Rick Perry, the USA energy secretary and former governor of Texas, on Wednesday published an essay (subscription required) in The Houston Chronicle questioning the recent student body election at Texas A&M University, his alma mater.
In the lengthy letter, which the school has already deemed as inaccurate, Perry suggests that the university had no real reason to disqualify Robert McIntosh from the election that eventually left Brooks running unopposed.
He has written an article casting doubt on the process that saw Texas A&M University elect its first openly gay student body president amid a controversy over glow sticks. McIntosh was cleared of the voter intimidation allegations, but his disqualification for the campaign finance error was upheld. "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".
Earlier this month, Texas A&M informed Brooks he'd be the next student president.
Smith said the school was surprised by Perry's editorial, but insists that the election results were determined in accordance with the student government constitution and by-laws.
Brooks and student leaders of the judicial court and the election have declined to comment, the Battalion reported.
Regardless, Brooks' election was assured, which led to Perry's sharp criticism that the university engineered the election outcome in the name of diversity and political correctness, rather than due process.
Now, the university is pushing back against what it considers Mr. Perry's implication that Brooks's sexuality affected the court's decision - and outside observers are questioning the secretary's motives for getting involved in student politics.
Perry's 850-word letter comes two days after the traditionally conservative school elected Brooks as its first openly gay student body president.
"At worst", Perry wrote, "the SGA allowed an election to be stolen outright". Does the principle of "diversity" override and supersede all other values of our Aggie Honor Code?'
Perry says no consideration was given to whether the punishment fit the crime and concludes, "Apparently, glow sticks merit the same punishment as voter intimidation".
The Washington Post reported that McIntosh is the son of a Dallas-based Republican donor who campaigned for Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election.
Smith offered a sharp rebuke to that claim, too: "To suggest that the same decision of disqualification would not have been made if the roles were reversed is to deny the Texas A&M of today where accountability applies to all", she told the Battalion.
Perry in the op-ed said the school's board of Regents was never made aware of the accusations of voter fraud.
"Perry, twice a presidential hopeful himself, is featured in photographs with McIntosh's other children on Facebook", wrote the newspaper's Lauren McGaughy.