A&M gay stu­dent pres­i­dent writes critic Perry

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Ralph K.M. Hau­r­witz rhau­r­witz@states­man.com

In a diplo­mat­i­cally worded let­ter, the first openly gay per­son elected stu­dent body pres­i­dent at Texas A&M Univer­sity has in­vited U.S. En­ergy Sec­re­tary and for­mer Texas Gov. Rick Perry — who has ques­tioned the le­git­i­macy of Bobby Brooks’ vic­tory — to talk things over.

Perry sug­gested in a Hous­tonChron­i­clecolumn­last­week that a “quest for di­ver­sity” was be­hind the dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of Brooks’ op­po­nent, Robert McIn­tosh, who re­ceived the most votes. A stu­dent-run ju­di­cial court dis­qual­i­fied McIn­tosh for fail­ing to re­port a cam­paign ex­pense — specif­i­cally, glow sticks of the type seen at con­certs and raves.

Perry, an A&M grad­u­ate, wrote that he was ini­tially proud of stu­dents for elect­ing an openly gay man, call­ing it “a tes­ta­ment to the Ag­gie char­ac­ter.” But af­ter learn­ing of the cir­cum­stances, Perry wrote, he con­cluded the out­come was at best “a mock­ery of due process and trans­parency” and at worst an elec­tion “stolen out­right.”

Brooks didn’t men­tion Perry’s crit­i­cism in his let­ter, a copy of which was posted on A&M’s stu­dent news­pa­per.

“It was heart­en­ing to see that you de­scribed your­self as ‘proud’ that the stu­dent body at your Alma Mater will be led for the first time in our his­tory by a mem­ber of the LGBTQ stu­dent com­mu­nity,” wrote Brooks, a ju­nior ma­jor­ing in economics. “I am in­deed proud to be an openly gay stu­dent, and I share your pride that my fel­low stu­dents see my sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion as a sim­ple mat­ter of fact — not some­thing that com­pro­mises my qual­i­fi­ca­tions.”

Brooks in­vited Perry “to come home to Texas and meet with my team and me as we take of­fice later this month to dis­cuss how we can work to­gether to achieve our com­mon vi­sion.”

The U.S. De­part­ment of En­ergy did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a call and an email seek­ing com­ment from Perry re­gard­ing Brooks’ let­ter.

En­ergy Sec­re­tary Rick Perry crit­i­cized the elec­tion re­sult.

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