Former UHV president speaks about possible system switch
March 30, 2011 at 9 p.m.
Updated March 29, 2011 at 10:30 p.m.
Former University of Houston-Victoria president Glenn Goerke came to the school in 1987 when a bill in the state Legislature threatened to eliminate the campus.
The bill never passed, and Wednesday Goerke chatted about a different bill in the legislature, the one that would move UHV into the Texas A&M system.
He was in Victoria as part of UHV's "Celebrating the Legacy of UHV" events.
"Systems are kind of necessary evils," he said. "I don't think systems ultimately determine what happens in a classroom... Sure, if you're the smallest campus - I don't care what system you're in - you're always going to feel you're picked on. If you're not the main campus, you're always going to feel like you're not getting you're due."
Goerke was president of UHV from 1987-1991 and later served as president of UH-Clear Lake, interim system chancellor and later president of UH.
But Goerke had more questions than answers when it comes to the legislation.
"What folks need to take a look at right now is what do they want to have happen with students," he said. "Is the experience students have right now a good one? It if is, will changing systems change that?"
Goerke cautioned that universities should not be confused with economic activity generators. Its role is critical to support business with training.
"Universities are not in business to perform first for the community," he said. "The communities they live in they should support... but we're not a business, we're a university. Big difference. Sometimes that gets a little muddled. People think the university is going to become the economy and will replace businesses or industries that are having difficulty in the times that we're going through right now. So, that can become two different sets of values."
Goerke said he had no idea what the likelihood of the bill getting passed could be, but was most concerned about how the transition would happen.
"It would probably be a whole lot easier if we weren't facing the budget crunch," he said. "It would be hard for A&M or the University of Houston or anybody else to take on additional responsibilities."
Goerke said discussions between UHV, the board of regents and chancellor are very important. Chancellor Renu Khator meeting with the community is also critical, "so that she would have an opportunity to sit with the community and hear them," he said.
But, the main thing to keep in mind was the students, he said.
"That's what we' re all about," he said. "Systems, on occasion they help a little bit. On occasion they get in the way, on occasion they don't understand us, because the system, the board of regents, usually measures everything by the biggest campus and you can't take that kind of yardstick."