Texas A&M board members wanted a journalism program to produce conservative individuals who would control our message, as per text messages.

Texas A&M board members wanted a journalism program to produce conservative individuals who would control our message, as per text messages.

Texas A&M Board Members Hope to Establish Conservative Journalism School


In a surprising turn of events, some members of Texas A&M University’s Board of Regents have expressed a desire to establish a journalism program that would produce conservative-minded journalists. This revelation came to light when text messages between board members discussing this agenda were made public.

One board member in particular, Jay Graham, openly shared his vision of creating a journalism department that would train “high-quality conservative Aggie students” who would later contribute to shaping the conservative narrative. Graham’s message, sent to fellow board member David Baggett, was discovered by KBTX and the Texas Tribune during their investigation into the controversial dismissal of Kathleen McElroy, a journalist who had accepted the position of journalism director at Texas A&M.

While Jay Graham has not yet commented on the matter and Texas A&M has declined to respond to requests for comment from Insider, the impact of these intentions on the university and its journalism program is significant.

Dismissal of Kathleen McElroy Sparks Controversy

The controversy surrounding the board’s intentions intensified when Kathleen McElroy, a former editor at The New York Times and an experienced journalism professional, was removed from her position as the director of journalism at Texas A&M before she could officially assume the role. McElroy, who is Black, had previously led the journalism program at the University of Texas and conducted research on diversity, equity, and inclusion in media.

According to The Texas Tribune, McElroy alleges that the university retracted its job offer due to “DEI hysteria” among Texas university leaders. The text messages between board members further support this claim as Graham referred to McElroy’s hiring as “unacceptable” and declared that the board “can’t allow it to happen.”

McElroy expressed her disappointment and frustration, feeling that she was being judged based on her race and gender. She believes that if she weren’t an Aggie herself, she wouldn’t have faced the same barriers and challenges. McElroy’s vision of leading an Aggie program toward prosperity was shattered due to the actions taken by the university and the board that deemed her unfit for the role.

$1 Million Settlement and Admission of Mistakes

In an attempt to rectify the situation, Texas A&M agreed to settle with McElroy for $1 million, acknowledging that “mistakes were made during the hiring process.” This settlement came shortly after emails obtained by the TAMU student paper, The Battalion, revealed accusations of dishonesty against President M. Katherine Banks.

Hart Blanton, the head of the Department of Communication and Journalism, accused President Banks of forging his signature on the second offer sent to McElroy. It appears that the offer was altered and weakened. Ultimately, President Banks resigned amidst the fallout from the mishandled hiring process.

The Implications for Texas A&M’s Journalism Program

The actions and intentions of the Texas A&M Board of Regents have significant implications for the future of the university’s journalism program. Some individuals may view the desire to establish a conservative journalism school as an infringement on academic freedom, fearing that it may foster an environment of bias and hinder the pursuit of objective reporting.

Conversely, others may argue that this move is a response to the conservative voices that often feel excluded or overshadowed in mainstream media. They believe that establishing a conservative journalism program can lead to a more balanced and diverse media landscape.

Regardless of one’s perspective, it is clear that the events surrounding Kathleen McElroy’s dismissal and the subsequent settlement have had a profound impact on Texas A&M’s reputation as an institution that values diversity and inclusivity.

Only time will tell how this controversy and the actions taken by the university and its board members will shape the future of journalism education at Texas A&M. As stakeholders and observers await further response and clarity, the importance of upholding journalistic principles of fairness, accuracy, and inclusivity remains at the center of this ongoing debate.