In Defense of Renu Khator

Online readers comment on "Pop Quiz with UH President Renu Khator," Hair Balls, by Richard Connelly, May 29.

Wow: Talk about slanted reporting. Do you have something against UH or new president Renu Khator? Maybe you should try talking to students there and get their input on the matter: From what I hear, they all love the lady.

J Johns

Trivial pursuit: So a president who has not consumed herself with all things disappointing, indeed. I mean, who needs a leader with vision? A charismatic, persuasive intellectual who can make a legitimate case for increased state funding? A woman of color who learned English as a college student at Purdue? A friendly, approachable president who eats lunch at the University Center surrounded by students? Wow. What a disappointment.

Smart aleck reporters who work this hard to humiliate a respected leader for sport are the real disappointment. Small-minded thinking is the real reason we keep getting more of the same rather than progress toward excellence. UH deserves a president who is smart and savvy, with a bold vision and the passion to achieve it. Who cares if after four months in office she can't name a rapper alum?

Comment by Karen

Visit a dorm: I don't think this is slanted at all. He brought out the main deficiency in Khator's first four months...She hasn't visited a dorm. Campus life is a major part of any college, and she has obviously shirked her responsibility to attend to that part of UH, which I feel is UH's greatest obstacle to gaining flagship status in Texas.

As a recent master's alum (last week), I was unimpressed by her presence at my graduation. Excuse my cable news-esque punditry, but she seemed uninterested on stage. She conferred limited smiles upon graduates, preferring a sullen look that communicated, "I wish I was somewhere else."

But what can you expect from someone who was the sole finalist for the job? Why study up for an interview if you knew you were getting the job anyway? Hopefully, she won't be another in a long line of UH presidents and football coaches who will jump at the next chance to move on.

Comment by tillis

Facts of life: I understand that as a president of a university, Khator is not expected to have "trivial" knowledge. But there is one thing to consider when you're approached by the Houston Press for an interview, and that is you must know your audience – that is, know what college students deem as important or interesting facts about their university. UH may not have the best sports team or be at tier one status, but we do have interesting facts, like those pointed out by the writer.

On another note, to be a woman of color and have no idea about Lynn Eusan or the park that is named in her memory is a bit odd. I would think that someone on Khator's advisory board would have at least mentioned the park or Ms. Eusan. From touring the campus a couple of years back, I believe she has to pass the park every day to get to her parking area.

Comment by My_Purpose

Shame: This is a terrible, hatchet piece of drivel. Other than proving how obnoxious you can be, what have you contributed? Dr. Khator has already been a tremendous asset to UH. She has not changed the orbit of the earth in five months. But I think she will end up being the best president UH has ever had. The Houston Press should be ashamed of itself for this "article."

Comment by Jim

So what? Naming an astronaut won't increase state funding, secure research dollars or increase UH's academic ranking. The "pop quiz" doesn't do much to undermine her competence. Who cares if she can't name a basketball player from 25 years ago?

Comment by David

What a hit job: Ask any new president of a major university such irrelevant questions and you'll get the same results. Do I wish she knew about Phi Slama Jama? Yes. Did I know more than one answer to your questions as an alumni myself? No. I guess you get works of art like this from a free paper. Overall, nice piece though . . . piece of crap.

Comment by Mike G

I like it: If you ask on, you'll find out she has no knowledge of the university paying workers poverty wages, or how the university is invested in an oil company doing business with the Sudanese ­government.

She doesn't like these tricky questions. Please stick to the script next time, and it will go much more smoothly.

Comment by B Laws


A June 12 Night & Day item listed the date for the Justin Townes Earle concert as Sunday, June 16. The correct date was Monday, June 17.

Also, a caption on the June 12 Bayou­Sphere photograph gave the wrong location for Josie's Designs Bridal Shop. It is located on N. Cesar Chavez Blvd.

The Houston Press regrets the errors.

Lone Star AwardsHouston Press staffers shine in statewide contest

The Houston Press scored a number of wins in this year's statewide Lone Star Awards sponsored by the Houston Press Club.

Competing in the Newspapers Over 100,000 circulation division, former Press staffer Todd Spivak was named Print Journalist of the Year and staff photo­grapher Daniel Kramer Photojournalist of the Year. The results, announced at the UH Hilton on June 6, were:

In the category of Print Journalist of the Year, Spivak took first place for a collection of stories including "Toxic Town," "Whose Best Interests?" and "Heads You Lose...Tails You Lose." Staffer Chris Vogel took third place in the category for "Weekend Warriors," "The TSU Three" and "The Getaway."

Judges' comments on the first-place award: "Todd Spivak's relentless and brave journalism shows that the Fifth Estate is more than alive and well — it thrives in the Lone Star state. Whether it's exposing a toxic polluter in a small Texas town, going door to door finding severe illnesses with the attendant tragic stories...or saving an elderly Houston woman from the 'caring' clutches of a clueless state, Spivak has elevated the Houston Press to an even higher plane of excellence."

Spivak also took a first place in Public Service for "Toxic Town." Judges said: "Spivak has saved lives and this work is the very definition of incomparable public service. Bravo!" He took another first in the Business Story category with "Heads You Lose...Tails You Lose." Judges said: "This super story is a service to the community."

Vogel received awards in two other categories. He placed second in Business Story for "The Getaway" and third in Politics/Government for "The TSU Three."

Editor Margaret Downing received a first place award in General Commentary/Criticism for "Judging Books and Their Covers." Judges said: "Downing just doesn't back down getting the low-down on this outrageous betrayal of the community that needs all the help it can get."

She also took second in Feature Reporting for "Death in a Box."

In receiving his Photojournalist of the Year award, Daniel Kramer was cited by judges as "a solid shooter with a wide range of talent. It stands out as great work, worth viewing."

Kramer also finished first in Sports Photo with "Rugby." Judges said: "We couldn't decide where to look. Between the expressions and the water spray, there are a lot of great elements in the photo." He finished first in Photo Package for "Greyhound Racing." Judges said: "This series showed a lot of depth to Kramer's talent. From the action shots to the more subtle, there is a real sense of being there." The judges really liked the shot of the muzzles hanging on the cages.

He also received a second place award in Feature Photo for "Quinceañera."

Contributor Jason Friedman took home awards in both the print and Internet Based News divisions. He won first place for his "Rockets Series." Judges said: "This was tons of fun to read — plus the added bonus of lots of information."

Friedman also placed third in the print division in the Sports Story category for "Rocket Science."

And Music Editor John Nova Lomax placed first in Feature Story on the Internet for his walking series entitled "The Sole of Houston." Judges said: "These stories really delivered the textures and sights of the neighborhoods while introducing the reader to a fascinating cast of characters — including the author and walking partner."

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