On Wednesday and Thursday, students will go to the polls to decide whether to add a library fee to their semester fees.

The fee, set at $15 per semester, is to be decided by one of two referendums on this year's general election ballot. The other referendum concerns smoking on campus.

"The necessity of this fee is no longer a matter of cancelling a few journals, but of keeping the library open," said Don Easterling, chair of the university's Library Committee. "However, unless something is done within the next year, we could see the biggest cancellation of journals that this university has ever seen," he said.

Currently, UH funds the UH Libraries at 86.3 percent of Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recommendations. The board's recommendations for similarly sized libraries is 111.9 percent.

Among state-supported libraries, only UH and the University of North Texas fund their libraries at less than 100 percent of the scale. UNT funds its library at 99.4 percent.

Easterling said the referendum's specifics were reasonable.

If the referendum passes, students will pay a semesterly $7.50 dedicated fee to the library for the next three years. In fiscal year 1993, UH will be required to fund the library at least at 91 percent of the Coordinating Board's recommendations for that year.

In fiscal 1994, UH must fund the library at least at 96 percent of the recommendations. In fiscal 1995, UH must fund at least at 100 percent.

The fee may not be assessed in for fiscal 1996 if UH does not fund the library at 100 percent of the recommendations. The 31st administration of the Students' Association also has power to decide that no library fee will be assessed after FY '95 unless SA rules that an extension is necessary.

"Asking UH to fund its libraries for at least 100 percent of the Coordinating Board's recommendations is not unreasonable," Easterling said. "For once, we can work together with administrators on a serious question and come up with positive solutions."

The generated revenue could bring the library as much as $1.6 million in the first year alone and as much as $2.1 million in its last year, Easterling estimated.

"Student commitment to the fee will not change," he said. "The only way that money will increase will be in the contribution of the administration," Easterling said.

Students' Association resolutions and the donation by John and Rebecca Moores were helpful, Easterling said, but were short-term help.

"SA passed resolution after resolution, but they're wasting away somewhere," he said. "The Moores' donation was helpful, but it was not something that could help the long-range problems of the library."

Journal cancellations have been minimal over the past two years because of extra funds brought in to save them. In the first instance, late UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett freed up money so that journals could be paid for, while the Moores' donation helped in the second crisis.

Without a visible source of revenue in sight, however, Easterling said the library is nearing another possible cancellation of thousands of journals.

The library fee will be added to the existing budget and make funds available to maintain and improve the library, Easterling said.

Damages to facilities could be repaired, journals could be maintained, books could be replaced and staff could be paid so as to maintain current library hours with the injection of funds.

The library could also expand on its CD-ROM system. "It's a very popular and accessible system, but there's such a waiting list of students who want to use it that expansion is the only answer," Easterling said.








Ordinarily, it's kind of hard to sing the praises of two teams with losing records. But if you had seen the pitching performances that UH and Rice put on this weekend, believe me, you'd be doing it too.

Only eight men crossed the plate all weekend as the Rice Owls, 7-8 in SWC play, swept the visiting Cougars in a tightly-fought series and dropped Houston's conference record to 2-10, good for a three-game stranglehold on the cellar.

Cameron Field should have had a warning sign up for hitters, as the mound work for both teams belied their sub-.500 marks.

There was a one-hitter decided in the ninth and a record-setting no-hitter decided in the 13th, and close to a thousand stunned fans had not seen pitching like this since some guy named Ryan plied his trade in that glass-and-steel bubble over on Kirby Drive.

"I've been involved in some good ballgames, but never anything like this," Rice coach Wayne Graham said.

Rice's Darrel Richardson began the series by twirling a masterful one-hitter on Friday night to the tune of a 2-1 victory.

The winning run came in the bottom of the ninth as Joe Racina laid down a perfect squeeze bunt with one out to bring in teammate Kennedy Glasscock for the score.

Richardson's one-hit gem, beautiful as it was, only set the stage for near perfection on Saturday.

Hard-luck Cougar hurler Wade Williams pitched 101/3 innings of no-hit baseball, the longest stretch in Southwest Conference history, only to get no-decisioned in a game his team would eventually lose 1-0.

Conference rules are unclear as to whether Williams will get credited with the no-no in the record books, but after the game, none of that mattered to the crest-fallen junior from Tyler.

"It's nice to set a record," Williams said. "I just wish I could have won the ballgame."

You had to feel for Williams after his record-setting night. His slider was snapping low and away, the curve just froze the Rice batters in their tracks and his change was coming in so slow, it should have had an orange reflective triangle on it.

He was ahead of the hitters almost all night. In fact, he didn't even face a three-ball count until the eighth inning.

"It wasn't until about the sixth that I realized what was happening," Williams said. "I was more aware of the scoreboard, though."

The Cougars mounted their only serious offensive threat in the eighth when they put their first two men on.

Pinch-hitter Ricky Freeman laced a double down the right-field line, and Brian Blair reached on a throwing error by Rice starter Marcus Nalepa.

That was it for Nalepa as Graham brought in Jim Miller to try to douse the Cougar blaze.

Miller, not one to be left out, joined the pitching parade as he set down the side with a snapping slider of his own. Overall, he struck out 10 Houston batters in six innings to pick up the win.

"I feel really bad for Williams," Miller said. "He pitched his heart out. That's a tough way to get a no-decision."

If it's true that good pitching wins pennants, it's a mystery that these two teams have the records they do.

Especially mystifying is Houston's anemic batting. Here's a team that returned its top hitters from a year ago in the persons of Rusty Smajstrla and Brian Blair. This year, they've both started slow, hitting .162 and .236, respectively.

"I don't think we will have a chance until certain hitters make adjustments and get to where we want them to be," Houston Coach Bragg Stockton said.

With a 2-10 record, UH looks like the dog of the SWC. But if the pitching stays strong, this could be a dog that's getting ready to bite. Just when and whom, we're all still waiting to see.








While Mayor Bob Lanier tries to fulfill his April 1 deadline for 655 more officers, the UH Police Department is also adding officers who will complete training in mid-April.

"The seven new officers will allow UHPD to do more pro-active programs, such as the anti-crime unit, and still maintain basic reactive service, such as responding to emergency calls," Lt. Brad Wigtil of UHPD said.

The basic services include 46,040 service calls answered by UHPD in 1990, up from 42,901 in 1990, Wigtil said.

Also, an average crime report, including interviews and paperwork, takes one to one and ahalf hours to complete.

The new officers will give UHPD freedom to take more preventive crime measures as well as handle the basics, Wigtil said.

Cpl. Derrick McClinton, a UHPD field-training officer, said, "The most challenging aspect of my job is trying to transform trainees into competent and secure officers."

After meeting state requirements, accepted UHPD applicants go through 13 to 14 weeks of cadet class at the Harris County Police Academy. Following graduation, they are put on a 13-week probationary period at UH to complete their field training. If the probationary period is finished successfully, the cadet goes on to solo duties as a patrol officer, Wigtil said.

The increase in applicants for police training is what UHPD, recruiting divisions and police academies are seeing.

The passing of the DD-2 requirement after the end of the Persian Gulf War has increased applicants by 75 percent, Training Officer M.L. Williamson of the Morrison Police Academy said.

The DD-2 allows applicants to use an honorable military discharge in place of the required 60 semester hours of college with a C average.

With the DD-2, the average class size of the Morrison Academy has increased to 70 cadets from 40 cadets, Williamson said.

"We have classes graduating every four to five months. The most recent class graduated on January 20, 1992, with 75 cadets," Williamson said.

Ella Boney, a clerk at the HPD Recruiting Division, said, "We see about 80 to 90 applicants per day. The increase in applicants occurred when the DD-2 was passed. Lanier had nothing to do with it."

Applicants may be drawn to HPD instead of UHPD because HPD's starting salary is $5,000 more than UHPD.

McClinton said, "For me, job happiness would come before the amount of money I was earning."

Although losing one officer to HPD in November of 1991, UHPD hopes that will not be a trend.

"We have people who want to stay and enjoy their jobs. We do the best job to provide service to the community and try to make the job enjoyable," Wigtil said.








Despite fears of impending disaster from the Michelangelo computer virus, only five to six reports of lost campus information have surfaced.

However, members of the Information Technology Department, who spearheaded the UH counter-effort, said as many as 40 Michelangelo infections were reported to their office.

Michelangelo infected personal IBM/DOS-based computers in the History Department, the Foreign Language Lab and M.D. Anderson Library.

Michelangelo, a data-destroying computer virus discovered in Germany 11 months ago, was set to start actively sabotaging computer memories in infected systems when the computers' internal calendars reached March 6, the birthday of artist Michelangelo.

The ITD made information and anti-viral software available on campus to head off Michelangelo's harmful effects.

"We did two mail-outs starting about four weeks ago, alerting people of the need to take precautions," said Jeanna Rogers, a computer specialist with the Administrative Computing User Services office.

Rogers said after figuring out which anti-virus programs worked against Michelangelo, her office made the anti-virus shareware program "Scan" available on campus. Shareware is software that is publicly available for short-term use, but if a user decides to keep the program, there is a small fee.

The commercially available Central Point, Norton and MacAfee's anti-viral software programs can also detect and remove Michelangelo.

Cougar Byte Sales Supervisor Becky Bremkamp said anti-virus program sales for the software, priced between $70 and $100, increased roughly 25 percent shortly before March 6.

Rogers said an alternative way some people attempted to fool the destructive virus was by setting their computers' internal calendars past March 6. Her office doesn't recommend this.

She said if this method is employed, the user will only have to do it again next year, and the virus will keep infecting other disks and may not have changed the correct date as some computers have two places where calendar information is stored.








The UH community has an opportunity to learn about the similarities and differences between the Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths at the 10th annual Religious Awareness Week.

Religious Awareness Week runs from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 10, 11 and 12 in the A.D. Bruce Religion Center's second floor lounge.

This year's topic is "My `Last Chance' to Share My Faith: The most essential things you need to know about another faith in 20 minutes."

The speakers will talk about their faiths as if they only had 20 minutes left in their life to discuss it.

Each day's activity will begin at 11:45 a.m. with a free lunch. The guest speaker will begin at 12:15 p.m. and talk for 20 minutes. After the speaker finishes, two students from faiths other than the speaker's will discuss similarities and differences between their own religious traditions and the speaker's. At 12:45 p.m., there will be an open dialogue.

Today, Dr. Shahin Etazadi-Tabaitabai, director of the Ripley House Health Center, will give the Muslim perspective and Islamic system of beliefs. She said she would like to make the audience familiar with Islamic ideology and to clarify misconceptions about Islam.

Wednesday's speaker, Dominican Sister Mariana Wood, will present the Christian view. She will talk about God, Roman Catholics, her Dominican Sister traditions and important people in her life who lived the Gospel. Wood said she hopes her speech will show that Christianity makes sense and is livable. Wood is a member of the General Administration Board of Dominican Sisters.

On Thursday, Rabbi Shaul Osadchey will speak on the Jewish faith. He will discuss contemporary Judaism. He said he hopes his speech will give people a "fuller appreciation of what Judaism represents." Osadchey serves at the Congregation B'rith Shalom in Bellaire.

Mary Comeaux, campus minister at the Catholic Newman Center, said the purpose of Religious Awareness Week is to "increase understanding of other traditions and other people; to open respectful dialogue."

The purpose is not, Comeaux said, "to persuade anybody, not to convert anybody." It's to help understand what other faiths believe.

Religious Awareness Week is sponsored by the Campus Ministries Association at UH.








The highest ranking given in the American Sociology Association's minority fellowship this year was awarded to UH graduate student Russ Buenteo.

Buenteo was chosen out of 73 graduate students in sociology departments at universities throughout the United States. He will receive $8,800 per year, the highest amount of the seven money winners. The fellowship is given to an outstanding minority student trying to obtain a doctorate in sociology with a mental health focus.

Buenteo graduated with a degree in music from UH and received his master's in the UH sociology department. His focus is thanatology, the study of death and dying.

"I've always been interested in the grieving process," Buenteo said. "In my internship at Conoco last summer, I helped them [employees] deal with the plane crash (that killed members of Conoco's administration)."

"As an exercise, I'm now looking at the effects of (former UH president) Dr. (Marguerite Ross) Barnett's death at UH," Buenteo said.

Frances Foster, the minority affairs manager for the ASA, said UH will be asked to wave tuition and fees for Buenteo. The university will also be asked to contribute half of the $8,800 per year awarded to him. If the university does not supply the $4,400, however, the ASA will.

The money is given for three years with a one-year renewal. If Buenteo decides, however, he can take a flat $5,000 for his dissertation at the end of the three years in place of the renewal.

"I recruited him (Buenteo) for the fellowship," sociology Professor Gary Dworkin, chairman of the sociology department, said. "He has done quite outstanding work."

The ASA's minority fellowship is responsible for some "major figures in the field," Dworkin said.

The fellowship awarded by the ASA was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The resumes of each of the 73 applicants, as well as two essays, were evaluated by the ASA. The essays were judged on how the research of the students is applicable to the mental health field and the career goals of each of the candidates.








A switch from zone to man-for-man defense pushed the Cougars ahead of SMU and into a share of their first conference championship since 1984.

Junior Charles Outlaw sparked the defense with three blocked shots and five steals, while hitting nine of 10 from the field for 18 points.

Seniors Craig Upchurch, Sam Mack and Derrick Daniels provided the crucial plays during a 15-2 run late in the game to spur a 69-62 victory in Dallas Saturday.

The win assured the Cougars of no worse than a number-two seed in the SWC tournament. However, Texas' win over A & M Sunday eliminated Houston's hopes of a possible number-one seed.

Although the Cougars (22-5, 11-3 conference) have a better overall record than the 21-10 Longhorns, the tie-breaker for the first seed goes to Texas as they beat Houston in both head-to-head matches.

The Cougars established an inside game early against the Mustangs and jumped out to a 19-5 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half.

However, SMU went on a 15-3 tear during the next eight minutes and pulled within two at 22-20.

The Cougars regrouped, and by halftime, they had pushed the lead back up to seven at 33-26.

However, Houston came out cold for the second half, and the team was outscored 13-2 by SMU in the first five minutes.

SMU lead at 50-47, but the Cougars ignited with the game-winning rally while holding the Mustangs scoreless for four minutes late in the second half.

The Houston players celebrated on the Moody Coliseum floor after clinching the Cougars' first conference title under Coach Pat Foster.

Mack and Derrick Smith poured ice water over Upchurch's head.

However, the Cougars celebration stopped Monday as they began preparations for the SWC tournament, which starts Friday in Dallas.

Houston will face SMU once again in the first round of the tournament.

Last season, the Cougars beat the Mustangs in the second-to-last game of the season, only to be eliminated by them in the first round of the tournament.

The loss likely cost them a bid to the NCAA tournament.

Regardless of the outcome of this season's tournament, Foster said he feels the Cougars have already earned a spot in the NCAA's.

"If we don't get in, then I don't know who will," Foster said. "We're 21-5, and we've played a very competitive schedule."

Foster said SWC schools receive added pressure in the NCAA tournament from negative attitudes toward the conference.

"You see a Big-8 game on T.V., and (the commentators) try to talk teams with 10 losses into the tournament," Foster said. "Any feedback our players get is negative. That puts them under immense pressure."








The Lady Cougars defeated the SMU Mustangs 75-66 Saturday night in Hofheinz, extending their winning streak to three games.

Due to this streak, the Cougars (21-4, 10-4 in conference) have climbed to 19th place in the nation.

The Cougars had six players in double figures: LaShawn Johnson with 13, Darla Simpson and Michelle Harrif each with 12, Kellye Jones and Margo Graham each with 11 and Stephanie Edwards with 10.

In front of a crowd of 257, the Lady Cougars made their last home appearance of the season. For seniors Simpson, Johnson and Jones, it was their last home game as Cougars.

The Cougars scored in streaks. During the first half, they would get hot and take the lead, but then they would become stagnant and allow the Mustangs to tie the game. At the half, the Cougars led 39-33.

At the beginning of the second period, the Lady Cougars went scoreless for the first five minutes, allowing SMU to score 13 points and take the lead.

"The intensity level was not there tonight," UH Women's Basketball Coach Jessie Kenlaw said. "We had to fight back in spurts. We need to play with intensity for the full 40 minutes."

With four minutes to go and the game's outcome in question, the Cougars went on a 16-4 scoring run, and put the Mustangs away for good. This run was lead by Simpson, Johnson and Jones.

"The ball just seemed to fall into our hands," said Johnson. "Darla (Simpson) had some key steals (during this run).

"We did not play as good as we could of," added Johnson. "But it was good enough to win."

SMU beat the Lady Cougars 69-66 on Feb. 5 in Dallas.

"We should have won there," said Graham. "But they are a good team."

Before the game, Simpson was given the game ball for her 1,000th point scored. She is second in the SWC and first on UH's all-time, blocked-shots list with 243 blocks. She is also fifth in all-time scoring for UH with 1242 career points.

The Cougars were short of players at Saturday's game and may only have eight players for the SWC Tournament, which starts Wednesday.

"We have been short players for the last month due to injuries," Kenlaw said. "Linda Parson has also left the team because of personal problems."

The Lady Cougars will face Rice in the opening round of the SWC tournament March 11 at noon in Dallas.

UH has beaten Rice twice this year -- at Hofheinz, 92-48, then at Autry, 62-53.

"Rice is playing well," Kenlaw said. "They just beat SMU, and they played us tough in our last game (with them)."

The Cougars are the third-seed in the tournament, 22nd-ranked Texas is second and 14th-ranked Texas Tech is first.

All first round games will be played on Wednesday in Moody Coliseum. Texas will play Baylor at 2 p.m., Texas Tech will play TCU at 6 p.m. and Texas A & M will play SMU at 8 p.m.

The second round of the competition will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday in Moody. The winner of the Lady Cougar-Rice game plays the Texas-Baylor winner. Then the winner of the Texas Tech-TCU game will play the winner of the SMU-Texas A & M game at 8 p.m. These games will be televised on HSE.

The finals will be played at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Reunion Arena in Dallas. This game will also be televis








Cynthia Macdonald's work is not finished.

"I'm so lucky," she said. "I have so much I want to do -- I'll die before I ever get it all done."

What she has accomplished thus far, however, proves she is not only established as a poet and professor, but as a psychoanalyst.

On March 12, the UH community is invited to listen to Macdonald at an Inventive Minds presentation titled "Opera, Poetry, Movies, Psychoanalysis and Baseball." The talk, which begins at 7 p.m., will be held in the ballroom of the UH Hilton Hotel.

Macdonald has a commanding presence. Most of the time, her voice resonates whether she is responding emphatically or reminiscing about her childhood. Only occasionally does she lean back while sitting on the blue swivel chair that occupies space in the office she shares with Visiting Associate Professor of English Adam Zagajewski.

The UH Graduate Creative Writing Program, which Macdonald established with the assistance of Stanley Plumly in 1979, is but one of the many fruits of her labor. Although she stepped down in 1983, she has since helped run the program cooperatively with other faculty members and now discusses business with Robert Phillips, the programs's current director. "It's to her credit that she lets me do it my way," Phillips said.

He said Macdonald, who is still a full professor, is the main reason applications are now pouring in from such places as Alaska, London, England and India.

Prior to her position as director, she served as a full professor at Johns Hopkins University and on the staff of the creative writing program at Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. Jane Cooper, a writer and retired professor at Sarah Lawrence, who taught Macdonald and eventually became her colleague, said the ability to teach came naturally to her former student. "In the late 60s at Sarah Lawrence, there was an intense campaign for student-taught courses," Cooper said. "She taught a course called `Writing for Non-Writers,' and it became popular immediately."

Macdonald's first two books of poetry, Amputations (1972) and Transplants (1976) -- published in a series of George Braziller books -- were edited by Richard Howard, who is now a Pulitzer Prize-winning UH Distinguished Professor of English who has served as her mentor.

"We were walking along the street in New York one day, going to have lunch together, and he said to me: `I'm doing a poetry series for Braziller. I'd like to publish your manuscript as the 4th book in it,'" she said.

With a smile on her face, obviously still delighted at the memory, Macdonald said "I practically fell in the gutter."

Of her initial and most recent poetic works, Howard said she is "interested in the capacity language has to entertain, fascinate and sometimes imprison us."

What many have recognized about Macdonald -- including the New York Times Book Review, which recently selected Living Wills: New and Selected Poems (1991) as one of the outstanding poetry books of the year -- is that the author has the ability to paint vivid pictures and convey a wide range of emotions while infusing her work with sharp commentaries and wit.

"The world of Macdonald's poems," as Cooper put it, is a bank from which the reader can draw a series of poems about a doctor titled "The Dr. Dimity Poems," or a poem titled "Separations," which is about a woman who remembers the death of her sister and the effect this had on her family.

Macdonald attributes much of her growth as a writer to the field of psychoanalysis.

"From the writing point of view, one of the things it has made clear is that everyone has so many different layers of feeling and thought within themselves that it's difficult for art to make it simple," she said. "I think so many people feel overwhelmed by that complexity that they want simple answers, simple description."

"But artists, although they understand that wish, know every story is more than one story," Macdonald said. "So do psychoanalysts."

She said her extensive study in that area, which culminated in graduation from the Houston-Galveston Psychoanalytic Institute in 1986, has enabled her to understand some of the relationships that exist between creative writing and psychoanalysis.

"My teaching of writing led me to ask questions of myself about writing blocks and work inhibitions, and part of my practice deals in those areas," Macdonald said. She is now an Academic Member of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Nevertheless, Macdonald recognizes that her flaws sometimes have an effect on her ambitions. "You build it, with foreseen result: Like owners who correct In every house they build the faults of the last one;The flaws are not The same, but are flaws," she wrote in a poem from her book Amputations titled "The Platform Builder."

On the basis of some of the grants and honors she has received, it would appear that Macdonald has indeed not only carved a niche for herself in the field of creative writing, but has established herself in a line of work where trends and new voices are the order of the day.

She received National Endowment for the Arts grants in 1973, 1979 and 1989. Like Robert Phillips, a poet who now helms the Graduate Creative Writing Program at UH, Macdonald is a recipient of the National Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award. She also had the honor of a Guggenheim Fellowship bestowed on her in 1983.

However, Macdonald thinks of herself as a writer whose work supersedes any accolades, financial success or critical acclaim.

"One of the things I've learned with that book (Amputations) and know now even more is that it's the process of doing the writing that is really what makes you write," she said. "What you fantasize before you have a book or before you win a prize is that it's going to be so wonderful, and I don't minimize it -- you want your work to be read, you want to have books -- but it's the process of writing itself that is really central."

Macdonald's fascination with literature began at an early point in her life. "When I was a much younger child, in the 2nd grade, the teacher spoke to my mother and said she didn't know what to do with me bacause she had moved me from the back of the room to the front so she could keep an eye on me because I was always reading no matter what subject we were studying," she said.

Reading such books as The Secret Garden, The Little Princess and various Nancy Drew mysteries became a means of entertainment for a young Cynthia from the ages of eight to ten.

"My parents wouldn't let me take books out of the library -- the public or school library -- because my sister had died of Scarlet Fever, and they were afraid I would get germs from the library," Macdonald said, referring to her late sister Virginia. "When you lose a child, you try to protect the one you have left." So, at the age of ten, Macdonald's father's library became a haven.

Memories of her parents listening to World War II radio broadcasts, in which announcers spoke of the Nazi invasion of Poland, also remain firmly etched. Listening to Saturday afternoon broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera also became a family pastime. "A war and a major musical world mixed together in my memory -- these mixtures become the stuff of writing," she said.

These experiences during her formative years ultimately led to an appreciation for the operatic arts. She wrote an opera libretto titled "The Rehearsal" in 1980 -- the result of a collaboration with composer Thomas Benjamin.

Although she has since retired, Macdonald still delights in singing works from such composers as Brahms and Schubert. She also loves to sing Mozart and Verdi opera arias and various Broadway show tunes from her childhood.

Macdonald, who is an avid sports fan, also said she enjoys spending time with her friends and children. While she is not spending what little leisure time she has participating in such activities, Macdonald works on poems, several short stories and an autobiography.

Somehow, despite her belief that she will not accomplish everything she hopes to accomplish, there is the sense that Cynthia Macdonald will at least succeed in trying.








It's March Madness for the college basketball world. On Sunday, CBS-TV will announce the 64 teams that have earned the right to advance to the men's NCAA tournament.

Thirty teams receive automatic bids, but the rest must rely on the subjective decisions of nine men.

Rudy Davalos is now one of those men. At last year's NCAA convention in January, the UH athletic director was picked to join eight other athletic association heads as members of the Division I Men's Basketball committee.

Beginning Thursday, the committee will spend four days behind closed doors considering the merits of dozens of basketball teams. Seven athletic directors and two conference commissioners, each representing a different national region, will use statistics and experience to pick the lucky 34 squads.

"We go over every team that's worthy of considering," said Davalos.

Davalos said his participation can help every Southwest Conference team except one.

"I will not have any input on the University of Houston," he said. "If there's any discussion (about UH), I'll have to leave the room."

Gary Johnson, assistant statistics coordinator for the NCAA, said he supplies the committee members with their primary source of information. He said each board member gets a fat notebook with reams of statistics, the most important of which is the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI).

The RPI, which is kept from public eyes, ranks each team that's under consideration. The rankings are based on the win-loss percentage of the team, the team's opponents and their opponents' opponents.

Johnson said the system works well, but it can't satisfy everyone. He said a few winning teams usually complain about being left out.

"You can have a nice record, but if you don't play anybody, that doesn't mean a lot."

He cited Notre Dame as a team that will probably get into the tournament despite a record that's barely over .500. Notre Dame gets high marks because of the strength of its schedule, he said.

Davalos' duties don't end with Sunday's tournament listings. He will act as official NCAA representative for the first- and second-round games in Dayton, Ohio. He said he will have to handle any controversy, preside over each team's practices and hold meetings with the players.

The following weekend, Davalos pairs with another committee member, Kansas University Athletic Director Bob Frederick, at the Mid-East Regionals in Kansas City. All the committee members convene in Minneapolis April 4-6 for the Final Four.

Davalos said his selection to the committee was especially nice because he is such a basketball fan.

"If I had my druthers, this is the committee I'd rather be on," he said.







The 50-day, 3,455-mile journey was near its end.

Seemingly safe from unfriendly dogs and Midwestern farm tractors that take up an entire road, two Rutgers University students pedaled peacefully through the California desert.

Unfortunately, the serene picture of Sam Hitman and Mark Ruppert riding their bycycles along a warm, dusty trail as they headed for the big city of the West -- Lost Angeles -- lost its idyllic charm in the ensuing flash flood, complete with 95-mph winds.

"I never knew what (flash flood) meant," Hitman says. With an appreciative emphasis he adds, "Now I do."

Hitman and Ruppert got off their bicycles and began to walk as a pickup truck passed. The driver stopped and gave them a lift to the next town -- Twentynine Palms, Calif., a small military town northeast of Palm Springs.

The flash flood in California was just one story from their 1990 summer bicycle road trip that started in Atlantic City, N.J., and ended in Los Angeles.

Although some might say Hitman and Ruppert -- neither of whom had biking experience prior to the trip -- are a bit crazy for embarking on a coast-to-coast journey through Smalltown, U.S.A., they say it was the ride of their lives. The trip, in fact, was so wonderful, they're doing it again this summer.

The idea came about in the spring of 1990, when the two seniors, then sophomores in communications, were bored and just started hanging out.

"Mark and I got together and thought, `What can we do?'" Hitman says.

The answer, of course, was ride their bicycles across the country.

But the selfish pleasure (and pain) wasn't enough, Hitman says -- they wanted their trek to be worth something. So they approached the American Lung Association and asked if the group would like to sponsor them. As a result, the two newfound cyclists and another friend, Scott Jensen, who drove a van across the country and met the two at checkpoints for safety reasons, raised $10,000 for the organization.

"Our original goal was to raise $1,000 each," Hitman says.

After car washes, candy sales and writing letters and meeting with local businesses for donations, the incoming funds far exceeded their expectations and they were ready to go zig-zagging along the backroads of the U.S.

"We started at the Atlantic City boardwalk. We wanted to ride from ocean to ocean," Hitman says. "We dipped our tires in the Atlantic Ocean, then when we ended up in L.A., we dipped our tires in the Pacific Ocean."

Hitman and Ruppert rode through 11 states during the 50-day, 3,455-mile trip. Hitman says they did not have an organized plan for stops in towns along the way, but once they explained to hotels what they were doing and showed them local newspaper articles to support their claims, people donated rooms for the night and restaurants offered free food.

"We went slowly but surely and just rode until we got tired," Hitman says. "The people we met on the road were terrific."

The 1992 trip came about because Hitman and Ruppert "worked all through this summer," Hitman says. "We just started getting ants in our pants."

Being veteran riders this time around, the two became more adventurous and enlisted 25 people to come along on this ride, which will start in Seattle at the start of the summer and end in Atlantic City.

This time, Hitman says, the group is large enough to raise more money for the Lung Association and another cause the group felt was worthy of contriubtion -- D.A.R.E., which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, a national program designed to prevent drug abuse in high schools.

Although currently only Rutgers University students are making this trip, Hitman says he might consider incorporating other riders from colleges across the country either this summer or perhaps in summers to come. Anyone interested can write to Hitman at RPO 1194 -- P.O. Box 5063, New Brunswick, N.J. 08903.

"To me, bike riding is one of the best ways to see the country, from the Appalachian Mountains to the Plain states," he says. "And the Rockies are just breathtaking."








Where does your computer use fee go? You know, the $40 that's listed on your fee bill every semester directly underneath your general use fee.

The Daily Cougar has been trying to find out exactly where this money goes -- with mixed results.

In fact, the Cougar has been trying to get this information for several years. In an article that ran March 1, 1989, Bill Rowley, then director of computing operations, said that only 20 percent of the fee and state funding was spent on computers for student use that year.

With almost $3 million collected every fiscal year from the fee, even 20 percent is a great deal of money. The Cougar, however, has been trying to find out where the rest of it is.

The fee is supposed to be divided among each of the colleges and used for computers for students' use. This includes purchases, upgrades, maintenance and salaries of computer assistants, according to Gary McCormack, vice president for information technology.

This year, for example, the collected use fees totalled $2,710,362, according to the budget office at UH. The bulk of the amount, more than $2 million, was allocated to different colleges and the library. Each college dean then decided how to best use the money toward either purchases or the upkeep of computers.

The rest of the money, however, goes to the vice president of information technology, to distribute among areas such as "Academic Support-Operations, $15,189; Academic Support-Data Communications, $8,031; and $64,374 to Academic Support of Academic Computing," according to a report from the Budget Office.

The Daily Cougar has been unable to find out exactly how the allocation for each college is determined. The Business Office only receives completed proposals on where to send the money, according to Susan Jackson, director of the business office.

"All of the requests for funding for computers go directly to the office of the vice president for information technology," Jackson said. "We don't see any papers until the requests have been approved by that office. This year's allocations were all approved by Ira Weiss."

Weiss, who held the position of vice president for information technology last year, in a January 1990 interview, said about the fee, "I determine allocation. My criteria is student credit hours for the vast majority."

When asked for a breakdown of the funding for the fee, Weiss said, "I don't think I'm willing at this point to divulge that information. Go to the colleges and ask them."

Since no college dean knows how the fee allocation is broken down, asking each college would be futile.

The Daily Cougar decided instead to start with Gary McCormack, now in Weiss' position as interim VP, as well as director of telecommunications.

The Cougar filed a Freedom of Information request, under the Texas Open Records Act, with McCormack on Jan. 30 of this year. Under this act, any person who requests public information from a governmental body must be furnished with this information upon request.

If the governmental body decides not to comply, as has McCormack's office, the governmental body must file for an opinion with the Attorney General's office within 10 days. If they do not do so, the information is assumed to be of public access.

The Cougar requested copies of all documents pertaining to the fee since its inception and copies of any documents that deal with the collection and allocation of fee funds.

Three weeks later, McCormack presented the Cougar with a spreadsheet that he had typed up, demonstrating how much money went to each college. When asked for the formula that was used to determine the allocation, McCormack said he did not have that information.

McCormack also said he did not have any documentation showing how the money sent to his office was spent, a copy of the original guidelines for the fee's implementation or any idea where these were.

McCormack promised the Cougar more documentation last week, but has since indicated that his boss, Vice President for Administration and Finance Dennis Boyd, had stepped in.

According to McCormack, Boyd is having a team of university legal advisors look over all paperwork concerning the fee before the information can be released to the public.

Considering the fact that UH has a public budget and is a public university, the Cougar asked McCormack why the legal team was necessary.

"We're not trying to hide anything," McCormack said, "and we don't think we're going to find anything weird in there, but we want to make sure we're not releasing any private information."

When asked what could be considered private in a public budget, McCormack said he didn't know, and that they were just trying to be safe.

Boyd has since referred all Cougar telephone calls to McCormack.

"He just feels that if I'm handling it (the Cougar's requests) on the vice presidential level, he shouldn't have to get involved," McCormack said.

Both McCormack and Boyd are new to UH and do not have a history of working with the fee.

The Cougar is currently investigating legal action against the university.


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