(CN) – Rick Perry, Texas’ longest-serving former governor and the nation’s current energy secretary, questioned the legitimacy of Texas A&M University’s student government election that produced his alma mater’s first openly gay student body president.
The technicality that led A&M junior Bobby Brooks to victory after the top vote-getter, Robert McIntosh, was disqualified for failure to report glow sticks as a campaign expense, “made a mockery of due process and transparency,” according to Perry’s op-ed published on Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle.
“At worst, the SGA allowed an election to be stolen outright,” Perry wrote in his article, after saying he was “deeply troubled” by the university administration and student government’s conduct.
McIntosh, who received more votes than Brooks, was disqualified by the student government’s election commission and judicial court when claims of voter intimidation and failure to disclose campaign expenses surfaced. McIntosh was cleared of the voter intimidation charge for lack of evidence, but his disqualification remained intact.
McIntosh is the son of a prominent Republican fundraiser from Dallas who campaigned for Donald Trump during his presidential run, the Washington Post reported.
Perry, a former A&M yell leader who became the first Aggie to serve as Texas governor, wrote that “the Aggie administration and SGA owe us answers.”
“Brooks did not win the election,” Perry wrote. “He finished second by more than 750 votes to one Mr. Robert McIntosh.”
Perry goes on to detail “the facts” of the student government election dispute and complained that the disqualified student was not treated fairly.
“Now, Brooks’ presidency is being treated as a victory for ‘diversity.’ It is difficult to escape the perception that this quest for ‘diversity’ is the real reason the election outcome was overturned. Does the principal of ‘diversity’ override and supersede all other values of our Aggie Honor Code?” he wrote.
“Would the administration and the student body have allowed the first gay student body president to be voided for using charity glow sticks? Would the student body have allowed a black student body president to be disqualified on anonymous charges of voter intimidation?”
Perry said the outcome would have been different “if the victim was different.”
In his article, the cabinet secretary calls out by name the student election commissioner and chief justice of the student judicial court to explain their reasoning behind the decision.
A university official denied Perry’s allegations and said that the student judicial court’s unanimous decision was final, according to the Texas Tribune.
“I would say that we respectfully disagree with his assessment,” Amy Smith, the university’s senior vice president of marketing and communications, told the Tribune.
Perry is a 1972 graduate of Texas A&M University and became the country’s 14th secretary of the Department of Energy when the U.S. Senate confirmed his appointment earlier this month.
Last year, Texas’ highest criminal court cleared the former governor of a felony charge, putting to end an 18-month legal saga that began after his August 2014 indictment for abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant.