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Texas A&M Faculty Senate Votes To Exclude Asian Job Applicants To Hire People With Preferred Skin Colors

Texas A&M University
Image CreditNSFP TAMU/YouTube

The Texas A&M University faculty senate on Monday endorsed an affirmative-action program that is currently under legal scrutiny for using taxpayer dollars to hire non-white and non-Asian staff members.

Despite a class-action complaint filed against TAMU on Sept. 10 alleging that the university’s Accountability, Climate, Equity, and Scholarship (ACES) Plus program violates federal law “prohibit[ing] universities that accept federal funds from discriminating on account of race or sex,” faculty senators at TAMU voted 54-12 in support of the project.

According to a memo from Annie McGowan, vice president and associate provost for diversity,
and N. K. Anand, vice president for faculty affairs, sent by the university’s leadership in July, the program will receive $2 million over the 2023 and 2024 fiscal years to match the salary and benefits of “new mid-career and senior tenure-track hires from underrepresented minority groups.” The memo defines underrepresented minorities as “African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians,” but does not include Asians on the list.

This program, the TAMU officials say, is designed to “contribute to moving the structural composition of our faculty towards parity with that of the State of Texas.”

Sidelining qualified white and Asian candidates in favor of fulfilling racial quotas, both the complaint and some senate faculty members say, is a massive legal liability for the school and constitutes discrimination.

“If you are serious about supporting the ACES Plus program 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,” faculty senator Adam Kolasinski, a professor of finance at TAMU, explained before the senate’s ACES vote. “If you support this resolution, I ask you which three-quarters of your Asian colleagues do you want to get rid of?”

According to Kolasinski, supporting this program effectively eliminates potential Asian faculty from hiring eligibility “for like the next decade.”

“By the way, that’s what the ACES Plus program does. It creates new faculty positions to which no Asians need apply,” Kolasinski said.

Kolasinski also expressed concern about the university doubling down on a policy that is a clear legal liability to the school and has yet to be decided in court. The professor’s words of warning, however, were met with backlash from other TAMU faculty senators who called them “extraordinarily offensive.”

“I am almost speechless,” faculty senator Angie Hill Price, the associate dean for undergraduate programs and an associate professor of engineering technology and industrial distribution, replied. “I think that that was extraordinarily offensive, but you’re entitled to your opinion and to your freedom of speech and I appreciate the fact that you have that.”

In addition to shorting potential Asian hires, the lawsuit says the university is violating Title VI and Title IX of the federal Civil Rights Act and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause by creating and isolating some faculty positions specifically for those racial groups deemed “underrepresented” by TAMU.

That, the complaint states, is evidenced by an email exchange between a professor, whose name is redacted, and the Thomas W. Leland Memorial Chair in Finance Shane A. Johnson. In the exchange, Johnson confirmed his department reserved a faculty spot for an “underrepresented minority.”

“The underrepresented line would potentially be a third position, so yes reserved, but not one of our ‘regular’ positions,” Johnson wrote.

The TAMU diversity and faculty offices did not immediately respond to The Federalist’s request for comment, and though The Federalist received an initial reply from a communications spokeswoman, she did not offer a comment by deadline.

While the TAMU case plays out, the Supreme Court is mulling over another affirmative action case that could decide how all publicly funded universities approach race-based admissions. In Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, the high court will determine if Harvard, which receives federal funding, can continue turning down admission for large numbers of Asian students in the name of “diversity” and reserving spots for people of other skin colors.

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