I decided to use the same title that the Victoria Advocate gave to my recent letter to the editor. Below is the letter that was printed. 350 words is nowhere near enough to fully explain my ideas I was wishing to represent, but hey, rules are rules. I'm thinking of doing a blog later, but for now the letter will have to suffice. Hope you enjoy, and weigh in with your thoughts and criticisms.
Editor, the Advocate:
The controversy surrounding the University of Houston-Victoria story is certainly interesting, to say the least. Taking a stance on this issue is difficult. Like most Crossroads area residents, I want the best for my community. If that means a continued relationship with the UH system, then so be it. If that means a venture with another system, then let's do it.
Even though that ultimate decision is what is most important, I see this as an opportunity to explore a facet of our community that I find troubling. Back in September 2008, while everyone else was lauding the efforts of UHV, I put forth some concerns regarding my experience with the university. Being a voice of reason at that same microphone where the rest of the speakers were caught up in a frenzy was a lonely place to be. All I was asking was that our "leaders" evaluate what UHV's commitment to Victoria had been. Is it really unreasonable to ask that course curriculum classes comprising set degree plans be offered at the home campus? How about being afforded the opportunity to see your graduates walk the stage here in Victoria?
My efforts earned me scorn, ridicule and name-calling. All I was asking for is what the students of every other university automatically get. Why do I bring this up now? Well, here comes along another group of "leaders," who are asking for far more than they could ever lay claim to. Why, all of a sudden, are their opinions broadcast as the prevailing sentiment of this community? Was their support for a brand new campus a surprise? Who elected them?
Victoria has become a place ruled by an oligarchy. This community has a bad habit of restricting the free flow of ideas. Before placement on any board or commission, certain people will have to be assured that you will "play ball." Independent thought is shunned. We must stop this sad practice. We must begin to judge ideas on their merit, rather than from whose lips they escape. Expansion of the talent pool is imperative for Victoria.
Matthew J. Ocker, Victoria