In a diplomatically worded letter, the first openly gay person elected student body president at Texas A&M University has invited U.S. Energy Secretary and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry — who has questioned the legitimacy of Bobby Brooks’ victory — to talk things over.
Perry suggested in a Houston Chronicle column last week that a “quest for diversity” was behind the disqualification of Brooks’ opponent, Robert McIntosh, who received the most votes. A student-run judicial court disqualified McIntosh for failing to report a campaign expense — specifically, glow sticks of the type seen at concerts and raves.
Perry, an A&M graduate, wrote that he was initially proud of students for electing an openly gay man, calling it “a testament to the Aggie character.” But after learning of the circumstances, Perry wrote, he concluded that the outcome was at best “a mockery of due process and transparency” and at worst an election “stolen outright.”
Brooks didn’t mention Perry’s criticism in his letter, a copy of which was posted on the Battalion, A&M’s student newspaper.
“It was heartening to see that you described yourself as ‘proud’ that the student body at your Alma Mater will be led for the first time in our history by a member of the LGBTQ student community,” wrote Brooks, a junior majoring in economics. “I am indeed proud to be an openly gay student, and I share your pride that my fellow students see my sexual orientation as a simple matter of fact – not something that compromises my qualifications.”
Brooks invited Perry “to come home to Texas and meet with my team and me as we take office later this month to discuss how we can work together to achieve our common vision. We have many students on this campus from all walks of life, whose perspectives I would care to share with you. In the case that you are unable to do so in the coming weeks, I would be happy to travel to Washington DC at a time convenient for us to speak about the important issues you raised in your op-ed.”
A&M officials have denied that a diversity agenda thwarted McIntosh’s victory, asserting that students simply followed the rules in disqualifying him. But McIntosh, a senior majoring in university studies, has filed papers in state district court in Brazos County seeking permission to question two students and one staff member under oath in preparation for a possible lawsuit.
The U.S. Department of Energy did not immediately respond to a call and an email seeking comment from Perry regarding Brooks’ letter.