Thursday, November 5, 2009

For shame, Aggies

Come on, Aggies, you're better than this, aren't you? Are you really that petty?

Tuesday's statewide election included 11 constitutional amendments. Proposition 4 was probably the most publicized. It would allow the Texas legislature to create a National Research University Fund -- tax free, by the way -- to help seven other universities attain Tier 1 status.

The fund would be administered based on specific criteria such as endowments, doctorial degrees, etc. Tier 1 status in the highest ranking a university can attain. Currently, only three in Texas have this -- the University of Texas, Texas A&M, and Rice. Texas and A&M have also been the only schools in the state to receive any Permanent University Fund (PUF) money. By contrast, 11 schools in California and eight in New York are Tier 1 universities.

Of the seven schools, Texas Tech is currently best positioned to attain Tier 1 status. So passing Prop 4 would benefit Tech and cost taxpayers nothing.

It passed easily statewide, 56.7 percent (591,183) to 43.2 percent (450,819). One county where it failed miserably, however, was Brazos County. Care to guess what university resides in Brazos County?

There it failed by a landslide -- 68.6 percent (8,228) voted no, and 31.4 percent (3,841) voted for it. Wow! In no other county did Prop 4 fail that badly. And the other 10 amendments all passed easily in Brazos County except, of course, for that one.

In Travis County, home to UT, Prop 4 passed easily, 57 percent to 43 percent. And in Harris County, home to Rice, it was even more so. Prop 4 passed there, 69 percent to 31 percent.

What possible reason could the good folks in the Bryan-College Station immediate area have for bucking the statewide trend and also for that amendment being the only one that didn't pass?

I'd love to hear some nice "Gig-em" spin on this one. But it looks pretty clear it was a vote to keep other universities down. I thought Aggies were above something like this. Guess I was wrong.

1 comment:

DrDave said...

Actually several of the smaller counties had more "no" votes than Brazos. All 12 voters in Loving County voted against Prop. 4. Interestingly, the best explanatory variable at the county-level is the Hispanic percentage of the population.