Professor Sues Texas A&M, Alleges Discrimination Against 'White and Asian Men' in Hiring

Professor Sues Texas A&M, Alleges Discrimination Against 'White and Asian Men' in Hiring
Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas. (Google Street View)
Bill Pan

Texas A&M University is facing a Fourteenth Amendment lawsuit over its hiring practices, which allegedly discriminate against white and Asian men to advance its "diversity, equity, and inclusion" agenda.

America First Legal, a group founded by longtime Donald Trump adviser Stephen Miller, filed the complaint on behalf of Richard Lowery, an associate professor of finance at the University of Texas at Austin. In his complaint (pdf), Lowery said that A&M prevents him from fairly competing for open positions by unlawfully labeling white and Asian men as "inferior faculty candidates."

"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 reads. "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."

"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," it alleges.

Lowery cited two communications originating from the university as evidence of discrimination. One is a July 9 memo sent from A&M's Office of Diversity to all deans at the university, announcing that the university would dedicate $2 million to its Accountability, Climate, Equity, and Scholarship (ACES) Plus program.

Lowery took particular issue with what appears to be an effort to make sure the racial makeup of A&M faculty resembles that of Texas.

"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 percent matching base salary and benefits, up to a maximum contribution of $100,000 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 memo reads.

Underrepresented minority groups, according to the memo, are "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.

The other one cited to back the discrimination claim is an email exchange between a faculty member and Shane A. Johnson, who led a recruiting committee for the finance department for the 2022–23 academic year. When asked by that faculty member whether one of the department's faculty-hiring lines was being set aside for an "underrepresented" racial minority, Johnson apparently confirmed that this was indeed the case.

Alleging violations of Fourteenth Amendment and federal anti-discrimination laws, Lowery asks the court to block A&M "from considering race or sex when appointing or compensating its faculty." He also wants the court to oversee the university's hiring decisions in the foreseeable future.

Stephen Miller, in a statement announcing the lawsuit, said this represents a challenge to the "unconstitutional racial discrimination regime" in America's higher education.

"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 said.

Texas A&M University didn't respond to a request for comment.