October 12, 2009
University, business and political leaders are traveling the state to generate support for ballot Proposition 4, the state constitutional amendment that could open a floodgate of cash to seven Texas universities seeking to become major research institutions.
Voters will be asked Nov. 3 to shift the $500 million in the largely unused Permanent Higher Education Fund to what would be called the National Research University Fund.
"Emerging universities" — a state designation that includes the University of North Texas in Denton, the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Texas at Dallas — would compete for the money. Also in the race would be the University of Houston, the University of Texas at San Antonio, the University of Texas at El Paso and Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
Passage of the ballot proposition could eventually result in thousands of new jobs, perhaps millions of new dollars and all sorts of new technology, supporters say.
"I think it sends a signal to the rest of the country that we’re serious about research," said Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance, who visited the Star-Telegram recently to discuss Proposition 4.