As the 21-day waiting period between the time a sole finalist for university president is selected and officially appointed nears its close, Texas A&M Interim President Mark Welsh continues to face scrutiny over his past support of leftist ideologies.
Following George Floyd’s death in 2020, Welsh released a statement in which he endorsed the idea of “White Privilege.”
While we could argue over the definition of ‘White Privilege,’ there is no question in my mind that it exists. I should know, I grew up with it. Not because I wanted it; not because I asked for it: not because my family or I agreed with it; not because I tried to take advantage of it; and not because I, or anyone else I knew, actively promoted it or even thought about it; but just because it was a reality in our country, and I was white.
He told students, faculty, and staff at the Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service that the violent protesting that followed Floyd’s death “has to stop… we can’t let ourselves be distracted by that violence … it is not the message we need to hear,” but added “Black Lives Matter—that’s the message. I stand firmly in defense of that message.”
Banks announced her immediate resignation following public outcry against A&M’s attempted hiring of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) proponent Kathleen McElroy as the university’s new journalism director.
Welsh previously served as the dean of TAMU’s Bush School of Government and Public Service from 2016 until he was appointed as interim president. Prior to 2016, he served in the U.S. Air Force as a four-star general and Obama appointee to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Welsh has expressed pro-DEI viewpoints on multiple occasions, most recently to the university’s faculty leaders in August.
“I think we’ve weaponized the acronym DEI,” Welsh told the A&M Faculty Senate.
“I think Dr. McElroy would have been a great hire for the journalism department,” he added.
Welsh was instrumental in DEI advocacy in the Bush School, hosting the first-ever “Diversity Town Hall” in 2021. He also chaired the Bush School’s DEI Committee and was involved in instituting “mandatory DEI trainings for students, additional mandatory training for faculty and staff, and creation of a new internal incident reporting mechanism for behavior that doesn’t rise to the level of the University’s existing Stop Hate program.”
His support of DEI goes back to at least 2016 when he gave a speech on diversity and hiring, advising students to “interview everybody with an open mind, and in my view, ties go to diversity.”
What Happens Now?
Welsh was named the sole finalist for university president on November 17. The required 21-day waiting period between when a sole finalist is chosen by the TAMU Board of Regents and officially appointed means Welsh may be named president on December 8.
Texas A&M is overseen by a board of regents, who are appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott and confirmed by the Texas Senate.
The Board of Regents is composed of Texas A&M alumni, including Chairman Bill Mahomes, Vice Chairman Robert L. Albritton, David Baggett, John Bellinger, James R. “Randy” Brooks, Jay Graham, Michael A. “Mike” Hernandez III, Michael J. Plank, Sam Torn, and Student Regent Elizabeth “Annie” Valicek.