COLEMAN COMES TO CAMPUS

DEBATES ISSUES OF DRUG CONTROL, EDUCATION

DRUG LEGALIZATION NO ANSWER, SAYS NEWEST LEGISLATOR

BY DAVE DAVIS

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Students concerned about Houston's staggering crime rate spoke with newly elected state Rep. Garnet Coleman, during his Wednesday visit to the UH campus.

Coleman, who has served as the District 147 state representative since his Oct. 15 upset victory over opponent Jew Don Boney, was invited to the campus to deliver the third address in the UH African American Studies Program 1991-92 lecture series: Personal Experiences in Leadership/The Black Community.

Students expressed an overwhelming concern about Houston's drug problem and the effect it's having on the black community. One student expressed outrage over the disproportionate amount of negative publicity blacks receive from real life crime shows like City Under Siege.

The student said he was tired of seeing policemen "blow into black neighborhoods and chase after blacks who sell drugs, but never enter into white neighborhoods to catch drug dealers."

Coleman said he agreed with the student's observations and was also disgusted with the negative images of black males on TV. Coleman attributed the disparity to prejudice and stereotypes that Coleman says still greatly influence media coverage.

As a solution to the problem, Coleman rehashed his political platform of his commitment to rehabilitation and education. Coleman rejected legalizing drug use as a possible solution to the crime aspect of the problem by saying legalization would only serve to legitimize a debilitating habit.

Coleman's remark's met opposition from Diallo Kantambu, husband of the director of the AASP. Kantambu, who has attended previous lectures in this series, said the Bush administration has already given up on addressing the supply side of the drug problem; therefore, a realistic approach to the demand side of the problem would have to be developed.

"I feel some form of legalization would take the crime aspect of drug abuse out of the streets so that we could at least get a handle on the problem," Kantambu said.

Kantambu said government regulation of illegal drugs would standardize product content and would drive down prices which would ultimately end the drug dealing industry.

Coleman focused the principle part of his address on the state of education in Texas. Coleman said people are moving out of poorer districts like District 147 in search of better-quality schools, and businesses are following suit. Coleman said a higher quality of education is the only way to stimulate economic growth in struggling inner-city communities.

"If we don't have good schools to attract families back into this area, then we will not have businesses to service those families that currently reside in this district," Coleman said.

Coleman said he would continue his efforts to make sure loan money is available to Texas students who want to attend college. He said a proposal he supported since beginning his campaign, which authorizes the sale of state bonds to raise money for student loans, passed overwhelmingly during the Nov. 6 state elections.

Coleman said he would like to assure a return of the 6 percent funding cuts state universities suffered over the past year, but currently there is "simply no money in the state budget." Coleman said he will fight to keep tuition at a reasonably affordable level, but he stresses a desire for students, to accept their fair share of the financial burden of attending college.

 

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DISNEY FILM A `BEAUTY'

BY CHRIS ENGLISH

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

If Walt were defrosted, he'd definitely warm up to the latest Disney full-length animated fantasy.

It's a real beauty -- and a beast.

It's Beauty and the Beast, another re-telling of a classical fairytale. In the Disney tradition, Beauty and the Beast is full of song and magic, laughter and tears.

Beauty is the bibliophilic (nice touch) and daydreaming daughter of an eccentric inventor. She spends her days lost in the reverie of landscapes drawn by her books and imagination, all the while shrugging off the advances of Gaston, the village's great white hunter with a Goodyear blimp-sized ego. Then tragedy falls.

Her father, on the way to the fair to show his new invention, gets lost in the forest. Seeking refuge, he stumbles upon a castle. The castle is occupied by endearing (and talented) animated furniture and crockery ... and the Beast.

The Beast is actually a handsome prince who was placed under a spell for being cruel and heartless. The prince must find love before his 21st birthday or he and his bewitched servants will retain their transformed shapes forever. These circumstances keep the Beast in a pretty bad mood. These circumstances bring Beauty to the castle.

Can the Beast find love within his cold heart? Can Beauty find love for someone more hirsute than Ernest Borgnine and less handsome? And how does the jilted Gaston enter into the picture? And will Lumiere, the burlesque candelebra, ever see his name in lights?

You can find out when Beauty and the Beast premieres Nov. 22 at theaters around town. A word of advice: little nephews and nieces make good covers.

 

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FACULTY SENATE VOTES FOR NO-SMOKE CAMPUS

CONSIDERS HALTING UH TOBACCO SALES

BY RHONDA HECTOR

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

After much debate, the Faculty Senate passed Wednesday a smoking-policy recommendation that would prohibit smoking in all public areas, including classrooms, private offices, dining facilities, student housing and the campus Hilton.

"I consider this prohibition of smoking in private offices as an infringement on my freedom, if not academic, personal," biology professor David Mailman said. "I think the basic motivation behind this is a sort of self-righteous holy war." The recommendation, which will be submitted to President Marguerite Ross Barnett, also advises that UH should stop sales of all smoking materials on campus and provide programs to help students and faculty stop smoking.

The Senate formulated the policy based on clinical evidence that nonsmokers are harmed when exposed to second-hand smoke.

"Smokers are asking that nonsmokers ignore a known risk," said physics professor George Reiter. "Frankly, I am not willing to put up with that health risk."

If the recommendation is accepted by Barnett, the president's office will adopt sanctions against smoking when they pass the policy, said John Bernard, president of the Senate.

In other Senate business, James Pickering, senior vice president for academic affairs, spoke to the Senate about the goals of his office for the present year.

"Sometime in the near future, we, as a campus, need to launch a comprehensive study on undergraduate education," Pickering said. "There are many questions about how undergraduate education is delivered that need consideration."

Quality, depth and major/minor programs are some of the areas that will be studied, Pickering said. He pointed out that the core curriculum is not to be part of the study.

"I do not see the core curriculum of this university as an issue," Pickering said. "Our core curriculum has become widely regarded throughout the nation as a model which other universities try to copy."

Chris Kidwell of Team Earth also addressed the Senate, asking for support in implementing a campus-wide recycling program.

"Our proposal recommends that we cover at least 16 buildings on campus," Kidwell said. "Aluminum cans, glass bottles, newspaper and all types of office paper should be included in the collection program."

Kidwell stressed the importance of informing all students, faculty and staff about the program.

 

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OIL SLUMP IS FOREVER, SAYS LEADING PHYSICIST

BY REBECCA MCPHAIL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Houston, with its petroleum-based economy, may have already seen its finest days.

Leading U.S. physicist, Albert Bartlett, believes that the current oil slump is a permanent one.

"I suspect that the petroleum portion of the Houston economy will decline over the years," he said.

But Houston is not the only city coping with the oil slump, Bartlett said.

"In the United States, we've used half of the oil that was ever in the ground. One of the consequences is that oil production in the lower 48 states will certainly go downhill in the future."

Bartlett, who has served as the president of the American Association of Physics Teachers, will be conducting a public lecture this evening at UH-Downtown. His appearance is sponsored by the Visiting Scientist Program of the American Association of Physics Teachers.

The lecture, "Forgotten Facts and Figures on the Oil Crisis," attempts to show discrepancies between how much fuel is said to be in reserve and how much is actually there.

"I demonstrate how eminent authorities misrepresent these things very frequently," Bartlett said.

He said much of the misrepresentation is achieved through the careful manipulation of language.

The government will generally issue reports that state, "At present rates of consumption we've got enough coal for five hundred years," he said.

Bartlett questions whether the public understands this or other similarly-worded statements.

"It means zero growth of coal consumption," he said. Yet, with the world's population steadily increasing, he said, this is an unrealistic expectation.

Unfortunately, no amount of government manipulation can alleviate the problem, he said. The solution lies in the stabilization of consumer demand.

"When you get in fiscal deficit Congress can play games and, in a sense, print money and try to get around the problem. But nobody can print oil.

"The consumption end is where you've got to reduce, and the easiest way is to improve efficiency."

Bartlett said the federal government is not interested in improving efficiency. References to the need for stronger conservation and efficiency regulations were taken out of the first draft of President Bush's energy policy by members of his cabinet, he said.

"They wiped out all of those conservation references, and when President Bush announced his plan, it didn't have any of those things in it," Bartlett said.

Although Bartlett's lecture strikes an alarming chord, not everyone believes the public should be in a state of panic.

UH Economics Professor James Smith, however, said there is actually more oil to be had today.

"I don't see any type of an alarming oil crisis right now," Smith said.

Smith said the fact the United States consumes more oil than it produces is not an unusual occurrence.

"I'm not concerned that we have to reduce consumption," he said.

Bartlett sees things differently.

"When you look at something like oil or coal, you find that the resource is limited," he said. "When you have steady growth with a finite amount of resource, you find that the resource runs out frighteningly quickly."

 

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VAKSMAN DENIED REINSTATEMENT

ADMINISTRATION SAYS IT'S NOT BOUND BY COURT DECISION

BY DAI HUYNH

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Despite orders from a Harris County District Judge to reinstate a graduate student to the university's doctoral program, UH has opted not to comply with the judgement.

On Oct. 8, 125th State District Judge Don E. Wittig ruled that UH violated the right to free expression under the Texas Constitution by expelling Fabian Vaksman on the basis of his political views and not for academic reasons.

The judge ordered UH to reinstate Vaksman, 37, to the History Department's doctorate program by Nov. 14, 1991. However, the university has taken the position to not comply with the judgment because of its decision to file a notice of appeal, said David Lopez, the plaintiff's attorney.

Usually, a party must post bond or request the court to have a stay, which nullifies a judgment until the court has a chance to review the appeal, but because the university is a state agency it is able to waive those requirements, Lopez said.

UH Counsel Nancy Footer said the university is not required to follow through with the judgment until the appeal is ruled on.

"So it's not that we have decided to not reinstate him, it is because we don't have to because the case is on appeal," she said.

Vaksman was also awarded $122,500 to cover attorney fees and actual damages. During the appeal process, the university does not intend to pay the money awarded to Vaksman.

Lopez said it appears the university does not have to reinstate Vaksman during the appeal process, but whether this also applies to the actual damages awarded to Vaksman is unclear.

"However, we do not anticipate on challenging that decision, and will continue to work with the university to see if a mutual agreement can be arrived at," Lopez said. "Our main objective is to get a settlement, and if that cannot be reached, then we will take other courses of action."

Footer said there are no negotiation processes currently going on, but a settlement is always an option during an appeal process.

U.S. District Court Judge Norman W. Black has ordered for a settlement conference on Dec. 23, and if an agreement cannot be reached, then the judge will attempt to assist the two parties, Lopez said.

If an agreement cannot be reached even with the judge's assistance, then the case will go to a Federal court, he said.

Vaksman was notified of his dismissal on Oct. 29, 1986 by a mailed statement saying that he was a "polemicist who substitutes political ideology for original research and scholarly analysis," and that he was "unteachable."

Wittig said in his summary statement that this was not the case. Instead, overwhelming evidence indicated that Vaksman was dismissed not on an academic basis but because he expressed political views and was a "thorn in the side" of certain members of the History Department.

The judge also criticized the university for not giving Vaksman prior notice of his expulsion or the opportunity to respond to any concerns the graduate committee may have had prior to expelling him.

"The expulsion of Mr. Vaksman was well beyond the limits of societal expectations of a public institution and learned professionals," Wittig said.

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