The Texas Tribune took a look at a proposal to switch the University of Houston-Victoria campus to the Texas A&M University System. Similar to the situation prompting Angelo State University’s move from the Texas State umbrella to Texas Tech in 2007, community leaders in Victoria say the current host system isn’t giving their school enough attention or funding.
The Victoria Advocate has been reporting on the topic since early March, when state Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) filed House Bill 2556 proposing the realignment. The bill has been referred to the House Higher Education committee but hasn’t gotten a hearing scheduled yet. (A list of Advocate stories is included below.)
The movement has the backing of Victoria organizations, $100,000 from the local Economic Development Corp. for consultants and lobbyists, and its own website.
What has not been mentioned yet is a certain Victorian who in February gained a position that could give him influence as to the future of his hometown university: A&M Regent Cliff Thomas Jr., who, with his spouse, has donated more than $325,000 to Gov. Rick Perry since 2000, including $100,000 in 2009-2010, as the Texas Independent has previously reported.
Thomas, who owns Speedy Stop Food Stores, and also a fuel lubricant and chemical distributorship, has donated more than $500,000 total to state and federal candidates and committees since 1997. That includes $17,500 to former state Sen. Ken Armbrister (D-Victoria), who is now Perry’s legislative director. Armbrister’s former aide Mike Sizemore — now a consultant — has been mentioned as a possible candidate for lobbying the Legislature for UHV’s realignment, according to the Advocate.
On a side note, UHV is seeking a new university president, with the search narrowed down to four candidates. A flip through their CVs reveals connections to A&M, UH and (in two cases) the University of Hawaii.
Here are links to the Advocate’s reporting on the topic:
March 31: UHV suspends chamber membership
March 30: Former UHV president speaks about possible system switch
March 29: A&M VS UH: Universities compared
March 26: Hegar, Sugar Land mayor oppose portion of UHV bill
March 21: UHV/A&M switch: What if the bill fails to pass?
March 20: Do Cinco Ranch, Sugar Land support switch to A&M System?
March 19: Why leave a longtime partner?
March 18: Chamber lends public support to switching to A&M System
March 18: Full list of UHV FAQs: Does A&M support bill?
March 15: Economic development group discusses UHV switch
March 15: $100,000 targeted to lobby legislators, educate public on proposed switch to A&M System
March 10: UHV students react to possible system change
March 9: Bill to move UHV marks ‘monumental day’ in city’s history
March 8: UHV timeline paints background for Tuesday’s filing
March 8: Texas A&M University-Texarkana saw growth after switching to A&M system
March 8: Man on the street: How do you feel about Texas A&M possibly taking over UHV?
March 8: Jags look at potential switch to A&M
March 8: How does UH System react to Morrison’s bill?
March 8: Switch of UHV to A&M System has some local opposition
March 8: Advocate editorial board opinion: Texas A&M System offers perfect fit for Crossroads