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UH chancellor discusses future of UHV with faculty

By Carolina Astrain
March 19, 2014 at 11 p.m.
Updated March 19, 2014 at 10:20 p.m.

UH Chancellor and President Renu Khator, , and UHV Faculty Senate President Ronald Salazar walk into a meeting that was closed to the public at the University of Houston-Sugar Land campus.

SUGAR LAND - University of Houston-Victoria faculty members met behind closed doors Wednesday with UH System Chancellor and UHPresident Renu Khator to discuss the future of the Victoria campus.

They met in a lecture room inside Brazos Hall on the University of Houston-Sugar Land campus for about 70 minutes.

After emerging from the meeting, faculty members declined to comment, referring all questions to the UHV marketing department.

"It was a great meeting," said Khator before turning away and exiting the building. She did not elaborate.

The meeting was spurred by the recent University of Houston Board of Regents' approval of recommendations that would remove UHV from the University of Houston-Sugar Land campus and transfer the UHV School of Nursing to UH.

Wednesday's meeting came after UHV President Phil Castille's resignation Tuesday, which followed a vote of no-confidence in his leadership from the UHV Faculty Senate on Friday.

Richard Bonnin, UH System spokesman, said Khator wanted to speak with faculty members face to face and reassure them about her vision for the future of UHV.

Among UHV Faculty Senate members at Wednesday's meeting were UHV Faculty Senate President Ron Salazar, Elsa Soto Leggett and Alireza Tavakkoli.

Estella De Los Santos, a UHV associate professor of mathematics education and Victoria school district board member, also attended but declined to comment.

More than half of UHV's faculty is at the Sugar Land campus.

Wednesday was the second meeting between UHV faculty, Khator and Vice Chancellor Paula Short on the Sugar Land campus, Bonnin said.

The first one was Monday.

The campus transition is expected to take two to five years to complete, and the UH System plans to form a transition committee of representatives from both the UH-Sugar Land and UHV campuses, Bonnin said.

"We expect it will take six to seven months for the transition team to complete its work," Bonnin said.

While faculty members refused to comment Wednesday, one source provided the Advocate a copy of the resolutions discussed at Friday's UHV Faculty Senate meeting.

One resolution called for the reconsideration of the recent appointment of the UHV Interim Provost Denise Neill.

"The appointment of an interim provost with someone unqualified for the position and who does not have the confidence of the faculty senate are not in the best interests of the faculty," the resolution read. "We further resolve that the personnel change be re-evaluated."

Jeffrey Cass, who had served as UHV provost since February 2012, was reassigned as a special assistant to the president and accreditation liaison at the same time Neill was appointed interim March 10.

Through the door at Wednesday's closed meeting, Khator could be heard saying, "We'll get through this," and "I'm ready for UHV to expand."

During the meeting, the phrase "destination university" was used repeatedly.

Another voice was heard asking the chancellor to define the term.

Her answer was inaudible.



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