COMMUNITY REPORT, KENNY ROGERS SPOTLIGHTED

BY DEBBIE HOUSEL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Kenny Rogers was the hot ticket Thursday as a capacity crowd filled the Houston Club to hear the second annual UH Report to the Community.

The first annual report was the brainchild of the late President Marguerite Ross Barnett and attracted more than 800 people. Because of the cramped conditions last year, yesterday's luncheon was limited to 750 people and, repeating last year's success, people again were turned away.

"I stand here before you today having served as acting president for two months, and I am here to tell you that the University of Houston has never been stronger in its sense of mission, or more dedicated to meeting its many obligations to our community.

"It is an absolute truism that every great city in the world is the home to a great public university, and Houston is no exception. We are Houston's great public university," acting UH President James Pickering said.

Included in the program was a proclamation from Houston Mayor Bob Lanier which named April 2, 1992, UH Annual Report to the Community Day. It was presented by Sherry Solomon, special assistant for education in the mayor's office.

The highlight of the afternoon was the appearance of country-music legend Kenny Rogers, who accepted the E. E. Oberholtzer Award for Lifetime Contributions to American Culture Through Music.

"In my mind, I was here for two years; in my mother's mind, I was here for two semesters," Rogers said.

"UH is surely one of the happiest times in my life because I was the first person in my entire, genetic background to attend college; to graduate from high school as a matter of fact. And I will tell you there was disappointment in my mother's voice when I told her I was leaving college to become a musician. I do feel that she is somewhat happy with me now."

Rogers described UH during the 1950s as a small college with a lot to offer. Now, he said, UH is a college to be contended with and something to be very, very proud of.

Also featured were four speakers who expressed the ways in which UH is responding to community needs.

Pickering attributed the great changes that have taken place at UH to the "absolute dedication and enthusiasm of our faculty, of our staff, of our students and of our alumni."

Before the address, John Cater, UH Board of Regents chair, said he feels the Houston community is more enthusiastic this year because many people in the community have heard about last year's success.

"Clearly, Marguerite set the tone. It's to continue to elevate UH in the minds of the Houston leadership and to lay out the university's progress and problems," Cater said, referring to Austin rumors about a substantial cut in higher education budgets.

Pickering called on the audience and the state to set priorities.

"We must decide whether we will adequately fund our most basic educational requirements, from kindergarten through college, and be leaders, or whether we will fall even further behind in the level of educational resources that support our children and their futures," Pickering said.

With the threat of severe budget reductions, Pickering said the Systemwide Creative Partnerships Campaign (with a $350 million goal) could not have come at a more opportune time.

"At no other time in the university's recent history has private funding been more necessary -- or its absence more potentially disastrous."

Pickering, espousing some of UH's advancements, said a March 23 issue of U.S. News and World Report cites a new survey of law school deans, senior faculty and academic specialists who ranked UH's health law program as number four in the nation.

Pickering also complimented chemistry professor J. Andrew McCammon for his 1992 nomination for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. McCammon has been involved in history-making studies in the field of drug research.

His research promises to yield results in the development of a new generation of drugs to fight cancer, AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

The community report launched this weekend's festivities that include a concert by Rogers Thursday night, and the Cougar Fiesta and Cook-Off activities today and Saturday.

In an interview, Rogers, who performed in the Frontier Fiesta in 1958, said he never understood why UH discontinued the event and is doubly excited about inaugurating the Fiesta's return.

"The Fiesta was always one of the most exciting things I had ever done in my life.

"I think UH should be very proud of itself. When I went here, Rice was the big thing, so I think it's great. I watch the University of Houston compete in all the athletic events and they compete at a very high level -- they do it very well, and I'm very proud of them," Rogers said.

 

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PUNK BAND GOES MAINSTREAM

BY GRAM GEMOETS

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Social Distortion, that 12-year-old, California-based punk group, has a new album out entitled Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell.

In a college interview mediated by a Rolling Stone official, band member Mike Ness talked at length about his dreams, influences and whatever else was on his mind.

Social Distortion is credited with promoting the punk movement on the West Coast in the early '80s. From their underground beginnings, to today's mainstream reality, Social Distortion has kept their act together.

Mike Ness credits his early influences to "country, rock-a-billy, blues and punk." In fact, the first record he remembers is the Beatles' "Day Tripper." "I was into music before most kids were out of diapers," Ness said.

When asked to describe the changes in the L.A. scene, Ness came alive. "Los Angeles used to be really underground and individualistic. Around '84, however, the whole place became stereotyped and plastic. Now, anyone can get their hair cut and be a punk."

For years, stations have tried to ignore Social Distortion's music. Their unique sound was reserved for their select, live audiences.

But the band's new music is seemingly more radio-ready. Stations around the country can finally be heard playing Social Distortion songs.

Ness credits this new radio acceptance on changing trends in musical tastes.

"Look at the success of Nirvana. I mean, people are buying a punk record without even knowing it. I guess it's better than buying George Michael recordings."

This new market trend away from plastic pop is not the only reason for the band's renewed success. Their new record label, Epic, expects to sell records. They are, therefore, heavily promoting the band.

Although their music is more mainstream, the band refuses to conform. "I realize we could sell more records if we had hair down to our butts," Ness commented.

He credits some of his real-life experiences with influencing the new album.

"I think we all have personal demons. Frustration, alienation, anger and fear are inside everybody. You have to overcome this if you want to succeed."

"99 to Life" is Mike's favorite song on the new release. "I did some time in county jail, and that is what gave me the idea."

Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell captures dangerous elements of rock 'n' roll. It is a must-purchase for any Social Distortion fan.

The album, containing such greats as "Ghost Town Blues" blends blues with punk. It is this mix that will secure Social Distortion's place as a unique band with a punk flare.

"Most pop music is insincere. Sincerity, you see, is the driving force behind Social Distortion," Ness said.

In the future, he wants to work with such greats as Johnny Cash and the Ramones. "We have only worked with the Ramones once, and I want more. I grew up with their records, and they were another major influence in my life".

If you are a fan of Social Distortion, buy this album. Like most fine things, the band has improved with age.

 

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CHEAP WEEKEND THRILLS FOR STUDENTS

BY SALLY POUNCY

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Spring Break may be over, but that is no reason to stop having fun. Here is a quick list of cheap things for a poor, starving college student to do in Houston this weekend.

Friday:

Comedian Wayne Cotter comes to the UH Jeppesen Fieldhouse to do a show with some of the proceeds going to Comic Relief. The laughs start at 8:30 p.m.

Gus Van Sant's first critically-acclaimed, feature-length film, Mala Noche, will be shown at 8 p.m. today and Saturday at the Museum of Fine Arts.

Saturday:

The wonderful Houston band Toy Subs will headline at Fitzgerald's. The show starts at 10:30 p.m.

Poi Dog Pondering will be appearing at the Vatican with The Duckhills, a band that is "serious about parody." The show starts at 9:30 p.m.

The Academy Dancer will present a spring concert entitled "A Step in the Right Direction" at 7 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Sunday:

Nuclear Valdez will be performing for FREE at the Yucatan Liquor Stand.

The J.S. Bach Society will present several of the composer's works. Robert Lynn will direct the Bach Choir and Orchestra. The event will begin at 5 p.m. at Christ the King Lutheran Church. It is free and open to the public.

If none of these things appeal to you, check out one of the local museums. The Contemporary Arts Museum show "El Corazon Sangrante/The Bleeding Heart" is still going on, and admission is free, but a two-dollar donation is suggested and would be appreciated, unless otherwise noted.

Arte Americas Gallery will present a collection of Latin American religious art entitled "La Promesa del Alma" (The Promise of the Soul.) The exhibit will run through April 25.

 

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COUGARS FINISH SPRING DRILLS

BY KEITH ROLLINS

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

It's pretty clear the Cougar football team will need sizable improvement to reach bowl standards in '92.

With spring drills ending recently, the outlook of such a resurrection is still a foreseen notion, but there is a favorable outlook going into the preseason.

For instance, the defense that gave up a horrendous 31.3 points per game last year seems to have the talent and experience to regain respect.

The linebacking corps should be a dominant factor considering all starters from last year's team will be back for another show. Three-year starter Eric Blount will provide the necessary leadership on the strong side, junior Ryan McCoy will fill the middle and Nigel Ventress and Tyler Mucho will pace the weak side.

These guys, along with a decent line and secondary, look good on paper, but their performance will be doubted because of last year's inconsistencies.

Proving themselves early on in the season will be a high priority for Head Coach John Jenkins and his staff. Watch for incoming recruit Otis Grant out of Willowridge (Houston) to make an impact on the defensive line this spring.

The offense, who will be without the services of heralded quarterback David Klingler, must choose a new general to lead the team.

Senior Donald Douglas, last year's key back-up, seems to be ahead of the pack, but Jimmy Klingler, David's brother, junior college transfer Kyle Allen and new recruit Chuck Clements, out of Huntsville, will provide plenty of competition. Watch for Jenkins to red-shirt the young Clements to save a year of his eligibility.

The superback position, like last year, will be up for grabs. Incumbents TiAndre Sanders and Tommy Guy will return but will be tested by junior college signees Lamar Smith and Percy Gualt. Both recruits were among the top national junior college runners last year.

The receiving corps seems to be the most decided and talented part of the offense.

Freddie Gilbert, who lead the nation in receiving last year, will be surrounded by Tracy Good and Sherman Smith, both proven veterans. Complementing those hands will be Ron Peters, who showed well at the end of last season, and transfer recruit Keith Jack, who has lived up to all expectations this spring and looks to be the next great receiver to come out of Houston.

The kicking game will have its first facelift in four years. Roman Anderson has moved on to the NFL, leaving the Cougars without proven legs. Punter Charlie Langston has also moved on, opening that position. Walk-ons will fill these spots, making the kicking game somewhat suspect.

Overall, the team seems to have the ingredients to attain success in '92. With the absence of all the predictions and annoying pressures put on the team last year by the press and themselves, Houston will head into the season more relaxed and focused.

 

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JENKINS LOOKS TO DEFENSE FOR IMPROVEMENT OVER 1991 SEASON

BY JASON LUTHER

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Of all people, the "guru" of the Run-and-Shoot offense said defense will be the crucial factor in the Cougars' 1992 football season.

Jenkins, who has been widely known for his emphasis on offense, said the Cougars have emphasized defense during spring drills.

"Our biggest concerns for the 1992 season are being able to answer the questions that lingered a year ago about our defense after our final two games," Jenkins said.

The Cougar defense looked almost non-existent as they gave up 101 points in their final two games of the 1991 season.

"We finished the season on a very disappointing note," Jenkins said. "Basically, we were outscored in a huge free-for-all against both TCU and Texas Tech."

However, Jenkins said he was optimistic after the conclusion of spring practice.

"I feel that we had a tremendous amount of improvement in the spring," Jenkins said. "Total awareness of the situation appears to be a great improvement of the experienced players returning defensively.

"I'm optimistic about our defense, the fact that we can turn around and really come out on a strong note in 1992 and build defensively as the season progresses."

Jenkins looks toward the 1992 season with a much less confident attitude than before last year's campaign.

"We've got a lot to prove as an entire team for 1992, rather than magnify any plusses," Jenkins said. "We need to come out as a unit and become close, tight-knit and lay down one fine performance after another.

Jenkins said the offensive outlook is somewhat more cloudy than in the past few years.

After Houston's loss to Arkansas last season, the Cougar offense came around through a gain of experience by the front line. However, Jenkins said replacing starting quarterback David Klingler will be a big challenge for the team.

"At quarterback, we must replace a great player in David and the emphasis here will be to continue to bring along top players and not declare a starter until we come out of two-a-days."

Another question mark is at the superback position, he said. Although he said there is much competition in the Cougar backfield.

"There is some depth and experience at superback. And, again, much like quarterback, we'll let that declare itself as we enter the season."

Jenkins said the receiving corps looks strong, even with the losses of John Brown III and Marcus Grant to the NFL draft.

"We've got some talented people returning at receiver," he said. "Freddie Gilbert is an All-American, who led the nation in receiving last year. Keith Jack is a talented newcomer. Ron Peters continues to improve. Tracy Good and Sherman Smith are experienced slot receivers."

Jenkins said the team must put last year behind them and focus on the upcoming season.

"(Last season) was disappointing because if we had won those (last) two games, we could have easily concluded with as much momentum and with as fine a finish as any team in the country."

 

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COUGARS GET SNUFFED IN POLL OF TOP U.S. GRADUATE SCHOOLS

BY MEAGAN MCGOVERN

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Although many UH departments are consistently ranked among the best in the nation, UH was, with one exception, conspicuously absent from a recent U.S. News and World Report article on the nation's best graduate schools.

The only area where the March 23 article gave UH credit was health law, ranking it fourth in its field.

David Jones, editor in chief of the Law Review, said Houston deserves a better rating.

"The Law Center has changed a great deal in the last seven to 10 years, and the statistics just haven't kept up with the changes," Jones said. "The quality of the students has gotten a lot better. After we have several cycles of lawyers graduate and move into the mainstream, the public image will change."

The UH Law Center scored in only the second quartile in the article.

"One of the things that is judged is the general reputation of the school on a nationwide basis," said Robert Knauss, Law Center dean. "You're only going to hear about long-established schools."

Other top UH programs were omitted from the article as well.

The UH creative writing program is ranked as one of the top three in the nation.

"Our writing program is well known, and we have very high-caliber students and faculty," he said.

UH's creative writing program should have helped the status of the English department, which was left out of the top 25, said James Pipkin, acting dean of the College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication.

Pipkin said the ranking in the article is "based upon tradition and opinion. That list of the top 25 hasn't changed in 20 or 25 years. Our creative writing is one of the two or three best in the country. History is one of the strongest in the country.

"About 10 days ago, UH Chancellor Alexander Schilt held a ceremony to honor historians whose books were reviewed by the New York Times. We had 10 authors. That's an incredible accomplishment," he said.

Pipkin also said the drama program should have had some mention. "Why would Edward Albee and Jose Quintero want to teach here if we weren't among the top 25 schools for drama?"

Engineering departments that have been ranked high in other surveys failed to make the U.S. News list.

Schools were ranked according to several criteria, including faculty, admissions and expert opinions.

Engineering Dean Roger Eichhorn said this type of criteria keeps UH from being ranked according to its merits.

"The kinds of things they look at are not the kinds of things that make it easy to make it on their lists. A lot of the departments in engineering only process applications from students they're going to accept, so it looks as if we have a very high acceptance rate, which isn't the case.

"We fill a very peculiar niche in Houston -- we have a lot of part-time students who only take a few classes, so it looks as if our retention rate is bad. These studies don't really reflect the work we're doing," he said.

Charles Dalton, associate dean for engineering, agrees. "We're a relatively young institution, especially our graduate school. We may or may not be in the top 25, but we're definitely in the top 50. (Texas) A & M and (the University of) Texas may be larger, but they're certainly not better. What we do, we do extremely well. In a National Research Councils study done in the early '80s, we were the most-improved engineering school in the country."

The Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management has long competed with Cornell University for the first and second spots in the nation in that field but was left out of the survey.

"Our facilities probably rank first in the country. We give our students practical experience," said Mark Mathew, a professor in the HRM school.

 

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FRESHMEN GIVEN NEW TOOLS FOR COLLEGE SURVIVAL

BY KATHY ALLEN

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

UH will change its approach in helping freshmen through the risky first year of college -- beginning in fall 1993.

Freshmen will be offered, through the Academic Advising Center, more-focused advising, greater assistance in making the transition from high school to college and earlier warning and assistance in turning around a poor GPA.

The changes, recommended by the Undergraduate Council, were approved Wednesday.

"All the literature you can find on retention agrees that the first semester and certainly the first year are the critical times in the decision whether to persist," said Sara Lee, associate director of the Academic Advising Center.

To reflect these changes, the Academic Advising Center's name will change to University Studies Division and Academic Advising Center.

Additionally, the undeclared major will be designated as university studies, and freshmen and transfer students who are admitted to a department major will be designated as major/university studies until they complete 30 semester hours and meet their department's requirements.

The University Studies Division will share advising responsibility with the student's college and department. Since students spend the majority of their first two years fulfilling general core requirements, this dual track is simply formalizing the existing situation, said Hyland Packard, director of Academic Advising.

Lee said this change is based on a long history of advising students who encounter problems in their major and require more general advising support than their department advisors can offer.

"We think it will help those students who don't come to us, who don't know to come to us, or who wait too long to come to us, so we're building more structure into the critical freshman year," Lee said.

Additionally, a recently-approved freshman seminar course will be offered to all students and will be mandatory for students at risk (based on SAT scores).

About half the course will explain the core curriculum and provide an overview of UH's colleges and departments. The remainder of the course will teach skills necessary for a successful college career, such as study skills, test-taking and time management, Packard said.

Also beginning in fall 1993, the new, overall standard for clear academic standing will be a flat 2.0 GPA rather than the current sliding scale of 1.7 for freshmen, 1.9 for sophomores and 2.0 for juniors and seniors.

"The university no longer speaks with forked tongue," said Rosalie Maddocks, Undergraduate Council chair.

Packard added, "What happens through that whole process that now exists is that nothing tells that student that earned the 1.70 `you must go talk to somebody on how to turn it around.'"

Under the new policy, freshmen cannot be suspended for earning less than a 2.0 GPA but instead will be placed on Academic Notice and will automatically receive advising at the beginning of their next semester of enrollment.

The Advising Center will refer the student to remedial services, diagnostic testing for skills deficiencies and will draw up an advising contract with the student that requires specific actions and periodic review meetings with advising staff.

"It has the advantage of making human the 2.0 level. It allows you to help people rather than just destroy them," Packard said.

 

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FINANCIER OFFERS RADICAL CHANGES IN STUDENT LOANS

BY RHONDA HECTOR

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

With the November elections approaching, candidates are hot on the campaign trail talking about the issues and offering solutions.

Issues concerning many students at UH and other college campuses include the economy and the job market, school funding and the rising cost of obtaining a college education.

Edward Blum, a 40-year-old investment banker, is running for the 18th District U.S. Congressional seat. The district includes the UH campus and the position presently held by Democrat Rep. Craig Washington.

"I think there are two distinct things that separate me from Craig Washington that a college student should take under consideration," Blum said. "The first is that college students always hope to graduate from college and enter the job market.

"I think my proposals for rejuvenating the economy and just general Republican principles are more valid than what Craig Washington believes and what the Democratic Party believes."

Republican principles encourage small business formation, which will be the next wave of the American business cycle to create better job opportunities for college students, Blum said.

He proposes to encourage people to start small businesses by lowering or eliminating capital

gains taxes and by giving tax breaks to those who start businesses in areas needing economic boosts.

"The second thing is the concept of community service," he said. "I've proposed the formation of something I have called the United States Loan Bank. That would be a loan bank that would be established to make college loans to qualified applicants who would pay that loan back not with hard dollars but with community service."

The community service would entail the student being placed in an inner-city or rural school that is "at risk" (at risk meaning too many of the students at that school are testing below state standards) after graduation, he said. The student would help the teacher with any students needing extra help learning.

The student would be paid a nominal wage during the two-year period, and the job would be full time, he said.

"They would have enough (money) to continue living at the dormitory at a local college, or the government could arrange some sort of grant or a shared living arrangement," Blum said. "It would basically be the kind of life you would have if you were drafted into the army. It wasn't a whole lot of money, but it was your commitment to your community.

"The student would say to themselves, `I got four years of very expensive college paid for by the federal government and now, it's going to be tough, but I've got two years to give back to my community,' he said.

The money for the loan bank would come from the Department of Education, said.

His position on school funding is to dramatically cut administrative positions in order to have more funding for academic needs.

"Twenty years ago, 70 percent of the people drawing checks at academic institutions were teachers," he said. "Now that number is slightly above 50 percent. If we can get some of the internal costs down, then I think that will eventually benefit students that are having a tough time getting college loans and those seeing the escalating cost of getting a college education." Blum also supports extending the school year by 45 days and empowering principals and teachers to run schools as they see fit.

The Republican candidate has worked as an investment banker, specializing in public finance, for the past 13 years and is currently employed at the investment firm of Payne Webber.

He has never served in public office but was active in both the Ronald Reagan and George Bush presidential campaigns.

Blum has lived in Houston for the past 30 years and is married with one daughter.

Rep. Craig Washington was in Washington D.C. at press time and unavailable for comment.

 

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UH CRIME INFORMATION COULD END

BY CLAY CARPENTER

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

If enacted, policies outlined in the Arrest Policy Task Force report would necessarily limit the flow of important information to the press, said Elwyn Lee, vice president for Student Affairs.

In its report, the task force recommends that suspects of some crimes committed against the university be subject to campus disciplinary procedures instead of prosecution. Administrators would be prohibited from releasing information about those procedures by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, better known as the Buckley Amendment, Lee said.

The amendment says an educational institution will lose federal funding if it "has a policy or practice of permitting the release of education records" to parties other than the students' parents, certain school and government officials, or the student if he or she is more than 18 years old.

"Education records" is defined in the amendment as records that "contain information directly related to a student." Disciplinary actions are not among the exemptions listed in the amendment.

"If in fact a federal law mandates that we not release (information), then we absolutely must abide by it. I think you could probably talk about trends without talking about certain names (of suspects)," Lee said.

Law Professor Michael Olivas, an expert on higher education law, said, "My advice to an institution would be not to release records until someone requires them to do so."

News organizations have access to sentences handed down when the D.A.'s office prosecutes a case, as a matter of public record.

Communications Law Professor William Linsley said the arrangement might raise constitutional questions.

"It means the public can't oversee the disciplinary action of the committee. They can't assure due process. It would be most unlikely that if the student wanted them to (release the records), they could keep it secret," he said.

Mark Goodman, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, said, "I've not heard of anything like this before. I think they might be compelled under the state open records law (to release records), especially in cases where there is no criminal prosecution."

However, a 1978 amendment to the Texas Open Records Act reads, "Nothing in this act shall be construed to require the release of information ... except in conformity with the provisions of the (Buckley Amendment)."

Linsley said to his knowledge, no federal funds have been denied because a university did not comply with the Buckley Amendment.

The report suggests a group of administrators meet with UHPD Chief George Hess or a representative of Hess to discuss every arrest made on campus. An offender might be suspended, have to pay restitution or perform community service, Lee said.

"There would be some guidelines that would become fairly routine. Certainly, the general procedures would be known. Obviously, we would want everybody to have confidence in what it is we're doing," Lee said.

Lee is an associate professor of law and a member of the task force, formed in 1991 to investigate UHPD arrest policy following allegations of police harassment by a black fraternity and an incident in which a student was arrested for carrying a gun on campus, a felony offense.

However, Lee said if suggestions in the report are enacted, felonies would not fall under the jurisdiction of the administration.

 

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