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Friday, March 22, 2019

Opinion

Staff Editorial: In defense of Renu Khator, UH’s president and chancellor


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President and Chancellor Renu Khator has always been supportive of UH, including the hiring of men’s basketball head coach Kelvin Sampson. | File photo/The Cougar

President and Chancellor Renu Khator has two jobs.

Khator is both president of the UH-Main Campus and Chancellor of the entire University of Houston System, which includes seven campuses.

An article by Watchdog reported on Khator and her $1.2 million salary. At face value, we understand that this might seem excessive.

Naturally, she’s going to be paid more than an average college president — even more than the presidents of Harvard and Princeton University, as the article suggests.

The Cougar Editorial Board believes that Watchdog’s portrayal of the president is unjustified and insulting. Without her, this school wouldn’t be where it is today.

The article attempts to paint Khator as an overpaid, bourgeois fat cat, living a lavish lifestyle while UH students “struggle” under higher tuition rates.

Most students and alumni would agree that this school has evolved tremendously since she was hired.

Six years ago, no one wore red on Fridays, graduation rates were lower, barely anyone lived on campus and UH was certainly not labeled as a Tier One research university.

Now, school spirit is growing, graduation rates are rising every year, housing capacity is second only to Texas A&M University and UH earned Tier One status by the Carnegie Foundation in 2011.

In the same way that a football coach receives bonuses when their team reaches the playoffs or wins championships, Khator also receives bonuses for accomplishments. Except in this case, it’s like if she won multiple championships every year for six years.

Yes, tuition has increased over the years, but this is the case with almost every university in the United States. Plus, UH offers financial aid and the UH in 4 program allows students to have a fixed-tuition rate during their four years here.

Schools like the University of Texas and Texas A&M University have double, even triple the budget that UH has. In 2013 A&M had a budget of $3.8 billion compared to UH’s almost $1.4 billion budget for 2015. It’s the perfect “apples and oranges” comparison.

Renu Khator is building this school up to be one of the top universities in Texas. The debate should be over the amount that all university presidents are paid, not just hers.

-The Cougar Editorial Board

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