An official from Texas A&M University questioned whether the professor had legal standing to file the lawsuit, since the plaintiff had–allegedly–never even applied for a position with the system.
A University of Texas professor has filed a lawsuit against Texas A&M University, claiming that the institution’s new faculty fellowship program actively discriminates against White and Asian candidates.
According to The Texas Tribune, Richard Lowery—a White finance professor at U.T. Austin—filed the federal class action lawsuit on Saturday, naming the Texas A&M University System, its board of regents, and several academic administrators as defendants.
Lowery, notes the Tribune, is being represented by America First Legal, an advocacy group created by former Donald Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller.
In his lawsuit, Lowery claims that the new fellowship program—called the Accountability, Climate, Equity and Scholarship Faculty Fellows Program, or ACES—violates Title VI and Title IX of the federal Civil Rights Act, as well as the equal protections clause of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.
ACES, writes the Tribune, focuses on hiring recently-graduated doctoral students who wish to enter academia.
However, the lawsuit notes that ACES focuses on “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.”
ACES sets aside an estimated $2 million over the next two fiscal years to help match fellows’ base salary and benefits, payable for up to $100,000 per recipient.
The program’s benefits are only available to “underrepresented” groups, identified by the university system as: African-Americans, Hispanic and Latino Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians.
Lowery says that Texas A&M University’s race-based criteria are effectively discriminatory.
“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 lawsuit states.
Lowery also suggested that the university system has set aside other faculty positions for “underrepresented” racial groups, citing an email sent by an unnamed business professor to the head of the Finance Department’s recruiting committee.
The lawsuit seeks to represent a class of all White and Asian men who would otherwise be “able and ready” to apply for faculty appointments in the Texas A&M University system.
“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,” Lowery’s lawyers wrote in the complaint.
University officials have since remarked that it was “unusual” that Lowery could not get a job with Texas A&M, since he had not even applied for one.
“Our lawyers will review the lawsuit, confer with Texas A&M and take appropriate action as warranted,” a university official said in a statement.