Coffee talk

Smith holds breakfast for students, discusses campus topics; may become annual UH event

Ingrid Allstrom

Staff Writer

At a breakfast for students Friday, University of Houston System Chancellor/UH President Arthur K. Smith addressed issues including food prices, dormitories and the stadium project. He also dispelled rumors about plans for a new University Center.

About 25 students attended the breakfast, which Smith hopes to make an annual tradition.

Senior Quincey Russell complained about high prices of food on campus.

"Aramark has a monopoly, and they are taking advantage of it," he said.

Smith explained that, with name-brand chains like those found on the UH campus, the price of food "gets split three ways."

Profits go to the vendor, the chain and the university. Smith did say that bidding will soon begin for a new food service contract for UH.

Jennifer Watson, president of the Resident Halls Association, agreed that food prices are an issue with students who live on campus. She also mentioned rumors about turning Oberholtzer Hall into an honors residence hall.

Smith denied that there were any immediate plans to create an honors dorm, saying that while it would benefit honors students, "it wouldn't benefit everyone."

He also said that he's not "saying 'no' to the idea" of an honors dorm.

He took this opportunity to praise the Honors College and point out that, this year, over 40 National Merit Finalists enrolled at UH.

Smith also pointed out that any repairs or renovations on dormitories must come from student fees, since state money cannot be used for dorms. He expressed interest in a plan to renovate all the dorms on campus.

Law student Nicholas Simon expressed concern over plans for a new stadium.

Smith said that, while there are no plans for a new stadium at this point, a move is underway to raise money to renovate Robertson Stadium to create more seating and to make it better for football games.

He stressed that any renovations or additions to Robertson would be completed with private money. The plan is contingent upon Houston's winning a bid to host the 2000 Olympic track and field tryouts.

When freshman Joel Smith mentioned a rumor he had heard about the construction of a new student center to replace the University Center, Smith said, "That's nothing but a rumor."

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