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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Opinion

Staff ed: Sorry, Cougars, but you’re not on the guest list


WEB-glissette santana-IMG_0227

Enjoy the fountain while you can. It’ll be drained again after the debate leaves town. | Glissette Santana/The Cougar

Congratulations, students, faculty and staff. You’ve received an invitation to the coolest party in the U.S., and it’s happening this week. Fresh paint and newly planted flowers are all ready for the guests of honor to arrive. One of these guests could be our president in less than a year, and he’s on our campus.

Except — you may have seen the invitation, but you’re not on the guest list. The party may be in your house, the guests may be parking in your spot, the invitation sent straight to your inbox, but you can’t really go in.

Last week, it was announced that UH would be raffling off the coveted and extremely limited tickets to the Republican debate. Many students took to social media to question if there was any way to get access to such an important event involving the University we’re so proud of. Alumni, too, wondered if they had been included in the University’s planning.

But does this event really help the students?

Students will have to scavenge for parking because the University is closing multiple lots, and they may find getting around campus more difficult due to the absence of the campus loop shuttle. They’ll miss classes because of cancellations or the sheer inability to make it on time.

Blocked-off sections of campus present another obstacle, forcing students to adjust their routes to class.

The entire University will come to a screeching halt for this prestigious event, and the only way we can get in is pure luck?

The University only has 25 tickets to give out. Out of 42,000 students, not including faculty and staff members who applied for the raffle, chances are you’re not going.

After this week, University activities will revert back to normal. The fountains will be drained — again — and the fences will be put back up. We get one week in the national spotlight, which is great, but again, how does this help students?

“The more recognition, the more prestige your university has, it will certainly have a direct impact on your degree,” said Keith Kowalka, assistant vice president for student affairs.

“If you’re moving to Alabama or Wyoming or wherever and people have heard of the University of Houston as opposed to universities that you haven’t heard of… I think there is a recognition.”

But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to happen.

In 2012, Lynn University, a Tier Two institution, hosted a presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and who’s ever heard of Lynn University? Technically, tomorrow’s event is not even a presidential debate; it’s a Republican debate, designed only to help determine the nominee of one party.

Still, this debate gives more status to UH, and we thank CNN and the RNC for choosing us. But the students here get little more than the ability to tell their kids, “hey, Donald Trump came and debated at my school once.”

They won’t say they got to see him.

— The Cougar Editorial Board

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