ARTISTS SCULPT SHELTER TO HELP HOMELESS

BY REBECCA DEATON

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Students in a UH sculpture class were challenged this semester by an assignment which got them out of the classroom and increased their social awareness. Adjunct Visiting Instructor Dean Ruck assigned his sculpture students a project to build a shelter for the homeless. Ruck had completed several similar projects in Detroit before moving to Houston three years ago.When he suggested the unusual project to his students, he was trying to find an assignment which would encourage them to get out into the real world and interact with the community, Ruck said. "It gets them away from the studio and not so concerned with making discrete hermetic sculptural objects that somehow exist in a void," he said. Ruck had his students talk with homeless members of the community to question them about their needs and lifestyle. The students found that some people choose to be there, whereas others are homeless out of necessity.The search for an appropriate building site was the next step. The location the group selected is at the corner of Preston and Hamilton streets, just north of the George R. Brown convention center. They chose the site for its location near where the homeless congregate and because of the discarded building material they found there. The students made use of the bricks and wood were piled on one corner of the lot. The students' presence at the site has provoked some unexpected responses by passers-by and nearby residents. For the most part, people have just watched quietly, not saying anything. Ruck said he has acted as foreman, coordinating and assigning jobs to the dozen students working on the project.The students spent approximately six class sessions at the building site. They have almost completed the project, with just the finishing touches left to be done.The 8 by l3 ft. building is structurally sound and will function as it is supposed to, Ruck said. The shelter has a roof, four walls, two windows and a door built on a brick foundation with a wooden floor. They discussed how they might go about choosing an occupant for the shelter, Ruck said. Much of their dicussion centered on whether to monitor who will live there or to let it take place naturally. "Hopefully someday it will be inhabited to give it its completed purpose, to give it a function," he said. "We may put a lock on it and pass that lock on to somebody who comes to inhabit it so they can have their own place of being." When the students returned to work on the structure Thursday, there was evidence that someone was already living in the shelter. There were clothes stacked on a shelf, along with a razor and mirror, Journalism senior Kimberly Stoilis said. "I hope it is some sort of revelation to the students that their work can actually have a function in society and have a worth to it," Ruck said. Senior sculpture major Ted Mikeasky said it is important to do something like this to keep people from living on the sidewalk. Mikeasky placed the words "why not" in front of the shelter to remind society of their obligation. "Why don't we do this in society?" Mikeasky said. "Why can't we use abandoned buildings constructively to shelter the homeless?"

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BERRY, MONZON WIN ELECTION

FROM STAFF REPORTS

 

CIA candidate Michael Berry won the Students' Association run-off election Thursday. Berry, who garnered 867 votes, defeated STAND party candidate Mark Burge, who had 537 votes. Berry's running mate, Andrew Monzon, garnered 777 votes while STAND's Tuan Vu Nguyen received 600 votes.

"This election is not an end in itself. It's just a beginning to accomplishing the goals we set out with when we began this campaign," Berry said.

"STAND, ELITE and even ILLICIT had some really good issues that we plan to incorporate into our agenda," he said.

In other races, STAND candidate Byron Smith won a senate seat for business position five and CIA candidate Kerry Payne won humanities and fine arts position four.

 

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COOGS HOST TECH TO OPEN SWC

BY MIKE ROSEN

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

The Texas Tech Red Raiders, ranked No. 23 in the nation, will invade Cougar Field today for the first of a three-game series, kicking off 1991 Southwest Conference play for UH.

The Cougars come into the weekend with a 21-7 overall record and have won five of their last six games. They swept a doubleheader from Mankato State Tuesday, 3-2 and 4-0.

The Red Raiders are led by UPI All-SWC catcher Tony Tijerina, who hit a solid .313 last season, and outfielder Joe Mendazona, who hit six home runs and drove in 37. RHP Lucio Chaidez led the Red Raider pitching attack in 1990. At 9-8, the senior gave up 4.10 runs per nine innings and struck out 78 batters.

Tech finished last season behind the Cougars in seventh place in the SWC where they were 5-16 (31-29 overall).

The Cougars have put together one of their better starts in recent years, powered from the plate by DH Steve Ousley, catcher Chris Tremie and first baseman James Wambach. Ousley leads the team with a .400 batting average, while Tremie and Wambach lead the club in the home run category with five each. Wambach leads all Cougars with 26 RBI this season.

Overall, UH is batting a sizzling .315 this year, while holding its opponents to a mere .247 average.

Probable starters for the Cougars against Tech are RHP Ben Weber today, righthander Bobby Stone in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday and LHP Vaughn Eshelman in the nightcap.

Weber is 4-1 on the year with a 4.93 ERA and two complete games, including a no-hitter.

Stone, 2-0, is one of the veterans on the staff. In 27 innings he has surrendered only 21 hits and no earned runs.

The southpaw Eshelman is 3-1 on the season with a 3.62 ERA. He leads the staff in strikeouts with 34 in just 32 and one-third innings of work.

First pitch of today's game will be at 2 p.m. at Cougar Field, with Saturday's twin bill beginning at noon.

The Cougars will then have the week off to prepare for a three-game series with the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville next weekend.

 

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PROGRAM EXPLORES CRIME SOLUTIONS

Are the criminals winning?

A Channel 8 Town Meeting program on March 28 will attempt to answer this question and others regarding Houston's progress with its war on crime.

The program, The People vs. Crime, will explore the route a criminal takes from arrest through the criminal court process. The victim's point of view also will be discussed afterwards.

Pre-taped interviews of community leaders such as Sheriff Johnny Klevenhagen, District Attorney John B. Holmes and Judge Pat Lykos will discuss the ways criminals and victims are treated.

"Crime is so pervasive in our community," said The People vs. Crime Producer-Director Ward Booth. "I felt compelled to take a new look at how we strive to stay free and feel protected.

"As a society, we've struggled with these issues since long before we drafted the Constitution," he said. "If crime and punishment won't change, then how we deal with these issues is what will have to change."

Viewers will be allowed to deal with the issues by phoning in their questions and comments. Also, a live audience will be made up of a cross-section of such people as politicians, criminals and law enforcement officials.

The program will be co-hosted by KTRK-TV reporter Don Kobos and Jamie O'Roark, former Channel 13 reporter.

Executive Director Jeff Clark said this is the second in a series of four Town Meeting programs.

"The first one in November, HPD: The People and The Police, was very successful. It started some dialogue between the police department and the community," Clark said.

The other two programs will discuss secondary education and the health care crisis, he said.

 

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FRATERNITY SAYS CAMPUS POLICE HARASS BLACKS

BY MICHAEL D. OESER

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity blasted the UH Police Department in an open forum Thursday, saying that department is guilty of racist harassment.

Delays in setting up an open forum about racism on campus didn't stop the members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity from making their point to everyone present.

"What we have on this campus is a police department that has a history of stopping young black men and asking for I.D. without probable cause," Brodrick Dockery, a sophomore economics major and a member of the Kappas, said.

Dockery was the master of ceremonies at the Kappa forum, titled "The Black Image in the White Mind and Institutionalized Racism," held Thursday night.

The Kappas organized the forum to give people on campus a place to voice their complaints, Dockery said, saying the Kappas have had harassment problems with UH police since a fighting incident with another fraternity in fall '89.

The Kappas feel discrimination against black men on campus stems from a stereotypical view of blacks held by campus police, Dockery said.

Kappa economics senior Earl Coleman said, "It's guilt by association. If you're going to stop me, stop me because I'm doing something wrong, not because I'm black."

Dockery cites a lack of administrative responsiveness concerning the need for a comprehensive arrest policy as another reason for making their grievances public.

Associate professor of law Elwyn Lee was a speaker on the panel at the forum, which included community leaders Ernest Muhammad from the Nation of Islam and Rev. Jew Don Boney, president of Houston Chapter of the Black United Front.

Lee said, "A few students may see this narrowly as a minority thing." The problem is the UH police policy on arrests and charging is inconsistent with the policy of the college to educate and nurture its students, Lee said.

Lee says the UH police arrest policy states any student found in violation of any criminal law will be arrested and charged.

This doesn't allow for the kind of things that are going to happen in college, such as the occasional minute property damage which may occur in a minor scuffle between students, Lee said.

Two other faults Lee pointed out lie in the system's lack of a way to extricate students from the criminal system if the incident later proves not to warrant full criminal proceedings and its lack of an adequate internal police enforcement policy.

During the forum, Lee, who also chairs the Faculty Senate Campus Life Committee, urged students to make their grievances concerning harassment and the UH arrest policy known to the people in power who can do something about it. He mentioned President Marguerite Ross Barnett and members of her staff specifically.

UH police officials refused comment and administration officials were unavailable for comment at the time of the forum. Dockery said neither were invited to the forum.

 

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BIG CITY SHOWS STUDENTS REALITY

BY JASON LUTHER

NEWS REPORTER

Students from two small Texas colleges on a humanitarian mission to Houston were given a harsh dose of reality Wednesday when they discovered the body of a homeless man.

About 70 students from Abilene Christian University and San Angelo State University decided to spend their spring break feeding some of Houston's homeless, entertaining children from the Fourth Ward and visiting other students at UH as part of the Church of Christ Ministry Foundation.

As the students gave food to homeless people in the downtown area, they came across a man wrapped in a blanket and apparently sleeping. When the group failed to wake him, they realized he was dead.

"It was shocking to me at first," ACU junior Tara McKnight said. "But then I began to realize the urgency of what we are doing.

McKnight said she wondered if the group could have made a difference to the man had they gotten to him sooner.

Impact Church of Christ Minister Charlie Middlebrook said many of the students were shocked by the poverty in downtown Houston because they have been shielded from the harshness of metropolitan life.

"They're experiencing some things that they weren't even aware existed," Middlebrook said. He said even though the experience was negative, it was also positive because some eyes were opened to the less fortunate.

The students also had the opportunity to visit UH and talk to students who are members of the ministry foundation here.

Thursday they sang songs at the UC Satellite and held a luncheon outside of the A.D. Bruce Religion Center.

UH business sophomore Tonya Scott said she was happy the group came on campus.

"The Student Ministry Foundation has been on campus for four years, but it's so small," Scott said. "It's great to see this many people singing together."

At the luncheon, ACU student Brent McCall gave a sermon and reflected on the group's experience. He said it was good that the students stepped away from their sheltered lives and experienced pain first hand.

 

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STATE MUST DEFINE GOALS IN EDUCATION REFORM: LUCE

BY JASON LUTHER

NEWS REPORTER

The funds from the $7 billion education reform bill may be wasted if Texas doesn't completely restructure its public school system, said Tom Luce, former chief of staff of the Texas Select Committee on Public Education.

Luce was the keynote speaker at the Employer's Stake in Public Education conference Wednesday at the UH Hilton Hotel.

Luce said Texas public schools are still training students to work on farms in an agrarian society.

"We still have 600,000 students enrolled in agricultural and vocational education," Luce said. "There won't be that many jobs (in those fields) in the 21st and 22nd centuries combined."

Luce said one of the first steps to reforming the system is to graduate students who can read and write.

"Only 20 percent of Texas high school graduates can write a letter to a supermarket manager asking for a job," Luce said. "If you can't write a letter to get a job, the fact that you worked in metal shop isn't going to do you much good."

Luce said the people who are against school reform and in favor of lower taxes, more prisons and better jobs are indirectly for school reform. One-third of the potential tax-paying work force and 90 percent of Texas' prison inmates are high school dropouts, he said.

"Today in north Texas, the largest employer goes out of state to hire entry level workers because they can't find enough Texas high school graduates with a sufficient degree of literacy to fill the jobs," Luce said. "Eventually business will get tired of going out of state and they will move their facilities to other places."

The problem exists not only with dropouts, but also with the best students, he said.

"The top 3 percent of our graduating seniors, public and private, compare with the top 28 percent of Great Britain, the top 35 percent of Germany and the top 45 percent of Japan," he said.

Luce said the U.S. needs a population that is far better educated to deal with the changing economy in order to compete internationally.

"More than one-half of the jobs being created today require more than a high school education. Without a strongly educated population the nation and state will suffer," he said. "Every single one of us needs to make a passionate commitment to making the Texas educational system number one."

Elementary Education Professor John Bishop said the idea of a complete overhaul sounds great, but it's not likely to happen soon.

"Many people talk about massive reform, but there are no plans out there," Bishop said. "Even if there were, this overhaul would take a long time."

George Magner, professor of social work and former interim UH president, said Texas has not been able to introduce major changes in public education.

"People have been writing about major systematic changes in public education, but we don't have them yet," Magner said. "Frankly, I don't think anyone knows how to do it."

Luce said a good start would be to adopt specific measurable goals for academic output.

He said teachers should be paid by performance rather than tenure, and that teachers should be evaluated not by collective test scores, but by evaluation of their peers.

"I think at those levels there would have to be a combination of peer and administrative evaluation," Magner said.

Although the problem is big, Luce said Texas has improved since it realized the problem 10 years ago.

"Pupil spending and teacher salaries have gone up 50 percent since 1984. We have started prekindergarten education and require exit tests for evaluating seniors. We have also imposed the no pass, no play rule," said Luce, who was one of the principle architects of the rule.

In 1984 only 52 percent of third-graders passed the statewide standardized tests. Today 72 percent passed.

"We've gone from an F to a C," Luce said. "But a C is not going to get the job done in the 21st century."

 

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LADY COUGARS UPSET NORTHERN ILLINOIS 83-71, TAKE ON ...

BY MIKE ROSEN

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

The Lady Cougars won their first national postseason basketball game in UH history Thursday afternoon with an 83-71 upset of Northern Illinois in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament in Amarillo.

The victory pushes the Lady Coogs' record to 20-10, marking the team's first 20-win season since 1988.

First-year Head Coach Jessie Kenlaw's club jumped out to an early 10-2 lead on a layin by junior Kellye Jones and never looked back.

The Coogs took a 41-32 lead into the half and led by as much as 20 in the second half before a Huskies' 21-6 run cut the UH lead to 71-66 with just more than four minutes remaining. The Lady Coogs scored the next nine points of the game and coasted to the win.

"We never lost our lead but they (N. Illinois) just kept picking and picking away. They never gave up," Kenlaw said.

LaShawn Johnson led Houston with a strong second half, finishing the game with 21 points and four assists. The junior was 7 of 12 shooting in a non-starting role. Junior Darla Simpson sparkled in the first half, finishing with 17 points and two blocks, and Jones came off the bench to pull down 14 rebounds.

"We knew we had to control the boards," Kenlaw said. "We shot the ball very well in the second half. That, along with defensive pressure, gave us the win."

The Lady Cougars had one of their best shooting performances of the season, hitting 32 of 59 from the field for 54.2 percent. On defense, they held the Huskies to 37.3 percent shooting on 28 of 75, and forced 20 Northern Illinois turnovers.

Sophomore Cynthia Jackson chipped in 12 points for the Cougars on a perfect 5 of 5 from the field.

The Huskies were led by All-American Lisa Foss who scored 24 points from the forward position and handed out five assists. Cindy Conner was an offensive force, scoring 15 points and grabbing 18 rebounds, 11 on the offensive end. However, she accounted for four of the Huskies' turnovers.

The Lady Cougars will next face Indiana University (a deceiving 17-12) in the semifinals tonight at 6 p.m. Indiana rolled over University of Alabama-Birmingham in the late game Thursday 110-71.

Although the Lady Coogs are the sixth seed in the tournament, Kenlaw says her team is just as good as teams ranked above them. She said UH's schedule was perhaps the toughest among teams in the WNIT, and that playing the likes of UNLV, Texas, Texas Tech and Arkansas throughout the regular season strengthened them, especially the overtime loss to the LadyBacks in the Southwest Conference Tournament.

"The girls learned that they can play with some of the top teams in the nation," Kenlaw said.

The winner of the UH-Indiana game will play in the WNIT championship game Saturday at 8 p.m.

Indiana's 17-12 record is deceiving, she said, which also reflects having a difficult schedule.

"We'll have to play one of our best games against them. They have a really good basketball team and by looking at their record, I would not have understood how they lost 12 games.

"They have big people inside. Their small forwards are pretty big and we'll have a few problems matching up."

Kenlaw says their game against the Hoosiers in the semis may be a tougher battle than a final round contest.

"I feel the championship will be tomorrow. If we get past Indiana we have a really good chance at winning the championship."

 

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PANELISTS ACCUSE JOURNALISTS OF STRANGLING TRUTH

BY KEITH MATIS

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

An establishment-news-bashing free-for-all occurred Thursday night at a symposium celebrating the 125th anniversary of The Nation magazine.

Four journalists and the managing editor for The Nation expounded their views on the state of the news media, the First Amendment and national politics in the University Center's Houston Room.

"We tend to structure reality into two-sided conflicts. The easiest of all stories to cover are football games and war and in fact, they're really the same story," said Molly Ivins, syndicated columnist for The Dallas Times Herald and contributing editor for The Nation.

By doing so, reality goes out the window, Ivins told the standing-room-only audience of about 1,500.

Because objectivity has become the "Holy Grail" of American journalism, journalists must dull their tools, she said.

"It's astonishing. What American journalism does in essence is take 24 hours of human history -- all that rich, comic, tragic, joyous, hysterical, exciting history -- and wring from it every ounce of juice, and joy, and life, and love, and sorrow, and collect it as a set of dry facts; toss it on your front porch every morning, kind of like a dried turd in a plastic bag," Ivins said.

"What we do is get the facts straight and let the truth go hang itself," she said.

Alexander Cockburn, a regular columnist for the magazine, spoke on the press and the Gulf War.

"We should recall that the president -- Bush -- said that now that we've won over there, let's win over here. Let's have several new types of death penalty," he said.

"He directed his national audience to the person he regarded as the true hero in this fight -- against what you might call internal Iraqism -- that was none other than (Los Angeles Police Chief) Daryl Gates," Cockburn said.

"This was almost exactly at the moment that some of Daryl Gates's men were beating Rodney King very nearly to death," he said.

"And it wasn't a coincidence," Cockburn said. "The imperial venture abroad was exactly and necessarily parralleled by brutality and violence at home.

"When there's no social program, always there's a violence program."

Columnist Christopher Hitchens, whose topic was Thomas Paine and the Bill of Rights, agreed with Cockburn.

"No country has succeeded in being an empire and a democracy at the same time," Hitchens said.

"(The United States) is proud to shoulder what has been a British role -- what the British can't stomach any more -- and be proud of it," Hitchens said.

"If you want to take over, there is only one language (force) the natives understand," he said. "Teach it to them well."

"The (Los Angeles Police Department) was successful in kicking the Selma Syndrome," Hitchens said.

The role of TV in shaping public opinion was the subject of writer and filmmaker Saul Landau.

"Television stages war for the consumer; the Pentagon stages it for television," Landau said.

Audience member Jinny Barnhart said she attended the symposium because, "I'm madder than hell about what happened to the press in this war."

 

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SUMMER SCHOOL BUDGET TO FEEL $600,000 FUNDING GAP

BY KAREN AVERY

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The 1991 summer school budget won't bear the full brunt of state agency cuts, but students will still find a pared summer class offering, Senior Vice President James Pickering told Faculty Senate members Wednesday.

When Gov. Ann Richards signed a bill earlier this year cutting 1 percent in appropriations to state agencies, faculty feared the summer academic program would take the full hit.

"Coming halfway through the fiscal year and three-fourths of the way through the academic year, most of the 1991 funds are either spent or already committed," Pickering said.

For that reason, the cuts actually equate to 5 percent or 6 percent, he said, since they have to be concentrated in the limited areas of unspent funds.

Currently there is $3.7 million in available funds for the summer program, Pickering said, comparing that amount to the $4.2 million spent last year. He expects that gap to narrow, but was not optimistic it could be completely closed.

The 1 percent cut UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett was forced to make equates to a $1.8 million chunk of the current 1991 budget, he said.

"She could have taken it all out of the summer instruction budget, but that would have created a situation where a great many students wouldn't have a chance to take courses this summer and a great many faculty wouldn't get a chance to teach."

Instead, he said, officials decided to reduce the summer supplement to colleges to about $300,000, down from $700,000 last year, and place a hiring freeze in non-academic areas.

Money will also be cut from the fund balance UH usually disperses at the end of the fiscal year, Pickering said. Fund balances in the past have gone to the library and to deferred maintenance.

"The pain is still very real," he said.

Pickering said priority will be given to core undergraduate courses in the reduced supplemental funds distributed to colleges.

The resolve to maintain a summer program is good news, Senator Elwyn Lee, law professor, said after the meeting.

"In light of the anticipated potential 5 percent cuts, what they have done is assure minimal suffering for FY 91," Lee said. "Of course their hope is that the Legislature can find some more money, but in the short run they have made a very positive decision to make sure that we have a summer school, Lee said."

Senator Bill Cook, Engineering professor, said the reduced supplemental funding decision will impact colleges differently. He said the cuts will have a catastrophic effect in colleges such as engineering where a large number of upper-level students are preparing to complete coursework in the summer term. They will also impact the international students who cannot get jobs here during the summer.

The Faculty Senate also heard a report from W. Robert Houston, associate dean of education and interim director of the Texas Center for University-School Partnerships (TCUSP). Houston announced Richards will be the keynote speaker at a statewide TCUSP conference to be held on campus May 1.

He also provided information about a program the center is initiating to encourage secondary students to improve science, math and language skills. The program will be modeled after one initiated by Barnett in St. Louis, he said.

Faculty Senate President John Barnard closed Wednesday's meeting with a call for senators to contact state legislators in support of funding for higher education.

 

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