The Student Government Association made a breakthrough recently in the battle to protect our school’s name when efforts to reach out to local representatives caught the attention of Lois Kolkhorst, State Representative to the Texas Legislature.
In a letter to SGA President Christopher Whitaker, Kolkhorst stated that she will “work to create legislation that will put into statute that the name remain Sam Houston State University so as to protect the future growth and esteemed tradition of the university.”
This development came from months of publicizing SHSU’s situation and a letter-writing campaign to every representative in the state asking for help. Whitaker said that this was a very important advancement for the name protection situation.
“We are very excited that Lois Kolkhorst is creating legislation to help us,” said Whitaker. “This is definitely one of the steps necessary to protect our name.”
Kolkhorst, who is up for re-election today, is a member of the House of Representatives for the Texas Legislature – District 13. She has long been affiliated with the University, working with President Gartner in the past to discuss ways to improve SHSU’s education system as well as attending important school events and speaking during the 2003 summer commencement ceremony.
Kolkhorst said she decided to become involved with the name protection matter because of her state representative status for Walker County, home of Sam Houston State University. She stated in the letter that as delegate, it is important to know the opinions and ideas of her constituents. Kolkhorst also said she has come to have, “great respect for the institution.”
“There is a clear understanding that Sam Houston State University was named in honor of one of the greatest Texas heroes,” she said. “I feel this legacy should be continued.”
While campaigning for re-election and performing other representative duties, Kolkhorst said that she has been working to find remedies to the name change issue and hopefully she will be able to put Sam Houston
State University’s name into statute forever.
“We are researching how we can do this,” said Kolkhorst. “We may be able to put [SHSU’s name] into statute. We may be able to empower the legislature.”
In the past, SGA’s plan of action included creating a bill that took the power of the Board of Regents to make drastic changes, such as a name change, and move it to the Texas Legislature, where the student vote could help sway legislators to officially protect the name. Because of SGA’s efforts, State Representative Lois Kolkhorst has agreed to take on the challenge and help protect the tradition of Sam Houston State
“I will fight forever the name change of our university,” she said in the letter.