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.”