The student disqualified in the recent election for Texas A&M University (TAMU) student body president lawyered up Thursday and filed a petition that could lead to a lawsuit over what he believes are questionable motives behind his disqualification.
Robert McIntosh, the disqualified candidate, is the son of a prominent Republican fundraiser who supported President Trump in his bid for the White House. A university court disqualified him after winning the recent TAMU election for student body president.
“The Petitioner desires to investigate whether the true reasons for such disqualification and establish that those reasons are based on the fact that he is a heterosexual, white, Christian male,” reads the eight-page petition McIntosh filed. He also wants to investigate if his state and federal due process and civil rights were violated.
Officials disqualified McIntosh after he won the election by 763 votes, initially over anonymous voter intimidation accusations that surfaced and then, over glow sticks used in a campaign video. The glow sticks in question appeared on screen for eight or nine seconds, according to school newspaper The Battalion.
A TAMU Judicial Court cleared him of the voter intimidation charges but upheld he failed to provide expense receipts for the glow sticks. McIntosh appealed. The student court acknowledged the violations were minor but still disqualified him. Instead, runner-up Bobby Brooks, a junior, became Texas A&M’s first openly gay student body president.
Earlier this week, U.S. Energy Secretary and former Texas Governor Rick Perry, also a 1972 Texas A&M graduate, argued in an op-ed for the Houston Chronicle that the election was “stolen outright” because the two candidates answered to different sets of standards. Perry questioned the government’s decision to disqualify McIntosh over glow sticks.
Perry wrote that McIntosh got the glow sticks at a charity event before ever running for student-body president and they were “no different than visual props used by McIntosh’s rival’s campaign videos – none of which were itemized or expensed.”
He inquired how six hours after election polls closed, the Student Government Administration (SGA) received 14 anonymous complaints accusing McIntosh of voter intimidation. Said Perry: “Rather than question McIntosh or conduct an investigation, the Election Commission immediately disqualified McIntosh and declared Brooks the winner.”
Perry also contended the university chose “preferred outcomes over equal treatment: that the ends justify the means, and that not every student is deserving of the same treatment.”
Still, some news outlets questioned the motivations behind these criticisms, as Breitbart News reported, because Perry suggested the quest for ‘diversity’ superseded fairness.
“When I first read that our student body had elected an openly gay man, Bobby Brooks, for president of the student body, I viewed it as a testament to the Aggie character. I was proud of our students because the election appeared to demonstrate a commitment to treating every student equally, judging on character rather than on personal characteristics,” Perry wrote, noting “campus diversity is something every school and student should strive to consistently improve.”
He added: “The quality of diversity on a campus depends on fair treatment, rather than preferred outcomes or engineered results.”
Although TAMU spokeswoman denied they treated McIntosh unfairly, and others suggested no identity politics occurred, The Battalion stated Brooks’ sexuality mattered because “representation matters” as “an important step towards inclusiveness and progress” at “a historically anti-LGBT university.”
The publication said this “mattered” because 2016 was the first year since 2011 Texas A&M was not on Princeton Review’s list of the top 20 LGBT-Unfriendly campuses. It “mattered” because the Texas A&M LGBT “long felt persecuted” population “now sees representation in the highest student leadership position on campus” and this matters to future LGBT students “nervous to come to A&M” but now may do so.
The campus newspaper addressed Brooks’ win as a societal marker. It compared him to TAMU’s first female student body president, elected in 1994, and to Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president, asserting sexual preference, gender, and skin color are only parts of a person and do not determine one’s job performance abilities.
On Thursday, McIntosh hired prominent Texas attorney Gaines West who announced the TAMU senior filed a petition and wanted to depose three individuals to investigate the motivation behind his disqualification after winning the election — Election Commissioner Rachel Keathley, SGA Adviser Amy Loyd, and Student Senate Speaker of the 68th Session Aaron Mitchell.
The petition states that McIntosh believes, based on statements made by Loyd, she “did not, and does not, want Petitioner to be elected as Student Body President…” and Mitchell had “first-hand knowledge of statements made by Texas A&M University faculty and staff associated with the SGA that such faculty and staff members specifically did not want Petitioner to be elected as Student Body President.”
The reason for deposing Keathley revolves around “her actions leading up to, and during the time” McIntosh was disqualified. Ultimately, McIntosh “wishes to investigate” whether these three violated his religious freedoms, state and federal due process, and civil rights. The petition will allow these three individuals to be questioned under oath and their answers could potentially become evidence in any subsequent lawsuit, noted West in a press release.
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