In response to Rob Roark’s letter to the editor of April 27, 2009, I would like to provide some clarifying information.
First, the $400,000 referred to in the letter to the editor is not stimulus money, but a request submitted by Rep. Lloyd Doggett to a House of Representatives’ subcommittee in support of a project at Texas State University-San Marcos (Texas State). To date, a decision has not been made by the U. S. Congress with regard to providing these funds to Texas State. If funded, The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education, a nationally recognized program on our campus, will use the funds to enhance an initiative to educate people across Texas about our watersheds. To characterize the program as Mr. Roark has done as “a program to teach children how to use the Internet and Google maps” is inaccurate. The program is certainly designed to use technology to teach individuals that watersheds are important and have a profound effect on both the quantity and quality of water in their lives. Texas State believes that this is important as do a large majority of Texans who repeatedly indicate in polling data that water is the most important natural resource issue facing Texas in the years ahead. Watershed management is critical to Texas and is particularly critical in San Marcos, where the local economy is dependent to a certain extent on the San Marcos River.
Texas State is not aware of the event referred to by Mr. Roark when he states, “Mr. Doggett was a guest of the University on Saturday to a special Alumni dinner in honor of the award to the Grosvenor Institute.” To the best of our knowledge, there was no such event involving Mr. Doggett.
Finally, I want to state that Texas State is very concerned about the local economy and believes that the university contributes significantly to that economy. If Texas State is fortunate enough to receive the $400,000 in question, it will be used in ways, such as salaries for faculty and students, that will ultimately benefit the local economy. Contrary to what Mr. Roark states, this type of award does help us locally in many ways. Texas State greatly appreciates Mr. Doggett’s support of this program.
Billy C. Covington, PhD
Associate Vice President for Research and Federal Relations
Texas State University-San Marcos