January 22, 2009
UH-Downtown to move ahead with name change

They still don't know what they want to be called, however.

School leaders are going ahead with plans to rename the University of Houston-Downtown, despite opposition from students, alumni and some faculty members.

"If it has its own distinctive name, it can move forward (and) be known," said Welcome Wilson Sr., chairman of the board that governs UH-Downtown and other schools in the UH system.

He and university president Max Castillo said Tuesday they believe the benefits of a new name would outweigh the disapproval of those who don't want it to change.

Any new name would have to be approved by the Legislature, and Castillo said a new name could be in place by fall. He and Wilson met with the Chronicle editorial board Tuesday to explain their reasoning.

Regents voted last month to support the change but stopped short of recommending the name Castillo proposed: Houston Metropolitan University.

That's still under consideration, however, along with University of South Texas, University of Southeast Texas, Gulf Coast State University and other options. Faculty, staff and students will vote on their top five choices; the vote ends Tuesday.

Regents will select a new name in February.

Michelle Moosally, an associate professor of English and president of the faculty Senate, said it's been hard to gauge reaction, partially because classes just resumed after the holiday break.

Some people don't want the name changed, she said. Others support a change, but don't like any of the proposed names. And some feel rushed into making a decision.

Castillo acknowledged that the idea is not universally popular. "Right now, I'm the kiss of death on campus," he said.

Hey, I liked Houston Metropolitan University, even if the regents didn't. While it would probably be better to build a stronger consensus for whatever new name they choose, the fact is that the Lege is only in session for so long, and the more time you have to shepherd a bill through the process, the better your odds of success are. Frankly, I won't be surprised if they don't get a bill through and have to wait till 2011 to get this done. There's also now some organized opposition to this - I got notice of a Facebook group called UH-D Community Standing Together, with the description "As students, graduates, faculty, staff & friends, we say NO to the name change." I don't really have a preference as to whether they go forward with this or not, I just wish them all luck in figuring it out, whatever happens.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 22, 2009 to Elsewhere in Houston

Since so many of their classes are remedial in nature, how about HISD University?

Posted by: Dale on January 22, 2009 1:53 PM
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