Texas A&M University (TAMU) has passed a resolution endorsing its pro-diversity programs, including one accused of anti-Asian and anti-white discrimination in an ongoing class-action lawsuit.
The resolution, which was passed by the Faculty Senate, was conceived last month in the wake of the suit filed by Richard Lowery, a finance professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Several members reportedly asked the body to “reaffirm its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
On Monday, the Senate passed the resolution 54-12.
“Now, therefore, be it resolved, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate of Texas A&M University reaffirms its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Senate Secretary Janice Epstein, Ph.D., read at the virtual meeting. “Be it further resolved that the executive committee supports the goals of programs such as ACES Plus that aim to diversify the ranks of faculty to better represent our state and our student body. I move approval of this resolution attachment.”
The relatively new ACES Plus, or Accountability, Climate, Equity and Scholarship Faculty Fellows Program Plus, seeks to hire faculty from “underrepresented minority groups,” which a memo defined as “African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and Native Hawaiians.” The program is set to be implemented throughout the TAMU System, which includes TAMU and 10 other state-run universities.
In his suit, Lowery alleges that ACES Plus violates Title VI and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibit sex and racial discrimination in education programs that receive federal funding. He also claims violations of Section 1981 (42 U.S.C. § 1981) and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
Lowery, who is white, said he is “able and ready” to apply for a post in the TAMU System. However, its policies allegedly prevent him “from competing with other applicants for these faculty positions on an equal basis.”
“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,” his lawsuit states. “The existence of these offices is subverting meritocracy and encouraging wholesale violations of civil-rights laws throughout our nation’s university system.”
Some faculty senators who opposed the resolution believe that ACES Plus could be illegal. Among them is Adam Kolasinski, Ph.D., who questioned the logic of even debating such a resolution amid the program’s legal woes.
“I believe that voting on or even debating this resolution is extremely unwise because one of the programs it endorses is subject to litigation,” Kolasinski said. “Weighing in on a program that is subject to litigation whose outcome is highly uncertain is an extremely bad idea as we are not court and we are not lawyers.”
The Mays Business School senator and associate professor of finance also questioned whether the Senate is ready to lose a majority of the university’s Asian faculty in the name of ACES Plus. So far, the program has no procedure for terminating current faculty members.
“If you are serious about supporting the ACES Plus program’s goal of moving the structural composition of our faculty to parity with the state of Texas, then we are effectively supporting the replacement of two-thirds to three-quarters of our Asian faculty solely because of their race,” Kolasinski said. “If you support this resolution, I ask you, which three-quarters of your Asian colleagues do you want to get rid of?”