ALCOHOL`S LETHAL SIDE REARING ITS UGLY HEAD TO COLLEGE STUDENTS

BY MARCIA MARBURY

DAILY COUGAR

While Natalie Lyles nursed a 34-year-old lawyer, she knew it was just a matter of days before the patient and family would say their last good-byes. The patient eventually died of cirrhosis of the liver.

Lyles, a registered nurse at St. Luke's Episcopal hospital for 10 years, knew that because the patient suffered from liver failure, the liver would no longer metabolize drugs or foods that entered the body.

However, for the intermediate-care nurse who takes care of chronically-ill patients daily, it was a surprise that a person could consume so much alcohol.

He had to have started drinking at a very early age, she said.

Alcoholic substances may be as much a part of college students' lives as eating fast foods and cramming for exams.

"Alcohol, more than ever before, is the drug of choice on college campuses. Three quarters of college students drink at least once a month," said Elaine Johnson, director for Substance Abuse Prevention, in a newsletter.

A UH speech communications major who prefers to be know only as Steve said, "Alcohol is part of the college atmosphere. Before coming to college, I was told the first year is nothing but drinking and partying."

Dr. Ross Rapaport said he agrees with Steve.

"The culture and environment of most institutions of higher education encourage experimentation, especially the misuse or illegal use of alcohol, and support the very behavior that compromises their achievements," he said.

Ken Cobbley, a December 1991 economics graduate who is a part-time supervisor at the UC Games Room, said, "Everyone looks at all the bad things that happen. Ninety-nine percent of the time, people drink safely, and nothing happens."

"For the past two years, I've worked at the UC, and there has never been an alcohol-related incident," he said.

"Your behavior isn't determined by alcohol," Byron Oler, a UH post baccalaureate student, said.

However, according to the "Put on the Brakes" Bulletin, a University of Florida student died of an alcohol overdose after consuming 23 shots of liquor in a one-hour span at a drinking contest, vomiting and passing out.

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KIDS AWED BY MUSEUM`S ARRAY OF GADGETS, GIZMOS

BY AMEY MAZUREK

DAILY COUGAR

An array of imaginative, hands-on activities, exhibits and bursts of color from kid-inspired artwork greet the visitors of the Children's Museum at 3201 Allen Parkway.

An exhibit based on the 1940's book The Adventures of Little Toot opened last week. Written by Hardie Gramatky, who was inspired by the tugboats of New York harbor, Little Toot follows a toddler tugboat through character-building adventures.

Kids can create their own Little Toot adventures with paper and crayons that the museum provides.

In the next room, a re-created Nigerian village filled with researched and curated African art, life-sized huts and traditional costumes gives kids the opportunity to role-play the life of a villager. A large "storytelling tree" sits in the middle of the village, and sometimes, the museum provides a storyteller.

Inside the house of the king, the Oba, sits a large, wooden throne, so anyone can be Oba for a day.

Down the hall from the village is the Expressions Room, where kids create their own multimedia designs. The hall serves as the Gallery, where some of the kids hang their art.

At shin level to adults, but eye level to toddlers, brightly-colored, three-dimensional, ceramic pieces, hanging in the hall, beckon to be touched.

According to the museum's public relations officer, Michelle Williams, they help toddlers develop their senses by giving them textures to feel and bright colors to see.

Freelance artists are often contracted to make interactive sculptures and other pieces, such as some of the reproductions in the African village, according to Williams.

The next (and biggest) room, "Bits, Bytes and Binary Codes," contains eye-popping computer graphics. Sights for Soaring Eyes is a video fly-over of Houston produced by the special effects crew who participated in the movie Top Gun.

The viewer can manipulate the video to fly high or low, backward or forward, and can zoom in to a specific landmark and still the video to study it. Adults tend to gravitate to this exhibit.

Other computers around the walls offer bold colors of cartoon-style animation. They offer a unique learning opportunity for youngsters.

For example, transformed into a game, learning the alphabet by computer seems less of a chore. At least one of the programs lets kids solve a puzzle by touching the screen, moving the pieces using fingertips rather than a joystick.

A videophone booth allows two or more to call each other and talk, while a video screen takes a still picture each minute of the person on the other end.

"Special Needs, Special Tools" gives kids a perspective on the problems faced by the disabled. A kitchen is divided in half. One half is dominated by a typical layout; the other half is designed for those with special needs.

Kids can move around in a wheelchair and compare the two sides.

The Randall's Remarkable Mini-Market duplicates a grocery store at kid size. Kids shop for products such as laundry detergent and canned food, or they can pick up plastic representatives of vegetables, fruits or meats.

Real, working cash registers (no money) greet the shoppers at the end of the store; however, even the error buttons work, too, and go off constantly.

Kid TV features a small broadcast station without the transmitter. Closed-circuit TV allows kids to ham it up and watch themselves; costumes allow them to dream up their own dramas. Backdrops give the illusion of flying or being somewhere other than the studio.

"I loved it," said Ricky Waters, mother of two children. "What I liked was the helicopter-flying exhibit (Soaring Eyes).

"Ben (6) and Ellie (8) loved it. They liked all the computer stuff, as they're doing it after magnet school. They really like the helicopter-flying exhibit, too."

The museum plans to open a new facility at 1500 Binz, near the Museum of Fine Arts, that will triple the amount of exhibit space.

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TECH COLLEGE FACING BUDGETARY COURSE-CUTS

BY DEBBIE HENSEL

DAILY COUGAR

The June 1 appointment of Bernard McIntyre, Ph. D., to dean of the College of Technology has already sparked controversy.

Allegations that the state budget crisis will force the college to downsize and become a department of the College of Engineering surfaced in an anonymous letter from "a concerned faculty member," which was circulated among faculty and staff at the time of McIntyre's appointment.

"If you take that memo seriously," McIntyre said, "then I have nothing to be dean of."

Since his appointment three weeks ago, McIntyre has been conducting meetings with faculty members to determine what they feel are the problems and needs of the college.

McIntyre said the meetings, limited by the number of faculty available during the summer semester, have been very frank and characterized by productive dialogue. The fruit of these meetings will be used to prepare for a state-required needs assessment and the capital-funding campaign from the university.

According to McIntyre, the goal of these preparatory meetings is to determine what areas the college should emphasize over the next five years.

McIntyre said he wants to focus on how to make better use of taxpayers' money and the facilities with the existing faculty, an idea that runs counter to the scenario presented in the anonymous letter.

Citing warnings from a "friend of Technology in E. Cullen," the letter outlines a plan allegedly mandated to McIntyre by UH President James Pickering to find "sacrificial lambs" or weak programs to be cut on the premise that "it is easier to trim a college with large numbers of untenured faculty and a new dean."

The letter predicts that no new faculty will be hired in Industrial Technology, and Human Development and Consumer Sciences, and that no existing faculty in these areas will be granted tenure.

Furthermore, the letter alleges that the college will be reorganized to separate the Manufacturing Program from Civil and Related Technologies, denying tenure to faculty in Manufacturing in order to hire more computer-oriented faculty.

McIntyre said he would actually like to upgrade the Manufacturing Program to make it more attractive to technology students. Due to the demands of the manufacturing industry in Houston, "that should be a showpiece program," according to McIntyre.

His agenda for enhancing that program may include the integration of courses from the computer and management ends of industrial technology.

"Technology is dynamic," McIntyre said. "Programs have to be able to change quickly to meet the requirements of industry."

The letter also predicts the elimination of most freshman-level courses from the 1993 Spring schedule and a gradual elimination of all technical-math courses over the next year.

McIntyre said the College of Technology would be at a disadvantage if it did not support the needs of freshmen and sophomores, a significant number of whom transfer from junior colleges with undeclared majors to form the base of the college.

Furthermore, McIntyre said there are a lot of things technical-math courses can provide that can't be provided by the math department.

With regard to cutbacks, McIntyre said he didn't see how any college could afford to make additional cuts.

"We don't see any cuts necessary right now, but a year from now, we may have to be in a position to respond quickly," he said, adding that the optimistic flip side may mean being ready to demonstrate how the college would effectively use additional funds, if available.

"Hopefully, they (the legislators) will feel guilty about what they've done to higher education," McIntyre said. "Unfortunately, it may take a year for them to see the impact of what they've done."

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MAYOR POWWOW WITH COLLEGE ADMINISTRATORS

BY MEAGAN MCGOVERN

DAILY COUGAR

Big-city mayors from around the country met Saturday in Houston to discuss the relationships between universities and their communities.

The mayors were from cities ranging from Evanston, Ill., which is home to Northwestern University, to Santa Barbara, Calif., with UCSB nestled within its community.

The discussion was part of the United States Conference of Mayors being held this week. All of the mayors, members of the Task Force on University Partnerships, expressed dismay that the meeting was limited to one hour, but tried to cover as much material as possible.

Bob Houston, executive director of the Texas Center for University School Partnerships (TCUSP), defines "partnerships" as two institutions joining together to solve a community's problems.

The mayors shared stories of universities working with their communities to enhance relations, solve problems and share knowledge. Some mayors commented on past problems that had been solved, such as fraternity drinking, too much noise from students causing complaints from citizens, and the ever-present problem of money and funding for projects.

Mary Anne McCollum, mayor of Columbia, Missouri, said college administrations want to form partnerships with cities. The only impediment has been actually starting the process.

The task force was implemented to fill a need for a clearing house of information for cities trying to implement a partnership program, McCollum said.

One example of a successful partnership is a program sponsored by the University of Texas at Austin. The program is designed to increase high school attendance, good grades and reading among students in grades three through eight in high-risk gang areas, by using the UT basketball team as a role model for students, Lewis Wright, Associate Vice President for Administration at UT, said.

Students participating in the program, titled "Neighborhood Longhorns," earn points by meeting attendance requirements of 90 percent, completing a book report and improving their grades.

In return, the students will meet with the UT basketball players, receive a basketball, receive tutoring, will attend sports events free and be eligible for savings bonds. The program's motto is "Study before you play."

Other task force members talked about improving relationships between university students and community members. Topics ranged from fraternity-hazing disturbing residents to the economic impact of a major school on the community.

In the Houston area, TCUSP is working to form partnerships in the community. TCUSP is based at UH and is a consortium of 39 universities. Houston said TCUSP was the brainchild of Dr. Barnett, who considered partnerships a vital part of UH.

One local effort is underway to help high school students pass basic skills tests.

At Jack Yates High School, located next to UH, a number of ninth-grade students didn't pass the basic skills test (TASP test) last January. Houston said the number of students who drop out of high school is directly correlated with the ability to pass the test.

Forty students who didn't pass the basic skills test were tutored by UH students in the spring of this year. Other students from area high schools were tutored by college students from the University of St. Thomas, Houston Baptist University and Texas Southern University.

In January, 152 students started the program, and by the end of the school year, 132 remained with the program, Houston said.

"That's just phenomenal," he said. "Universities must contribute to the local community and not just to their professional discipline. The professors here are on the cutting edge of research, and their input makes quite a difference. Houston will be stronger because of it."

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BUSINESS AND PLEASURE FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

BY TAMRA REINHARDT

DAILY COUGAR

"Life is not a dress rehearsal" was the focus of the Summer Business Institute, a program for minority high school students held at the UH College of Business Administration June 7-11.

In only one of the program's many activities, students were asked to write their own obituary in a class held by the Management Department.

The four-day, live-in program was offered to minority high school juniors with a minimum B average and an interest in a business career.

"This is a new program of the college's effort to recruit and retain minority students," Tim Roseborough, the business college's director of External Relations, said. "Our goal is to interest students in attending college and expose them to business professions."

"Participants of the program who apply to the university and are accepted into the pre-business program may be eligible to receive financial assistance provided through the Jesse H. Jones Leadership Scholarship," Roseborough said.

Students participated in various activities to help them consider career options, set manageable goals and determine steps needed to reach those goals.

The high school juniors learned that many occupations require special skills and/or a college education. They attended mini-courses in each of the business majors: accounting and taxation, finance, management, marketing and management information systems. They toured the UH campus and Conoco Inc.

The entire program gave students a taste of college life, as well as a taste of the business world.

The Conoco tour gave the students insight into how other careers interrelate with business. They learned that even an on-staff doctor at Conoco needed management skills.

High school junior Clyde McNeil said, "I learned responsibility and self-discipline to help me through life."

Another student, Michael Bolden, said, "I learned about business majors, but I also learned that to stay in college, you must concentrate on classes and study hard. I've been to 10 other similar programs, and this is one of the best."

"All work and no play" was not the theme of the program. Students attended a pool party and participated in a volleyball challenge with Upward Bound, a similar UH program.

The Summer Business Institute was sponsored by the college's Minority Recruitment, Retention and Admissions Committee. Houston Independent School District high schools targeted for the program were Austin, Jesse Jones, Lamar, Madison, Milby, Reagan, Sterling, Westbury, Wheatley and Worthing.

Roseborough said the overall evaluation by the students was that they were very pleased and had learned a great deal.

The only two complaints he received were that the program could have been longer and that the university food could have been better.

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HARD UP FOR SAFE SEX?

BY ADAM KING

DAILY COUGAR

What's the first thing you notice when entering a restroom?

Sinks? Toilet paper? A distinctive smell?

If the restroom is located on campus, the first thing that draws your attention might be the condom machine.

In 1989, UH was the recipient of 12 condom machines supplied by Gulf Coast Vending after the UH Committee on Aids approved a policy allowing the prophylactic dispensers, said Director of Administrative Services Marcia Gerdhart.

The machines are located in both the men's and women's restrooms of Moody Towers, Oberholtzer Hall (in the Quadrangle), the University Center-Satellite and on two floors of M. D. Anderson Library.

"I've got plans to put more condom machines in the University Center," Gerdhart said.

Assistant Vice-President of Campus Services Holly Sterneckert said student response to the condom machines has not been overwhelming.

"No one has come to me and said we need more," she said.

"At one time, I think the Health Center was giving condoms away."

While this could not be confirmed, the Health Center is selling condoms at a reduced rate. Spermicidal condoms are three for 90 cents, and non-spermicidal condoms sell at three for 60 cents.

"They can get (condoms) in here considerably cheaper," said a UH pharmacist who wouldn't allow the use of his name.

The dispensers in the restrooms charge 50 cents per condom.

Pete Gregson, a resident of Moody Towers, said he has seen them in the men's restroom in the lobby.

"I think (the machines) are a great idea. Hopefully, someone's using them," Gregson said. "They're a reminder that they need to use them."

Another resident of the Towers, who did not wish her name to be used, said she has been a customer to the machines before. "I never thought I would have to use them, but I did," she said. "I think it's a very wise thing. It was pretty smart (to put them up).

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OLDER, `MORALLY OBLIGED` UH STUDENTS KEEP LOAN DEFAULT RATE UNDER AVERAGE

BY JIM MOSLEY

DAILY COUGAR

 

With the cost of a college education escalating every day, students are going into debt just to earn a degree.

Faced with this debt burden, students are defaulting on their loans at a 19 percent rate annually.

"Generally, students at the University of Houston pay back their loans," Robert Sheridan, director of Financial Aid, said. "The University of Houston default rate is 7 percent.

"UH students (with loans) feel a moral obligation to pay them back," Sheridan said. "It's probably because we have an older campus, and students have a greater number of life experiences."

UT-Austin's default rate on guaranteed student loans is 5 percent, Don Davis of UT's financial aid office said.

"Texas A & M's default rate is 4 percent," Traci Parker, a Texas A & M financial aid officer, said. "Sen. Graham commended us on our default rate."

Most student loan defaults are from technical schools.

"Community colleges, trade and technical schools have the most defaulted student loans," Director of Public Affairs Cathy Flautt of Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation (TGSL) said. "There is a 19 percent default rate among all schools in Texas.

"Four-year public universities have a default rate under 10 percent," Flautt adds.

The TGSL is a non-profit, public corporation which manages student loans in Texas.

"We (the TGSL) get funding from the U.S. Department of Education's `Federal Student Loan Program,'" she said. "And we guarantee these loans to the 200 private banks (in Texas) which make these loans."

Since 1980, the rate of student loan defaults has gradually increased, Flautt said.

"The average student loan is $2,500 annually," she said. "And each student (with a loan) has an average of three loans (to pay off) before graduation."

Sixty percent of all students who apply for student loans have incomes of less than $20,000 a year, Flautt said.

The TGSL has been in existence since 1981 and monitors 1,000 schools in Texas, she said.

UH receives numerous applications every year for student financial aid.

"We (UH financial aid office) get between 20,000 and 25,000 applications a year for financial aid (in grants)," Sheridan said. "It (financial assistance) is on a need basis.

"Students need new money (on top of scholarships and grants) to finish (college)," he said. "The majority of new money comes from loans."

Sheridan said the demand for student loans is escalating because of the increased cost of education.

If students need financial aid, they should apply at the Financial Aid office in the E. Cullen building.

"Financial aid applications (for grants) should be completed before April 1," he said. "People who have a completed application before that deadline have the best shot at all the money."

Students can still apply for grants and loans after the April 1 deadline, but the people who submitted applications before them will have priority, Sheridan said.

Student loans go through the university for verification of the student's enrollment, Flautt said.

"A student who is less than full time, half-time (6 credit hours), has the same opportunity as other students because grants are still available," Sheridan said. "Their need might be calculated lower (than a full-time student), but their need is taken into consideration."

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TEMPER TANTRUMS STUDIED

BY DEBBIE HENSEL

DAILY COUGAR

Dan Quayle may be critical of single mothers, but he could learn a lot about the problems of raising a child in two-parent families from Dr. Ernest Jouriles of UH's Family Treatment Center.

The center, a branch of the psychology department, has just received a $99,200 grant from the Texas Higher Education Council to continue research on severe problems of non-compliance, tantrums, aggression, lying and stealing among four- to 10-year-olds in dual-parent homes.

A previous grant of $25,000 did not allow enough to pay volunteer therapists, who may now be compensated for their services.

The program, which has provided free family therapy for 100 families to date, should serve 100 more with the additional funding.

Prospective families undergo an extensive evaluation to determine if they meet the criteria of the study. Jouriles said they look for a positive family history -- where the child has recognized the parent as supportive, nurturing and positive.

Jouriles said problems surface when parents disagree on how to handle behavioral problems, or when there is marital discord.

"What we see are parents who are not approaching the problems as a team, and the child is playing one parent off another," Jouriles said.

During eligibility assessment, parents are questioned in the presence of the child about the child's behavioral problems and how they handle them. Another phase includes observational assessment, in which the child is encouraged to play in a room full of toys, then asked by the parent to put the room back in order.

What the therapist is looking for, Jouriles said, are the techniques that the parent uses to gain compliance, most of which are ineffective.

"We see a lot of begging and idle threats," Jouriles said, "threats that I know -- and most of the kids know -- aren't going to be carried out.

"There are more effective ways to get the child to comply, and those will vary by individual case, based on the history of the parent-child relationship."

"We make sure we find out what works for that child," he said, emphasizing that every child is a unique individual.

To find out what works, the therapists suggest an intervention technique for the parents to try for a week, to observe and report the results before moving on.

This individually-tailored approach is what sets the program apart from group-parenting classes.

Treatment ends with an additional evaluation, with a follow-up after four months.

Jouriles said previous follow-up evaluations have shown that the child-management skills suggested by FTC maintain themselves over time.

 

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