Technology updates, the contract with Qatus Advisors and the HCC contract with the Community College of Qatar (CCQ) were among discussion items on the HCC Board agenda during the recent January 16th, 2014 Board Meeting of the Whole.
- Technology upgrades on the System replacement plan and the disposition of obsolete equipment were discussed at the 27:00 min mark ; Trustees learned obsolete equipment would be recycled through Compucycle. Compucycle would pick up the equipment, ensure the hard drives are wiped clean and recycle the equipment in an environmentally friendly way.
- The purpose of the partnership between HCC and CCQ, it was explained, was to generate fee revenue for Houston Community College–at the outset of the project it was estimated the partnership profit would be $4.5-$ 5.5 million dollars to HCC. Trustees discussed the need for a comparison of profits projected at the outset of the contract versus actual profits realized to date.
- Trustees learned once the HCC / CCQ project was underway, the goals of the HCC / CCQ project changed–CCQ wanted their own college as opposed to having an HCC campus to deliver HCC credit in Qatar; CCQ wanted their own college to give their own credit.
- Mr. Untermeyer, Managing Director – Qatus Advisors, and Mr. Fonteno were present at the HCC Board meeting. Serving not as advocates for the project relationship but hired in 2012 to provide oversight & review of system activities, contractual obligations regarding CCQ, Mr. Untermeyer explained his services were enlisted to ensure CCQ coursework receives appropriate accreditation and to keep the board informed of any matter in Qatar that would affect or pose legal risk to the HCC system. Despite time & distance, personnel, cultural & contract issues, he explained the operational relationship between HCC & CCQ improved over the last 18 months. Mr. Untermeyer stated he was not aware of any legal or other risks to the reputation of the HCC system.
- Qatus Advisors was hired with no travel expenses to be billed to the HCC system, freeing system administrators from the requirement to travel to Qatar so frequently, and to ensure HCC system administrators devote time to running the system from Houston.
- Trustee Wilson told fellow Trustees & meeting attendees he’d knocked on over 1000 doors during his recent campaign and not one person he spoke with in District II favored continuing the HCC / CCQ program- District II constituents felt this program is outside the mission statement of the Texas Education Code.
- In September 2013, a confidential source told BJP both Bruce Austin and Dave Wilson interviewed before the Houston Chronicle Editorial Board. During that meeting, former Trustee Austin told the Chronicle board HCC was looking into two accounts–one of the accounts is associated with the Qatar campus.
- Trustee Robinson published a statement on his website that prior to his 2011 election to the System board, HCC’s contract with Qatar “was not reviewed by any lawyer before $43 million of local taxpayers money was committed to help a foreign government while tens of thousands of Houston area residents still need financial help to attend HCC to secure an associate degree or workforce retraining.”
And in other HCC news–a review of campaign finance reports for one of the Trustees shows some bizarre addresses and amounts—stay tuned.
Houston Community College Board of Trustees meet regularly on the third (3rd) Thursday of each month. The meetings begin at 4pm and are held at the System Administrative Building, 3100 Main, 2nd Floor Auditorium Boardroom, Houston, Texas 77002, unless otherwise announced.