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Friday, May 20, 2022

Opinion

Staff editorial: The Cougar supports administrative transparency


They never said it was going to be easy.

Given the sheer magnitude of changes UH has undergone — including the renovation of Cullen Boulevard, engaging in one of the most lucrative stadium naming rights deals in NCAA history and the proposed addition of a medical school — UH might have hit its limit for construction projects at one time.

During Friday’s Board of Regents meeting, a full-scale investigation of the allocation of $5 million in Higher Education Assistance Funding — money from the State allocated for classrooms for the band in TDECU Stadium — was announced, to see if the funds were used in the way that the state of Texas signed off on.

The conversation surrounding the stadium funds started when Student Government Association President Charles Haston addressed the Student Fees Advisory Committee — an almost entirely student-run panel that makes Student Service Fee allocation recommendations.

On Nov. 3, he called for accountability and transparency from the Department of Administration and Finance. The gist is that the still-incomplete TDECU Stadium was $23 million over its initial $105 million budget “and counting,” leaving no money for the renovation of Hofheinz.

There were other issues he addressed, too, but the meat of Haston’s concerns lay in the student body’s lack of knowledge about where its money is being allocated. The Cougar Editorial Board would like to extend its full support toward Haston during this time, as we applaud any proponent of administrative transparency.

The Cougar Editorial Board would also like to praise President and Chancellor Renu Khator, as she said she filed an anonymous complaint about the HEAF funding that was earmarked for academics. It’s currently unclear if the money was funneled to academics or if it was used for the construction of the new football stadium.

If the allegations against Administration and Finance are true, and millions of dollars in student-funded fees and state funding weren’t used in the way we were told they would be, then a complete violation of trust has occurred between the administration and the students. This is an issue we call upon the student body to take seriously, and it’s an issue we’ll be covering until its resolution.

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