The next time the Cougars play at home, John and Rebecca Moores will give $100 to every student who attends.

Not really, but just the thought of it probably makes the fellas over at the Cougar Athletic Department foam at the mouth.

"Why would they foam at the mouth?" you ask. Because two-dollar student tickets and a winning program hasn't worked.

The official attendance at the Houston/Texas Tech game was 4,256. That figure no doubt includes the press, cameramen, concession workers, custodians, players, referees and the guy who stole Will Flemons' wallet.

My guess is that out of this generous figure, there were less than 2,500 current UH students at the game.

More students than that watched the fire at E. Cullen Tuesday.

Just for comparison's sake, the same night in Lubbock, more than 6,000 Tech fans showed up to watch the Red Raider women take out the Lady Cougars.

Hofheinz Pavilion seats just over 10,000. The average home attendance for Cougar basketball games through eight games this season is 4,646. Take away the near-capacity crowd that came to see North Carolina, and that average would be considerably lower.

This can hardly be considered any kind of home-court advantage, which is as important in basketball as any sport.

This school seems to have a "What have you done for me lately?" kind of attitude.

Houston's record, 14-3, is the best since a couple of guys named Olajuwon and Drexler took the team and the university to "The Show" in 1983.

The attendance at the Texas Tech game at Hofheinz that year was 10,060. The average home attendance that season was more than 9,000.

However, the next year, when Olajuwon and Drexler were gone, attendance dropped by more than 4,000 per game. By the 1985-86 season, average home attendance was back down to under 5,000 a game. The Texas Tech game that year drew 4,211, a number surprisingly close to this season's figure.

Well, it's time for students and fans everywhere to wake up. The Cougars are first in the conference and ranked 29th in the country (USA Today/CNN), with three big challenges (Texas, TCU and Rice) coming soon to Hofheinz.

A few of the Rice fans at the Jan. 18 game taunted a Houston player and the Cougar fans in front of a TV audience. In fact, the old adage "Cougar High" came up a few times.

However, the Cougars embarrassed the few distasteful fans by sending them home losers. Not by winning, but by winning clean, with dignity. When teams such as North Carolina and Texas visit here, Hofheinz serves much as a neutral site. Those schools bring in as many or more fans as the Cougars do.

When North Carolina came to town earlier this season, as many people came out to see that tradition-rich program as to see Houston.

As the Cougars were compiling a 15-point lead in the first half, the Houston fans were making some noise. But as the lead began to shrink, so did the fan support.

In essence, there is no home-court advantage in Hofheinz.

Not to compare programs, but in the past decade, the Cougars have had more NCAA Final Four appearances (three) and more NCAA Championship appearances (two) than North Carolina.

In those days, Houston fans packed Hofheinz for every home game. They even traveled around the state to see away games. They would do crazy things like hold newspapers in front of their faces when the opposing players were announced and rattle their keys while the opponent shot free throws.

No, it's not a myth; it's true.

It's the kind of thing that gives a team momentum and confidence, the kind of thing that helps a team win the close games.

But it's not too late. The tickets are cheap -- two dollars on game day -- the team is good and school spirit is free.

This university wouldn't look like "Cougar High" if the stadiums weren't empty on game day.

As a matter of fact, there would be enough people to bum-rush anyone who said we did.

But it's come down to offering bribes.

John and Rebecca have already given `til it hurts, so money is out of the question.

So from now on, those students who do not attend at least five basketball games, three baseball games and two football games per year will be kicked out of school.

Not really, but wouldn't the fellas over at the Cougar Athletic Department foam at the mouth?








Marguerite Ross Barnett was given a six-month leave-of-absence, effective yesterday, as the reins of the UH presidency were entrusted to James Pickering.

In an emergency meeting Tuesday, the UH-System Board of Regents unanimously appointed James Pickering senior vice president for academic affairs and acting president of UH.

System Chancellor Alexander Schilt said, "We very much regret Dr. Barnett's absence, but we fully understand and support her need to focus on the recovery of her health.

"She is clearly an invaluable asset to Houston and to all the nation.

"These are difficult times both because of the life affected and the challenges ahead," Schilt said.

But, he said Barnett has recruited top administrators to fill high administrative posts. "I have every confidence that UH will weather the storm. We wish Dr. Barnett a full recovery," he said.

Pickering commended Barnett as a "gifted president."

"She has begun charting the course to make us a premier university. We will continue to move the university forward until Dr. Barnett returns," Pickering said.

Schilt said although Pickering is officially called the acting president, he will be completely in charge.

Pickering said while Barnett is recuperating, she may be in contact, but he will be making the presidential decisions.

He was uncertain as to whether he will need additional help, but he said some of the college deans and others have offered their help.

"An institution is a very fragile thing, and we must move forward or we will fall behind," Pickering said.

Board of Regents Chair John Cater said the group does not expect any significant changes to be made because there is a clear set of initiatives established.

In a letter to the community on Nov. 14, Barnett stated she had a neuroendocrinological condition which would require treatments and cause her to be periodically away from the campus. She would not elaborate further on her illness.

Schilt said he would honor Barnett's wishes and would not expound on her current condition.

During the six-month period, Barnett will retain her full salary of $155,041 for 1991-92, her residence at Melcher House and full benefits.

Barnett, 49, was named the eighth president and began her term on Sept. 1, 1990.

State statutes say six months is the maximum time for this type of leave-of-absence, Schilt said.

If Barnett is unable to assume her postion at the end of six months, Schilt and the board will reassess the situation.

In the joint role as acting president and senior vice president for academic affairs, Pickering's salary is $145,000.

When he is relieved as acting president, his salary will be $130,050.








Rollerblading, cooking demonstrations and a discussion about AIDS are among the subjects of Video Workshop, a collaborative effort between UH Communications classes and KUHT-Channel 8.

The program, now in its 25th year, lets students implement what they have learned in their media performance and production classes.

The magazine format program, slated to begin airing at 5 p.m., Feb. 3, consists of six weekly episodes including everything from entertainment to social issues, said Dianne Carroll, publicity director.

Students from the fall 1991 media performance course provided the on-screen talent for the shows -- hosting, demonstrating and performing for the programming.

The studio crew was made up of students from the fall 1991 television producing and directing course. The studio crew directed, filmed and handled lighting for the programs, said Carl Ferraro, instructor of the producing and directing class, said.

Ferraro likened the program to the students' first taste of "real-world production."

"The workshop is an excellent venue for the students to show their work publicly," radio/television Professor William Hawes said. "Many of the students go on to professional work, both locally and nationally."

The production, which premiered in 1967, was first shown on KHTV-Channel 39 and continued for 18 years. The program has been with Channel 8 for less than a decade.

Young Mickey Leland was once a cub reporter for Video Workshop, Carroll said.







The editor and managing editor of the student newspaper at Palm Beach Atlantic College said they were fired and lost their scholarships because they objected to censorship by the school administration.

After publishing in November what the school called "sexually suggestive" poetry and an anonymous letter poking fun at the school's policy prohibiting homosexuality, Lou Maglio and Kittie Stuart were told they were fired.

The unsigned letter ran in its entirety in The Rudder, with permission from the administration, with large sections blacked out and the word "censored" printed on top.

"They don't teach free thinking here," said Maglio, the editor. "Some of these people threw out 800 copies of the newspaper -- like it's their constitutional right to decide what people can read."

The administration objected when the two editors went to the Palm Beach Post with complaints of censorship and said students had "lost confidence" in the editors' leadership.

"School Vice President Dan MacMillan is discussing the possibility of a weekly news and information sheet that would not contain a heavy editorial flavor," university spokesman Greg Hodnett said. "The paper wasn't meeting our readership needs."








Waxahachie, Texas, is a beehive of activity since it was chosen as the site for one of the most grandiose scientific forays ever -- the Superconducting Supercollider project.

High-energy physics is a field replete with particle accelerators (PA) of various kinds and capabilities. However, the process of expounding the properties of natural elements by creating artificial collisions at high energies is an old concept.

The SSC steals a march over similar projects by virtue of its magnitude alone.

Under the stewardship of Roy Schwitters, the SSC and its integral components spread all over the country, sprouting wings and manifesting itself as the second-largest science and research project currently being undertaken.

At a conservatively estimated budget of $8.25 billion, this program and the Space Station Freedom are high on the agenda of the Department of Energy. Think-tanks are of the opinion this behemoth should turn the corner at the cusp of the 21st century.

Roy Weinstein, professor of physics at UH and a spokesman for the Houston group of universities coordinating efforts on the Superconductor project, said the present strength of 25 faculty members in Texas involved is sure to increase three-fold in the future.

Weinstein was instrumental in securing the project for Texas in the midst of an intense competition. Illinois, Massachusetts and California, all with prior experience in dealing with PAs, were clamoring at the prospect of securing the ambitious project.

"It was the near-perfect desert floor and its geometry," Weinstein said, that clinched the deal in favor of the Lone Star State. Waxahachie's proximity to Dallas was an added advantage.

In essence, the process is one of accelerating proton beams with diameters of only a few millimeters at the speed of light along a circular track of 87

kilometers circumference, the circuit being completed in a time span of less than 300 microseconds.

Curtis Johnson, associate dean in the College of Technology who is also a principal investigator of the SSC on related research projects, said coils of wires at a current rating of 6,000 amps generate a magnetic field one million times that of the earth at its surface.

Also, 10,000 magnets, manufactured in and around the country help the beam go in circles 24 hours a day.

The end result is reached when the accelerated protons from two of these circular tubes collide at very high velocities, giving rise to new particles.

And, by assessing these particles, scientists believe the horizons of modern science will be drastically widened, giving rise to a better understanding of nature.

However, the future of this massive undertaking is less than secure. Congress has threatened more than once to snatch away funding for the project.

Japan, potentially the largest foreign donor to keep SSC afloat, recently declined financial aid to the struggling project, citing a renovation program of its weak science and technology mission.

And other potential players, such as Germany, Italy and Russia, are hedging on giving their support to what is perceived as a strictly American venture.

Such sentiments against the SSC establishment have put CERN, another project along the same lines, on a higher pedestal.

Based in Switzerland and aided by the economic European Community, CERN involves an international consortium of researchers, making it the cynosure of all eyes now. Fermilab of Illinois is also a key player in CERN.

Texas, as SSC's major beneficiary, can count itself lucky on a number of scores. Prominent among these is the thousand-odd jobs that have already been generated.

A consortium of universities and colleges in the state are sparing no effort in this mammoth assignment.

And UH, for its part, possesses specific knowledge on one of the two major detectors, bigger magnets used in the process,"knowledge which hopefully will not be canned," Weinstein said.

Johnson is of the opinion that SSC "spinoffs," such as magnetically levitated trains, cancer and tumor detection, and power-generation facilities can be expected.

The manufacture of large superconducting magnets in itself is a quantum leap for science, Johnson said.

The SSC has received its share of praise and flak, but nothing has deterred the project administrators from building up a structure like the tunnels and magnets.








Maybe you've heard someone say, "I only get drunk on the weekends, but sometimes I think maybe I'm an alcoholic. I wish I knew because I'm scared."

Or maybe you've heard, "My husband thinks I have a drinking problem. I just don't know if I do or not."

The UH Psychology Department has a program for people who are asking themselves these questions and others.

"We're not trying to find alcoholics. We're trying to find people who are concerned about their drinking and want some feedback," said Carlo DiClemente, principal investigator for the Drinker Checkup Program.

"We just provide people with information on their drinking habits. They can decide whether they need to make changes or not," said Barbara Leventon, project coordinator.

The program consists of a person supplying the researchers with information, such as their drinking habits ("I drink two beers every evening,"), their family background ("My sister is an alcoholic,"), marital problems or school pressures.

The researchers then assess this data and give the participant a detailed written evaluation.

If you were the participant, the evaluation would contain information on your blood alcohol level (BAL), the extent of the problem, special risk factors, such as a family history of alcohol or drug problems, and feedback in other areas.

The evaluation may say that based on the information you supplied, your BAL while drinking during the week was 0.089 and on heavier days, it was 0.202.

You can then judge your drinking against a scale provided in the report which states that 0.4 on average is a fatal dose, 0.3 on average is enough to make a person unconscious, 0.1 is legally intoxicated and 0.02-0.08 is the "normal" social drinking range.

Graphs are also supplied in the evaluation. What makes these graphs different is that the participant plots their own scores based on data the researchers have supplied.

"This makes the participant more actively involved. They are not just looking at a piece of paper we gave them," Leventon said.

Each graph is accompanied by detailed information on its meaning.

So how does all this help you? You might discover that you don't have a drinking problem, or the information may surprise you. Participants may learn to look more carefully at their drinking habits, maybe even seek help.

But Leventon stresses this program is not designed to get people into a treatment program.

"We don't require a treatment commitment. We leave that up to them. We hope to get people to consider their drinking," Leventon said.

So far the program has assessed 15 people.

She said the evaluations do not take a lot of time.

"We do an initial over-the-phone screening. That doesn't take long. And then they have to fill out a questionnaire. And, of course, it is all completely confidential."








Texas' loss to Baylor Monday moved Houston into first place, but the Cougars have no time to celebrate with two games on the road this week.

Houston travels to College Station today to face Texas A&M in both teams' fifth conference match-up of the season.

The Cougars go into the game with a 3-1 conference record, while the Aggies sit in the conference cellar with a 3-11 record.

The Aggies' record is their worst in 25 years; however, playing away poses a threat as the Texas/Baylor game proved.

Texas came within three points of being upset by A&M in College Station on Jan. 14. The Aggies led that game by as many as nine early in the second half, yet succumbed to a Texas charge halfway through the final period.

The Aggies' biggest threat is sophomore guard Dave Edwards, who is averaging 17 points a game. He's averaging 23 points a game in conference play -- the third best in the SWC.

The Cougars have been hot of late, winning their last four. Their margin of victory in those games has been more than 12 points a contest.

However, Cougar forward Sam Mack said Houston can't afford to relax at this point of the season.

"Texas A&M is going to be a tough game," Mack said. "College Station is always a tough place to play, so we want to go in there and establish our shooting and rebounding.

"If we do that, I think we'll come out on top."

Mack has been the Cougars' leading scorer this season, averaging 16.5 points a contest. He has the highest three-point field goal percentage in the conference, shooting 42.6 percent.

Cougar center Charles Outlaw has also been a key player in Houston's success this season.

Outlaw is averaging 12.9 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. He also leads the SWC in blocked shots with 48 while leading the team in steals with 26.

Outlaw has come on strong in the last few games, he says, because of better outside team shooting.

"We're starting to get more consistent and that helps the post-man get easy shots," Outlaw said.

Forward Craig Upchurch also helps out a lot inside. Along with that, he is a team leader.

The Cougars are 40-11 with Upchurch starting.

Upchurch is averaging more than 16 points a game this season, including 23 at California.

As a team, the Cougars have been extremely hot from the field of late. Their 48.3 field-goal percentage leads the conference.

If that shooting starts to falter, the Cougars could have trouble with the Aggies.

Houston is currently ranked around 30th in both major polls. If they can defeat A&M and win the next road game this Saturday against TCU, they could creep into the top 25.







Lauri Willard planned to write a paper on women's issues when she began her independent study in Africa last semester. What she got instead was an introduction to Exorcism 101.

Exorcism was just one area of study for Willard, who opted to write a case study on spiritual healing in Yaounde, Cameroon.

She is a junior at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., and she did the study for the college's School for International Training.

"Their spiritual beliefs include black magic and sorcery, that people can go out and put a hex on other people," Willard said. Exorcism involves "the deliverance of people possessed by overpowering evil forces."

During her research, Willard said she was surprised that spiritual healing and sorcery were accepted practices both revered and feared by many in Cameroon.

"It was embraced by all," she said. "I thought this took place in only rural areas...but it was in the cities, too. Professors, priests, journalists, the more Westernized and educated people, although they might not get into it, they believed in it."

They believed in it so much, many urged Willard not to pursue her research.

"They told me, `Don't study that, you can die from that,'" Willard said.

Still, others were willing to help -- among those that Willard interviewed were two men who served as the basis for her case studies, Father Meinrad Hebga, a Jesuit priest and University of Yaounde philosophy professor renowned in Cameroon for his healing abilities, and Master Nicolas Owona Mbarga, spiritual leader of a movement called the Universal Church of the Future.

Both men allowed Willard to watch them work and taught her about the African mentality that allows for sorcery, magic and spiritual healing.

"At first, it was hard for me to understand their beliefs (because they aren't based on) the Western notion of body and mind," Willard said. "They believe in the body, spirit, breath, shadow, heart, a lot of different elements."

Those different elements allow for people to become possessed, have out-of-body experiences or, in some cases, act as a medium through which God can communicate.

After gaining an understanding of these beliefs, Willard watched them practice, usually in the form of exorcisms.

"I was only one of two white people there and sometimes the possessed would mock me or yell at me.

"I was trying to understand it intelligently. A lot of what I saw was amazing," she said. "The mediums -- God speaks through them -- they don't remember anything afterward. I couldn't help but believe what they were saying."

Still, Willard said she doesn't believe in black magic, sorcery, exorcism and spiritual healing in the African sense.

In the conclusion of her research paper, Willard compared an exorcism to personal psychological therapy.

"Though Cameroonian and American mentalities, beliefs and methods may be different, the end result is the same -- peace and harmony."

Willard now hopes to pursue a master's degree in world religion.








Flames and smoke billowed from fourth-floor office windows in E. Cullen Tuesday morning, causing extensive smoke and water damage estimated at between $300,000 to $600,000, UH officials said.

The fire ignited in the fourth-floor Office of Development about 7:30 a.m., causing smoke to pour through vents and panicked employees to flee down smoke-filled stairwells.

Houston Fire Chief Kyle Raney said the one-alarm fire started in a basement storage room.

An air shaft directly above the room carried heat up the duct system to the fourth floor, catching fire, he said.

"The fire produced a chimney effect, heat riso and ran through the air shaft," Raney said.

He said an arson investigator was called because the storage room, filled with toilet paper and other supplies, made it "look suspicious." He said the fire may have been caused by a cigarette.

Arson investigators said the fire was accidental but would not release what caused the fire.

Zakiyah Haqq, a secretary with Development Information Services, said she was on the fifth floor at 7:45 a.m. when she began to smell smoke.

"I smelled smoke and heard the flames in the walls. I could

hear fire in the walls that sounded like popcorn," Haqq said. "The alarms didn't go off, the only sound we heard were people running down the stairs."

Haqq said she began screaming for everyone to get out of the building, and by the time they reached the stairwell, it was already filled with smoke.

"I feel like if I had waited a few more minutes, I wouldn't have made it. The smoke was so thick, I wouldn't have reached the bottom and would have been overcome by smoke," Haqq said, clasping her hands together as tears rolled down her face.

David McBride, assistant director of development, said he became aware of the fire when he heard a woman screaming on the fifth floor.

McBride said he then heard a strange bubbling, cracking sound and he and the others in the development office began frantically leaving.

"As soon as we exited the fourth floor, the alarm started going off. As we headed down the stairwell, the smoke became more acute," McBride said.

Terry Hill, assistant manager of University Park Collections, said that just last week, and on numerous other times, his office has complained to maintenance that E. Cullen's fire alarms sound only on floors where the alarm is pulled.

Hill's office is located in the basement, and he said, "I could barely hear the alarm in the hallway."

Eric Miller, director of Media Relations, said when he smelled and saw the smoke, he pulled the fire alarm on his end of the third floor.

Only one person, a telephone cabling sub-contractor, was treated with oxygen for smoke inhalation.

One fireman commented that, because E. Cullen has undergone several renovations, the building was a "fireman's nightmare."

There was a 10- to 15-minute delay before HFD arrived on the scene because whoever reported the fire gave an Elgin address, causing firemen to search for several minutes. During their hunt, Raney said, barriers placed to keep students from parking in the wrong area made the building difficult for the fire trucks to access.

Six fire trucks, 27 firefighters and an ambulance were sent to the fire, which was put out in less than an hour.

Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Dennis Boyd said damage was not as bad as initially anticipated.

The fourth and fifth floors had severe smoke and water damage, but Boyd said the offices on the first floor and basement will be open today.

Boyd said the UH Police Department should have received an automatic alarm when the fire alarms were pulled, but didn't.

"The whole system didn't work. We need to take a look at the whole alarm system, but it's a big ticket item to replace," he said.








In an abrupt about-face, Students' Association President Michael Berry declined to introduce a bill calling for a campus-wide ban on smoking.

Last week, he announced that in light of the Faculty Senate's proposal calling for a ban on campus smoking, he would follow suit and introduce a similar proposal at the SA meeting.

After thinking it over, however, Berry instead opted to address the issue by asking that a referendum be placed on the ballot of the March SA elections. He made his request Monday evening at the SA senate meeting.

"I decided that it wasn't proper for me to speak for the majority of students," he said.

His decision to first introduce the ban was prompted by the Faculty Senate. The senate was interested in the SA's position on the issue, Berry said. However, he realized students had yet to be consulted.

"I think it's important that the student opinion be known," he said.

Another issue students will have a say in is the elimination of the office of SA vice president. Speaker of the Senate D. Lee Grooms said the position is both unnecessary and costly. "We're spending about $4,000 a year on the position," he said.

The issue will be placed on the March ballot for the student body to decide.

Grooms insists the proposal has nothing to do with anyone who has held or currently holds the office. "This is a structural item only," he said.

In another attempt to lower the cost of operating, Grooms introduced a bill encouraging SA to decrease their share of the Student Service Fee monies.

SA's operating budget for fiscal year 1992 was $104,451. The proposed bill calls for a decrease of no less than $15,000 for fiscal year 1993.

Grooms feels the decrease is a necessary step in today's economic climate. "That's a bold statement for us to make, and I think we need to make it," he said.

If the proposal is approved, Grooms hopes other organizations will follow suit. "There are lots of fat student service organizations out there," he said.

Aside from their own finances, SA also introduced a resolution to alleviate the financial burden of students who depend on Stafford loans.

Last November, the U.S. Congress passed a measure requiring students 20 years of age and older to undergo credit checks when applying for the loans.

Grooms feels the credit check defeats the purpose of the formerly guaranteed student loans. Many UH students are here to make a fresh start, and that includes a fresh start with their finances, he said.

The SA resolution calls for an active advocation of their position by sending copies of the resolution to all appropriate officials in the U.S. Department of Education and Congress.


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