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

 

 

More articles by:

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

January 22, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
It’s Time to Call Economic Sanctions What They Are: War Crimes
Jim Kavanagh
Behind the Money Curtain: A Left Take on Taxes, Spending and Modern Monetary Theory
Sheldon Richman
Trump Versus the World
Mark Schuller
One Year On, Reflecting and Refining Tactics to Take Our Country Back
Winslow Wheeler
Just What Eamark “Moratorium” are They Talking About?
W. T. Whitney
José Martí, Soul of the Cuban Revolution
Uri Avnery
May Your Home Be Destroyed          
Wim Laven
Year One Report Card: Donald Trump Failing
Jill Richardson
There Are No Shithole Countries
Bob Fitrakis - Harvey Wasserman
Are the Supremes About to Give Trump a Second Term?
Laura Finley
After #MeToo and #TimesUp
stclair
Impressions From the Women’s March
Andy Thayer
HuffPost: “We Really LOVED Your Contributions, Now FUCK OFF!”
Weekend Edition
January 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Dr. King’s Long Assassination
David Roediger
A House is Not a Hole: (Not) Caring about What Trump Says
George Burchett
How the CIA Tried to Bribe Wilfred Burchett
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation
Michael Hudson – Charles Goodhart
Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?
Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney
Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show
Andrew Levine
Remember, Democrats are Awful Too
James Bovard
Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters
Wilfred Burchett
The Bug Offensive
Brian Cloughley
Now Trump Menaces Pakistan
Ron Jacobs
Whiteness and Working Folks
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Keeper of Crazy Beats: Charlie Haden and Music as a Force of Liberation
Robert Fantina
Palestine and Israeli Recognition
Jan Oberg
The New US Syria “Strategy”, a Recipe For Continued Disaster
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Return of the Repressed
Mel Gurtov
Dubious Partnership: The US and Saudi Arabia
Robert Fisk
The Next Kurdish War Looms on the Horizon
Lawrence Davidson
Contextualizing Sexual Harassment
Jeff Berg
Approaching Day Zero
Karl Grossman
Disaster Island
Thomas S. Harrington
What Nerve! In Catalonia They are Once Again Trying to Swear in the Coalition that Won the Most Votes
Pepe Escobar
Rome: A Eulogy
Robert Hunziker
Will Aliens Save Humanity?
Jonah Raskin
“Can’t Put the Pot Genie Back in the Bottle”: An Interview with CAL NORML’s Dale Gieringer
Stepan Hobza
Beckett, Ionesco, and Trump
Joseph Natoli
The ‘Worlding’ of the Party-less
Julia Stein
The Myths of Housing Policy
George Ochenski
Zinke’s Purge at Interior
Christopher Brauchli
How Trump Killed the Asterisk
Rosemary Mason - Colin Todhunter
Corporate Monopolies Will Accelerate the Globalisation of Bad Food, Poor Health and Environmental Catastrophe
Michael J. Sainato
U.S Prisons Are Ending In-Person Visits, Cutting Down On Reading Books
Michael Barker
Blame Game: Carillion or Capitalism?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail