Campus News petition calls for replacement of Khator

Graphic of UH President Renu Khator with a flag behind her.

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

On Nov. 17, a user created a petition demanding the appointment of a new UH president in place of President Renu Khator.

The anonymous pleader, who described themself as “a deeply concerned member” of the UH community, listed inflated tuitions, undue parking fees and the devastating losses of students due to suicide as grievances against Khator’s leadership. 

Reddit users were divided on the topic of Khator’s competence. Most argued that UH has improved drastically within the last six years thanks to Khator, while a few noted the ongoing issues concerning poor housing infrastructure, limited course availability, expensive parking and low faculty pay as major complaints.

To accounting and finance junior Phoenix Pittman, these grievances are more of a reflection of the normal issues at a university rather than Khator’s administration.

“I think the student created the petition because of problems at UH, which not all fall under Renu’s control or are bad enough to warrant her removal,” Pittman said. “Your parking ticket would be just as bad, if not worse, if you went to UT or Rice.” 

Pittman also said that Khator has been a fantastic and competent president who has done her best to keep tuition costs from rising.

On the other hand, graphic design sophomore Kofi Osaren said he agrees with the call to remove Khator from office due to her oversight of program funding.

“I think she might be pushing UH toward a prestigious and competitive culture that enforces some harmful systems in the professional world today,” Osaren said. “She has introduced several multimillion dollar projects around campus that serve to enhance the spotlight that some programs already have, rather than focusing this energy into other underfunded programs like the arts and psychology and their smaller sub-programs.”

Underfunding is a sentiment that computer science senior Alec Minney also shares. 

“Several issues on campus including tuition allocation and parking management could be improved through better management of funds,” Minney said. “I believe Khator and several other administrative offices are massively overpaid, and the redistribution of those wages could improve quality of life on campus for all students, staff and faculty.” 

Along with the aforementioned grievances against Khator’s administration, Minney also cited the lack of support for the LGBTQ campus community, ineffective resources for victims of bullying and harassment, inadequate mental health resources and the mismanagement of student organizations, referencing the recent suspension of Squirrel Society, which Minney said was “for no clear reason.”

Although these complaints might seem out of Khator’s jurisdiction, Minney said that, as University president, she should be concerned for students who have experienced “many intolerable circumstances over the past decade.”

At this time, the Khator administration does not feel threatened by the petition, which has only garnered less than 50 signatures within two weeks. It also doesn’t think the petition warrants a formal response from Khator.

“It would be inappropriate for President Khator to respond to a petition signed by less than 50 individuals when UH has more than 54,000 students, faculty and staff,” said Interim Director of Media Relations Bryan Luhn.

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