A little corner of Melcher Hall became a part of Japan on Monday, thanks to the efforts of a group of UH students.

Japanese travel posters filled one wall, and the rising sun of the Japanese flag decorated another. One table had several Japanese delicacies ranging from sushi to green tea ice cream. Another was loaded down with information about the country, from travel brochures to employment and business opportunities.

Japan was the first country to be highlighted during International Week, sponsored by the International Business and Cultural Organization. Other countries will be featured from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday in the snack bar area of Melcher Hall.

Food for the Japan Day event was provided by Tokyo Gardens Restaurant. The Japanese Students Association brought in the Sakura Dance Co., which performed four traditional dances including the Flower Hat Dance, Male Dance, Celebration Music and Cherry Blossoms.

During the day-long event, a tea ceremony was performed portraying the respectful way Japanese women prepare, serve and drink tea.

"This is how women learn to respect people and learn how to use the traditional housewares (to mix the tea)," Miha Takagi, a senior psychology major, said.

Japanese music played until 4 p.m. while students and faculty ate and viewed the pamphlets, brochures and Japanese display items.

To conclude Japan Day, the vice president of Toshiba Industries International spoke about the Japanese company in Houston and how Japanese adjust to working in the United States.

Tuesday will be German Day, highlighting German food, display items, music and literature. The guest speaker, Ann Loutfi, will speak on the Holocost, unification and the German culture.

On Wednesday, Mexico will be honored with food from Marcos Mexican Restaurant, music and pamphlets. Adan Trevino, president of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Channel 45, will be the guest speaker.

Thursday will feature Russia Day providing food by Yakov's Deli, Russian pamphlets and music. Mark Zalsberg will speak on the Russian Revolution and other Russian events.

This is the first time IBCO has presented International Week. Business Dean, John Ivancevich declared International Week on campus, and Mayor Kathy Whitmire acknowledged it with a proclamation.

IBCO secretary Tina Salinas said, "We will try to continue this event every fall depending on the response we get this year."

Salinas said the main reason for International Week is to promote international awareness and cooperation among UH students.

"This event is to encourage open-mindedness, the willingness to learn about people's cultures and for international students to be able to work together being that international businesses are prevelant," she said.

About 50 IBCO members worked hard to arrange this event.

IBCO Vice President of Marketing Nihita Bhavsar said International Week will probably be held every fall semester in the future.

"We have had a great response knowing it is the first time we do this and are hoping for more," Bhavsar said.

IBCO members selected the countries to be highlighted during International Week.







Imagine yourself studying black volcanic soils and steamy gases of an active volcano in Mexico, or tracking coyotes through January snows in Yellowstone National Park.

You can learn while getting your hands dirty and your adrenalin rushing by volunteering for expeditions that combine adventure and research. A handful of organizations offer such travel opportunities.

One of them is Earthwatch, a non-profit organization that makes it easy for everybody -- not just scientists -- to understand the environment better through scientific field research. Founded in 1971, Earthwatch brings together scientists and paying volunteers.

"With funding drying up from the government, scientists were looking for alternative means. It was thought we could get scientists' funding through volunteers who could not only donate money, but also work," Earthwatch publicist Kara Bettigole said.

Earthwatch's affiliate, The Center For Field Research, receives more than 400 proposals each year from scholars. The center, with its academic advisory board, is responsible for review and selection of projects. Once a proposal is accepted, it is presented in Earthwatch's bimonthly magazine distributed to more than 73,000 members worldwide.

Expedition costs range anywhere from $800 to more than $2,000. Many students arrange for credit by fulfulling a requirement, such as writing a research paper.

Dan Truesdale, an Emerson College graduate student who also works at Earthwatch's Massachusetts headquarters, worked out a unique arrangement.

"I got to thinking: Wouldn't it be great if I could combine Earthwatch with my master's degree ... go to Wyoming and shoot this expedition for my master's video project?" said Truesdale, who decided on an expedition called "Yellowstone Coyotes."

Because expeditions are relatively expensive, scholarships and discounts are available through an application procedure.

"Earthwatch can offer college students up to 30 percent off the price of an expedition ... which still has opening. Students who are going into teaching are encouraged as well to go through this process where they are eligible to receive grants, scholarships and fellowships. We had over 500 applications from professors and high school students for scholarships last year and we placed over half of them," Truesdale said.

In 1991 Earthwatch will sponsor 135 projects in disciplines ranging from rain forest conservation, art, archaeology and the sciences.

In September, Boston University botanist Gillian Cooper-Driver led a group to New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest. Cooper-Driver suspected that ferns flourishing high on Mount Washington expend greater energy than valley ferns in producing chemicals to ward off insects. Her findings may help farmers induce better natural defenses in crops, hence reducing pesticide use.

"It's a good organization for the right kind of people. It's no good if you just bury yourself in your research. It does require a certain degree of sociability ... like sitting around the campfire and talking about the day's discoveries," Cooper-Driver said.

Lisa Van Atta, a UCLA graduate, studied dolphin's use of language during the summer. While learning about the creatures, she also established friendships that focus on a mutual concern for this intelligent mammal's survival.

"It was a graduation present from my father. I went on my own and met a lot of great people," Van Atta says. "We were trying to find out if dolphins have a structural language to communicate ... and follow commands."

Van Atta's group was housed in apartments at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu. Each day members of her group walked a short distance to the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory where they worked in the dolphin pools. The experience spurred Van Atta to participate in future expeditions.

"I want to go to help research the Orcas (whales) in the San Juan Islands when I save up enough money," she said.

Thousands of miles away, in the Atlantic Ocean, Richard Gould of Brown University looks for underwater clues to unravel the mind of another mammal. By studying a 123-year-old floating pier, he hopes to show how 19th-century technological innovations fueled a costly arms race.

"It's (Earthwatch) an excellent source of support for Brown students to get field experience. Sometimes our graduate students come out to be staff members where they get their expenses paid. Good hands-on field experience can go a long way toward a dissertation ... and produce worthwhile results," Gould said.

Several other organizations offer research opportunities. The Foundation for Field Research, a non-profit group founded in 1982, offers scientific adventures in archaeology, architecture, biology and paleontology. Typical trips might include firsthand studies of bobcat ecology or the habits of prarie dogs.

Dan Skean Jr. recently got a close look at the evolution of tropical rainforests in the Caribbean, while Robert Leonard conducted archaeological research in the Southwest on structures built by Zuni Pueblo Native Americans. The foundation's average price for field research is about $1,000 for 15 days.

The Smithsonian Institution also sponsors research expeditions that represent museum concerns and priorities. It costs about $1,000 for a week.









A season of discontent may lie

ahead for incumbent political candidates facing the double threat of city redistricting plans and term limitations proposals.

Clymer Wright, founder of the Houston-based Citizens for Term Limitations organization has played a key role in the fight to give voters the right to amend Houston's city charter.

Increasing public dissatisfaction with incumbents has given his organization the momentum needed to stand firm in its position to limit the mayor, city controller and any council member to two terms, Wright said.

The organization's proposal, Proposition Two would make candidates ineligible to run for a particular office after they have already served two full terms in that office.

If approved by voters, Houston would join Dallas, San Antonio and several states which have implemented term limitation measures.

Wright, a former newspaper editor who worked with the Houston Tribune and the Fort Bend Reporter, said he decided to launch an effort to rid city government of incumbents who build such a strong base of power and financial support that they become unaccountable to their constituents.

UH Political Science Professor Richard Murray recently conducted a survey, which indicated 69 percent of those questioned were in favor of Wright's proposal, 21 percent were opposed and 10 percent had no opinion.

"I found a statute, which indicated that any city with a population of more than 5,000 had the right to amend its charter through referendums and initiatives," Wright said.

"Only one city council member has been voted out of office in the last 10 years," he said, referring to former council member Jim Westmoreland.

Beverley Clark succeeded Westmoreland after he made a derogatory remark about the Mickey Leland Intercontinental Airport terminal.

Wright said the only support he has received from city elected officials has come from District A Council Member Larry McKaskle and District G Council Member Christin Hartung.

Among the mayoral candidates, Wright said he has garnered the support of Bob Lanier and Sylvester Turner.

"When I'm attending a meeting in the council chambers, I can see that council members don't pay attention to citizens when they are speaking. Term limitations is one way to do away with officials who can't do an effective job," McKaskle said.

Council Member Eleanor Tinsley said she is opposed to Proposition Two because "people should have the right to run for office if they meet the qualifications."

"Our democratic system has been built on people being able to run for office and the voters' right to vote for or against them," Tinsley said.

Tinsley admitted, however, it was indeed difficult for candidates to raise the money needed to pose a serious threat to incumbents.

Wright said he was opposed to the three other term limitation proposals, which were drafted by council members.

If approved, Proposition Two would take effect immediately, he said.










Helping friends in times of need is what friendship is about, and no one knows that better than UH law student Kara Tips.

After Tips was arrested for carrying a handgun, her friends came to her aid -- financially.

They teamed up to pay her legal fees that amounted to $3,000. Although only $300 has been raised so far, hopes are high the fee will be paid soon.

Law School SA Representative Matthew Bracy, said Tips' friends set up a donations booth at UBU bar across Calhoun Rd. from the law school to help collect funds. Bracy, a senior law student, said most of the money is coming from a group of law students who want to help.

Law professor John Mixon said he's happy to see law students aiding one of their own. Although Mixon does not condone carrying a gun on campus, he said he realizes why some students feel they must.

"Society is not protecting them like it should," Mixon said. "In some ways we're back in the environment of the old west."

The reality of the crime problems helps one to understand why people feel they must take measures into their own hands, he said.

Dean of the National College of District Attorneys John Douglass, who also teaches Tips in one of his classes, said he's sure she supports her friends coming to her aid.

Tips left her handbag unattended at the law school library and was arrested by campus police after identifying the missing handbag. UHPD Officer Larry Tidwell said he found a handgun in her purse while searching it for identification.

Assistant Police Chief Frank Cempa praised Tidwell for doing the right thing.

Cempa said he doesn't condone students carrying handguns on campus because of the possibility that other students, children or anyone else could find the gun and use it.

"Two wrongs don't make a right," he said.






CPS -- Undergraduate students at public colleges and universities are paying the biggest tuition and fee increases in eight years, an annual survey shows.

The College Board reported Oct. 16 that an in-state student at a four-year, public institution paid an average of 12 percent more in academic year 1990-91 -- to a total of $2,137 in tuition and fees. Those figures don't include room and board.

The cost of education at a public two-year school rose by 13 percent, or $1,022, and a student at a four-year private school paid 7 percent more, or $10,017.

College Board officials blamed the increase, the highest since 1983, on tough economic times.

"The current recession has had an impact on all sectors of education, public and private," said Donald Stewart, president of the College Board. "Although we haven't seen double-digit increases for public institutions since 1983, many people expected them this year because of the widely publicized cuts in state budgets.

"Ironically, the nation is cutting funds for higher education at a time when its need for a well-educated workforce is growing. At some point, we must realize that such cuts are short-sighted and counterproductive."

One of the biggest increases took place in the University of California system, where tuition rose by 40 percent. The University of Oregon raised tuition by nearly 33.3 percent.

Richard Rosser, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, noted that money problems are nothing new to private schools, which don't have the taxpayer subsidy that public institutions have.

"The financial problems now being faced by state institutions are ones that private colleges and universities have been trying to deal with for years," Rosser said. "Above all, as state governments face tight budget constraints, they should give top priority to funding programs that provide financial assistance to students so that an individual can make a true choice between a private or public institution, based on fulfilling educational aspirations and not on price."

The College Board is a national, non-profit membership association of more than 2,800 schools and agencies in secondary and higher education. The association publishes information on tuition, fees and other expenses for more than 3,000 colleges in "The College Cost Book."








The candidates for mayor of Houston run the gamut when it comes to positions on some of the city's pressing environmental concerns.

While incumbent Mayor Kathy Whitmire avidly supports the proposed west-side airport, the Houston Ship Channel expansion project and the Wallisville Reservoir project, State Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, stands opposed to them. Between these two stands Bob Lanier, who has taken no position.

Whitmire has pushed for the west-side airport to compensate for the future growth of the city. While the mayor does support the proposed site, administrative aide to the mayor, Alysia Richards, said Whitmire is not necessarily committed to that particular site.

Richards said, despite local ecologists' studies, including one by her own ecological advisor and the U.S. Air Force that both said the site would be dangerous because of the large number of birds that winter nearby, Whitmire is still waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration's study before making a final decision on whether to change the site.

Richards also said Whitmire supports the widening of the Ship Channel because of its significance to Houston's economy. The two largest environmental groups in the Houston area, the Sierra Club and the Texas Environmental Action League, however, vehemently protest the project.

Both organizations say it is not only environmentally harmful, but it's also impractical. The Army Corps of Engineers plans to deepen the channel from 35 to 50 feet, which would allow larger ships to access the channel -- except for the fact that the Corps hasn't found a way to do it yet.

Richards said the mayor supports the Wallisville Reservoir in order to secure a water supply for Houston's future. However, the aide said she didn't have enough information to respond to claims that the Wallisville project is environmentally harmful and that a cheaper and more plentiful source of water has been offered to the city by the Sabine River Authority.

While members of the Turner campaign were unavailable for comment and did not return phone calls, Turner has spoken against these specific projects, most recently during a fundraiser that Sierra Club and TEAL attended.

In contrast, Lanier is reluctant to make statements concerning these issues before he has had more time to research them, according to statements he made during the candidates' last debate.

No member of Lanier's campaign was available for comment on these issues.








Hoping to save a stand of century-old water oak trees from the bulldozer, nearly 30 UH students protested Friday afternoon the proposed construction of the UH Alumni Center at the corner of Cullen and Elgin.

Braving cold weather, the protesters linked arms around the site and hugged trees.

From the College of Architecture and campus environmental groups, the students said construction of the $5.5 to $6.5 million Alumni Center at the proposed site would be detrimental to the university's park-like atmosphere.

"Basically, the University Park Campus is about to lose its university-park quality," Geoff Bay, a third-year architecture student, said.

Geoffrey Wheeler, the third-year architecture student who organized the protest, said he had received much support from UH faculty and students.

"We're protesting because of the plan to build the building here," Wheeler said. "Already, we've got more than 200 signatures from students and teachers."

Chris Kidwell, a Team Earth member, said the Alumni Center should be built elsewhere.

"The university has imminent domain over most of the surrounding area and can definitely build somewhere else," Kidwell said.

This week, Wheeler and Kidwell said they would discuss alternatives to the site with one of the major contributors to the Alumni Center.

Frank Holmes, director of Alumni Affairs, said the alumni were naturally concerned with preserving the beauty of the campus, and plans to build the center were still in preliminary stages.

"Right at the moment that this was proposed, we were concerned about how many trees could be saved, planted or how it would beautify the community," Holmes said.

Holmes said the Center's project planning guide had not yet been completed and would be affected by many factors.

"The planning process itself could take months," Holmes said. "In the interim, there are a number of reasons why we would decide not to place the site there."

Holmes said the alumni and the university still had to consider how the construction of proposed athletic facilities, fund-raising changes and input from UH's Project Planning Committee and Board of Regents would impact the center.

"This building, from its inception, was to be a facility that would interact with the entire community," Holmes said. "Obviously, we don't want anything completely opposite to that."

If the proposed site is not changed, protesters said they would continue fighting.

"We'll give them all hell," Ralph Alberico, a Rainforest Action Group and Progressive Student Network member, said.










UH's handicapped students are having a tough time getting to their classes and other destinations because of the state of many of the elevators on campus.

"In regards to my own personal independence, I am able to operate only a couple of elevators without help. I have to rely on people's generosity to get around on campus," said George Walls, a psychology major who is paralyzed from the neck down.

Walls said the elevators in the Heyne building, Science and Research 1, the middle elevators at PGH, the elevators at Agnes Arnold and Roy Cullen are the most difficult to operate because the doors either close too quickly or the buttons are too high to reach.

Walls calls the elevator in the Roy Cullen building "a joke" because, "to get in the elevator, I have to go to the second floor to get a key. Now how am I supposed to get to the second floor? With wings?"

In front of the elevator in the Science and Research 1 building are trash cans that impede a handicapped person from reaching the buttons to get in the elevator, Walls said. "A normal person doesn't think about reaching over the trash cans to hit the buttons, but people like me don't have that option," he said.

Walls, however, said he was impressed with the left elevator at the University Center and the elevator in Science and Research 2 because he could punch the buttons himself without any problem.

Ayla Thomas, who, unlike Walls, has use of her hands, also has difficulty reaching the buttons on most of the elevators. "Mostly I get someone in the elevator to hit the button and if nobody is around, I have to reach and hope that I don't fall out of my chair," she said.

She said she also has problems with the elevators in Agnes Arnold, which she said close very fast. "I hardly have time to get inside. The elevator at the UC is the best because I can reach the buttons without leaning and the door doesn't close too fast," Thomas said.

Some school officials say these sorts of problems should be fixed within the next year. Karen Waldman, coordinator for Handicapped Student Services, said the American Disabilities Act will spark a lot of changes in the workplace. The ADA requires workplaces having 25 or more employees to make reasonable accommodations for handicapped accessibility by July 26, 1992.

"A lot of changes will be made over the country because of the ADA," she said. "I hope we will have more lowered elevator buttons as quickly as possible."

In the meantime, Waldman said if students have problems with elevators closing too fast, they should contact her and she will call the Physical Plant to adjust the doors.









Mayoral candidate Sylvester Turner may boast of his loyalty to his alma mater, but it was only after he was sued for a 1977 outstanding student loan that he finally coughed up the $503.94 on Feb. 26 of this year.

Bonnie Weisman, assistant university council, said over the years several notices were sent to Turner requesting payment for the outstanding loan.

Prior to filing the lawsuit, Turner was mailed a final demand letter stating that if payment was not made a lawsuit would be filed, she said.

When contacted Monday, Turner said he did not know he had an outstanding loan until he was served with papers notifying him that a lawsuit was filed. "I was surprised they filed a lawsuit. The letters may have come to my office when I was away or at the Legislature. I do not recall receiving any letters (requesting payment)."

The lawsuit was filed on May 24, 1990 and Turner's account was not payed in full and closed until Feb. 26, 1991 -- nine months after the lawsuit was filed, Weisman said.

Turner said the reason for the delay was he was unaware the loan had not been repaid.

"I resolved it when it came to my attention. It has been fully satisfied and taken care of," Turner said.

Weisman said there was never a hearing because the money was paid back in full.

Turner made two payments to pay off the $503.94, one in October and the final on Feb. 26, 1991. The lawsuit, she said, was dismissed on July 30, 1991.

Turner said the reason for the partial payment was because he asked for documentation to verify that he had not paid the loan. When the documentation was provided, Turner said he paid the amount owed.

"It was resolved and there is no pending lawsuit against Sylvester Turner," Turner said.

Turner graduated Magna Cum Laud from UH in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in political science. He later received a law degree from Harvard.

Turner said he received $40,000 in loans across the board to finance his education.

The loan Turner was sued for was a National Direct Loan for $700. This type of loan has been renamed the Perkins Loan.

When Turner graduated in 1977 he made payments on the $700 over the years, but at some point he defaulted, leaving $166.52 outstanding. Because of interest on the principal, filing fees, attorney fees and the standard collection cost, the final amount due escalated to $503.94, Weisman said.

"We didn't treat him any differently than we do anyone else who doesn't pay their student loans," Weisman said. "The collection process is there to collect outstanding indebtedness so other people can borrow money. The collection process is there to make the funds whole."

Mary Higdon, manager of university collections said the default rate on a Perkins Loan at UH is 7.0 percent.

"The Perkins loans are a revolving loan fund which collects the money and interest so we can loan more money to other students. We don't need additional money because the fund is replenished. When a loan is defaulted on it could jeopardize someone else getting a loan," Higdon said.

Ninety-three percent of students repay Perkins loans, she said, which makes UH's default rate below government requirements.

Robert Sheridan, director of scholarships and financial aid, said there is $1.4 million available this year through the Perkins loan, allowing 615 students to receive this type of loan.

The interest rate on a Perkins loan is 5 percent, which is less compared to the 8 percent interest rate on a Stafford Student Loan.

Sheridan said a default that dates as far back as 1977 could hinder more than one student from getting a loan. The average length of time for a student to graduate is four to five years, so if the loan had been repaid, the money with interest would have recycled twice, he said.

"The nature of revolving fund dollars is limited, it not only is affecting one other student but multiple students -- a default produces a snowball effect," Sheridan said.

Turner said he made in excess of $250,000 last year.









Monica Lopez, a work-study employee, said she was fired from her position at UH, apparently because she complained about the allocation of John Moores' $51 million donation to the university.

Lopez, a sophomore majoring in English Teacher Education, said she was fired from the UH Office of Development one day after complaining to President Barnett's office about the $25 million allocation to the UH athletics department.

Susan Colter, vice president of the UH Office of Development flatly denied there was any connection between Lopez' complaint and her termination on Thursday. Colter said Lopez was terminated for budgetary reasons.

"The department is operating on budgetary constraints, and we realized that we didn't need a person to work in that particular position," Colter said.

Lopez said she and a group of friends called Barnett's office on Wednesday, Oct. 30 and left a message that they were dissatisfied with the way Moores' gift was handled.

"We didn't feel that a gift of $25 million to a department that is plagued with mismanagement should go unchallenged," Lopez said.

Apparently, the matter was referred to Dave Keith, vice president of External Affairs, who called Lopez into his office to discuss her complaints.

"He told me how misinformed I was on the status of the athletics department, and that I should feel lucky that I attend a university where the tuition rates are so low," Lopez said.

Lopez said Keith told her she didn't have to worry about other UH departments because Moores had made other donations to the university and he would probably donate in the future.

"After we finished talking, I didn't think anything else about the matter," Lopez said.

Keith said the fact that Lopez was fired the next day was purely coincidental, and that it's unfortunate that Lopez thinks she was fired because of her remarks.

"I called her into my office strictly to answer her questions concerning the matter," Keith said. "I doubt she was fired on the basis of what she alleges."

Keith said he was aware of the $34,000 budget shortfall within the development department, but was unaware of the means the department would use to address the problem.

Lopez said she was told by Yvette Adams, office manager for the Office of Development, on Thursday that her position was being eliminated for budgetary reasons.

"At first I just blew it off, but then when I thought about the fact that I complained to the vice president of External Affairs on Wednesday, was fired on Thursday and was replaced on Friday, I just figured this was too big of a coincidence," Lopez said.

Lopez said her position was filled by another student the following day, and that that student is earning 51 cents per hour more than she was.

"They changed the title of the position. The new person is called a record keeper and I was called a file clerk, but this person is performing the same, exact duties that I was," Lopez said.

Lopez said she was told by Adams that the office was cutting personnel across the board, and that no new people would be hired. Lopez said she was surprised to learn the office had hired another person the next day.

Lopez said she feels UH will go to any extent to protect the department of athletics. Although she has no proof that her termination can, in any way, be linked to Barnett's office, she does feel this type of action is in keeping with Barnett's "attempt to gloss over everything."

"The fact that a work-study student would be fired because of trying to exercise my right of free expression shows to what extent athletics is treated as a sacred cow at UH, to be protected at all costs," Lopez said.

Lopez said it will be difficult for her to find another work-study position, particularly in the area of administration.

Colter said she wished Lopez had come to her the minute she suspected she had been treated unfairly.

"I would have been happy to explain the situation to her personally, so we could've avoided this misunderstanding," Colter said.


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