Speaking of the PUF, the CEO running UTIMCO which manages the fund resigned recently as it was underperforming:
This is a classic case of monopoly over financial resources. A classic antitrust case. We cannot compete under these circumstances. We can’t.
Actually we have been competing AGAINST ALL ODDS since U of H was created. The recent uth plan is the latest example on how/why uta is so miffed at us. They can’t accept it.
We have accomplished immensely both academically and athletically. All of it done without the PUF. Can you imagine what we could have have done with our portion of it? We personifies adversity.
Where we can’t compete is when uta wants to impose on us and on all of Texas uth. Their goal is to nullify any type of leadership that we have. Our school has a world class energy department. They want at all cost minimize our accomplishments.
I’ve been researching the history of the PUF and Texas universities to put the current situation into perspective.
In 1876, the Texas Constitution was developed which called for the creation of a “university of the first class” which was the foundation for the University of Texas. The PUF grant land was set aside around this time. The question one has to ask, was it the intent of the legislator / people of Texas to support building an empire campus that ended up in Austin? I see the answer as both “No” and “Yes”, to explain…
In 1871, before UT was established, the legislator created Texas A&M which was scheduled to be included in the Texas Constitution as the agricultural and mechanical (A&M) branch of the yet-to-be UT system. Prairie View A&M was also created by the legislator as a branch in 1876. In 1881, Austin was voted as the site for the UT campus with a medical branch in Galveston. From this it seems clear that the intent of the university wasn’t to create a singular empire campus, but to create and fund a singular state wide system with useful branches around the state. The 1880 census recorded the Texas population at around 1.6 million so having dozens of campuses across the state wasn’t necessary or very feasible.
While the original intent can clearly be seen to have branch campuses, problems arose as the state population grew while UT and A&M focused resources on their main campuses and ignored the growing demand across the state. By the 1930’s, the population of Texas was over 5.8 million and UT / A&M only had the following branches:
- 1914: El Paso (UT)
- 1917: Tarleton State (A&M)
- 1917: Grubbs Vocational College (A&M)
Meanwhile, handfuls of other higher education institutions had been established across the state with public support. The first roots of UH were placed in 1927. In 1933 the Texas Governor signed a bill that allowed the Houston school to become a four-year institution which happened in 1934. Houston’s population was around 292,000 at that time (not sure of the area population). One could ask, why weren’t these other universities created as branches within the original university system as it was designed to do from the start? Why weren’t they provided PUF funding? Some history shows that there were interests in Austin and College Station that worked to manipulate the state for their own agenda.
The full history of the UT/Austin campus dates back to 1839 during the Republic of Texas when lawmakers set aside 40 acres in the new capital of Austin for educational purposes, with the land being called “College Hill.” Nothing of substance was built on the 40 acres at that point.
As stated, the Texas Constitution of 1876 mandated that the state establish the University of Texas, the location was to be determined by a later vote, which was the only reasonable way to gain agreement. Appropriately one million acres were set aside for the land grant before the vote. The location vote happened in 1881 and the deck was clearly stacked in favor of Austin residences as the 40 acre College Hill site has been laying in wait for decades and would provide talking points in support of Austin while other ballot options included places most people wouldn’t have known much about and/or had very low populations that could not swing a vote. The options were: Waco (which already had Baylor), Tyler, Thorp Spring, Lampasas, Williams Ranch, Albany, Graham, Matagorda, Caddo Grove and Peak. Of course Austin won the vote and construction on the 40 acres stated in 1882. With plans firmly entrenched that favored Austin, the Austin interests took another helping of the state’s wealth by upping the land grant from one million acres to three million acres.
What is now know as the University of Texas at Arlington has an interesting history. The university dates back to 1895 when it was known as Arlington College. The school ended up becoming a part of the Texas A&M system in 1917 and was renamed to Grubbs Vocational College and later to Arlington State College. In 1949, efforts in Arlington were made to turn the college into a four-year institution but the Texas A&M administration blocked the efforts in fear that it would out-grow their College Station campus. In other words, Texas citizens in the Arlington area were disenfranchised in favor of building an empire campus in College Station.
It wasn’t until 1984 that UT institutions outside of Austin were eligible for PUF money, Texas A&M was similar. So with a certain perspective it can be seen that various interests wanted to stack the deck in favor of empire campuses in Austin and College Station over supporting the people of Texas and the original intent of the state Constitution.
The 2010 census showed there were almost 6.5 million people in the Greater Houston area, over four-times the population of the entire state when UT was formed, but if you want to go to a properly supported public university you still have to go to Austin or College Station.
Commentary / Moving Forward: The current system is functionally absurd and morally disgusting as the resource hoarding has damaged the education and well-being of the state’s people. We are a century-plus past-due for a change. The right thing to do is have the PUF split between all public universities based on a formula of student enrollment and region population, the state should support organic growth and not manufacture unnatural inequities. The future model of university research is to dove-tail it with big industry, which is found in big, international cities like Dallas and Houston, not Austin and College Station. The current Texas education system needs to be complete restructured which puts an end to the age of empire building and focuses on the welfare of all of the people of Texas. The fact that a state intuition (UT) wants to empire build at the expense of another institution (UH) is an asinine waste of state resources and a clear signal massive reform is needed.
Note: This research is still a work in progress, and I certainly don’t know it all so any added information would be appreciated. Most information is sourced from Wikipedia.
News on the PUF; looks like a bill will be submitted again this year to redistribute funds. Sylvester Turner tried last year or the year before to push through a bill that would add UH to the PUF; I think this one is supposed to be more inclusive of other schools as well:
That is a step in the right direction.
That is great that he is at least trying. Thank you for posting.
Honestly though, why doesn’t the city of Houston do more to help the school? We ARE the university of HOUSTON, and sometimes it feels like all the spey we get from our mayors(if even that) are just words…
I’ve never lived inside the city limits of Houston except for the 2 years I lived on campus, but according to some firefighter friends I have, the City of Houston is more interested in funding dog parks than fulfilling more pressing obligations. This is all second hand, but it sounds to me like the city can’t get is act together enough budget-wise to be able to help UH anymore than it currently does.
I live in Montrose currently, just down Alabama from TDECU stadium, and I recently recieved a flyer from the city explaining how they’re beginning a project to improve sewer drainage on my street. It’s a two year project. For the last year they’ve been working on the same project one block from me.
It’s more than just dog parks.
Glad to hear it.
Any types of city improvements be infrastructures or others has to be publicly posted. These can usually be found at city hall. They are also available on the city’s website. I do not have the time to research(can be time consuming) this but you can be sure that it can be found.
Obviously you have to have permits, funds have to be approved etc…You can also found out if a private company has been given the contract to execute the job.
That can also be a direct question to ask Mr. Turner. Has a project been approved for this location for a present or future dwellings?
This is just a very quick thought but I am sure many of you can add to this.
We have spent billions of Dollars on a barely used rail system…it could have been done much cheaper and more efficient and useful. I do think they waste TONS of money.
Barely used? I have never seen the train empty. Did you use it to go to NRG against OU? I use it daily on my way to the medical center and its full both ways.
Yes barely used, have you been on a train in Chicago at 11 am? At 1am? At 2pm? Almost never empty. The only people who use this train are people who work in the med center (cause they basically stopped letting them park at work, i know an oddly large number of nurses considering i have nothing to do with that industry) and for people going to nrg a few times a year. You think people used it to go to the nutcracker market…Ha! They could have just put electric busses around town at a MUCH lower cost. Or instead of am HOV lane in the middle of i10, put a fast train with few stops along the way at Memorial mall, memorial park, the energy corridor, etc and served MILLIONS of people a week, not thousands… yes it was a HUGE waste of money, and a pet project for those who want to appease northern big city sensibilities…
Oh and i forgot, the other reason was to try and win the Olympics which we failed at miserably…
You are just flat out wrong.
It is heavily used and beat all the projections.
It reached one million riders in half the expected time.
That’s great news to us… my brother and I have been going after it on twitter for the last three nights and days… this monopoly over money needs to be broken…antitrust laws are needed…
We are going after this with all we got…Cougars must contact their representative and let them know that Harris county has 1 out of 6 Texans, and that We WILL VOTE. So, Austin, be on notice.
$392 million dollars for UT from the PUF
Hard to beat that…