CAMPUSES RECOGNIZE GROWING DAY-CARE NEED

BY COUGAR NEWS SERVICES

 

Small children stack blocks and color pictures. In a building next door, their parents study biology or English for college credit.

As older students return to school in unprecedented numbers -- and as schools realize the value of having a research or on-site training center for students studying child development and education -- on-campus day-care centers are becoming a hot topic.

According to administrators, campus day care has been available traditionally for the benefit of faculty members or members of the community who want their children to learn in a university's academic environment.

"The child-care issue is really still more important among faculty (than students)," said Rita Bornstein, president of Rollins College in Florida. "I think many (returning students) have already addressed the issue" because they've dealt with day care as working parents.

While many students have made other arrangements for their children, many don't know what they're going to do, said Norman Tognazzini, founder of the National Association of Returning Students.

"I'm not as optimistic," he said of older students who need campus day-care services. "It's just not there for the need. About 53 percent of households are single-parent. They are always in need."

Tognazzini said a preference at some campus centers for children of faculty members is a problem for students.

"Typically, the day care has traditionally been reserved for faculty or administrators' children," he said. "That's a big issue. We've (NARS) heard some abominable stories from single-parent women returning to school who can't get child care."

Part of the problem is that while many schools are recognizing the need and allocating funds to create or expand day-care programs, others are so strapped by budgetary problems, they cannot respond to the growing need.

For example:

At the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Children's Center, built in the mid-1970s, struggles with problems of crumbling walls, poor ventilation and rat and roach infestations.

The center, which in January celebrated its 20th anniversary, provides preschool services with a curriculum developed by the university's College of Education. According to center directors, the number of slots available for students has remained the same over the years, while demand has more than tripled. Because of budget problems, the center does not expect to expand in the near future.

At the University of Minnesota, officials are delaying the opening of a new child-care center because the University Foundation didn't deliver on its promise to raise $100,000 in funds for the center.

The center's construction budget is $2.2 million, and although the $100,000 is just a fraction of that cost, center administrators say it is necessary to purchase equipment, furniture and other items not included in actual building construction.

The new center will serve 165 children of students, faculty and staff. The current center, which will be demolished to make way for the new center, accommodates 69 children. Officials say the waiting list for the center ranges from 200 to 400 children at any given time of the year.

On a more positive note, the University of California at Santa Barbara just re-opened its center after $2 million in renovations that doubled the old center's space.

The new center will care for 45 additional children and will allow the center to hire 15 additional student aides and 12 teachers.

At the University of Southern Colorado, administrators are looking for an architect to design a new day-care facility there. In 1991, students voted to raise their fees $10 per semester to pay for the operation and construction of the new center that will cost the school about $78,000 per year to run.

The funding for child-care services varies from school to school. At USC, the new center will be funded primarily by student fees.

At Oakland University near Detroit, "We're funded by tuition (to the day-care center)," said Katie Barney, program coordinator. "The school provides the building and utilities. We're non-profit."

The Oakland center currently cares for about 200 children of faculty, staff, students and community residents.

Although Oakland's center has been around since 1965, other schools are just beginning to look at the issue.

At Southeastern Louisiana University, a survey in the student newspaper, The Lion's Roar, asked students if they favored child care on the school's campus.

Two students immediately wrote letters to the editor.

"I believe there is a desperate need for child care on this campus," wrote Mary Biondo, a returning student who is expecting a child. "Most places have waiting lists in town -- one center asked that I sign up now while I'm expecting. I've grown very fond of this school and its faculty, but the child-care issue will be a major focus of where I attend my next semester."

At Minot State University in North Dakota, two students have organized a campaign to bring child care to the school, citing similar problems -- local day-care centers are either inadequate or difficult to get into.

 

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At the University of Arizona, some non-traditional students met with the school's student association for a brainstorming session on the topic. The group is in the process of drafting a proposal for a campus child-care center.

Schools that don't have the money or the initiative to start a day-care center still can assist students who require such services, Tognazzini said.

"If colleges can't establish day care on campus, they can offer locator services to help students find child care," he said.

Another alternative is forming a cooperative so that students can help each other care for their children, he said.

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PHONE REGISTRATION IMPEDED BY TECHNOLOGY

BY MEAGAN MCGOVERN

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Despite the fact that there are "no real timetables," and the budget "hasn't been finalized," UH is moving toward telephone registration, Wayne Sigler, dean of admissions, said.

UH administrators say, as they have for years, that it will happen soon.

Telephone registration allows students at many area universities and community colleges to register quickly and easily by phone. When implemented at UH, the tradition of long lines, endless paperwork and frustration would be curbed.

With telephone registration, students at other universities are able to call up a mainframe computer and punch in their social security number and other identifying information.

Once the system recognizes the student, he or she can simply punch in the number and section of the desired classes. If a section is full, or if the student doesn't have the proper prerequisites, the computer says so, and the student tries again.

At the University of Texas, students use a similar format. Since UT registers nearly double the number of students UH does each semester, the same system could be utilized for this campus.

Sigler said there are three key efforts under way in order to bring telephone registration here.

The mainframe computer system, which is in the process of being converted from a Honeywell system to a VAX system, must be finished. The move to voice technology, the heart of the telephone registration system, must be implemented and then there are interim improvements necessary to get the system started, Sigler said.

The first priority, the conversion of the computer, began last summer. It will be another year and a half before the conversion process is complete.

The next piece, the actual hardware for telephone registration, is being looked at by a committee set up for the purpose, composed of faculty, a student and staff. Administrators have drafted a request for information (RFI) to send to various computer software vendors.

The RFI is currently being "reviewed and fine-tuned" before it is sent out, Sigler said.

"We have no idea at this point who we want to buy from," he said. "We've met with one vendor, not as a person to buy from, but just for information. We're trying to look at what's out there."

Once the RFIs are sent out and returned, administrators will send out an RFP (request for a proposal), or bids for the job, to the vendors.

The committee has met with several other Texas schools to review their registration systems, including UH Clear Lake, Houston Community College, UT and Texas A & M.

According to Hyland Packard, director of Academic Advising, the slowness of the transition is "not a delay, but deliberate, slow movement." He said policies must be looked over and implemented before the new registration system is implemented.

These policies include the areas of academic advising, financial aid and the actual methods used in registration.

In the area of advising, for example, students must know what courses to take before they can register by phone. Advisers have to decide what restrictions and policies should be implemented before the system is set up to allow students the best access to registration with the least amount of confusion.

Sigler said the new computer system is already proving itself. In the area of transfer credit evaluation, evaluation letters are being sent out in two days; last semester, they were sent out in a matter of weeks.

UH Registrar Mario Lucchesi agrees. "We've trained almost 400 faculty and staff to work with the new computers. It's going very well."

Sigler said a lot of the improvements would not be visible to students right away, but were an inprovement in "back-office efficiency." He said colleges were starting to build their own class schedules, which is "a major step forward."

None of this will happen, however, without financing. The budget hasn't been finalized and has been identified only "in a really general way," Sigler said. "What do we pay the vendor? How many telephone lines do we need? There's installation, ongoing training and marketing to consider."

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THRILL SPORTS LEAP TO FOREFRONT OF CAMPUS FUN

BY COUGAR NEWS SERVICE

Whatever happened to golf?

These days, college students are taking a walk on the wild side, trading their tennis rackets for bungee cords, their golf clubs for parachutes.

And a new area of research shows that these young adventurers aren't your run-of-the-mill sports enthusiasts either.

"It's called sensation-seeking," said Warren Hopkins, a psychology professor at the University of Richmond. "It's the inclination of some people to seek out thrills and adventures to avoid boredom. ... It's a personality trait. Some people can sit and sit and sit. Some people can't."

The most popular of the adventure sports is also the newest -- bungee-jumping. What began as an age-old ritual practiced by natives of Pentecost Island in the South Pacific has emerged as the ultimate thrill sport of the 1990s.

The first jumpers in the South Pacific jumped to show their courage to face death.

Every spring, villagers collected vines, wove them together and tied them around the ankles of young men who would climb high wooden towers and leap off. In addition to showing their courage, successful jumps were said to bring a plentiful yam harvest.

The focus of the sport changed and earned its modern-day roots in 1979, when members of Oxford University's Dangerous Sports Club attached bungee cords to their ankles and jumped off the Golden Gate

Bridge in tuxedos and top hats after reading about the native land-jumpers.

"Right now, all of America is being introduced to the sport,"said Jesse Webb, marketing director for Go Bungee Inc., a licensed bungee-jumping site in Orlando, Fla.

And although the appeal of the sport to most is the psychological thrill of facing death and surviving, those who work within the industry said that's a misconception.

"If you're jumping at a licensed site, you're safe," Webb said. Go Bungee Inc. has taken precautions to make sure no accidents occur, he said,

 

including the maintenance and replacement of bungee cords, the use of multiple harnesses and the use of a "stunt pillow," basically a large airbag underneath the jumper "just in case," Webb said.

"It's just as safe as walking around," said Rob Simpson, a Valencia Community College student waiting to jump at the site. His friend, also a student and first-time jumper, agreed, and explained why he would soon hurl himself 150 feet off a crane.

"I'm just always looking for a different rush. It's that feeling of being free, like a

bird," Troy Goldman said. "I'm nervous watching these guys, but the butterflies make it better."

Webb and others say the only real risk in the sport is assumed by those who jump illegally off bridges and gorges, mostly because they tend to use a "shock cord" -- nylon climbing ropes bound and covered with nylon. Shock cords stop as far as they stretch, so they have more breaking potential and more potential to cause injury because they don't rebound as smoothly as a bungee cord, described by Webb as a "high-tech rubber band."

To date, only one person has died from bungee-jumping in the United States -- an instructor fell 70 feet during a demonstration off a hot air balloon in October when his cord unhooked from his harness. Other deaths have been reported in Australia, New Zealand and Germany as well as France, where the sport has since been banned.

Still, enthusiasts say increased safety precautions and licensing have made the sport one of the safest in the adventure category. Up-to-date comparisons and statistics about adventure sports are difficult to find, but according to a 1987 Safety Council report, hang-gliding has a death ratio of 8:7,000, while skydiving has a 28:115,000 ratio. Bungee-jumping's ratio is believed to be much lower, although statistics aren't readily available.

Skydiving remains one of the highest-rated adventure sports around for those who can afford it.

The trend in skydiving for those who can't afford the expensive certification process is tandem-jumping.

Tandem jumping involves hooking the inexperienced jumper to a professional jumper with a harness.

Other adventure sports popular with college students include outdoor wilderness adventures such as whitewater-rafting and rock-climbing.

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MISSING LINK' OFFERS COUNSELING FOR GRIEF

BY TINA MCDONALD

NEWS REPORTER

Students suffering from the death of a loved one may soon have a support group to help them.

Missing Link will offer grieving students insight into how to deal with their loss.

Associate professor of Hispanic and Classical Languages Carlos Monsanto, the group's faculty adviser, said group members aim to help others understand and cope with the mechanisms of grieving.

"We accept anyone who is grieving. We will share ideas and feelings and provide comfort," Monsanto said.

He said the Missing Link will be structured in a manner similar to a support group for bereaved parents called Compassionate Friends.

Barbara Quinn, a member of the bay-area chapter of Compassionate Friends, said, "I think the Missing Link is a great idea because no one understands grief until they've been through it."

Compassionate Friends, an international organization with four chapters in the Houston area, is strictly a support group for parents who have lost children and siblings who have lost brothers and sisters, Quinn said.

Monsanto said the Missing Link will differ from Compassionate Friends because it will welcome all those who are grieving.

Monsanto, who attended Compassionate Friends for eight months after the death of his son, hopes to apply some of Compassionate Friends' methods. These include having guest speakers, holding special sessions on how to handle the holidays after a loved one's death and having participants bring a personal possession of the loved one for a "show-and-tell" session.

"In Compassionate Friends, we learned not to criticize another person's religion and not to step on anyone's toes," Monsanto said.

Russell Buenteo, a graduate student of sociology, who is studying thanatology, the study of death, said people should remain "value-neutral." That means one shouldn't criticize the cause of death, but should simply help the person deal with his or her feelings, he said.

Buenteo said there are four factors associated with grieving, including cultural factors, the nature of the relationship with the deceased, the cause of death and the griever's previous death experiences.

Monsanto said, "No two people grieve in the same way. Some feelings one may go through include blame, despair, anger, guilt and denial."

Monsanto wants others to know it is normal to have these feelings and that "weeping is a catharsis."

Rosemary Hughes, assistant director of Counseling and Testing, said, "We counsel the bereaved on an individual basis, but I feel the Missing Link is a good idea. It is not necessary for a support group to have a therapist, but we will be happy to assist the group in any way."

Although Buenteo supports the group, he said, "Anyone who can share a loss is valuable to the group, but the support group shouldn't be a replacement for professional help if it is needed."

Ed Morris, a counseling practicum student who volunteers at the Omega House Hospice, said he thinks Missing Link is an excellent idea for the campus. Morris has lost two friends from complications with AIDS.

"I've learned in helping the bereaved that you shouldn't say much. We need to give the physical and emotional support, just to listen," Morris said.

Monsanto said there is a need for a program like the Missing Link on campus because there is a tendency for people not to talk about death. Also, he said, younger people tend to have more feelings of immortality.

Monsanto is currently looking for interested persons to contact him at the Department of Hispanic and Classical Languages.

Buenteo said, "Death is a taboo topic. The only way to take away the taboo is to talk about death or simply listen to others talk about it."

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COLLINS, LONG EXCEL AS WOMEN TIE FOR FIRST AT UCLA TRIANGULAR

BY KEITH ROLLINS

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

The ladies track team tied for first place, and the men placed second at a windy tri-meet invitational against the UCLA Bruins and Cal-State Northridge last weekend.

Although the wind was above average speed and somewhat difficult to run in, the Cougars still fared well.

The women, led by sprinter Michelle Collins, who is an Olympic qualifier in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, created their own windstorm as they executed a successful charge, eventually overwhelming the Bruins.

They tied for the total amassed points between the three schools and won the dual meet against UCLA with a score of 70-66.

As usual, Collins won the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.62 seconds, the 200-meter dash at 23.11 and the 4 x 100 relay with a time of 45.27 seconds. In that event, she was flanked by Dawn Burrell, De'Angelica Johnson and Cecilia Crockett.

"I was really happy with my time in the 200m because it was up a bit. However, the 100m time was a little low because of the windy conditions," Collins said.

Drexel Long brought home a first-place trophy in the 400m dash and gained another win in the 4 x 400m relay with partners Janice Gaines, Claudine Finn and Kim McAllister.

The men's team fared slightly worse and took second place overall, 93-50, to UCLA. The team seemed a little slow, and Olympic qualifier Sam Jefferson said it was due to the timing of the meet.

"It is too early in the year to be at top form. When the Olympics come up, I will be peaking at the right time. Those runners who are running fast right now won't at the end of the season," Jefferson said.

Jefferson also placed second in a "slow" 100m dash at 10.55.

He also lead the 4 x 100m relay to a second-place showing at 40.53 seconds. Jefferson was shadowed by teammates Derrick Ferguson, Mike McKinney and Albert Ramson.

Jermaine Johnson exploded off the runway in the long jump, landing top prize with a leap of 24' 4.25" and third in the triple jump at 50' 1.25".

The 400m dash was dominated by Houston with McKinney placing first at 47.40 seconds while Ferguson crossed the tape .48 seconds behind to give the Cougars their only 1-2 finish.

Coach Tom Tellez summarized the meet, saying "the team did really well overall, especially the women. UCLA's men had a little more overall talent, but our women came through. I thought Jermaine Johnson showed very well."

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GOLF TEAM IN THIRD PLACE AFTER TWO ROUNDS

BY JASON LUTHER

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

After two rounds of play, the Cougar golf team is in position to make a run for its first All-America Intercollegiate Invitational title since 1985.

Junior Greg Cox shot 1-under par as the Cougars finished the round in third place in the AAII at Old Orchard Golf Course in Richmond, Texas, Tuesday.

As a team, Houston shot an 18-over-par 594, just seven strokes behind Arkansas, who leads with an 11-over-par 587.

Southwestern Louisiana's 14-over-par 590 puts them in second place, three strokes behind the lead.

Head Coach Keith Fergus said the Cougars are in good shape going into Wednesday's final round.

"We're not in the lead, but we've certainly put ourselves in position to win," said Fergus, a former UH golfer and touring pro.

Fergus said he was especially encouraged by the play of Cox and sophomore Dean Larsson. Cox shot a 72 in the first round and followed with a 71 in the second for a two-round total of 143, which puts him three strokes behind individual leader Martin Ayers, a freshman out of Southwestern Louisiana.

Larson's combined total of 148 put him eight strokes out of the individual lead.

"Greg played real well today," Fergus said. "Dean (Larson) also had a good second round.

"If we can get all our players going at the same time, we'll have a good shot to win tomorrow."

Arkansas had no problem with consistency in Tuesday's round.

Brothers Brendan and Dean Pappas (74-72 and 72-71 respectively), as well as junior David White (74-74) all finished the day in the top eight individual scorers.

However, Arkansas Coach Bill Woodley remained cautious.

"Our guys played well, but there is still room for improvement," Woodley said. "Some mental lapses cost us a few holes. This is a great course, and you can score well if you stay focused."

After a one-year hiatus, the AAII returns to Houston, which hosted the tournament from 1955 to 1991. The tournament has become widely known as one of the most competitive in college golf.

The Cougars won the first nine AAIIs and went on to win 10 more, the last coming in 1985. Steve Elkington, a former Cougar golfer who now plays the pro tour, won the individual championship that year.

Other pro golfers who have won individual AAII titles are Chip Beck (Georgia '76), Andy Bean (Florida '75) and Tom Kite (Texas '72).

However, the list of professional golfers who played regularly in the tournament and never won is even more impressive. The list includes Fred Couples, Bob Tway, Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin, John Mahaffey, Mark Calcaveccia, Bruce Lietzke and John Daly.

Fergus said he is glad the tournament is back.

"I'm very excited to have the AAII back in full swing," Fergus said. "There's a lot of tradition with this tournament, and I'm glad to see it continue."

Fergus added that the tournament gives the Cougars a chance to see how they stack up against other teams in the conference and the region.

The 18-hole final round will be played at 8 a.m. today at Old Orchard.

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BALLOT STUFFING CAUSES CANDIDATES TO COMPETE AGAIN FOR TOP SA POST

BY FRANK SAN MIGUEL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

One week after the UH Hearing Board decided to recall Students' Association elections, the new election process remains in the air.

Last week, the board heard allegations of ballot-stuffing by PRIDE presidential candidate Damien Kauta. After reviewing the evidence, they booted Kauta from the ballot and called for a new presidential election with the remaining general election candidates.

Slated to square off in the new election will be PLAID candidate Eric DeBeer, YES candidate Rusty Hruska and Student Advocacy candidate Andrew Monzon.

The board decided that all other races would be allowed to stand.

Charles Gaviola, who won with PRIDE in the runoff election, will be sworn in next week as vice president. He will take the reigns of SA as acting president until a new president is elected..

However, the schedule for how the new election will happen is still unclear.

In the UH Hearing Board decision, no timetable for a new election was set. Decisions for such are usually approved by the SA senate via legislation.

The 28th SA senate is scheduled to meet next Monday, when Gaviola will be sworn in. No date has been set for the 29th senate, elected in March, to take office.

"There needs to be leadership from the president at this time," Monzon said. "Unless decisions are made, it will be hard to coordinate debates. We'll need ballots for the new election. We'll need new poll workers. It's a shame it's all coming down to this."

The status of Election Commissioner Stefan Murry is also unclear. Conflict-of-interest allegations between Murry and Hruska surfaced during the general election. Murry and Hruska are both members of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

Murry also was accused of doling out lighter punishments to Hruska's YES Party during the general election.

Since the board's decision, Murry has been unavailable for comment and is reportedly unwilling to preside over the new election. New senators have also raised questions as to whether Murry should be removed before the new election is held.

"The whole thing is really unclear," DeBeer said. "I don't know what to think about all of it. I heard it could be delayed until next semester."

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TRIPLE ROLES CAUSE SUPERMOMS TO FACE MYRIAD OF HURDLES

BY TIFFANY RATHER

NEWS REPORTER

Many UH students are mothers who must play the multiple roles of parent, student and employee.

"I have a lot of responsibilities. I try to work, be a mother and student," said Yolanda Johnson, a senior civil engineering major.

Johnson said her multiple responsibilities create difficulties sometimes.

"I don't have time to talk to professors or other students because I'm working. The lack of availability of the students and professors sometimes affects my grades," said Johnson, a School of Optometry employee.

Gretchen Smith, a senior majoring in sociology, said she never has enough time to do all the things she needs to do because she is trying to be a mother, a student and the bread winner.

"I have no time to rest," said Smith, 28, who has a daughter.

Carrie Dixon, a junior chemical engineering major, said she has a hard time finding time for class with a 2- and a 4-year-old at home. When her children had chicken pox, she missed a month of school.

"I had to drop a class because I missed too many assignments.

"Sometimes, I feel guilty because it seems I'm putting education before my kids," Dixon, 20, said.

When she was a senior in high school, Dixon had her first child. She had her second child her first month as a freshman in college, she said.

"A lady wrote me a nasty letter telling me I shouldn't be a student (in college) because I would be neglecting my kids and missing them grow up," Dixon said.

Dixon said she constantly reminds herself she has to stay in college despite what other people think.

Johnson, 25, said she thinks attending college has a positive influence on her 2-year-old child.

"If he sees me studying with my head in a book, he has the tendency to pick up a book and look at it," she said.

Johnson said her son encourages her to stay in college when she sees him copying her behavior.

Dixon said her children are great encouragement.

"They encourage me. My daughter tells me, `Mama, don't you need to study,' or `You have to graduate so you can buy me a car,'" Dixon said.

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COMD STUDENTS, CLIENTS FOUNDER IN DILAPIDATION

While rain may be an annoyance to some, it has come to mean an entire day of difficulty and disruption of services for the department of communication disorders students and their clients.

The Speech and Hearing Clinic, housed in the South Office Annex building, is afflicted with both a leaky roof and an inadequate storm drain.

On rainy days, the younger clients (as young as one year) sometimes get scared as students carry them to their therapy room through a courtyard containing several inches of water.

Garbage cans are set up in the pre-school play room to catch the drips from the ceiling.

Soggy carpets, sagging ceiling tiles and the smell of mildew have become the norm for the COMD department and their clients.

During a heavy rain in late February, one to two inches of water filled the main hallway and the adjoining rooms, causing computers to malfunction and destroying video and audio tapes that supported research projects.

The furnace was turned up, and fans and dehumidifiers were brought in for three days to dry out the carpet, said Mary Anne McBrayer, COMD office manager.

In the past, minor flooding did not stop the clinic's services, although students worried about the children's well-being in the midst of mildewed carpets and sheetrock. Many of the children have histories of upper-respiratory problems caused by allergies.

But this time, Melissa Bruce, clinical coordinator, decided to cancel therapy sessions because running fans and having therapy at the same time are "mutually exclusive auditory experiences."

Sandra Gold-Singleton, a graduate student, said the February flooding was the last straw for many of the students.

She sent a letter, signed by 61 COMD students, to acting President James Pickering, interim Dean of the College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication James Pipkin and Director of the School of Communication Kenneth Short.

In response to the letter, Pipkin came to the South Office Annex Tuesday to discuss the problem and options in an open meeting attended by about 40 students, faculty and staff.

Pipkin, who at one time had brought his own child to the clinic as a client, said he came over to see the problem when Martin Adams, head of the COMD department, called him shortly after the last flood occurred.

"I came over, I smelled the smell, I saw the fans everywhere, some evidence of all of the tapes that had been ruined. It's clearly an intolerable position," Pipkin said.

But Pipkin stressed that he wanted to be candid with them and said that, in general, he did not have encouraging news.

Four options being explored include relocating the program to the Medical Center, creating an interdisciplinary clinic with the UH College of Optometry, searching for space elsewhere on campus and determining if immediate fixes could make the building tolerable for at least a short period of time.

But several times during the discussion, Pipkin expressed his concerns about the broader issue of the general state of higher education in Texas and the nation, and how it is impacting programs such as this one.

"You live in a state that values higher education less than almost every other state -- I think we're 50th. ... I was in Austin three weeks ago, and what I was told was that the people of this state would rather have more students be able to go to college and get a mediocre education rather than to have fewer students go to get a better education. That's the reality."

Pipkin urged everyone to express their concerns to their congressmen because what's happening right now is going to affect higher education for the next five to 10 years, he said.

Pipkin also said higher education suffers more than other state agencies during budget cuts because many other agencies have federally mandated budgets, such as the state prison system. As a result, higher education becomes an easy target for budget cuts.

In spite of the discussion of broader issues, several of the students had difficulty reconciling the perceived discrepancy in spending between the COMD department, which serves both students and the general public, vs. other departments such as athletics.

The South Office Annex is a complex of warehouse-like buildings that have been attached to each other in such a way as to create several interior courtyards.

Although each courtyard is equipped with a storm drain, about three years ago, one of the courtyards began flooding during heavy rains.

As the water rises, it seeps through the walls into the surrounding offices and therapy rooms. A pump was installed, but it is inadequate during a heavy rain, and flooding results about three times a year, McBrayer said.

"They're (Physical Plant) good about responding, but there's a limit to what general maintenance can accomplish," McBrayer said.

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BAD PLANNING BLAMED FOR LOW TURNOUT AT ROGERS CONCERT

BY DEBBIE HOUSEL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Country music legend Kenny Rogers didn't strike platinum or gold at UH -- the star's concert put the university about $90,000 in the hole.

Rogers was paid $125,000, and additional expenses were estimated at $35,000. If the concert had met expectations, UH was expected to gross between $190,000 and $250,000.

Wendy Adair, associate vice president for University Relations, said the final tally has not been concluded, but it appears UH grossed only about $61,500, leaving a $90,000 shortfall.

To break even, Adair said, 5,500 tickets needed to be sold. Only about 2,500 people attended the April 2 concert at Hofheinz Pavilion, which can seat 11,000 people.

Adair attributes the fizzled show to Rogers' poor drawing power among college students, missed publicity, a late start and poor promotion.

"UH and my operation are not primarily concert promoters. If we do it again, we will do it in conjunction with professional concert promoters.

"We did a lot of what we believed should be done, into checking to test (his appeal to) the crowds. We didn't think that would be a problem," Adair said.

A professional promoter, Adair said, can better assess the talent and the marketing.

She also said they faced scheduling problems, losing out on valuable promotions for the concert.

There was an opportunity to have Rogers on the cover of the Zest magazine in the Sunday Houston Chronicle, but because of his schedule, he was unable to give the interview.

The idea to attract Rogers came during a "brainstorming" session Adair said she had with the late UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett. Because of his availability and the fact that Rogers had appeared in the Cougar Fiesta as a youth, Adair said he was the logical person to go after.

Acting UH President James Pickering said the loss over the Kenny Rogers concert will come from the university's local funds, unallocated monies generated locally, such as interest income, and held in Houston banks, not in Austin.

Pickering, throwing his hands helplessly in the air, said, "It wasn't my deal. Next year, I will get a chance to design the fiesta. It could well be that we don't even have a concert next year."

Adair said the intention was that by having Rogers, a national performer, kick off the fiesta, it would give it credibility.

Ron Morris, director of development for the Athletic Department, said the Cougar Fiesta & Cook-Off just broke even.

Eric Miller, director of Media Relations, said the fiesta accrued $18,500 in expenses and grossed $18,600. However, Miller said there are still some outstanding bills that could absorb the $100 profit.

Morris said he and long-time Cougar and football fan Glenn Lilie originated the idea to revise the fiesta. Half of all profits from the participating booths went to the Athletic Department to provide athletic scholarships.

However, since the fiesta didn't make a profit, there was not even enough money for one scholarship, Morris said.

Adair added, "I believe we got a lot of positive feedback, but I don't think we would do it the same way again."

 

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