The new name for the University of Houston-Downtown is...in the final stages of being decided.
UH System Chancellor Renu Khator and UH-D President Max Castillo will pass on this afternoon five tentative finalists to the UH Board of Regents. And Sue Davis, UH-D's head of public affairs, tells us those names will be made public today! Or possibly Monday.
A wise man once said, "Waiting is the hardest part."
The name change has proved divisive - we've received our shared of anonymous tips and forwarded e-mails, full of salacious implications and speculation about nefarious motivations.
Some alleged that Castillo - who will leave the school this spring for a job at UH's education college - has gone along with what are actually Khator's name-change plans (oh, that lust for Tier I) in order to land a "cushy" job at his boss's home campus.
Castillo tells us that job is built into his contract.
"The contracts that the presidents have in the UH System - they get a year sabbatical, a tenured position in the discipline that you received your degree in," he says. "I think people know that I've been the instigator of this thing. The university professorship is part of my contract - it has nothing to do with the name change...You talk about overreaching."
So Castillo says there's no scratching of backs, but he admits there's been some contention about faculty.
"I think it's probably about 60-40 - 60 in favor, 40 opposed," he says.
One faculty member who wishes to remain anonymous tells Hair Balls that, though she supports the change, things haven't been particularly smooth.
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"It's a tortured process," she says. "My support for the name change has been tempered by the fact that the process has been so difficult...Other faculty are opposed to the name change and they just think the Board of Regents and Khator are just ramming this down our throats, and everybody's got various theories about why. Who knows."
Throat-ramming and back-scratching aside, we've got it 3:1 that the final choice will be University of South Texas, which, in a recent roundtable discussion, students and faculty found desirable in part because of the opportunity for a "hoUSTon" marketing campaign. (Way to tip off St. Thomas, guys.) And we'll offer 1,000:1 on any of our unlikely choices.
Place your bets.
- Blake Whitaker