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Volume 68, Issue 100, Thursday, February  20, 2003


Staff Editorial


Matthew Dulin         Geronimo Rodriguez        Shaun Salnave          Cara Sarelli


Try a little consistency

The information coming from the University administration can't always be of the most pleasant sort. There isn't a thing anyone can do about this: Sometimes bad things happen. What can be done, though, is to ensure that students, faculty and staff are kept accurately informed.

With UH facing budget cuts large enough to affect just about every person connected to the University, it would be nice to know what the effects of those cuts are likely to be.

It would be nice if University officialsi statements about the effects were consistent with one another from day to day. Or even during the same day.

UH System Chancellor and UH President Arthur K. Smith spoke Wednesday to Texas' House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. He presented a frightening picture to legislators of what drastic budget cuts might result in, speculating that special programs -- the research that UH is known for across the world -- would suffer, and that faculty might be lost.

"It is fair to say some faculty will leave and take their research and external funding to another university -- probably in another state -- while other projects, perhaps even programs, will simply cease to exist," he said, noting that the damage done would take years to repair. Edward Sheridan, UHis provost, touched on the same subject while speaking to the Faculty Senate a few hours later. His take on the issue, however, was quite different.

Sheridan pointed out that Texas is the 40th state to cut higher education budgets, calling it a "really unfortunate situation nationally."

"Other states won't be able to take advantage of us," Sheridan said. "We're not going to get raided by other states because we're having a difficult year."

Sheridan also said Smith is trying hard to communicate what's going on as he learns it, so there may be some contradictory messages.

No kidding.

We understand that the faculty and the state government will need to hear different things. We expect that the message will be presented slightly differently to cater to the audience receiving it.

What we don't expect is complete contradiction. Both Smith and Sheridan have told us not to panic, but the best way to prevent that is to give us honest and complete information.
y. Rather than tackle the true source of the problem (the fact that Houston is a mecca for refineries), the TNRCC elected to solve our environmental woes by dropping the speed limit by 15 miles per hour. 

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