FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What Gives Texas A&M the Right?

by GREG MOSES

[Editors’ Note: During February the Texas Civil Rights Review uncovered documents from a specially appointed task force at Texas A&M that recommended strongly in favor of affirmative action on Aug. 29, 2003. That finding was over-ruled by the President and buried from public view. Following is the cover story that will appear for the next month at the Texas Civil Rights Review.]

During the Fall Semester of 2003, Texas A&M University President Robert Gates put the Civil Rights Act in his pocket and he left it there until people thought it was his. And when he refused to take it out of his pocket ever again, people said, okay, he can do that. But can he?

Can the President of a University pocket-veto the Civil Rights Act? Ultimately this is a question for the federal government to decide. It would make a fine question for our Presidential candidates. If elected president, Mr. Kerry or Mr. Edwards, will you enforce the Civil Rights Act in College Station, Texas?

It was because of the Civil Rights Act that the Office of Civil Rights visited Texas in 1978 to determine if de-segregation had been accomplished. But de-segregation had not been accomplished in the higher education system of Texas.

At that point the OCR had the power to make an adverse ruling against the state of Texas, which would have caused serious difficulties with federal funding. And so, once again, because of the Civil Rights Act, Texas was feeling some heat.

It is well documented in records kept by Texas A&M, and by analysis that was produced at the time, that Texas A&M University Regents adopted affirmative action as a way to show federal authorities that the Civil Rights Act has a meaning they were bound to respect.

It made plain sense in 1980 that affirmative action in admissions was one necessary means that a University under federal supervision for de-segregation should adopt. The state of Texas then entered into a series of agreements, under federal supervision, for de-segregation. These facts are plain as one can find. They are also plainly evaded.

In 1997, OCR returned to Texas, found de-segregation still a work in progress, and in the summer of 2000 received from Governor Bush assurances that all available means would be used to advance the de-segregation process. Then in the summer of 2003 the Supreme Court restored the Constitutionality of affirmative action in Texas with the Grutter ruling.

Where it is plainly agreed that a University should undertake every means necessary for de-segregation, where that same University has previously agreed that affirmative action serves as a baseline commitment of good faith toward de-segregation, and where affirmative action is clearly vindicated by the Supreme Court as a Constitutional means to de-segregation, there can be no plainer conclusion at hand as to what a University should be doing. But the conclusion is not at hand. It is in the pocket of President Gates.

Soon after the Grutter ruling, President Gates called together his best and brightest, and he asked them to consider what should be done. By the end of the summer, his own hand-picked committee strongly recommended a return to affirmative action.

Not only did President Gates put that report in his pocket, but he failed to consult with state regulators about his responsibilities under the Civil Rights Act. Folks he asked he ignored, folks he should have consulted, he did not.

If during this Black History Month we are going to share platitudes about the meaning of America, if during this traditional month of celebration for Lincoln’s birthday we are going to speak of one nation, and if the Civil Rights Act actually happened and is really law in America, and in Texas, too, then, we have to say: give back the Civil Rights Act President Gates, or step aside and give us a University President who respects the laws and Constitution of the United States.

There are perhaps a thousand ways to cut the argument for affirmative action in admissions. But given the peculiar circumstances in College Station, Texas, crucial considerations have not yet been addressed. What is the meaning of the Civil Rights Act? Is the federal Constitution still a framework that a Texas University President is bound to respect?

GREG MOSES writes for the Texas Civil Rights Review. He can be reached at: gmosesx@prodigy.net

 

 

Greg Moses writes about peace and Texas, but not always at the same time. He is author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. As editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review he has written about racism faced by Black agriculturalists in Texas. He can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com

More articles by:
June 29, 2016
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Fearsome: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
Stephanie Van Hook
The Time for Silence is Over
Ajamu Nangwaya
Toronto’s Bathhouse Raids: Racialized, Queer Solidarity and Police Violence
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
Binoy Kampmark
Headaches of Empire: Brexit’s Effect on the United States
Dave Lindorff
Honest Election System Needed to Defeat Ruling Elite
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail