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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Columns

Administration should prioritize education over athletics in funding decisions


The University of Houston recently allocated $100 million to a new practice stadium. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

I’ll sit in the bleachers at every home game we have. I’ll talk about football to the best of my ability, get mad when we lose and celebrate when we win.

That being said, none of that enthusiasm justifies the amount of money UH funnels into our team without offering the same dedication to other aspects of the University. The argument that is repeated over and over is that a robust football culture will bring in more applicants and donors. With more donors, there is more money to spend.

This works to an extent. The key is spending the money that we get from new donors on something other than our football team. Spending money on a new practice field seems like something that should be much lower on the University’s to-do list than other items.

Even sidewalks, for one, would be a great use of money along with expenditures for art and science students.

Lab fees are a significant in getting an education, and they are an expected expense for students. Equipment is not cheap, and someone needs to pay for it.

When those lab fees could be avoided, however, by not going millions over budget for a new stadium, or perhaps spending less on a new practice facility, why not make a change in spending?

The school could save those students money — students who are just as valuable as our football players but are frequently overlooked when it comes to academic funding.

UH wants to be a school with a rampant football culture, so it’s funneled more than $100 million from academics into the program in recent years, according to the Texas Tribune.

We need to focus on academics.

Research and travel opportunities to increase the global objectives of the University are incredibly important. In college, future leaders are molded and foundations are crafted that will shape legislative decisions. School shapes the lives and the thoughts of the students who attend.

UH needs to give those future leaders and decision makers the ability to make educated decisions.

Cougars are in the bleachers for a semester, but we’re in classes all year long. Making the classrooms more conducive to learning is just one of many ways to better the intellectual experience.

The buildings don’t need to be torn apart and built back up, but they could use reliable air conditioning and updated desks — especially in Agnes Arnold Hall.

A better classroom means a better learning experience, which also helps the school with its goal of creating a culture that will bring in more applicants.

Reallocating money from football and to academics isn’t just a passing phase or a general desire of a few students. It’s a necessity — one that the leaders of our University need to think about seriously.

Columnist Jackie Wostrel is a public relations sophomore and can be reached at [email protected]

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