Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive!
CounterPunch’s website is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. We are supported almost entirely by the subscribers to the print edition of our magazine and by one-out-of-every-1000 readers of the site.
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:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 26, 2016
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
Robert Koehler
Stop the Killing
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Of Dog Legs and “Debates”
Yves Engler
The Media’s Biased Perspective
Victor Grossman
Omens From Berlin
Christopher Brauchli
Wells Fargo as Metaphor for the Trump Campaign
Nyla Ali Khan
War of Words Between India and Pakistan at the United Nations
Tom Barnard
Block the Bunker! Historic Victory Against Police Boondoggle in Seattle
James Rothenberg
Bullshit Recognition as Survival Tactic
Ed Rampell
A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits
Kristine Mattis
Persnickety Publishing Pet-Peeves
Charles R. Larson
Review: Helen Dewitt’s “The Last Samurai”
David Yearsley
Torture Chamber Music
September 22, 2016
Dave Lindorff
Wells Fargo’s Stumpf Leads the Way
Stan Cox
If There’s a World War II-Style Climate Mobilization, It has to Go All the Way—and Then Some
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail