Possible Discrimination Against White Straight Christian Raised in A&M Election Fiasco

Possible Discrimination Against White Straight Christian Raised in A&M Election Fiasco
When Texas A&M's first openly gay student body president, Bobby Brooks, was elected to the post this month, the milestone was overshadowed by the scandalous nature of how his opponent, Robert McIntosh, was disqualified.

McIntosh had initially beaten Brooks by 763 votes in the February election—yet Brooks landed the presidency after McIntosh was disqualified for failing to list glow sticks used in a Facebook video as an expense in his campaign finance report. Which is almost as silly as the passionate, 851-word Houston Chronicle op-ed about this debacle written by none other than the obviously-not-too-busy U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, a former Aggie. Perry called for a full explanation from A&M students and administration as to the reasons beyond glow sticks that they disqualified McIntosh.

Now, Perry's wishes—and certainly those of Team McIntosh—may be coming true. Yesterday, lawyers hired by McIntosh filed a petition in Brazos County seeking to depose three key people involved in the Texas A&M Student Government Association—that way, McIntosh can avoid filing a lawsuit before investigating all the facts. McIntosh and his lawyers are seeking to determine how the Texas A&M Election Commission and SGA handled investigations into McIntosh's campaign and what their real motivations were for disqualifying him. Here's one possibility McIntosh's lawyers raised:

"[McIntosh] desires to investigate whether the true reasons for such disqualification and establish [sic] that those reasons are based on the fact that he is a heterosexual, white, Christian male."

To be sure, the events that transpired up to this point are a complete mess.

Just as the votes were being tallied in the race for student-body president, the Texas A&M Election Commission was busy pooling 14 anonymous complaints of voter intimidation filed against McIntosh. Students reported that members of McIntosh's campaign would approach them and ask them to vote for McIntosh on their phones on the spot, then keep pressuring them to do it if they said no. Some students even submitted videos. The Election Commission's first reaction was to disqualify McIntosh before votes were even finished being counted. But after further investigation into the complaints, Texas A&M's student Judicial Court ruled to overturn the decision to disqualify McIntosh on the basis of lack of evidence for voter intimidation.

Still, McIntosh didn't get his crown back. Students had filed another complaint against him for his campaign-finance report error: failing to include as expenses those pesky glow sticks, used in McIntosh's campaign video. And alas, this would be his downfall.

Here was a flabbergasted Rick Perry's take on the events:

"The desire of the electorate is overturned, and thousands of student votes are disqualified because of free glow sticks that appeared for 11 seconds of a months-long campaign. Apparently, glow sticks merit the same punishment as voter intimidation. Now, Brooks' presidency is being treated as a victory for "diversity." It is difficult to escape the perception that this quest for "diversity" is the real reason the election outcome was overturned. Does the principle of "diversity" override and supersede all other values of our Aggie Honor Code?"

The three people named in McIntosh's petition— Election Commissioner Rachel Keathley, Student Government Association Adviser Amy Loyd and Student Senate Speaker of the 68th Session Aaron Mitchell—did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Meagan Flynn is a staff writer at the Houston Press who, despite covering criminal justice and other political squabbles in Harris County, drinks only one small cup of coffee per day.
Contact: Meagan Flynn