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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Columns

Senator Elizabeth Warren needs to say UH’s name


Senator Elizabeth Warren makes her history an important part of her campaign message for President. | Illustration by Cristobella Durrette/The Cougar

The University of Houston has a multitude of notable alumni who should be proud to call themselves Cougars. Luckily, most of those alumni are also proud to talk about their alma mater. A few that come to mind include Board of Regents Chairman Tilman Fertitta, Emmy Award-winning actor Jim Parsons and the voice of CBS Sports, Jim Nantz. We even get the honor of calling resident crazy person Randy Quaid an alumnus.

But none of these distinguished alumni are running for president of the United States. No, that honor is left to one of the senators from Massachusetts, Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Now, unless you actually care about Sen. Warren and have done an in-depth look into her history, you may not have any clue that she ever lived in Texas, let alone graduated from UH.

Surprisingly, after a quick search on the internet, you’ll find that Sen. Warren graduated from UH with a Bachelors of Science in speech pathology and audiology. But, you wouldn’t know that listening to her speak about her college experience.

You also wouldn’t know that after checking out her website, where she describes her undergraduate college as “a commuter college in Texas that cost $50 a semester.” She has described it as such on multiple occasions.

More than her words

This is a problem.

Whether she is referring to us as a “small commuter school” to bring some sort of clout to her campaign or because she truly is ashamed of coming to UH, it’s an issue. As a student, you should be annoyed by the fact she won’t mention UH by name. UH is great.

I could give reasons why UH is great, but I think we all know some.

This does not have to do with Sen. Warren’s political stances, nor does it have to do with trying to write some hot take. This is an issue.

I am proud to attend this University. I know a lot of alumni who are proud to have attended this University. My grandmother and grandfather are proud alumni. They always mention they went to UH, and they even went here when it was still called “Cougar High.”

We all know UH does not have the history of some other Texas schools, so for some in the older generation, calling UH a “small commuter school” may work. But in reality, Sen. Warren’s claims of UH being small are just untrue. In 1970 — the year she graduated from UH — enrollment was roughly 22,500. That is nowhere close to small.

And these days, as we all know, UH is anything but small.

Say our name

If Sen. Warren is calling us a “small commuter school” to try and appeal to lower-income families, why? Seriously. UH does a lot for lower-income students and has done a lot for lower-income students in the past. UH strives to be an institution that anyone can attend, no matter their background.

Isn’t that a message Warren should want?

But, if it’s because she doesn’t think anyone would know our name, that’s just dumb. Right now, the UH men’s basketball team is in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since the ’80s — that’s phenomenal. Not to mention the host of other alumni who do great things and have proudly defined themselves as UH alumni.

UH is not, nor was it at the time of her graduation, the small commuter school Sen. Warren describes. We are so much more than that, and UH was more than that when she attended.

I would hope if Sen. Warren joins in with other candidates and comes to Houston (like Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke), she makes a stop at UH. Not because of any of her policies, or because we need a candidate on this campus, but because she should remember her roots. UH has churned out a lot of amazing alumni who are changing the world.

Say our name, Sen. Warren. You know you should.

Opinion Editor Jorden Smith is a political science and creative writing senior and can be reached at [email protected]

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