,” Johnson replied that same day.
Lowery, who describes himself as “‘able and ready'” to apply for a faculty appointment,” says in the complaint that he is essentially blocked from doing so.
“[T]he 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,” the complaint says. “This inflicts injury in fact.”
Lowery says that the university’s policies violate Title VI and Title IX “by discriminating in favor of female and ‘underrepresented’ minority faculty candidates and against white and Asian men.” It also alleges that the school violates federal civil rights statutes and the Equal Protection Clause.
Lowery seeks a declaratory judgment and an an injunction barring the university “from considering race or sex when appointing or compensating its faculty.”
The complaint also wants the court to oversee the school’s hiring decisions for the foreseeable future.
“[Lowery requests that the court] “appoint a court monitor to oversee all decisions relating to the appointment, promotion, and compensation of faculty at the Texas A&M University system to ensure that these decisions are free from race and sex discrimination of any sort, and require that all decisions relating to the appointment, promotion, and compensation of faculty at the Texas A&M University system be pre-cleared by this Court.” In addition, Lowery wants a court monitor appointed to oversee the school’s Office of Diversity “to ensure that it does not aid or abet violations of the nation’s civil-rights laws[.]”
Miller, who is considered to be a key architect behind Trump’s controversial travel ban and child separation border policy, launched America First Legal in 2021.
Texas A&M University did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s request for comment.
Read the complaint, below.
[Image via YouTube screengrab.]
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