Texas A&M will be headed by its first gay student president, even though the election winner actually received nearly a thousand fewer votes than his opponent.
The school named junior economics student Bobby Brooks, who received around 4,200 votes, its next student president, despite his competitor receiving almost 5,000 votes, as reported by Los Angeles Times. Texas A&M disqualified competitor Robert McIntosh for not disclosing that he had bought glow sticks used for a campaign video, which violates school campaign policy.
“Did A&M shun due process in the name of ‘diversity?’” asks energy secretary and former Texas governor Rick Perry in an op-ed for Houston Chronicle.
Perry explains that following the voting process, A&M’s SGA Election Commission received 14 complaints filed anonymously alleging that McIntosh had intimidated voters. The Election Commission disqualified McIntosh before questioning the candidate or investigating the accusations. Afterwards, the commission also alleged that McIntosh had failed to disclose he had purchased glow sticks.
McIntosh, the son of GOP fundraiser Alison McIntosh, was found not guilty of voter intimidation. Those who had complained about this were supporters or volunteers of Brooks and none had interacted with McIntosh.
“The second charge of missing receipts was upheld by the Court,” continues Perry, “despite the fact that McIntosh had acquired the glow sticks for participating in a charity event prior to the campaign. Further, they were no different than visual props used by McIntosh’s rivals’ campaign videos – none of which were itemized or expensed.”
“In its opinion, the Judicial Court admitted that the charges were minor and technical, but, incredibly, chose to uphold the disqualification, with no consideration given to whether the punishment fit the crime. 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.”
Perry questions whether Texas A&M’s Judicial Court withheld the victory from McIntosh for the “diversity” gained by naming Brooks, who is gay, student president.
“Honestly, we were just surprised to see that the secretary of energy would take the time to weigh in in detail and we respectfully disagree with his assessment of what happened,” Amy Smith, A&M’s vice president of marketing and communications, told The Texas Tribune.