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Friday, September 22, 2023

Staff Editorial

Students’ hopes rest with Khator at board meeting

University of Houston President and Chancellor Renu Khator met with the editorial staff of the Houston Chronicle last week and said she would press the UH Board of Regents not to increase tuition.

“We just made this commitment that we’re not going to do it,” Khator said. “To say that we can hold the line for a year, it tests your character.”

Karen Clarke, associate vice chancellor for university relations for the UH System, joined Khator in the meeting.

While this news is a welcome rest from all the increases in fees and tuition, mandatory and otherwise, Khator still has to convince the board of regents when they meet today. This puts things in perspective. Khator easily takes the flak for rising tuition and costs at UH — she’s the president after all — but the board of regents wields power as well.

Although Khator is the university chancellor, she is also like a CEO, says Clarke, and she’s done her homework. Khator unveiled several documents at the editorial meeting including a 2012 president’s report, accountability report and UH system performance report that show exactly where UH stood a year ago, and aside from minor setbacks in research awards and annual giving, performance has been good.

We’re not letting Khator off the hook, however. For example, she wants at least 25 percent of enrolled students to live on campus. As of now, 16 percent of more than 39,000 students sleep in an on-campus bed. Adding beds will be one component, but we strongly suggest Khator think about the need for other amenities.

There are no 24-hour dining services on campus and barely any 24-hour study areas. If 25 percent lived on campus now, that would mean about 10,000 students in the tiny lounge dangling from the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library, and 10,000 students surviving on crackers and soda when the cafeterias close for the holidays and spring break. UH will have to be a home if it wants students to treat it like one.

The board of regents meets today with an agenda for business. We trust Khator has an agenda for students.

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