Richard Lowery, an associate professor of finance at the University of Texas at Austin has filed a class-action lawsuit against Texas A&M University, two university officials, and its board of regents. Dr. Lowery claims that a faculty fellowship aimed at increasing diversity discriminates against White and Asian men. Professor Lowery is represented by America First Legal, a conservative nonprofit organization led by former officials from the Trump administration.
In June, Texas A&M announced in an email to all of its deans that, based on its designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the United States Department of Education, it had been “charged with expanding the capacity of low-income, first-generation Hispanic students, and other underserved students and their communities.” Texas A&M stated that “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.”
Texas A&M created the “ACES Plus” Fellowship – ACES standing for “Accountability, Climate, Equity, and Scholarship”– dedicating $2 million dollars to provide matching base salary and benefits 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.”
The lawsuit alleges that “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.”
Stephen Miller, president of America First Legal stated that “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. We must extract the poison of bigotry coursing deep through the leadership of Texas A&M and restore civil rights and equality for all. 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.”