Former Gov. Perry questions legitimacy of Texas A&M student body election

Texas Gov. Rick Perry poses with Texas A&M mascot Reveille VIII before an NCAA college football game against LSU Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Texas Gov. Rick Perry poses with Texas A&M mascot Reveille VIII before an NCAA college football game against LSU Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

AUSTIN (The Texas Tribune) — Former Gov. Rick Perry, now the U.S. energy secretary, is questioning the legitimacy of the election that gave his alma mater its first openly gay student body president.

In a Houston Chronicle op-ed published Wednesday that caught university officials by surprise, Perry said the administration at Texas A&M University owes students answers about Bobby Brooks’ victory, which came after the top vote-getter, Robert McIntosh, was disqualified amid accusations of voter intimidation and failure to report a campaign expense. The A&M student government’s Judicial Court later cleared McIntosh of the former charge but upheld the latter, according to the student newspaper, The Battalion.

Perry wrote that the process at best “made a mockery of due process and transparency” and at worst “allowed an election to be stolen outright.”

In his article, Perry raised the question of whether McIntosh’s punishment fit the alleged crime. And he suggested that the A&M administration wouldn’t have allowed the results to have been thrown out if the top vote winner were the potential first gay student body president.

“Brooks’ presidency is being treated as a victory for ‘diversity,'” Perry wrote. “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?”

Amy Smith, the school’s vice president of marketing and communications, firmly denied that allegation. She said student government elections are run by students, not administrators.

“I would say that we respectfully disagree with his assessment,” she said of Perry, “and his understanding of the election rules of student body president elections doesn’t reflect the facts.”

The student judicial court’s final decision on the election was unanimous and the A&M administration sees no need to intervene, Smith said.

“Honestly, we were just surprised to see that the secretary of energy would take to time to weigh in in detail and we respectfully disagree with his assessment of what happened,” she said.

She added, “I have always had a lot of respect for Rick Perry and his commitment to A&M.”

Read the full story at The Texas Tribune. 

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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