Alvarado's one-day graduation-status change interests opponent, media
Of all the pressing problems that Houston City Council candidates might be discussing and debating, one wouldn't have thought that Councilmember Alvarado's strange indifference to actually obtaining her college degree would still be news this week.
One would be wrong.
KHOU-11's Doug Miller covered the story last night:
"I immediately started getting all of my paperwork from the alumni. I mean, they don't do that unless you've completed all the hours," Alvarado said.
Last week, Alvarado's political opponent found out that she did not actually have the college degree she had always claimed she had earned. So he said someone from his campaign contacted a newspaper reporter, who in turn contacted Alvarado for comment. That was on Thursday. Within 24 hours, the University of Houston had issued Alvarado a college degree.
The University said privacy laws prevent it from saying anything specific about Alvarado without Alvarado's permission and she hasn't given it.
But in a written statement, UH said students were once required to take a written exam before getting their degrees. According to the statement, "the Writing Proficiency Requirement or Exam, was dropped. Since that time, students who had enrolled under earlier degree plans have been allowed to petition to waive this obsolete requirement. Such requests are routinely approved."
"This has happened before and they've been able to resolve it before," said Alvarado.
It has surely happened before, but it's just odd that Alvarado was so indifferent towards actually making sure she had fulfilled the requirements of graduation. As the bolded portion goes, I filed graduation papers one semester before finishing my dissertation and actually obtaining the degree, and that was enough to get me on the Alumni Association mailing list, so that doesn't really explain the indifference.
The Chronicle also ran coverage of this story today, devoting two reporters to it:
Carol Alvarado's opponent continued to call for her resignation Monday, suggesting the two-term councilwoman used political influence to get a University of Houston degree in one day that she had claimed to have had for years.
Alvarado, who dismissed the issue Monday as "negative politics," said she was consulting with personal and UH attorneys about releasing her academic records in response to media questions while still maintaining some privacy.
Meanwhile, a UH System regent said the issue may be something for the board to discuss at a future meeting.
"It does seem strange that it could happen so fast, but I really don't have any information beyond what I read in the paper," said Regent Morgan Dunn O'Connor.
Officials in the UH registrar's office Friday morning confirmed Alvarado did not have a degree. By late Friday afternoon, however, other UH officials said she did.
Parras said he thinks Alvarado drew on her political contacts and influence to fast-track a waiver of the process that other, less prominent, students could not navigate so quickly.
Being somewhat experienced with how slowly and inefficiently administrative matters tend to move at the University of Houston's main campus, I also find it a little surprising that Councilmember Alvarado's status managed to change from non-graduate to graduate in part of one day. Furthermore, her indifference towards actually obtaining her degree is odd to me. Still, this doesn't seem to merit the amount of media coverage it's getting, especially when there are interesting races for other Council positions.