ROADRUNNERS MAKE COUGARS LOOK LIKE WILE E. COYOTE

BY JIM MOSLEY

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

The Cougars blew a four-run lead in the seventh inning, allowing the 11-21 U.T. San Antonio Roadrunners to beat them 8-6 at Cougar Field Wednesday.

With this loss, UH ends their three-game winning streak and falls below .500 with a 17-18 record.

"It's sad because we were on a roll," Head Coach Bragg Stockton said. "We take three games from Baylor and then come back to our park and lose to U.T. San Antonio."

For the fledgling Roadrunners, it was the first time they had ever played a SWC school.

UH started freshman pitcher Justin Dorsey, whose first pitch set the tempo for the game by bouncing off catcher Chis Tremie's foot. He gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in the first inning alone.

But the Cougars stormed back when Joe Betters drew a lead-off walk, and Brian Blair got an infield hit off the glove of UTSA starter Jeff Hutzler.

After Phil Lewis' sacrifice, Betters and Blair were on second and third, then Betters scored when Carlos Perez grounded to second and Blair advanced to third. R.D. Long came to the plate and got an RBI on a single to right, stole second and Kirk Taylor drove him in with a single to left. The Cougars were leading 3-2.

In the Cougar fourth, Tremie had a lead-off walk, and Ricky Freeman beat out a sacrifice bunt. Betters then bunted to the pitcher, sending the runners to second and third with one out. Blair then hit a single to left for two RBIs. Hutzler was pulled, and UH led 5-2.

Dorsey settled down and pitched strong until the fifth inning, when he gave up a lead-off hit to Jerry Dalton. After the next batter flied out, Dalton stole second.

Clay Crider then hit a sharp single to centerfield, and Phil Lewis threw a strike to Tremie to save a run. Stockton then brought in sophomore Glen Kimble to pitch in relief. Kimble got the next batter to ground out to short, ending the inning.

"Dorsey didn't have good stuff today," Stockton said.

In the sixth, the Cougars scored their last run when pinch-hitter Rusty Smajstrla hit a sacrifice fly to deep leftfield, scoring Derrick Dietrich.

Everything fell apart for UH in the seventh. Kimble gave up a hit and two walks to load the bases with no outs. Crider then doubled into the gap in right-center, and two runs scored. Kimble was then pulled for Steve Velasquez.

"We wanted to see what our two young pitchers had," Stockton said. "Now we know."

Velasquez walked the first batter he faced. The next batter hit a sure double-play ball right to Betters, but Scott Kohler dropped the ball at second, allowing two more runs to score. The score was tied at six.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Cougars started to rally. Greyson Liles, Kohler and Tremie each singled, loading the bases with no outs. Then the Cougars died.

Freeman struck out, Betters bunted the ball back to the pitcher on a safety-bunt play and Dietrich flied out to centerfield.

"Joe (Betters) is the best bunter on our team," Stockton said. "Last night, he layed down two good ones."

"Whenever the bases are loaded, we get tense," Stockton said.

In the eighth, San Antonio hit three consecutive singles, which scored 2 runs. Wade Williams was brought in and ended their rally.

"Having to use Williams might cost us the next three games," Stockton said. "You don't want to lose to U.T. San Antonio in your own park."

Lewis extended his hitting streak to 14 when he hit the ball off of Roadrunner pitcher Jeff Johnston's rear, and Johnston could not locate it in time to throw him out.

The Cougars' next game will be at Tulane in New Orleans.

Notes: Errors. UH, Long and Kohler. UTSA, Compton. Winning Pitcher -- Hutzler. Losing Pitcher -- Velasquez. UTSA had 2 double

 

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GAY GROUP LEADS BOYCOTT OF EQUAL RIGHTS SYMPOSIUM

BY ADAM KING

NEWS REPORTER

Mandamus, a gay and lesbian group composed of University of Houston law students and four other UH minority groups, pulled their support from a symposium discussing affirmative action and discrimination against minorities and women in law.

The Association of Women in Law, the Black Law Students Association, the Asian Law Students Association and the Hispanic Law Students Association joined with Mandamus in boycotting the symposium sponsored by the Law Student Division of the State Bar of Texas.

UH State Bar Representative Joe Maida IV, a principal organizer of the symposium and the focus of the boycott, was accused by the student associations (except ALSA) of excluding their participation in the organization process.

"We feel we weren't welcomed, and we weren't wanted," said Rose Kanusky, president of AWIL. "We felt we were being used as a front for a program that already had an agenda."

Mandamus, in fact, was not welcomed at all at first. According to a Feb. 17 article in LEGALESE, the UH Law Center publication, Maida contacted the State Bar "regarding their policy on discrimination in the area of sexual orientation." The State Bar replied with a "no position at all" policy, and Maida upheld that policy by denying Mandamus participation in the planning of the symposium but allowed some guaranteed time in the question-and-answer session.

Mandamus rejected the proposal and petitioned Maida to rule on their status as a minority group for inclusion in the symposium. Maida refused and passed the decision onto the already-involved participants to vote on.

In a 4-3 vote, the groups decided not to vote on Mandamus' minority status but agreed Mandamus would be included in the symposium preparation.

Stephen McVea, president of BLSA, said, "A vote that would require certain minority groups to decide what `minority groups' are ... is commonly used as a tool of oppression to demonstrate that minorities discriminate against each other, thus excusing or mitigating racism and sexism perpetrated by those empowered."

"We voted to not vote to include or exclude Mandamus," said Nelly Trevino Santos, a member of HLSA. "We felt that was not appropriate because they are a minority, and that was the whole purpose of the symposium -- anti-discrimination."

All the associations, excluding ALSA, said that Maida was planning his own agenda for the symposium and using their minority organization status to legitimize the symposium's content.

The groups say the evidence for that can be seen by the addition of five new panelists by Maida after the groups pulled their support.

HLSA said they recommended Houston City Council member Gracie Saenz and Texas State Representative Al Luna as panelists at planning meetings prior to the symposium. Maida rejected their recommendation, saying most of the panelists had already been selected. Saenz and Luna were instituted as panelists after HLSA unanimously voted to repeal their support.

Maida's choice to use Clark Kent Ervin, a candidate for Congressional District 29, as the only speaker on affirmative action, was also met with the disapproval of the student associations, so Vice President of Student Affairs Elwyn Lee and Texas State Representative Sylvester Turner were added on the side of affirmative action advocacy to refute Ervin.

Susan Kwon, president of ALSA, said the lack of faculty support and the lack of time to prepare were the main reasons her group withdrew its support of the symposium. While her group did not withdraw for the same reasons as the other groups, she said ALSA did discuss what had transpired.

As a result of the conflict between the groups and Maida, Mandamus and BLSA are encouraging its members to not attend the symposium while the AWIL, ALSA and HLSA say the decision will be up to the individual members.

"The only thing that our organization would support about this symposium," Mandamus member Rusty Bienvenue said, "is if it does not happen."

 

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POET BROOKS RECITES FROM HER HIGHLY ACCESSIBLE WORKS

BY ERICKA SCHICHE

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

For a woman who has been heralded as a dean of black poetry and honored with the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, Gwendolyn Brooks has a remarkably down-to-earth demeanor.

Brooks' voice, which at times resonated in a way even former U.S. Representative Barbara Jordan would envy, held a student-filled audience captive in the Brown Room of the M.D. Anderson Library Tuesday.

"Woman, whose color of life is/like the sun, whose laughter is prayer," wrote poet and playwright Sonia Sanchez of Brooks, whose voice and presence have not waned even at the ripe age of 75.

While she read from such works as The Near Johannesburg Boy, Gottschalk and the Grande Tarrantelle and We Real Cool, she received frequent applause from the audience of about 250 people, including two standing ovations.

"After all of that, I decided not to read ... April Fools," said Brooks, after she had been introduced. Such lighthearted fare became a constant throughout her presentation.

Moving seemingly effortlessly from poem to poem, Brooks also left audience members riveted as she spoke of the serious subjects frequently written about in newspapers. "Uncle Seagram," a poem about a five-year-old who is molested by his uncle, is such an example.

Brooks' message about the plethora of children's voices, which speak volumes to those who may underestimate them, also contained characters such as Ulysses, a child who prays at home although his world is weighted by sin, and a proud, black child named Kojo.

"In West/Afrika Kojo/means unconquerable. my parents named/named me the seventh day from birth/in Black Spirit, Black Faith, Black Communion," Brooks wrote in "I Am A Black," a poem she recited that is included in a book titled Children Coming Home.

"I just smile when people call themselves African-American," she said, referring to a continuing debate on what people in her race should call themselves. "Black sounds so intimidating, certain and definite.

Brooks, who holds such honors as a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Award and 60 honorary degrees bestowed on her, also shared several anecdotes with the audience.

"`Now that you are 73 and are going to die very soon, tell us how to live,' she said, recalling what a 12-year-old girl had said to her after one of her readings. In recalling that statement, Brooks also read two of her most requested poems.

The Mother, a poem which she said has piqued the interest of those on both sides of the abortion issue, and We Real Cool, a poem for which she received applause before she even read it, both possess Brooks' signature of accessibility and wisdom.

"I feel that a woman should not interfere with a woman's body," said Brooks of her stance on the abortion issue, which she chose not to discuss during the presentation.

In addition to those topics, Brooks spoke during and after her reading about the state of affairs in South Africa.

"There's no punctuation at the end because there is no punctuation to this situation yet," she said, referring to a poem she wrote before the time of transition in that strife-torn country.

After her reading, people discovered how warm-hearted and attentive a person Brooks is. In between book-signings, she not only critiqued poets' work, but discussed a student's grade and her work. With mellow jazz music piping throughout the once-packed room, she also posed for pictures with her admirers.

After the long line of fans had disappeared, Brooks imparted her wisdom in an interview, which included responses on such issues as activism and the state of creative writing.

"They wanted to express themselves as blacks who cared for each other," she said, referring to black activists who lived in Chicago during the late 1960s and early 1970s. In her words, they have been wrongly characterized as people whose main objective was empowerment.

During this time, she came to know members of Chicago's Blackstone Rangers, a group of young adults who taught her about the rough lifestyles of the street as she shared her poetry with them.

"I do ask of each phrase, `Is this really what I want to say?'" she said, about the composition process. "I don't want to sound like Chaucer or Langston Hughes."

Brooks said she is gratified when someone tells her they can relate to the narrators and understand the subject matter of her poems.

Although Brooks admitted she has been through the "mysterious artist" stage, which she said is evident in one of her poems entitled "The Anniead," she now considers her work to be highly accessible.

"I wouldn't want to write a poem that sounded like a mass of embroidery," she said.

 

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HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS FACE GLOBAL ISSUES AT MODEL U.N.

BY REBECCA MCPHAIL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

The leaders of tomorrow will be at UH solving the problems of today at the 17th annual Houston Area Model United Nations (HAMUN).

Nearly 900 students from 60 Texas high schools will participate in the event, which begins today and runs through Saturday.

Loan Huynh was a high school Model United Nations delegate for two years and is HAMUN's current secretary general. She said the Model UN offers students opportunities not usually found in high schools.

"The Model UN is an educational forum for students who are interested in an international education," Huynh said.

Prior to the session, each participating high school chooses a country to represent. During the conference, the students act as delegates by debating the interests of the country they represent.

Topics to be debated at this year's HAMUN include health care of women and children in Third-World countries, various human rights issues and incentive programs to convince peasant farmers to grow cash crops instead of drugs.

HAMUN got its start 17 years ago when its current advisor, Andrea Flynn, decided high school students needed a more thorough knowledge of international relations.

"We wanted to give students a working knowledge of other parts of the world," Flynn said.

Since its inception, HAMUN has grown from 90 delegates to nearly 900. This rapid growth has required the installation of a Board of Governors to oversee the group's activities.

The Board of Governors is composed of several United Nations appointees; local university representatives from UH, Rice University and the University of St. Thomas; members-at-large; present and past leaders of the Teachers' Steering Committee and the present and previous years' secretaries general.

Board member Norman Morse believes the board is a necessary part of the organization.

"The Board of Governors provide continuity, take care of finances and make policy. Our most important function is to recruit members of the secretariat," Morse said.

The secretariat is composed of Model UN students on the college level who oversee the activities of the high school delegates.

According to Flynn, the college students are the backbone of the organization.

"They chair the committees, they keep records, keep order and do the nitty-gritty. They also serve as parliamentarians, delegate liaisons and instruct students on behavior and role-playing," she said.

According to Morse, the secretary general is the most crucial position in the secretariat.

"Basically, the secretary general is an 800-pound gorilla. Once appointed, they get mostly everything they want," he said.

Huynh couldn't be happier with her position as current secretary general.

"I enjoy watching the students get involved. The position is a lot of work with no monetary rewards, but when the students actually talk about the issue and get passionate about it, it's worth it," she said.

Flynn is even more emphatic about the value of positive discussion between students representing different cultures.

"We need to look at the similarities between cultures," she said. "Until we can establish a link of what is positive between us, we have no chance of achieving world peace."

 

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COLLEGE STUDENTS PROVIDE CHEAP LABOR FOR CANDIDATES

BY COUGAR NEWS SERVICE

 

Hordes of college students in vans, buses and cars have exited the icy roads of New Hampshire and Maine on their way to new political adventures in the 1992 presidential race.

Other primaries await the army of indefatigable loyalists who will work telephones, ring doorbells and hand out leaflets to support their candidates of choice in 1992.

Democrats claim that this year's election attracted the largest crop of college volunteers in more than a decade. The outpouring of student interest has convinced the candidates there is a real advantage in exploiting the energy of students. Few candidates can afford high-priced staff members, so the students provide much-needed -- and cheap -- labor.

In New Hampshire and Maine, college students slept on floors, mainlined pizza and endured numb fingers and toes as they sloshed through shivery states.

The students stay in gyms, churches, supporters' homes or, in a pinch, on the headquarters' office floors. They lick stamps, stuff envelopes, carry banners, canvass votes door-to-door, answer phones or follow their candidate around and chant his name on cue.

For Jessica Plante of Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., working for Sen. Bob Kerrey started out as a lark and ended up as an avocation.

The creative writing major started out as a headquarters receptionist for a weekend; she stayed on as a permanent staffer traveling with the campaign until Kerrey dropped out of the race last month.

"This is a good way to learn about behind-the-scenes stuff," Plante said. "It makes you politically aware. It's always in your mind."

Plante, who stayed in a supporter's home in New Hampshire, said she had "hardly any interest" in politics before becoming involved in Kerrey's campaign.

"In my age group, there are other things to do. It's boring to sit back and figure out who's running and so forth. This way, you get it all first-

hand," she said.

College and university officials have been surprised by the student interest in this year's election, in view of the general voter malaise.

Some students have responded to a movement powered by Rock the Vote, a national, non-partisan organization founded by the recording industry. Organizers have swarmed across New Hampshire and Maine campuses, claiming to have registered 10,000 young voters.

At the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard last fall, Kerrey and Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton attracted crowds of nearly 1,000 each. After the speeches, approximately 100 students signed up to work with each candidate.

During the New Hampshire and Maine primaries, most of the student activity was in the Democratic campaigns. Of the six major candidates, four -- Paul Tsongas, Clinton, Kerrey and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin -- had attracted substantial numbers of younger supporters.

Political experts, however, have a "wait and see" attitude regarding the youth vote. Only 36 percent of eligible citizens aged 18 to 24 showed up for the last presidential election. Their turnout rate has dropped in each election since the voting age was lowered in 1971.

The mood among Tsongas' young supporters was "elation," said Michele Bair, an electrical engineering major from Boston University.

Tsongas edged out Clinton in New Hampshire and won the Maine primary after a heated battle with former California Gov. Jerry Brown.

"I'm psyched," Bair said.

Tsongas' Manchester headquarters claimed a core group of 150 volunteers. Between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. daily, students called local Democrats and independents to persuade them to vote for Tsongas.

"Last weekend was great. We did a lot of canvassing, a lot of rallies. Then on Tuesday (Feb.18), we drove people to the polls," said Bair, who noted that many on Tsongas' staff are recent graduates "who can drop out of life for a while."

"I've been up on stage with all the cameras, seen the red, white and blue, seen Cokie Roberts and Sam Donaldson just two feet from me," said Bair, who said reading Tsongas' book, "A Call to Economic Arms" convinced her he was the best choice for president.

While the mood was more subdued at Clinton's New Hampshire headquarters, Hannah Bond, a recent graduate from Bard College, who has been with the campaign since November, is confident that student support will remain strong.

"Today, there are 250 students here," she said, noting they would meet to decide which volunteers and staff will go to South Dakota and other states.

"I like it because of the excitement," Bond said. "The phone-banking is hard, but it's good when 50 percent are for Clinton. The highs are great."

Bond says Clinton's campaign in New Hampshire had 10 students who had taken time off from school and were a permanent part of the campaign, and approximately 300 students who worked weekends.

We had a group from Chicago. They came on a bus ... with sleeping bags," she said.

For Bond, the experience was unforgettable, exhausting and exhilarating.

"I'm not sure I will do it again," she said.

For Clinton's college coordinator in the state of Florida, student response has been gratifying. "I think in terms of campuses, not in terms of numbers of students," said Miki Tait from her Tallahassee office.

"College students are so important. It's been a good turnout," she said.

Like the Democrats, Republicans are claiming that student interest in their party is at an all-time high in 1992.

Steve Satran, 26, executive director of the College Republican National Committee, reports that student interest in his organization has grown dramatically over the past decade.

"We are the largest youth-based and the oldest political organization for young people. This year, we celebrate our 100th anniversary."

Satran, a graduate of Marquette University, says that hundreds of students packed the New Hampshire Bush-Quayle headquarters, and in spite of Pat Buchanan's impressive showing in the primary, they were in good spirits and confident of re-election.

"College kids are concerned about jobs," Satran said. "I believe they are putting the blame for the recession on a Democratically-controlled Congress."

 

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CENTER AIDS IN ECO-STUDIES

BY LESTER SAUCIER

NEWS REPORTER

It's spring, and the algae are in full bloom, the fungi are growing in wondrous shades of green and the nitrogen-fixing bacteria are at work. This may not seem like the ideal picnic spot, but for ecologists, biochemists, geologists and others, these are exactly the types of things they want to hear.

The UH Coastal Center is located immediately west of Hitchcock, Texas. The 925.5 acres of land are used by the faculty and students of the university for research and educational purposes.

Ed Glumac, who worked at the center full-time last semester, said the center is the "best-kept secret of the university." He said outside of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, no one knows about it.

Glenn D. Aumann, the college's dean, has been the director of the center since it began over 20 years ago. He said the center is an environmental research and teaching facility.

"It's a big laboratory for use of studies, like a chemistry lab on campus," he said.

Aumann said the types of research programs at the center range from ecology, behavior and population studies of small animals to groundwater contamination and hazardous waste containment research.

Other programs include cooperative education programs with other research institutions such as Rice, Southwest Texas State and Texas A & M universities and the University of Texas at Austin. Instructional programs conducted at the center also demonstrate proper research techniques.

Aumann said the center's activities are funded through the Coastal Center Operation budget and the marine biology department budget, both through the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Grants, contracts and private funds pay for a large portion of equipment and pay for environmentally-related studies conducted in affiliation with the Coastal Center.

Aumann said, "The work conducted at the center is supposed to lead to proposals for funding to the school. We've got a pretty good track record for the past 20 years."

Galveston County will be constructing a new greyhound race track to the immediate north of the center. This means the center will have to compensate for excess drainage runoff from the track. However, Aumann said the environment should not be affected by the presence of the track.

"I don't see any real influence there," he said.

 

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DANCE GROUP SEEKS FUNDS, MAJOR

BY MEAGAN MCGOVERN

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Despite the fact that UH offers no major in dance, eight UH students recently won top honors at the South Central College Dance Festival, competing against other universities' full-time dance majors.

The winning dance, entitled "It's not my Problem," was choreographed by UH student Michael Leleux and was performed by seven students.

One of more than 50 dances performed by 25 schools, the dance, designed to promote AIDS awareness, was selected to represent this region at the National College Dance Festival at Arizona State University next month.

The eight students, led by Leleux, were up against dance troupes from the University of Texas at Austin, Kansas State University and other schools that offer dance degrees.

"I asked the dancers to sacrifice a lot," Leleux said. "Some of the other schools' dancers practiced three hours a day, every day. Because our dancers work and have other classes, we worked out at 7:30 Saturday or Sunday mornings, and that was it."

One major problem lies in a lack of funding. Because UH offers no dance degrees, the funds for travel to next month's festival are unavailable. "The festival is all of the best dancers. They bring in professionals to teach classes, as well as having performances. It would be awful to miss it." Leleux said.

The show incorporates vocals, both in the background and on stage, taken from the book Epitaphs for the Living-Words and Images, which is about AIDS victims.

"I'm amazingly proud of them and thrilled that we've gotten this far -- I just hope we can come up with the funding to go further," Leleux said.

"At the end of the show, there was a magical moment. We received a standing ovation, and in that moment, I heard people in the audience crying."

Leleux did an AIDS performance because "I wanted to say to people -- look, this is everybody's problem. The movement is unusually physical -- I wanted the audience to feel the pain. It's about being out of control. I told the dancers `I want you to feel like you're at war,' which is what AIDS is."

The cost for the trip would be $4630, which would cover airfare and hotels for the eight students and two advisors. "The exposure would be phenomenal. I'd love to be able to show a wide audience the piece," he said.

Victoria Loftin, visiting assistant professor in the dance program, said finding funds is a difficult task.

"We've asked everyone, and we keep getting `no's,' she said. All of the students in the performance did this in their spare time, and for a group of students with no dance degrees in their university, they've done extremely well, Loftin said.

Not only does UH lack a dance studies major, but with budget cutbacks at UH-Clear Lake, the entire Houston area will be left without a dance major at any university.

"I think it's crummy," Loftin said. "We're aware of the budget situation in Houston, but we still feel left out."

The dancers will perform for the UH community on April 17 and 18 in the Cullen Auditorium.

 

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GOV. ANN RICHARDS TO DELIVER 1992 COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS

BY RHONDA HECTOR

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Although Ann Richards did not stop at UH during her 1991 governor's campaign, she will be making a visit in May.

As the choice of the late UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett, Richards will be the general commencement speaker this year.

"The president has a large role in selecting the general commencement speaker," Media Relations Director Eric Miller said. "There is no university committee established to help with that process."

Anyone with a suggestion is usually encouraged to make it, Miller said.

"Of course, if the president of the Students' Association has a suggestion, it would be seriously considered, I'm sure," Miller said.

UH has had many distinguished commencement speakers in past years, including U.S. Treasurer Catalina Villapondo in 1991, former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros in 1990, Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher Sr. in 1989 and now-Secretary of State James Baker in 1988.

"The only Texans in power who have not spoken here are President Bush and U.S. Senators Gramm and Bentsen," Miller said. "We are really looking forward to Gov. Richards' visit."

Out of the above, Cisneros was the only speaker paid for his appearance.

"Public servants generally do not get paid for speaking," Miller said.

On May 2, the president of Germany, Richard von Weizsacker, will address the 1992 graduating class of Rice University.

"The invitation came to us, but it came out of the economic summit (held in Houston at Rice last August)," a Rice University spokesman said. "The German delegation was impressed with Rice and what was going on here."

In 1991, the year of Rice's charter centennial, Secretary of State James Baker, whose grandfather was founding president of the Board of Trustees, was the commencement speaker.

Baker was Rice's first commencement speaker since 1983.

"Rice does not usually have a commencement speaker because the ceremonies are already so long," the spokesman said.

In 1989, UH Downtown also broke a tradition. The commencement speakers usually were chosen from the campus, Jo Ann Deforest, of UH Downtown's Media Relations, said.

But that year, the commencement speaker was the late Congressman Mickey Leland.

In 1990, the campus did not have a commencement speaker, but in 1991, Congressman Craig Washington addressed the graduating class.

At press time, UH Downtown has not chosen a speaker for the 1992 commencement ceremony.

 

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UH STUDENT FIGHTS OFF ASSAILANT AT LOCAL MALL

BY MICHAEL D. OESER

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Peace officers say a UH junior psychology major's cool head is what kept her from being abducted in her own car Tuesday as she left Sharpstown Mall.

Twenty-five-year-old Michelle Nelson walked out to her 1991 Suzuki Sidekick, parked near Foley's department store at 3 p.m. As she put her packages in the back and took the convertible top down, two-time parolee David Simpson approached her and asked for change.

Nelson said she had no change, but Simpson, who had been free for 19 days after an early release, refused to leave.

"I could tell he just wasn't going to go away after I said I had no change," Nelson said.

She entered her car and before she could start the engine, Simpson came closer and "casually" said "Move over. I'm taking your car."

Nelson said, "I said `Can I just stay here and let you take the car?' and he answered, `No. I want you and the car.'"

Realizing she was in danger, Nelson turned and screamed for help to people she saw entering the store.

Nelson said Simpson then started striking her on the head and face before entering the car, shoving her down into the passenger-side seat where people

couldn't see her and covered her mouth.

"He shouted at the people that I was his girlfriend and that we were having a fight and to stay out of `our' business," Nelson said.

She said none of the onlookers came to her aid. "I feel it's real sad more people don't get involved or at least find out what's going on. We might catch more criminals," she said.

Still struggling, Nelson said she then set off her car alarm by hitting a panic button inside the car. She eventually broke Simpson's grip on her mouth and screamed more.

Houston Police Sergeant Ben Norman said more people started to stop and watch.

Nelson said when the bystanders amassed, Simpson "just walked off as if nothing had happened."

She then started to cry, and people finally asked her if she was alright. In an interview Wednesday, Nelson said she was slightly bruised, but mostly shaken up.

An unidentified female flagged down an off-duty constable to chase down and identify the alleged assailant.

Harris County Precinct 6 Constable Robert Perez said he went with the woman and apprehended the alleged assailant at a nearby restaurant.

"At first, he started acting like nothing was going on, but he didn't try to get away once I told him to put his hands on the car," Perez said. Perez turned the case over to HPD Major Offenders Division officers.

Sergeant Norman said the 31-year-old Simpson has been charged with robbery and bodily injury and is being held in the Harris County Jail without bond.

Norman also said Simpson has been arrested five times in Brazoria County with four convictions and two jail terms. The arrests were for sexual assault, burglary, theft and invasion of privacy.

Simpson is on parole until 1996, Norman said.

Sharpstown Mall Security Officer John Massie said, "She did a great job of fighting him off. I understand people being apprehensive about getting involved. I'm thankful the suspect was apprehended and that she was not harmed.

"Her presence of mind (to hit the panic button) might have been what saved her life," he said.

 

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