Texas A&M Administrators Defame YCT · 03 December 2003

YCT Reacts to Ludicrous False Accusations Made by Texas A&M President Robert Gates and Athletic Director Bill Byrne, Demands Apology

December 2, 2003
For Immediate Release
Contacts: David Rushing, YCT State Chairman, (713) 408-3606
Mark McCaig, YCT Communications Director, (281) 222-0585

College Station, TX - The Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) today issued open letters (enclosed below) to Texas A&M University President Robert Gates and Athletic Director Bill Byrne in response to false and defamatory accusations lodged against the Young Conservatives of Texas chapter at Texas A&M and their recent "Affirmative Action Bake Sale."

On November 26th, Gates sent a letter over the campus-wide email system (enclosed below) to all students, faculty, and staff indirectly accusing YCT of acting in an uncivil manner and disparaging other Texas A&M students and faculty members. The same day, Athletic Director Bill Byrne sent an email (enclosed below and posted online) claiming that YCT's recent "Affirmative Action Bake Sale" has an adverse impact on recruitment efforts and "discredits" Texas A&M University. Byrne's harangue was lampooned in the December 1 Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal Best of the Web.

YCT Chairman David Rushing stated, "We will not allow administrators such as Dr. Gates and Mr. Byrne to impugn the integrity of YCT and its membership. Neither Dr. Gates nor Mr. Byrne attended the bake sale or contacted any of our members to investigate the claims against YCT. These widely distributed emails are nothing but a tactless attempt to tarnish YCT's reputation for the purpose of making it easier for administrators to implement race-conscious policies. The students responsible for the bake sale should be applauded for taking a public stand on a controversial issue, not attacked by administrators for expressing opinions that they disagree with. While Dr. Gates has repeatedly expressed his commitment to diversifying A&M, his email shows nothing but contempt for a diversity of ideas at Texas A&M."

YCT Communications Director Mark McCaig, a student at Texas A&M, added "The members of YCT conducted themselves in an upstanding manner at our recent "Affirmative Action Bake Sale" and did not engage in any conduct that could even be considered disparaging. Considering the large number of reporters and TV cameras at the event, I find it strange that these administrators waited a week after the bake sale to make their comments. There is no credible evidence to substantiate the validity of the accusations against us. Had a YCT member acted in an uncivil or offensive manner, one of the numerous members of the media in attendance would certainly have covered it."

YCT Executive Director Matthew Griffing noted, "It is absolutely absurd for Mr. Byrne to attempt to place any blame whatsoever on YCT for the woes of the Texas A&M athletic department. With protests against affirmative action taking place at numerous universities having successful football seasons, the existence of a group of conservative students will to stand against racial discrimination is not blame for anything, except for contributing to a truly diverse educational environment. The athletics department at A&M should focus on passing the ball, not the buck."

Rushing observed, "While Dr. Gates' missive is filled with inaccuracies, we hope he told the truth when he stated, "Every student at Texas A&M must meet the same standards for admission" and that "this will continue to be so." Unfortunately, we recently learned that racial quotas are being used in faculty hiring, violating this principle of equal treatment. When Dr. Gates announces the University's new admissions policy on Wednesday, Dec. 3, we hope he will remain true to his emailed statement and guarantee that all admissions decisions will be colorblind. If race plays any role at all in admissions decisions under the new policy, Dr. Gates' professed commitment to equal treatment of all applicants will prove to be nothing but dubious double-standard doublespeak."

Maddox noted, "A month ago, Dr. G. Kimble Bennett, Dean of the College of Engineering, wrote a memo detailing certain guidelines the College of Engineering plans to employ when hiring 112 new faculty members. Two such guidelines are 'a minimum of one-third of the new hires would include women or individuals from underrepresented groups' and 'a minimum of one endowed chair or professorship per department will be designated for exceptional women faculty candidates or faculty candidates from underrepresented groups.' YCT will continue to protest any official or unofficial Texas A&M policy that uses race as a factor in hiring or admissions." Maddox can supply this memo upon request and it will soon be posted on the YCT Texas A&M website after we scan in our hard copy.

Rushing concluded, "We demand an apology from Dr. Gates and Mr. Byrne. Their irresponsible actions are unacceptable from anybody, especially high-ranking university administrators. YCT will continue to oppose discriminatory university practices and the financially wasteful creation of new administrative positions, regardless of baseless attacks on us. The e-mails sent by Dr. Gates and Mr. Byrne only serve to strengthen our resolve to fight the good fight and spread the conservative message across Texas."

YCT has chapters at Texas A&M University, West Texas A&M, Baylor University, the University of Texas, Texas Tech University, Southern Methodist University, and Hardin-Simmons University. For over two decades, YCT has advanced conservative values at Texas college campuses and beyond and published the state's most respected ratings of the Legislature.