As you may have heard, the University of Texas recently bought the first 100 of a planned 300 acres of land in Southwest Houston. They’re planning to use this land to build the campus of what will be a satellite campus of the state’s flagship university.
You may have guessed this but I’m going to tell you anyway: I am not amused.
There are a few reasons I don’t like this move, starting with it’s location. The purchased land is a mere 5 miles from UH-Main Campus which, despite what UT Chancellor William McRaven says, is sending a clear message to UH that they mean to compete and eventually take over as the school of choice in the city of Houston. We are finally gaining major traction towards achieving Tier 1 status and getting federal funding from the state. There are only two schools in this state that receive federal funding; one is Texas A&M. The other? The University of Texas. Building a campus here is a signal that they intend to keep UH in their place.
The second reason I don’t like this move is the lack of transparency by Chancellor McRaven. He’s quoted in a recent article by the Houston Chronicle as being “guilty as charged” of not consulting state officials before purchasing the land on which he plans to build the campus. In fact, half of the UT regents had no idea he had even planned to buy the land until days before they were called to vote on the measure. McRaven says that he had to rush to buy the land before the price “skyrocketed” (yea, ok) and blames his lack of experience on his inability to do his dealings in the light of day. He’s also pledged to be transparent moving forward and says that he’ll reach out to UH officials to get their input on what to do with the land in question (more on that in a minute).
The third and final reason I really hate this move is that UT ALREADY HAS EVERYTHING THEY COULD POSSIBLY WANT FROM THIS STATE. They’re already the flagship school of this state and have right of first refusal for nearly every high school senior in Texas, they already get funding from the state, they already have campuses in Dallas and San Antonio, and they already have a damn medical school in the city. How much is enough for these people? Instead of trying to invade Houston, they should spend that money on beefing up their satellite schools in El Paso and San Antonio. Lord knows they could use that money.
Chancellor McRaven has offered to let UH help plan what will be done with the land he’s purchased and is planning to purchase. I’m not one of the officials in question, but if I were, I’d tell him he can sell it to UH and get the fuck out of Houston. Keep Houston Red and Keep UT in Austin.