Opinion Staff Editorial

Staff Editorial: Present the facts before passing the resolution, SGA

SGA President

Instead of rallying the student body around things they know people hate, members of SGA should call for an open investigation of Carlucci’s department, not his resignation. | Francis Emelogu/The Cougar

An over-budget, uncompleted TDECU Stadium was thrust into the national spotlight after allegations that funds meant for academics went to finishing the stadium. Then Student Government Association President Charles Haston publicly came out and blamed one division for it all: The Division of Administration and Finance.

And that’s when the story starts to get complicated.

Led by Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance Carl Carlucci, Associate President Emily Messa and Assistant President Esmeralda Valdez, the division has been under tremendous scrutiny from Haston and SGA since October, when Administration and Finance refused to present to the Student Fees Advisory Committee, which is mandatory for any organization on campus that receives a portion of the $250 Student Services Fee is that is included on your tuition bill every semester.

In lieu, Carlucci presented to SGA in November, where he was accused by Haston of lying to SGA on the terms of deals with Aramark and the ability for Sports and Entertainment to run UH’s 40,000 seat stadium, when it only had experience running facilities that didn’t hold half of the capacity of TDECU.

Four audits have been launched, and while the investigation in the allocation of academic funds found no violations, a question still arises: Are Carlucci and his division really the ones to blame?

Hot words like parking, Aramark and the stadium have escalated the situation into a new stratosphere, and SGA is riding the rocket — along with a mountain of accusations — all the way to the top. These buzzwords filled a Change.org petition that’s garnered over 1,300 signatures and made multiple rounds around Facebook.

Though Haston said he insisted that the petition’s author, economics and political science freshman Dalton Laine, write a disclaimer that Laine isn’t affiliated with SGA, the petition has been shared by numerous members of SGA on social media.

“I think it was nice for us to see that we had some grassroots work,” Haston said.

And for the record, Haston said that he isn’t happy with how he’s handled the situation.

“We’ve been working on issues with the MOU for nine months, and we’ve tried really hard to work behind the scenes and not work in public,” Haston said. “But, at some point, we weren’t making any progress and we realized the only way to get (the administration) to respond was to make things public.”

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee issued a resolution supporting Carlucci until the rest of the audits are completed. They said that while they understand the issues, Carlucci has overseen many changes on campus, including the addition of residential housing.

The Cougar agrees with the Faculty Senate that no judgment should be made on who is to blame for the entire situation until all of the audits are completed and presented to the Board of Regents. The Cougar also praises SGA for trying to keep students informed by demanding transparency between the Administration and the students.

Haston has been vocal about all the ways that Administration and Finance, especially under the leadership of Carlucci, has failed the students. However, for an SGA administration that has been consistently battling against the UH administration in the name of the student body, they have been going about this whole situation from the wrong perspective.

SGA should realize that real people stand behind these accusations, and while we – like the Faculty Senate – understand the issues, we do not agree with UB 51006: No Confidence against the Department of Administration and Finance. We will not take sides until all parts of this convoluted conversation are accounted for.

Every SGA administration is known for something throughout its year-long reign. With the 51st administration of the Student Government Association coming to a close in the next couple of weeks, is this witch hunt what they want to be known for?

— The Cougar Editorial Board

Editor’s Note: A sentence has been removed that incorrectly paraphrased SGA President Charles Haston. Haston did not say that he agreed that SGA has acted without tact. The headline has also been edited, changing the word “get” to “present.” 


  • The irony of the headline, “Get th Facts”, is The Cougar is the group whose sole job is to ascertain facts and the write about them, but hasn’t even attempted to do so. I recognize they are student reporters and it’s probably not fair to contrast them to a professional news organization like The Chronicle, but The Cougar isn’t even trying.

    In November we turned over several documents to The Cougar, including the Requedt for Proposal for stadium management, Aramark/VenuWork’s non-conforming bid, and several memos from Athletics questioning the capabilities of the group, and both Internal Audit & Office of General Counsel’s objections to Carlucci accepting the non-conforming bid and their recommendations to put the contract out to bid again. But The Cougar declined to write about it or do any further investigation. The Cougar didn’t even bother to interview any of the relevant parties or ask to see SGA’s evidence throughout the last 3 months. In contrast, The Chronicle inundated UH and SGA with Open Records request and interviews.

    The Cougar should look in the mirror at its own organization and ask itself what purpose do they serve.

    As for waiting for the Internal Audit reports, we had no reason to wait for them.
    1. 3/4 audits were entirely based on complaints and evidence we brought forward to President Khator
    2. We were the witnesses and the group that ascertained the evidence that IA is using
    3. We never expected an Internsl Audit to be fair or unbiased and have consistently pushed for the State Auditor to be called in. These internal audits will show nothing.

    This article is analogous to The Cougar’s editorial against SGA’s Vote of No Confidence in Higher One. Does the Cougar Editorial Board ever bother investigating any issues SGA brings forward? SGA is doing our job, it’s time The Cougar starts doing theirs.

    • I AGREE. The FAILY Cougar continues to systematically ignore fact in order to promote their PRO-ADMINISTRATION AGENDA. if we gave FACTS and EVIDENCE to the people and they couldn’t bother to research it than they’re JUST AS BAD as the people doing it!!!

      i trust the SUTDENT GOVERNMENT way more than I trust full-time professionals, and I think our audits are WQAY MORE ACCURATE than the ones some lawyer on CALUCHIES PAYROLL is gonna do. WE THE STUDENTS should force him to resign. WHOSE WITH ME!!!!

  • And one last thing, I never said anything about SGA not being “tactful” and I said “grassroots support”, not “work”. Even when The Cougar surreptitiously records people without notice, they still can’t get quotes right.

    • “Carlucci is a cancer. Chemotherapy isn’t pleasent (sic), but at least you survive after it’s over.” – Charles Haston

      Is that quote right?

      Good job being tactful there prez.

    • This is a sham of an internal audit being led by our attorney who is ultimately responsible for allowing contracts to be signed. Khator’s entire inner circle is to blame. Carlucci for shepherding the contract and Richard Walker along with Eloise Dunn Stuhr who were both on the selection committee. Screw an audit, call in the DA to investigate this whole stinking mess.

      • HERE HERE. i think we need an ENTIRELYN NEW ADMISNTRATOION to handle this. IMPEACH THEM ALL. let the new boad be entirely SGA students with INTEGRITY!!!

        haston 4 regent.

      • You hit the nail on the head about Khator’s inner circle. I found out she sits on the Dallas Reserve board but has this mess in her backyard. She should resign both here and there. Carlucci is getting a lot of blame but let’s cut the head off of the snake and point the finger at Khator not Carlucci.
        What does Governor Abbott have to say?

  • There are many more issues with upper admin from the staff side that should be looked at. These are systemic problems not isolated to students. Has anyone seen the painting in Carl’s office ? If not, ask about it if you want to understand his attitude towards Faculty,Staff and Students.

    • Careful what you say. There are a lot of staff disappearing from around E Cullen. Cross Queen Khator and you could be next.

      • That’s why so much of what they have done is not public yet, fear of retaliation. I respect the SGA for having the courage to speak the truth. Shame on the Cougar for not doing their job.

        I suspect if the regents don’t take this seriously , more stories might appear in the Houston Chronicle about how Upper Admin does not respect Students,Staff or Faculty..

        Anyone else remember the chronicle story about the new Exec Director of FM? Carl hired him knowing he had ethics charges against him in Louisiana.. One example of many to come

      • Or use Tor to speak out about it, and not suffer the repercussions. I’d hate for a faculty member willing to speak out about the conditions at UH to be fired for speaking.

    • The painting shows a conference table with everyone’s head cut off except the person sitting at the end of the table who is grinning and hold all the severed heads in his arms.. Guess who that is..

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