Most campuses of the University of Houston set to reopen after Labor Day, says chancellor

  • There's been flooding on the campuses of the University of Houston but no apparent structural damage to the buildings, says Renu Khator.
  • "We are ready to resume classes on Tuesday," the UH chancellor says.
  • Students at UH-Victoria were evacuated to the main campus because they were in the path of Hurricane Harvey.

There's been flooding on the campuses of the University of Houston but no apparent structural damage to the buildings, Chancellor Renu Khator told CNBC on Thursday.

"We are ready to resume classes on Tuesday, at least on most of our campuses," Khator said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "We have eight locations for universities. We have suffered minor damage. Some of the universities have had flooding."

The University of Houston System said it serves nearly 71,000 students with an annual budget of $1.7 billion, and produces about $6 billion worth of economic impact on the Greater Houston area each year.

The UH System includes the University of Houston, UH-Clear Lake, UH-Downtown and UH-Victoria, and campuses in Katy, Northwest Houston, Pearland and Sugar Land.

The University of Houston campus during Hurricane Harvey.
Source: University of Houston
The University of Houston campus during Hurricane Harvey.

Students at UH-Victoria were evacuated to the main University of Houston campus because they were in the path of Hurricane Harvey.

"From one of our campuses, Victoria, they were directly in the eye of the storm, and we had those students come to the main campus in Houston; 2,500 students stayed in the residence's halls. They're OK," said Khator, a former member of the board of directors of the Dallas Fed.

The University of Houston System has fared much better in the wake of Harvey than Tulane University did when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans 12 years ago.

Tulane in 2005 was forced to close for a whole semester. The school suffered more than $650 million in damages.

Scott Cowen, former president of Tulane, appeared on Wednesday on CNBC, hours after Harvey as a tropical storm made a second landfall in the western part of Louisiana. As a hurricane, Harvey hit southeast Texas late Friday and in the ensuing days dumped record rainfall and brought devastating flooding to the Houston area.

Cowen, who had helped lead rebuilding efforts in New Orleans, said the Federal Emergency Management Agency — roundly criticized for its response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 — has been "much more effective" in dealing with the tragedy unfolding in the Houston area.

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