CAMPUS EMPLOYEE PLEADS GUILTY FOR

SCRATCHING CAR

BY JOHN CORDES HOWELL

NEWS REPORTER

UH employee Eliza Belle Burney pled guilty to one count of criminal mischief on Friday, the Harris County Criminal Court's office said.

Burney received a $200 fine, a deferred ajudication sentence of one year's probation and was ordered to pay $321 in damages to student Laura List, according to the Harris County Criminal Court No. 6.

Burney was arrested Sept. 6 by UHPD officers after scratching List's car with a key and allegedly striking her on Sept. 5. The incident took place at the information booth near Entrance 1 after the two were involved in a traffic accident on I-45.

Burney, the office manager of Parking and Transportation, said she is waiting to hear from interim Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Thomas Jones concerning any disciplinary action UH might take against her, and refused to comment on the case.

Jones could not be reached for comment.

 

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SALVADORIAN ASSASSIN CHRONICLED IN FILM

BY DEBBIE HOUSEL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Cesar Vielman Joya Martinez is a self-professed killer.

He has admitted to participating in the killing of suspected government opponents in El Salvador, and he says he was a case officer in the Section 2 Intelligence Unit of El Salvador's first brigade, frequently implicated in the activities of the Salvadoran "death squads".

Today, the UH community can judge whether or not it believes his story. A one-hour documentary will be shown at 3:30 p.m. in the Caribbean room in the University Center, sponsored by Amnesty International and the Progressive Student Network.

Martinez, 29, says all of the murders he was involved in were ordered by his superiors. He says he fled El Salvador in 1989 after he was identified in the murder of two young men in July 1989.

After arriving in the U.S., he has testified in detail about the inner workings of "death squad" activities before U.S. Congressmen, human rights organizations and journalists.

He alleges that U.S. military advisors stationed in the first brigade funded the unit's activities and assisted the intelligence units, said Dan Alcorn, an attorney for Martinez.

Jim McGovern, a legislative assistant to U.S. Rep. Joe Moakley, D-Mass., said, "One of the problems is he (Martinez) tells such an incredible story.

"Some of the killings he described are pretty gruesome -- kicking people in the head and slitting their throats.

"For those of us who believe the death squads exist -- we don't need convincing -- but others do and he hasn't had anyone corroborate his story," McGovern said.

After hearing Martinez's accounts of his activity, Moakley went to El Salvador to investigate, McGovern said.

Martinez described a holding cell where prisoners were tortured, McGovern said. The cell has since been identified, he said.

But just finding the cell was not proof of the validity of Martinez's story, McGovern said. He was in the first brigade, so he would know where the cells were located, he said.

"What people are questioning is if he received orders by the high command, what did the U.S. advisors know about it and whether the officers sanctioned these activities," McGovern said.

"We have urged the administration and embassy to prove or disprove these facts," McGovern said.

Martinez requested political asylum in the U.S. in 1989. However, before his case was decided, he was charged with illegal entry. He was convicted and given a six-month sentence.

He originally was jailed in Fredricksburg, Va., but was moved several times, ending up in the Atascosa County Jail. After being released, he was free for 45 minutes. He was then placed in the Quadalupe County Jail in Seguin, Tx., where he remains pending the extradition hearing, said James Francovich, who is assisting Martinez.

He was denied political asylum on July 22, said David Carliner, an attorney for Martinez. He is appealing that decision.

In 1990 the Salvadoran authorities sought his extradition on murder charges, which Martinez claims were related to his "death squad" activities.

Alcorn said he is optimistic because on Sept. 4 a district court judge ordered a discovery to find out what orders the high command of the Salvadoran government gives.

The high command does not take credit for these "death squads." They deny any knowledge of their activities and place the blame on subordinates, he said.

"I doubt the government of El Salvador wants to answer these questions.

"We will be asking the U.S. government to vouch for their (the Salvadoran governments) answers. If the U.S. has contradictory information -- because the U.S. can't present an untruth to the court -- they will have to divulge the contradictions, " Alcorn said.

Martinez has come forward and divulged what he knows and has tried to make amends, Alcorn said.

McGovern said he does not want Martinez extradited because he wouldn't be given a fair trial and probably would be executed.

"It's a combination of reluctance of the administration. They didn't think Joya Martinez is credible, and they didn't want to get into those sticky questions," McGovern said.

The U.S. has given the Salvadoran military $85 million in military aid alone, he said.

The next hearing is set for Sept. 20, Alcorn said.

 

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DISTRICT 147 CANDIDATES TO SPEAK ON CAMPUS

BY DAVE DAVIS

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Seven of the 11 candidates running for the District 147 state legislative seat formerly held by the lat Rep. Larry Evans, D-Houston, will be on campus Wednesday for a "meet the candidates" session.

Saundria Chase, Jew Don Boney, Garnet Coleman, Larry Blackmon, Dave Edwards, Aline McCloud and George Dillard will assemble at 1 p.m. in the UC World Affairs Lounge for a political rally/question and answer session. Each candidate will adddress the crowd for 3 to 4 minutes about their campaign platform and will subsequently respond to questions from the floor.

The rally, which is sponsered by the College Democrats, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and the Black Student Union, is expected to receive city-wide press coverage, and organizers of the rally plan to use the event to acquaint the student body with the candidates and their credentials.

Latrice Sellers, president of the College Democrates, hopes the forum will increase political interest and awareness on campus. "We are basically trying to broaden the political base of college students on campus and get them involved in the political process," said Sellers.

District 147 encompasses UH and Texas Southern University. Candidates are expected to gear their platforms to education, the rising costs of college tuition and the cutbacks in funding to state institutions.

Rauchelle Jone, President of Zeta Phi Beta, hopes the majority of the student body will be better informed about the candidates after Wednesday's rally. "It is very important we expose the students to issues concerning them so they will be able to select the best candidate to represent them in the legislature," said Jones.

 

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LAW CENTER TO HELP RUSSIANS RESTRUCTURE

BY ADAM MCCRARY

NEWS REPORTER

In the wake of the political and economic upheaval going on in Russia, the UH Law Center has been called upon to help straighten out part of the mess.

Law Center officials signed a joint protocol Wednesday in Moscow to establish a major research group to assist in the drafting of petroleum legislation for the Russian Republic, announced UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett Thursday.

The Russian Republic will have full control of its natural resouces under the Constitutional Legislation provisions adopted by the Congress of Peoples' Deputies last week.

The republic produced more than 90 percent of the oil and more than 75 percent of the gas in the Soviet Union. Between 80 and 90 percent of the area's petroleum reserves lie within the territorial limits of the Russian Republic.

"This is a massive project that can be of great value to the Soviet and Russian people. We understand the objective is to provide a basis of regulation that will serve the legitimate interests of the Soviet Union and Russian Republic, and at the same time provide incentives to attract foreign investment," Barnett said in a press release. "We are pleased for this recognition of the research capability of the university and the UH Law Center."

The protocol was signed on Sept. 11 in Moscow by Igor Gavrilov, Deputy Prime Minister, Russian Republic; Robert L. Knauss, dean of the UH Law Center; Paul Gregory, professor of economics at UH and project coordinator; and George W. Hardy III, former UH Law Center dean and project director.

The universtiy was approached by the Soviets in June. They contacted Gregory, who in turn approached Knauss at the Law Center.

The urgent desire of the Russian government to establish a market economy, which would help pull the Russian economy out of its current crisis, was noted by Gavrilov in a meeting Thursday morning in Moscow.

He also expressed his strong support for the "radical" conversion of the Russian economy to a market economy and his view that orderly, "civilized" resource laws must serve as a basis for this transition.

It is important to create an environment for rational decision making in the energy industry, a realistic pricing system and a move towards creating reliable and understandable legal rules for Western investors, Soviet firms, government entities and the Russian people, Gregory and Hardy said Thursday morning.

The Law Center will identify and coordinate the work of Western experts with that of Russian teams. The Joint Committee on Petroleum Legislation will be headquartered at the law center, but over the next six months, team members will be traveling between the Russian Republic and the United States.

Financial support for the Western expert group will be organized and administered through the UH Law Foundation, a charitable foundation organized to provide enhancement funding for the Law Center and to support special undertakings like this drafting project.

"The project is not completely set in concrete yet," said UH Law Foundation professor Jacqueline Lang Weaver, executive director of the project.

"We have the protocol between the UH Law Center and the Russian Republic signed to do the project," she added. "It is very probable that we will get private sponsors to support the project, but we still need to put that in place."

Weaver did not foresee any problem lining up sponsors though.

Weaver; UH Law Center associate professor Gary Conine, coordinator of research; and Gregory will be responsible for helping manage the immense tasks that the drafting project will include.

Major areas to be addressed are concessions; joint ventures and exploration agreements; union, republic and province relations; tax and fiscal matters; environmental and conservation concerns; transportation; economic regulations; conflict resolution and administrative law; management and structure; and transition (privatization).

In addition to working on petroleum legislation, representatives of the project have been asked to assist in drafting an Underground Resources Code for the Russian Republic which will serve as an umbrella for all underground resource legislation, including petroleum.

"This will be an interesting project to work on, to be a part of history," Weaver said.

"They (the Soviets) are the world's largest oil and gas producer, but they are rapidly decreasing in production," Weaver said.

"Their oil and gas production has been falling drastically because they don't have the imported, up-to-date technology, and to some extent, because the Western investors (the major oil companies in the United States and Europe) have not been able to form joint ventures easily."

The project was originally to include all of the Soviet Union, but because of the recent events the project was redefined to draft Russian Republic law, Weaver said.

"The Russian Republic owns 80 to 90 percent of the oil and natural gas resources," Weaver said.

"Anything we do for the Russian Republic will probably be taken as a model for the other republics to follow, and certainly we have to consider the relationship between the republics and whatever loose federation of Soviet states there is going to be." Western investors have found it difficult to form those joint ventures and help develop the Russian petroleum industry with the confusion over who owns what resources, Weaver said. The Russians want the technology, capital and expertise Western investors can bring them, she said.

"They (the Russians) need a stable legal regime to encourage that," Weaver said. "Oil to them is basically their most liquid asset," she added. "It is the way they can earn hard currency to purchase food, computers and everything that they want from the West."

 

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CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE TESTED

BY TODD DUPLANTIS

NEWS REPORTER

The results of a recent cultural awareness quiz suggest many UH students are not reasonably informed about other cultures.

The "Cultural Challenge," sponsored and conducted by the Council of Ethnic Organizations, was a cultural awareness activity, said CEO Activities Director Kim Agnew.

"We wanted the questions to reflect the population of the university," Agnew said. "Therefore, the CEO pooled their collective knowledge of different cultures to devise the challenge."

On, Sept. 5, CEO members set up a table at the U.C. Satellite and handed out a questionnaire to students passing by. Each questionnaire contained several questions randomly selected from a pool of 24 queries. A different questionnaire was given out each hour, and the person with the most correct answers at the end of each hour was a winner, CEO Director Joel Richards said.

Some of the questions asked on the quiz included the following:

Who was the woman whose refusal to sit in the back of the bus in Montgomery, Ala., precipitated the Montgomery bus boycotts?

What is the name of the 1973 court case that legalized abortion as a part of a woman's right to privacy?

What is the day of independence for blacks in Texas?

"We had roughly 220 people actually take the challenge," Richards said. Grand prize winners from each hour ranged from three to five questions answered correctly. We had three people get five questions correct. Everyone else got three or four."

Students' Association Vice President Andrew Monzon said he was not surprised by the results of the quiz. For more than a year, SA has tried to pass a bill to get a multicultural awareness course incorporated into the undergraduate core curriculum.

"We are very ethno-centric," he said. "We are very isolationist, that's why people fail geography tests all the time. We just don't keep up with history."

The bill, introduced in June 1990, states, "The material covered in a multicultural awareness course, such as existing courses in African-American and Mexican-American studies and comparable courses in Asian and Middle Eastern studies, would give students the opportunity to experience other cultures as well as examining their cultures more closely."

Although the bill was not signed, it still remains a hot topic, Monzon said.

"It's not on the agenda right now, but it's still a worthy issue," he said.

Monzon expects the issue of multicultural awareness to be addressed during next month's university-wide Celebrating Diversity Week. Monzon said a number of meetings and discussions will be held, including one called "The Global Dimension of the University of Houston."

 

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LIBRARY MAKING NEW FRIENDS

BY ANDY KRUG

NEWS REPORTER

A booth set up at the entrance of M.D. Anderson Library collected $1,000 in donations for the Office of Library Collections last week from students, faculty and other members of the Friends of UH Libraries organization.

Friends of UH Libraries is a fund-raising organization started in the '60s that has been revived with a new logo and an active calendar.

Organizers of the new FUHL campaign say they hope the group will create bridges between the UH library and community, said Robin Downes, director of library administration.

Downes said promoting the organization will make UH libraries a more identifiable source for contributions.

The organization goes far beyond fund raising, said Pat Bozeman, head of library special collections.

"Our schedule includes book and author dinners, photography visits, poetry readings and a book sale in February," said Bozeman, who is also in charge of the organization.

Organization contributions have helped to bandage budget problems and cover the increasing price of books and journals, said Kathleen Gunning, assistant director for public services and collection development at UH.

The FUHL program is the only one of its type and is not a direct response to a decreased library budget

(attribution).

"That problem is being passed on to President Marguerite Ross Barnett," Gunning said.

Bozeman said many of the special collections held in the library are a result of FUHL members.

The Stephen F. Austin collection contains authentic 1863 documents transcribed by Austin in his claim for independence from Mexico. The collection was presented as a gift to the UH library from a long-time FUHL member.

Membership benefits also include a free six-month trial membership in the Book Club of Texas. Enrollment charges are $15 for students and $25 for faculty and staff. Money received will go for acquisitions of library computers, books and software, said Bozeman.

 

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THOMAS SHOULD COME CLEAN

BY ERICKA SCHICHE

NEWS REPORTER

Disappointed at the prospect of a Supreme Court devoid of liberal justices, several UH law professors say nominee Clarence Thomas is circumventing topics such as abortion and natural law.

Constitutional law professor Jordon Paust, who has been following the confirmation hearings, said it is the public's and the senators' right to know where Thomas stands on the abortion issue.

"I realize the fact that abortion is more controversial than affirmative action, but precisely because both issues are controversial, it is definately the public's right to know where he stands," said Paust. "After all, once a Supreme Court justice is confirmed, their tenure could last for decades."

Constitutional law professor Sidney Buchanan concurred. "I have no doubt concerning the right of senators to ask probing questions," he said. "There is nothing improper about finding out what Thomas' judicial philosophies are."

Some critics, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Organization for Women, contend that Thomas' tenure at the Equal Opportunity Commission proved a disappointment. Such organizations are vehemently opposed to and concerned about Thomas' philosophies.

Paust said he is concerned about Thomas' reluctance to divulge his views on the principle of natural law, a concept that certain individual rights supercede governmental laws because they are derived from high moral principles.

"In general, he has said that he would not use natural law as a basis for his decisions," Paust said. "It would be extremely important for Thomas to discuss his views pertaining to the founding fathers, community law and certain natural law precepts."

The professors agree there is a philosophical imbalance on the Supreme Court.

"If he in fact does get confirmed, Thomas will have contributed to the creation of a solid majority," said law professor Irene Rosenberg. "Today's Supreme Court consists largely of those who have political motivations and agendas."

Constitutional law Professor Peter Linzer agreed. "We all thought of the (Warren Burger) court as conservative," he said. "That court is middle of the road compared to this one."

 

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COUNSELORS AWAIT NEW SAT TO EXAMINE FOR

MAJORITY BIAS

COUGAR NEWS SERVICE

 

Admissions counselors across the country are waiting to see whether the revised Scholastic Achievement Test will reflect students' abilities, especially those of minorities, more accurately.

The College Board, which administers the SAT, will publish the new version in 1994.

"We're eagerly awaiting it," said Joyce Smith, associate executive director of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors. "Most of us want to know how the changes will affect the results."

SAT results have been the talk of academia this week after the release of the 1991 national average scores, which dropped two points each to 422 in the verbal section and 474 in the math section.

In his release of that information, College Board president Donald Stewart said the scores reflected "a disturbing pattern of educational disparity."

That disparity mostly involves African-American and Hispanic minorities, who still fall short of scores achieved by whites and Asian-Americans. Still, African-Americans and Mexican-Americans are the leading groups for steady increases in their scores.

"Every time you see a standardized test result from a black student, the average score will be lower than the majority's score," said Walter Jacobs, director of academic support services for the College Board, at a recent educational conference in Orlando, Fla.

"Some people say this is just another example that the black man can't cut it. On the other hand, we see that blacks are the one group constantly progresing toward better scores," he said.

Educators hope the new test will help close the gap. The 1991 test averages showed the following:

Since 1976, African-Americans and Mexican-Americans have shown an overall point increase of 50 and 23 points respectively. But, their overall average score still falls about 200 and 130 points shy, respectively, of scores achieved by whites and Asians. Their total average scores are 930 and 940 respectively.

Scores achieved by whites overall have dropped 14 points since 1976. The overall average for all groups taken together -- 896 -- has dropped seven points.

Men still score higher than women (923 average vs. 861 average), especially in the mathematics section of the test.

Students who took more academic classes during their educational careers scored about 50 points higher than the national average in both the verbal and the math sections.

"Those who took physics, for example, had average verbal scores of 464 and average math scores of 538, considerably above the national averages for each," said Robert Cameron, the board's senior research associate. "Those who took calculus had the highest math average, 599, and the highest verbal average, 502."

Cameron says the College Board is concerned about an apparent paradox -- "We are seeing more years of study in acadimics and in college prep courses and still the average scores are going down."

Much of the drop comes from the higher percentage of minorities taking the test. This year 28 percent of test-takers were minorities. Of that 28 percent, 8 percent reported that English was their second language and another 8 percent reported they were bilingual.

"As more of our society is being included in the test, the more likely you are to see scores decline," Cameron said.

That greater inclusion and the SAT's inability to reflect different cultures in its test question content has helped spark the exam's rewrite.

"There's always been some suspicion about the way the test questions are written," Smith said. "The College Board now has established a review board for minority education that looks at items for bias against women and ethnic groups."

That board has existed for many years and the content of questions has slowly changed to reflect more cultural diversity, Cameron said.

The new test will not only show more changes in content, but also changes in form.

In its first format change since 1975, the test will abandon its antonym, or opposite word, questions for beefed-up reading sections that will put more emphasis on higher-order reading skill, Cameron said. He calls it critical reading.

In the math section, the primary change will involve the addition of a section where students generate their own answers to problems rather than picking an answer from the traditional multiple choice format.

While College Board officials are working on the changes, they stand by their claim that the SAT, the primary test used in 22 East and West Coast states for college entrance, is an accurate reflection of a student's academic ability.

The American College Testing Program, another college admissions test known as ACT, is used predominantly in 28 states. ACT officials will release their 1991 average scores on Sept. 17.

"The bottom line is that the College Board has always said their test scores are extremely accurate, but what we find is that admissions offices look at acadmic records first," Smith said. "Some kids test well and some panic and blow it."

 

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