Judge dismisses discrimination lawsuit against Texas A&M, says professor who filed suit never applied for job
A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Friday that accused Texas A&M University of racial discrimination against white and Asian men.
Richard Lowery, a white finance professor at the University of Texas, purported that the university’s hiring practices were unlawful. Lowery claimed the university’s hiring practices were unfair “by giving discriminatory preferences to females and non-Asian racial minorities at the expense of white and Asian men.”
However, the professor never submitted a job application to Texas A&M.
Lowery wanted to leave his job at the University of Texas over disagreements with its leadership and because he faced criticism for his conservative views, court documents read, according to Fox 26. The professor believed that Texas A&M’s Mays Business School would be a better work environment.
Texas A&M’s legal team moved to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that Lowery did not demonstrate a legitimate legal injury since he neither applied for a job at the university nor expressed a current intention to submit an application.
U.S. District Judge Charles Eskridge in Houston granted Texas A&M’s motion to dismiss. The judge said Lowery could not assume ongoing discrimination at the university solely based on allegations of discriminatory practices that deterred him from applying.
“Otherwise, any putative plaintiff could sue a potential employer without ever applying, simply upon allegation the posited discriminatory practices deterred application,” the court said.
Texas A&M also sought to dismiss the lawsuit on other grounds, pointing to a recently signed law that has not yet taken effect as a reason for there to be no need for judicial intervention. The court agreed with the university regarding the new state law.
Senate Bill 17, which the governor signed into law in June, is set to take effect on January 1. The law, as the court’s opinion noted, prohibits public universities from providing “preference on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to an applicant for employment.” The court also cited a Supreme Court ruling handed down this summer that ruled race-based university admissions programs unlawful.
The court in Houston ruled that Lowery’s complaints about future conduct were premature since the state law would not take effect until January. The court said that, once the state law takes effect, Lowery could again pursue legal action if he believed Texas A&M’s hiring practices were unlawful.