As I wrote in the last blog, we held a straw poll on campus. We sent out email ballots to all students through their GatorMail addresses and provided a link that students saw when they checked grades from Spring semester. We sent email links to all faculty, staff, and to all alumni for whom we have emails. The Straw Poll took place from April 30th to May 28th. Voters could select "City University," "Houston City University," or could choose neither name. A comment section allowed participants to give feedback and some used the space to suggest other names for UHD.
More than 2,500 people voted, including more than 1,600 students, more than 350 staff and faculty, and nearly 500 alumni. The overwhelming choice in UHD's Name Change Straw Poll was Houston City University with 1,702 votes. City University received 401 votes, and 404 selected either "neither" or wrote in other names. Surprisingly, each group voted in roughly the same percentages with the overwhelming favorite being Houston City University. You can view the complete poll results here
Everyone was able to write in their comments on the name selection. Some strongly support a new name. Others hate the idea. Even so, the vast majority of those who voted recommended that the new name be Houston City University. Why? As one individual commented. "When I go to other cities, they won't know where City University, but they will know Houston City University." A member of the award-winning Powerlifting Team, noted: "When we win and beat teams like UT San Antonio, we want them to know we're from Houston!"
Some people feel that the name will be confused with a community college. Some staff worry that any name change will hurt recruitment. Some alumni worry that their diploma might be devalued. We have assured alumni and students that the university remains a part of the UH System and that the diploma will still be signed by the Chancellor and the President of the Board of Regents, as well as the president of the university.
But, at the end of the day, most of those who voted feel that a new name will help the university build its reputation and develop into a very new and distinct university. They realize that UHD has to grow, add more graduate programs, raise funds, and develop distinction as university that students select because of its offerings, faculty, and achievements.
So, what are the next steps? We're holding meetings with legislators and local elected officials. We will be having sessions with alumni (not just on name change, but giving them an update on everything happening at UHD). Click here for the schedule of alumni meetings. And, during the fall semester, will talk about the results with incoming freshmen and transfer students, as well, as with new faculty and staff.
The results of the straw poll, including comments received, will be shared with the University of Houston System Board of Regents. Regents will vote on the name change. If they select a name, it then must go to the legislature for approval. We will keep you posted on developments as they take place.