GAY FLORIDA COLLEGE STUDENT BANNED FROM ROTC COURSE

COUGAR NEWS SERVICE

When University of Tampa student Michael Gagne discovered the U.S. Army was banning him from an ROTC leadership course because he was gay, it appeared the university was going to battle for him.

At that time, the administration insisted that the university, not the Army, had the authority to decide who was eligible to enroll in credit-bearing courses, regardless of sexual orientation.

"This is an academic freedom issue," said Grant Donaldson, director of the school's public affairs.

Several days later, however, after discussions between President David Ruffer and Col. Lamar Crosby of the U.S. Army, the university issued a statement that a "compromise had been negotiated."

Gagne, however, is angry over the agreement, which he says satisfies the university and the U.S. Army, but does not meet his needs. "I'm insulted that they think I would accept this. It is like a slap in the face."

According to a Sept. 23 statement, Gagne will be allowed to take a course identical in nature to the "Leadership Laboratory" with one exception: the classes will not be taught by U.S. Army officers.

The acceptance of the compromise, says the statement, "is a means for acknowledging the University's academic control of it's credit-bearing course and allows a student not admissable to the ROTC program under Army regulations to continue as a student in the course."

The new course, which will not include wearing a uniform or handling weapons, will be taught by two senior faculty members and will cover the same material as the U.S. Army course.

"As great as these professors are, they cannot give me military experience. That's the whole reason to take Army ROTC," says Gagne, who attempted to attend the ROTC "Leadership Laboratory" class recently, and was escorted from the area by a U.S. Army officer.

The 21-year-old psychology student said he wanted to take the leadership course to prepare him for his role as president of a gay-rights organization on campus.

The military is not objecting to Gagne taking two of the courses he chose, "Introduction to Military Science" and "Fundamental Leadership." However, the original "Leadership Laboratory" taught by Army officers requires taking part in military drills, marksmanship exercises and wearing a uniform.

Army regulations state that anyone taking the course must meet all criteria for becoming an Army officer.

 

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GOLDEN PALOMINOS

STELLAR CAST FOR FIER

BY CHRIS ENGLISH

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Hark the herald angels sing, because genre-bender Anton Fier's Golden Palominos have produced another album, entitled Drunk with Passion. And it is. Listening to this album will intoxicate you enough to see stars, or at least recognize a few.

Because that's what the band is, a constellation of stars in the Western Hemisphere that can be seen hanging over New York on those rare, smog-free nights. It's a supergroup, like the Travelling Wilbury's, except better and more original and has been around for almost a decade.

It all started back in '82, when Anton Fier, a drummer, put together this frightening combination of Arto Lindsay's blitzkrieg guitar against an Ornette Coleman groove. Material fans in Europe liked it though.

Anyway, the Palominos were born and have featured more musical supernumeraries than CBS's Circus of the Stars, with everyone from Michael Stipe, Jack Bruce, T-Bone Burnett (would ya believe?), John Lydon (even scarier), Syd Straw, Bob Mould (let me repeat that, Bob Mould), Bill Laswell (read your Herbie Hancock and Laurie Anderson album covers for that one), Richard Thompson and Nicky Skopelitis. This album also features the angelic vocals of Amanda Kramer. With a cast like this, who could lose?

Soulful, doleful, melodic and throat-catching, this album justly deserves to bear the title Golden Palominos. So, when's the next one coming out?

 

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UH AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL TO HOLD DEATH PENALTY FORUM

GROUP SEEKING STUDENT INTEREST IN HUMAN RIGHTS

BY GAYLE WEISS

NEWS REPORTER

A death penalty forum will be held today from noon to 2 p.m. in the World Affairs Lounge as part of Human Rights Week.

The forum, featuring speakers for and against the penalty, should have a significant impact on those who attend, said Patrick Brooks, head of UH Amnesty International.

"We are hoping that if the subtle approach early in the week doesn't work, the stronger approach on Thursday or Friday will," Brooks said.

Each speaker at the forum will have a chance to voice their view, with a question and answer period following, Brooks said.

The pro-death penalty speakers will be KLOL radio personality Lanny Griffith and attorney Jim Evans.

Speaking against the death penalty will be Mike Heath, the area college coordinator for Amnesty International, and Lucille Johnson, relative of Texas Department of Corrections death row inmate Eddie Johnson.

From noon to 2 p.m. Friday, Anita Bohm, a board member for Amnesty International USA and Jimmy Clark of the Central American Refugee Center will address the issue of refugees. Also present will be several speakers from the YMCA.

Also on Friday will be a forum titled "China: Human Rights Since Tiananmen," featuring Winnie Kwok of the UH political science department.

On Sunday, the UH Amnesty group kicked off human rights week by tracing the outlines of bodies on concrete all over campus. The outlines signify people who were killed by death squads or government officials.

This kind of treatment is not uncommon even in the United States, Brooks said.

"We did the drawings on the concrete to call attention that this is pretty typical in many countries," he said.

The group held letter-writing sessions in the World Affairs Lounge Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, giving students the opportunity to voice their opinions to different governments concerning rights violations, he said.

Brooks said he hopes Human Rights Week will spark more interest from UH students.

Nationally, there are approximately 300,000 people involved in Amnesty International. The membership worldwide reaches more than one million.

"We need to get more people involved," Brooks said. "Right now, the people who actually come to meetings is much smaller than those involved."

UH Amnesty International meets every other Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the World Affairs Lounge.

 

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TAYLOR INCITES LISTENERS WITH CONSERVATIVE-BLACK IDEOLOGY

BY DAVE DAVIS

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Traditional African American political views clashed with the nouveau conservative black political rhetoric at the Wednesday afternoon lecture/question-and-answer session, hosted by the UH African American Studies Program.

Charles W. Taylor, deputy director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, and featured guest speaker for one of a three-part lecture series on Personal Experiences in Leadership in the Black Community, spoke before an audience of raised eyebrows and wrinkled lips when he addressed questions as to why he chose the Republican Party over the Democratic Party.

Taylor, who is a native of Fort Worth and a graduate of Rice University, said he has received constant negative fallout since he switched political affiliations.

Taylor said that because of stereotypes and preconceived ideas, some African Americans have closed their minds to the principles of the Republican Party, principles that he said serve the interests of the African American community.

Taylor said many African Americans who choose to join the Republican Party are often heavily scrutinized by special interest groups, and that the Supreme Court confirmation hearings have helped raise awareness of this issue.

Taylor, a former pro-football player with the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs, spoke of the racism he experienced as a college football player at Rice in the 1970s.

Taylor said his career had been temporarily halted because he had been labled a troublemaker for resisting the Rice establishment.

Taylor said he became a Republican because he opposes the Democratic Party's persistence in creating massive social programs to cure the ills of America's underprivileged. Taylor said these programs create dependence on government aid and rob the American people of their initiative.

"When you get to the point where you tell people, `If you have another baby, I'll give you another $50 a month, or I'll decrease your rent,' you're creating a very bad situation for poor people," Taylor said. "It makes me upset when I see someone go into a grocery store and shop with food stamps, and then hop into a Cadillac when they leave, because I know that's my money that they're abusing."

Taylor's remarks met with immediate opposition from listeners who questioned the validity of his argument. Diallo Kantambu, husband of the director of the African American Studies Program, said he doesn't understand how anyone can support a party that is "so fundamentally in error."

Kantambu said the costs associated with the abuses of social programs are just a drop in the bucket compared to the wastes created by doing business with several of the United States' defense contractors.

"I have no problem with a few people having Cadillacs who are on public assistance if it means the U.S. won't be wasting billions of dollars on defense contracts," Kantambu said.

Taylor responded by saying that he opposes wasteful spending across the board, including in the area of defense. However, he does not feel this argument sufficiently justifies burdening the American taxpayer with unnecessary social programs.

Taylor also followed in President Bush's footsteps by proclaiming his support for affirmative action legislation without attaching to it hiring quotas that American companies would be forced to abide by. Taylor qualified his statement by saying he did feel there is a necessity for some type of measuring system to make sure companies are adhering to federal policies on the hiring of minorities.

Taylor said it is this type of ambiguity in the law that is currently being debated with the proposed civil rights bill. Taylor refused to comment on whether or not he feels affirmative action is constitutional.

 

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FARISH HALL ELEVATOR FALLS WITH TWO ONBOARD

PROF SUFFERS MINOR NECK INJURY

BY STEVE GARRETT

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

A Farish Hall elevator fell 11/2 floors with a UH professor and a student onboard on Oct. 7.

Assistant Educational Psychology Professor David Liberman suffered a minor neck injury, but student Neresa Wallace was uninjured.

Liberman said he got on the elevator and pushed the fourth floor button, but before he arrived the elevator stopped on the third floor and Wallace got on. Wallace then pushed the first floor button, and the elevator began its descent.

Before they could react, the elevator had crashed into the bottom floor.

Liberman complained that the elevators, which where installed in 1970, have been under continuous repair for the past 15 years.

Paul Postel, Physical Plant building maintenance manager, refused to comment on the matter because an investigation was ongoing.

A police report filed on the date of the accident revealed that Wallace and Liberman were freed by an elevator technician before police arrived on the scene, and that no criminal mischief was involved.

Tom Wray, director of maintenance and operations, denies the professor's allegations that there have been chronic problems with the elevator and said Liberman's allegations are unfounded.

Wray said Liberman may be judging the elevator on the basis of others he has ridden in the past. The director compared the professor to someone who has driven a automobile that needed frequent repairs and thinks all cars are the same way.

The elevator in question went through a safety inspection three to four years ago, Wray said. Every campus elevator must undergo a safety inspection every five years, he said.

The elevator fell because a mechanical/electrical contactor was misaligned, Wray said. The contactor acts somewhat like a break shoe and makes or breaks the electrical connection in the elevator, Wray said.

He said the problem Liberman and Wallace experienced was eliminated when campus maintenance workers replaced the part. The elevator was fixed within two days after the accident, Wray said.

Liberman also complained that the emergency button on the elevator was plugged, which wouldn't allow people to signal in case of an emergency.

Wray said the emergency button was plugged because people complained the elevator was frequently stopped between floors for long periods of time.

Liberman said the injury to his neck was not extensive and will be covered under workman's compensation -- but he said he now has clear signs of elevator phobia.

 

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CATER TAKES OVER BIG CHAIR OF UH REGENTS

BY DEBBIE HOUSEL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

New UH Board of Regents Chair John Cater officially took the reins Wednesday, defining objectives for the upcoming year and welcoming the three new regents to their first meeting.

Zinetta Burney, John Moores and Beth Morian were sworn in Wednesday morning, replacing outgoing members C.F. Kendall, Xavier Lemond and Gene Reamer.

"Despite new officers and new members, there are certain qualities about this board that must remain constant, qualities that should stand the test of time and all manner of change," Cater said.

Cater outlined five core commitments:

Academic excellence

Uncompromising standards of administrative performance and accountability

Understanding the special responsibilities of a major urban university

Securing adequate funding from all sources

Administrative leadership with the responsibility for superior management and decision making.

"Everything we do, and I re-emphasize, everything we do, should be measured by our ultimate purpose: to advance human knowledge through teaching, research and service," Cater said.

In the critical area of planning, Cater said the system should ensure the academic planning process is fully integrated with budget preparation and long-range financial planning.

The degree and course offerings at each university should be fully rationalized, he said.

"In the area of legislative and state relations, we should ensure developing and carrying forward pro-active higher education policy initiatives that focus on formula funding levels, operational efficiency, management flexibility, organizational effectiveness and funding parity among all state supported institutions of higher education," Cater said.

 

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REGENTS FINALLY APPROVE NEW SYSTEM BUDGET

UH SYSTEM TO GET INCREASE IN FY '92 OF $21 MILLION

BY DEBBIE HOUSEL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

After a two-month delay, the UH System Board of Regents approved a $392 million operating budget for the system and its four campuses for fiscal year 1992 Wednesday, an increase of $21 million from FY '91.

The UH budget got a $20 million increase, up to $294 million for FY '92. The state appropriated $139.3 million for FY '92 an increase of $12.8 million.

The reason for the postponement was the Texas Legislature worked until the last minute deciding how much money would be allocated to the system.

"Our FY '92 budget process has been guided by an internal and an external imperative," said System Chancellor Alex Schilt. "The internal imperative was to apply to each decision the test of how well it furthered the clearly delineated vision of UH as a model urban university for the next century.

"The external imperative was to apply to each decision the tests of public accountability and budgetary stringency," he said.

But Schilt described the overall system budget as a "good news/bad news scenario."

The $21 million increase from FY '91 represents an increase of 6 percent, compared to a 3.4 percent rate of inflation, and $13.6 million of the increase is from the state, Schilt said.

State appropriations for FY '92 rose 8 percent over FY '91, however the increase falls short of current services based on increases in enrollment and facilities recommended by the Legislative Budget Office, he said.

"Our increase rose substantially during the last biennium -- almost 10 percent -- which accounts for much of this boost in appropriation. But when we look closely at this budget increase, the news is no longer quite so cheery," Schilt said.

Only UH and UH-Downtown benefit from the increase in state appropriations. UH-Clear Lake and UH-Victoria's FY '92 appropriations are actually lower than FY '91.

Of this $21 million increase, only $3 million (less than 15 percent) is discretionary money -- money that the universities' presidents can use to increase their instructional budgets. The remaining $18 million is already assigned to other purposes, including a $9 million increase for staff benefits; $3 million to cover the statewide 2-percent salary increase and $1.6 million to special item appropriations.

"Without the funds to enrich the classroom experience and to respond to other vital needs, such as course offerings, libraries holdings and deferred maintenance, this increase won't have much of an effect on the daily life of the university," Schilt said.

As a result of these limitations, he said there has been virtually no increase in faculty and staff. The number of system-budgeted full time employees is lower this year than last.

Salary increases are minimal, he said, averaging only 2.1 percent systemwide.

UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett said although the state allocations increased $12.8 million, virtually all the money was earmarked for fixed expenditure growth for staff benefits, utilities, special items, general cost increases and to meet the mandated two percent salary increase.

Faculty recruitment is a concern, she said, citing a recent report from the Office of Sponsored Research that warned of serious problems in meeting long-term research goals without additional funds for faculty and equipment.

"We already have experienced the loss of a number of significant faculty recruited to more lucrative jobs at other institutions," Barnett said. "The faculty members who left over the last three years took with them over $6 million in research grants."

UH has lost four of the six Presidential Young Investigators it attracted over the past four years, Barnett said.

Equipment funds matching programs are decreasing and donors and granting agencies are increasing their matching requirements, in many instances from a three-to-one match to a one-for-one match.

An informal poll of other Texas state universities indicates that UH has the smallest pool available for research start-up funds, she said.

"I plan to create a special fund to assist colleges in retaining and attracting top research faculty and to review creative ways to encourage and support scholarship in the liberal arts and sciences and in our professional colleges," Barnett said.

"Top research priorities over the next year include plans to establish the Texas Center for Environmental Studies, pulling research and programmatic expertise from a variety of colleges and departments including engineering, natural sciences, law, business, history, economics and the Center for Public Policy to address one of our nation's most critical issues," she said.

As for UH's enfeebled library which ranks 104th out of the nation's major 108 research libraries, Barnett said she has committed an additional $300,000 in support for journal purchases in FY '92.

Barnett said plans are underway for a thorough review and rededication to the total structure and design of undergraduate education at the university, including a comprehensive look at the core curriculum.

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