Letters to the University Community

Investiture Postponed, Let's Rebuild Houston

September 17, 2008

We have just weathered one of the worst storms in our recent history. Considering the size and intensity of the storm, we should consider ourselves very fortunate. I toured the central campus on Saturday and returned Monday. Our students in the residence halls are safe, our buildings are mostly unharmed (minor leaks and one with roof damage), but we seem to have lost many trees. We have electricity and the water pressure has been restored in our buildings. While the campus is ready, I realize that many of us are still challenged with no electricity and water.

As you know, we had planned special celebrations on our campus this week to mark the Investiture Week. Our primary purpose was to celebrate the past and envision our bold future together. However, Ike has challenged us to rise to a higher level...to act rather than just contemplate.

In response, I am postponing all investiture activities planned for the week and calling upon each and every one of you to dedicate this week to rebuilding your community. We are an army of more than 240,000 (59,000 students, 8,000 faculty/staff and 175,000 alumni living in the region) and we can help our region rebound in no time. How can you help?

At the individual level, continue to help your neighbors and your community!

At the department/college level, reach out to many communities and community partners with whom you are currently working. Organize any other activity that you think feasible, given your expertise and experience.

At the community level, follow directions from the Mayor, the County Judge and your community organizations as they call for organized voluntary help. If you can volunteer your time, you may call 713-881-3184 and offer your help.

At the university level, I have contacted the offices of Mayor White and Judge Emmett. As we get more direction for institutional level involvement, we will engage you and keep you informed.

I always say that Cougars are everywhere. Now is the time...so, put on your red shirt and help the city rebuild itself. Thank you for your participation and dedication. I am so proud of the University of Houston family and I know that we can make a difference.

Classes resumed Tuesday but professors and supervisors understand that individual students and staff will have individual situations and they are prepared to handle them. Please follow city and county advisories and keep personal safety first as you decide to return to campus.

Renu Khator