Student Government

Students: voting was unfair

Students voiced their concerns about the way voting during the athletics-fee referendum was handled in Wednesday’s Student Government Association meeting at the Rockwell Pavilion.

Three UH students, including biology and French senior Dustin Phipps, felt the atmosphere on voting day for the referendum was biased and unfair.

“When I showed up to the polling places, I saw folks passing out propaganda right next to the ballots,” Phipps said.

He added that the flyers handed to the students did not disclose all of the facts of the referendum and only included messages for them to vote “yes.”

“Nowhere did it include that it would be $100.” Phipps said. “Tell me how that is an election conducted in good faith?”

Journalism senior Carl Gibson said he previously worked for elections in Houston, and the manner in which voting was handled on campus did not meet the same standards.

“I was shocked that people were handing out fliers near the ballots,” Gibson said.

“For anything related to the candidate, we have to do it across the street to not sway voters.”

Gibson said that making students pay the $50 each semester makes it tougher for those who are already facing economic hardships.

“I can barely afford books,” Gibson said.  “I would like to see this challenged and have this election held in a more fair way.”

Speaker for the Senate Reyes Ramirez told the students he was aware of the issues of the voting procedure for the athletics referendum.

“I received a number of people stating there was bias and pressure on those trying to vote right outside the election polls,” he said.

The Senate will begin conversations with Vice President for Student Affairs Richard Walker about the way the voting process was handled, Ramirez said.

“Hopefully we will make some solid rules in the future because I don’t think there are any guidelines when voting for a referendum,” Ramirez said. “We will be making sure there are some rules in place.”

Students who want to appeal the referendum may contact Walker, who was in charge of the referendum voting, at [email protected].


  • The Daily Cougar is so one sided it's an absolute joke. Since this referendum was announced this "newspaper" hasn't written ONE positive aspect of what is might mean for the University as a whole.

  • I am ashamed the Daily Cougar is my school newspaper. Always one sided and always censoring the comment section.

  • If you opposed it, you obviously didn't oppose it as much as they were for it. Did anybody opposing it get turned away? Get over it. It passed with flying colors.

  • Everyone has a right to their opinion. In my opinion, this person should be run out on a rail because this article confirms this person is not ready for real life and is unable to learn life lessons.

  • Just practice for journalistic bias when they get out of school and become part of the mainstream media.

    Hack Journalism Rule 101 is that when your side loses an election you attack the process and demonize the opposition.

    We had a record turn out and an overwhelming vote FOR this measure. If opponents were really motivated they could have handed out literature and held rally's etc. They did not. They were outvoted. Seems that when you lose almost 3:1 it is pretty difficult to say the "will of the people" was thwarted.

    Give me a break

  • Let's see a biased editorial was made public against the improvements the week of the vote and now a another negative slant after the vote. Is 74% not enough. It won and was done very professionally. Take your negativity elsewhere and try doing an article on how much this will help the University.
    The stdents have spoken. They want to strive for a better UH

  • Great article, y'all! I hope we can hold the university and the athletic department responsible for perpetrating this fraud on the student body. Let's make sure justice is served and ensure this doesn't happen again!

    • Do you have any idea what impact athletics has on the overall well being and noteriety of a university. This movement should be applauded. I am proud to be a cougar not only because of the great academic degree I received but also the school spirit that has been on the rise in recent years. I contribute this recent success to the great president we have who understands the important balance between academics and athletics.

  • Why so much hate? The reporter just did the story on a group of students who werent for the bill. Nowhere in the story does she even express her opinion about the bill.

  • actually it was 75% of the 30% of the student body that voted yes. the rest of the 70% of the student body did not vote because they were not educated correctly about it or they did not know about it. is that truly a majority? when 70% of the student body votes yes on account that there is no propaganda and more than 2 days to vote, that's when you can say that it was fair voting. but as of now, it wasn't…

    • by the way if you're still doing the math in your head that's 18% of the student body voted yes. that's less than a quarter of the students in UH… less than a quarter by a landslide

      • Are you really this dense. Since you like math so much do a little research on the percentage of people vote for any of our elected leaders including our president. By your logic no one would ever dereve a spot in whitehouse. You cannot force people to vote but if they did not know about it after it was announced some 2 months ago then you are very detached from the school and what is going on. The fact is, like any other election is there were plenty of people who didn't care enough to vote, there was actually a record turnout for UH and they votes YES by 3:1 margin. Wow sounds like if you had your way we would not have many of the great facilites on campus we do now since we had such a high percentage voting for this opposed to any of the others.

        • don't get me wrong, i'm all for school pride but i think making everyone pay $50 per semester for a stadium that the majority of the student body don't use all year round is kind of selfish from the athletics department. the nice facilities that we have are to improve our education. a football game does not necessarily improve our education but rather improve our extracurriculars and entertainment. if we were to increase our tuition by $10, $20, or whatnot then at least have it to where it improves facilities that NEED to be improved. like our classrooms, our security, our dorms, our library; things that will let our university stand out in the educational world. yes, robertson stadium needs to be improved but i think building a WHOLE new stadium is is ridiculous. the money that was provided for the stadium should be used to renovate it, not to build a whole new one. and if you want to stand out as an athletic university then maybe we need to raise money for a better athletic department or team. a new facility doesn't make us win against the University of Texas or Texas A&M. a better team does…just saying..

          • You obviously know nothing about sports. Our football team just brought in the best recruiting class in the last 30 years just because the future players know they will be in a new stadium in a new conference (which only accepted us because of the plan for a new stadium). Teams get better by bringing in better players, ones that want to play in new, nice stadiums.

            UH has made many upgrades with new buildings, professors, and class rooms. The athletic projects are not slowing that down, only helping it in the long term.

            • make upgrades to the stadium, i'm not saying we shouldn't. but there isn't a need for wasteful spending in this economy for a brand new stadium when ours is just fine except for some minor renovations. how about we use the money for something more productive is what i'm trying to say… and yes, i am quite aware of how we've improved in the sports field. we're good but not quite there yet. maybe you can use the money to buy some better tactics on the field

    • Only 57% of Americans voted for President in 2008 which was the highest ever. So we shouldn't count that either? Millions of dollars of propaganda was spent on that election. I walked by hundreds of signs before right before I voted in 2008, which didn't change my decision.

      Successful athletics makes the number of students applying jump big time, proven fact. That would help us get better students, make our acceptance rate fall, make academics look much better. All this leads to more grants, donations, and improvements on campus. If you don't understand this, no body can help you.

      • first of all 57% is still a majority of americans. not 30% so your argument about comparing this voting poll to the presidential elections in invalid … and as for your "proven fact" where's you're fact sheet? where are you getting that successful athletics and not higher education makes the number of students applying jump?

        • oh and as for the propaganda… it is fair in presidential elections because you get it from all candidates. in this referendum voting, i'm sorry to tell you, but there was only propaganda for VOTE YES.. none VOTE NO. people have the right to know what they're voting for exactly and the VOTE YES flyers did not say anywhere about an increase in tuition by $50. if you told people THAT i'm sure a lot of your yes votes would be no votes considering the economic situation the united states are in. if you had propaganda from both sides or none at all then this would have been considered fair. (and you're next argument might be "well someone could have made VOTE NO flyers" but sorry to tell you there was only 2 days for people to vote. not enough time for the majority of students to vote and not enough time for people to become educated and aware of the situation and not enough time to make hundreds of flyers that the VOTE YES people already had established prior to the voting event)

        • I was giving an example of the highest ever. Most non presidential elections only get like 25-30 percent on good years.

  • Gee, don't you guys think that the polls were still done unprofessionally? Having propaganda right next to the polls does influence voters to say yes. You can't say that it doesn't sway a voter's opinion. And some aren't informed enough to know exactly how much would be involved, much less how long.

    They could have just come to the polls and learned only from what the flyers say, which is very little info as to what would be involved. Plus, there wasn't anyone who had propoganda to oppose the like. Not everyone reads the Daily Cougar.

    And like — said, it's not a huge percentage that actually voted. Thus, this wasn't a majority of the students, an irrepresentative percentage.

    I don't know about everyone else here, but I would be willing to give 100 per year for something beneficial such as cameras, lights, security, but not something like athletics, at least, I feel that times such as now aren't good times for this. A lot of people can't afford to spend more, and having this tack on needs a really good reason. Is athletics better than security? Not everyone is involved in sports, but everyone needs security. It's good for pride, but does it really help the masses?

    • Btw, UH does have a lack of security. If you read about certain incidents, people even steal from dorms, and that's pretty scary.

      • exactly what i was trying to say… couldn't put it better myself. i don't know about everyone in UH but to me security > a new football stadium. just saying

    • i graduated from UH and lived on campus the whole time and never once had an issue with security. it doesnt matter how many cameras or lights you put up, if someone wants to steal, they will. athletics is a huge part of a university, why do you think others spend many millions on it? it does many great things for a university. obviously the cry babies on here are ignorant to that. perhaps instead of accusing others of being misinformed, you should first inform yourself and if you're so worried about security, buy a can of pepper spray or attend a different college

      • i do carry a can of pepper spray and yet i'm still a victim of the lack of security. and no i will not attend another college. and yes i will voice my opinion.

      • Just because it never happened to YOU doesn't mean that it never happens to others. Using yourself as an example doesn't make a point. Security is an issue, a person could even have their stuff stolen when they're going home for holidays. Remember this?

        If you feel that security isn't an issue, then what about parking? What about those roads that need to be repaved? There's been plenty of times on campus that there would be a great lack of parking for those who commute to the university. And there have been accidents due to how some of the roads are bumpy and narrow around the campus.

        I'm not saying that athletics doesn't has it's benefits, but if you consider all these other things that the money can go to at this time, it's not top priority. I never accused everyone of being misinformed, only that there is a possibility, Dave.

        A person, like I said, could have gone to the polls only knowing what the flyers may say, possibly without ever reading the Daily Cougar. Or, they could have known about it, wanted to say no, but then change their mind with all the propoganda. These are the possibilities that I laid out on the table. I never said that it actually happened, nor do I accuse anyone of so. Only that it is a possibility.

        And sorry, but your last sentence was pretty juvenile. Go to another college? For having an opinion? What, are you four or something? Sheesh.

        • For being next to third ward I'd say our security does a pretty damn good job. as for parking, we're a commuter school inner city with 40 thousand students, of coarse there is gonna be parking problems… Roads needing to be paved is the city not the university. Your right on one thing tho, people being illinformed.

  • With my voting experience, I had more passerby booing and yelling at me for voting yes than I did any influence to vote yes. People that didn't vote are just angry because they didn't want it to pass but no one took the time to vote.

  • the times arent good for this now? Loans for the construction have hit an all time low looking at the interest rates..this will benefit our school as a whole, it will better our national image, and look at the majority of "nationally" recognized schools, minus the Ivy Leaguers they all have a decent to well above average athletics program..Point being made, athletics brings in money, and a lot of it. Some schools charge $400 dollars for athletics packages, we do not. Be appreciative of this, just another step to making this school a much much better institution.

  • students caring about the school's growth is why they spend millions marketing themselves and cougar pride and branding students. it's an investment to grow, just like a business. you students who think we need to worry about the school's status because it benefits us are like the people who go to college to get a job (it's all about the money, so keeping poor people from flooding the market with degrees by making education expensive isn't a bad thing) – i.e. most students. the students who think we need to constantly charge more and more money to make the school better are like the people at companies who are gung ho for their corporation because they haven't yet realized that corps don't really care about them, they are just a machine designed to grow at any cost.
    like the cost of accessibility/affordability and actually educating students. they get a certain amount of national academy scholars and research funding and say that means this is a great university, but really the instructional costs at UH are lower than most of the much more affordable and just as educational community colleges – which you can see on page 28 of this pdf… we pay a lot more money to build all of these rooms and junk food shops that are empty/unused most of the time and to pay administrators who are mostly worthless and unnecessary – especially when it comes to education, i.e. the main point of going to school. go education. down with UH and all the other bloated, crooked, undemocratic (despite this little vote) institutions like it.
    get a certificate from MITx for next to nothing.

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