Hegar says Morrison knew about Sugar Land plan

May 9, 2011 at 12:09 a.m.

In the ongoing tension between many of Victoria's leaders and the University of Houston System, different versions of who knew what and when have begun to circulate.

State Rep. Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria, says neither the system nor a state senator told her about a proposal to alter a critical component of the University of Houston-Victoria's operations.

Morrison, R-Victoria, said she was angry when she learned about the plan for the first time last week from the Advocate.

The system proposes making the UH System at Sugar Land a branch of the University of Houston. More than half of UHV's faculty and students teach or learn via that Sugar Land center.

Morrison said she learned of the proposal only because an Advocate open records request revealed system emails detailing the plans. The documents were shared with Morrison to solicit her input for a newspaper story.

Asked whether it contacted Morrison about the proposal, the system said: "We continue to engage in ongoing discussions with the community regarding educational opportunities for the Victoria region."

State Sen. Glenn Hegar, a Katy Republican whose district includes Victoria and Sugar Land, said he told Morrison about the plan.

"I have visited with Rep. Morrison on this topic numerous times, and we continue to share our thoughts and goals with one another," he said in an email.

Morrison, however, refutes any suggestion that she was included in these specific talks.

Morrison in March filed a bill to move UHV from the UH System and into the Texas A&M University System.

"I have spoken to Sen. Hegar several times about the UH System, and in those conversations he told me that he was working with Sugar Land and was not in favor of transitioning that campus to the A&M System," Morrison said. "However, I had no idea about the move toward making Sugar Land a branch campus."

Morrison's bill - House Bill 2556 - and related concerns will be discussed next month. Morrison, Hegar, chancellors from both university systems and more will meet in Victoria to settle disputes. Those disputes now seem only to grow.

"If the University of Houston System is proposing to alter a critical component of the University of Houston-Victoria operations, I believe that I should have been contacted regarding the possible implications on our institution," Morrison said.



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