When discussions arise about Sam Houston State University’s possible name change, most students become outraged. The question most commonly asked by students is, “Why?”
With a total of 10 university systems, SHSU is one of six schools within the Texas State University System. The other four university systems in the state are “stand-alone” schools, meaning the individual school stands by itself, with its own system in place.
“Most states have a common university system in which the schools are identified by a local area,” said Chancellor Charles Matthews. “It is far too cumbersome for Texas to have this many systems.”
Within each system, there are many administrative costs involved. The Texas State University System is in a time period in which they are trying to “re-organize” the schools in order to cut costs.
“The number one purpose for the re-organization is economics,” said President James Gaertner. “By reducing the number of systems in the state, we will become more efficient.”
While many students do not care about efficiency, a vast majority care about reducing tuition and by saving on administrative costs, we could be shelling out a little less cash in the years to come.
“Of the six university systems, the lowest cost for students is the Texas State University System,” said Chancellor Matthews. “We are 10 percent of the cost of Texas Tech and roughly 12 percent the cost of University of Texas and Texas A&M.”
Consisting of 150 members of the house and 31 members of the senate, the Texas legislature will gather from January to June 2007 to discuss higher education.
“The governor [Rick Perry] has said for three to four years that he would like the legislature of 2007 to focus on higher education,” said Matthews. “Part of their discussion will be if Sam Houston State University will have their name changed. It takes 76 out of 150 members of the house and 22 out of the senate to pass a bill. It is much more difficult to pass a bill than it is to have one pass.”
While name-change discussions are campus-wide, President Gaertner wants to remind the students that it is not all happening yet, but it is a possibility in the future. Gaertner urges that this is just a re-organization with the university systems in the state and it is a possibility that they could re-organize without changing the university’s name.
As changes come, Matthews says that for now, students should not get too upset about the name changing, but they should focus on how the process works.
“We in the system office are not going to do anything to hurt the morale of the faculty and alumni from Sam Houston State University,” said Matthews. “Sam Houston is a well known, prestigious school and we would not do anything to harm its reputation.”