UH RESTRUCTURING TO COUNTER BUDGET CUTS

By Meagan McGovern

Daily Cougar

Administrators are looking into a series of restructuring exercises to help redefine the university's mission, goals and priorities, said UH President James Pickering.

"We're going to take a look at the entire spectrum of activities and make some judgments about which should be strengthened and which should be phased out," he said.

Because of recent budget-cut recommendations by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, restructuring the university's budget is an important priority, said associate vice president for planning Skip Szilagyi. These recommendations may be passed in the next legislative session. Szilagyi said a series of reshaping exercises involving the university as a whole would be taking place during the fall and spring semesters.

He said it was hard to put together any definite plans until the Legislature actually meets.

The coming legislative session is "going to be rough," said Szilagyi. "We're only in round-one, and the bell has rung."

The reshaping exercises will take the legislative changes into account and will try to incorporate all of the changes into the new priorities established by the exercises.

The meetings, which will last until at least early next year, will be conducted by a university planning committee. "It will be campus-wide and will involve everyone," Szilagyi said. "Faculty, students and staff are all part of the reshaping exercise."

Elwyn Lee, vice president for student affairs, agrees that the reshaping is necessary. "We're in a situation where additional revenue is not expected, and the only way I can see out of this is either contributions from the outside or belt-tightening from the inside."

The meetings taking place next month should reveal a lot about the future, Lee said. "The development campaign will be asking fundamental questions. What's important? What, if anything, should we cease doing? How can we cut back? We'll have to consider not doing things we used to do."

Another concern of the restructuring committee will be the new recommendations by the THECB of "performance-based funding," said James Pipkin, acting dean for the College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication.

Pipkin said THECB is sending universities a message with the new criteria.

Performance-based funding is a concept where some portion of funding is withheld from an institution unless certain guidelines are met.

Pipkin believes this type of program doesn't take into account the mission of UH as an urban university. One of the performance criteria would be the attrition rate, or the percentage of students who graduate from UH in four to five years.

UH, according to Pipkin, has different goals than small regional colleges and has a high appeal to students who don't expect to graduate in the traditional amount of time, including part-time and professional students.

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PROGRAM GIVES HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS JOBS AND TASTE OF CAMPUS

By Rhonda Smith

Daily Cougar

Some teenagers have kept busy this summer working at UH as part of an academic program designed to acquaint them with the college atmosphere.

The program, Communities in Schools, has been an ongoing project for about 10 years. It is dedicated to increasing attendance and decreasing drop-out rates in young people's education.

Students are referred to CIS by parents, counselors, principals and teachers based on their academic difficulties, behavioral problems, counseling or social-service needs or health and enrichment deficiencies.

After the CIS staff evaluates referred students through parent and teacher meetings, student interviews and home visits, they then provide the needed resources.

A participating student attends regular classes but reports to a CIS counselor who monitors their activities.

Funds from corporations, public and private agencies and foundations are used to pay the students for their work and support the program.

A large part of the funding for this summer program comes from the Tenneco Corp.

"UH has been a partner in providing summer positions for 10 years," said Carol Kemp, project manager for CIS.

The School of Business Administration, for example, has 12 CIS teens. "Students do data entry, file, answer front-desk telephones and a variety of other office responsibilities," said Frank Kelley, head of the office of Student Services in the College of Business Administration.

The teens work almost 40 hours a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and have some Fridays off.

"It's a very successful project," said Tom Duening, assistant dean in the College of Business Administration, who has one student working for him.

"She was answering the telephones in the dean's office on her very first morning," said Duening, referring to his student worker.

The geo-sciences department has two CIS students who are interested in the geo-science field. Darnell Price, the department administrator of the geosciences department, explains that their students do geological work in the mass-spectrometer lab, in which they analyze water.

The students have been exposed to drilling a water well at the UH Coastal Center in Hitchcock, Tx., and went on a field trip to HL&P to see how coal was used to make electricity.

"It was a great experience and opened us to the field," said CIS student Jose Vasquez, 17, referring to his summer job. "We had a great tour of the plant," he added.

CIS student Teresa Gamez said, " it was fun and gives you an idea of what geo-scientists do."

Prior to the CIS students' four- week job, they attended a four-day leadership workshop at UH- Downtown, conducted by Tomorrow's America Foundation, followed by a four-week academic skills improvement program. The preparation helped the teens with goal-setting, interviews, resumes, problem-solving and self-esteem.

The students must then maintain a B average to finally qualify for the Tenneco presidential scholarship, which is worth $4,000 to each student.

There will be an awards ceremony for the students, work-site supervisors and sponsors at the end of the summer-employment training program.

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UH LACKS URBAN STUDIES PROGRAM

By Adam King

Daily Cougar

Urban Studies programs are used to provide detailed information to a city about itself and the populace within while giving students interested in the field the necessary education.

Most major cities are equipped with such programs at their local institute, but Houston, and, in particular, UH, are lacking.

That's not to say that UH never had such a program. Sociology Professor William Simon was director of The Institute for Urban Studies at UH before its closing in 1978.

"(The institute's closing) speaks of my own incompetence. I think I offended the president of the Chamber of Commerce," he said.

According to Simon, the city and county pay approximately $400,000 a year to the Chamber of Commerce to execute the same research function the IUS would be providing for free if it were still in existence.

Simon said the Chamber of Commerce looked upon the IUS as competition for that money and possibly put pressure upon the university to stop its support of the institute.

"The university had to defend it (the institute) to the state Legislature each biennium," he said. But, Simon said, the university placed the IUS at the bottom of its list.

"The university has no power to destroy it. The institute for Urban Studies was created by the Legislature." he said.

"What the Legislature did was cut the budget. At one point, for example, the Quality of Life Monitoring System that I invested in was able to disaggregate the characteristics of the Houston community at very nitty-gritty levels -- housing, employment, health care -- such that I can give each member of the state Legislature and each member of the congressional district a portrait of their district compared to the larger Houston area," Simon said.

"So, at the time, for example, Mickey Leland, who was in the Legislature, reintroduced the institute on the floor of the Legislature.

"He came out and basically told us 'I can't fight your own administration.' (The administration) wanted to play it safe, and I can understand that," he said.

"One of the characteristics of our university leadership is that to spend most of its time, as it were, currying favor with 'the downtown establishment' which has given us little and continues to give its money to Austin and to Rice instead of serving the larger community, whose children we've been educating for decades," he said.

Simon said the IUS was severely neglected by the administration.

"It was basically run as a kind of college campus National Science Foundation, doling out summer grants to local faculty and investing heavily in constitutional reform in Texas. And when I came, I basically said, 'No, what this place needs is a Quality of Life Monitoring System so we can get some advance warning about some of the problems the community is experiencing because we're here to serve the community,'" Simon stressed.

"The university simply refused to invest in the academic side of that. It had a kind of shallow Urban Studies program created by cross-listing existing courses unlike our sister institution, the University of Texas-Arlington, which not only supported its Urban Studies, but fully supported its Urban Studies academic program," he said.

"Houston is the only major city in the country that doesn't have an independent think-tank to provide with some of the considerations," he said. "It needs to set policies."

Simon said he believes the program should be reinstituted "only if (the university) can guarantee a sensible economy that says the kinds of research it does and the kinds of materials it makes available to the community should be determined by professional competence and not narrowed economic interest.

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GEORGE BUSH AND BILL CLINTON BEWARE: MOJO NIXON AND TOADLIQUOR ON ROLL FOR PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION

By Karen Snelling

Daily Cougar

Bush and Clinton beware! Competition still lurks in Texas.

Mojo Nixon and his Austin-based band the Toadliquors jammed the night away with Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers July 23 for Fitzgerald's 15th anniversary.

Their show screamed out many themes, the main one being the 1992 presidential candidate choices.

These guys definitely support an independent ticket that's against Perot's former attempt.

After beginning with "Ross Perot is out of the race, baby," they pointed out problems with the Republican party. "Dan Quayle is dumber than a box of hot rocks," Mojo sang.

"We represent what's natural in America, the weird and wonderful," Mojo said, as he presented his Mushroom Party.

The crowd roared at the idea of Mojo for President and Montana as his running mate.

They kept the crowd dancing through two encores as they sang about politics, love, haircuts, dancing and beer.

The band and Montana seemed to enjoy poking fun at Mojo's "fufu haircut." Sorry ladies, no long, sexy hair to drool over.

Toward the end, Mojo got the crowd to "go crazy like a super nova of love," and Montana cooled them off with a squirt-machine gun loaded with beer.

It's not surprising that Montana took pity on the hot and sweaty crowd, since he performed the majority of the time in a full-length coat and cowboy hat. His attire also probably encouraged his beer- juggling act, most of which he spilt on himself.

Mojo and Montana left the crowd jammin' while they sang about Elvis.

Mojo and the Toadliquors are in the middle of their Lone Star Tour, sponsored by the Austin Rehearsal Complex. According to the Fitzgerald Herald, the purpose of their tour is to find new material for songs and work on new musical arrangements. They play regularly on Wednesdays at the Bonton Room.

Fitzgerald's got Mojo and his band together with Country Dick Montana as part of a four-day anniversary celebration for the club.

Loose Diamonds opened the show with a hard beat, but a smooth sound.

The club was appropriately decked with birthday streamers and Energizer-battery bunnies on the stage. Fitzgerald's is proud of the fact that it has kept going and going since 1977.

Mojo and Montana gave the audience obnoxiously-jammin' fun to celebrate with.

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MISSION'S NEW RELEASE, NO MAINSTREAM FOLLOWING

By Manuel Esparza

Daily Cougar

Still on the quest for the elusive prize of mainstream acceptance, the Mission's latest release will not snare it for them, but it will give Mission-maniacs twelve new songs to learn and sing.

The band has not sat still in the two years since their last album. Wayne Hussey got married, and, more importantly, guitarist Simon Hinkler left the band. His parting and Mark Saunders producing has changed the Mission's sound. Gone are the molten metal guitar licks that burned into the psyche. In its stead is a sound that is as processed as white sugar. Not that this is bad, it is a new direction for them. Using sequencers and other equipment, there is a plethora of sounds. This is definitely headphone music.

Mark Saunders is no tyro in the music industry. He has produced albums for the Cure among other artists. According to Wayne, "It was good working with Mark, because I think he really pushed me".

The band has taken aim on its transoceanic audience. The disc opener "Never Again", a highly danceable tune, was the choice for U.K. and Continental release, while the North Americans will hear the folksy sounds of "Like A Child" on radio. "Never Again" has the Mission's old sound complete with full flowing melodies and driving rhythms. "Like A Child" is softer lighter but musically more complex. "Shades of Green (part II)" is another dance tune that has more of thier newer sound incorporated.

King Hussein Of Jordan's personal violin player makes his mark on the song "Sticks and Stones". Very Arabic in sound, this song is the biggest departure from Mission's normal. It is an interesting change in pace and marks the transition from the standard Mission sound into the more diversified realms of the disc.

Wayne and company also used the talents of Miles Hunt of the Wonderstuff (who supported the Mission on the last tour), ex-waterboy Anthony Thistlewaite and Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke. Jaz arranged all the strings on the album.

While this is not the Mission's best, it is very good. Those who are not familiar with the band should start off with <I>Gods Own Medicine<P> or <I>The First Chapter<P>. For those with the good taste to have followed the band will enjoy the new sound that the Mission has cultivated.

While this is not the Mission's best, it is very good. Those who are not familiar with the band should start off with <I>Gods Own Medicine<P> or <I>The First Chapter<P>. For those with the good taste to have followed the band, the Mission's new sound will be enjoyed.

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GIANTS DELIGHT AUDIENCE; MUSIC NOT SUITABLE FOR SLAM-DANCING

By Troy Christensen

Daily Cougar

Houston will be very lucky if They Might Be Giants gives local audiences another chance.

The duo of John Linnell and John Flansburgh always delights audiences with their silly lyrics backed by hard-edged rock 'n' roll, unique instrument usage and frantic stage movements. The guys like to have fun when they play, and they like their audiences to have fun, too. But their Thursday night engagement at the Vatican was not a fun gig.

After playing only 20 minutes, Flansburgh announced the band could only play one more song because the Houston Fire Marshall was closing the concert down. When the guys were finishing their last song, armed police officers came on stage to make sure the concert ended.

The band and Vatican officials tried to convince the audience that the closing down of the show was no one's fault. The Fire Marshall made a decision, and the officers were only at the Vatican to enforce that decision.

That official line wasn't believed by audience members who chanted "Ice-T was right!" referring to the artist's song "Cop Killer," as they marched out of the club.

Resentment toward the police continued outside. The police continually told audience members, "Leave, or we'll tow your cars" -- an empty threat since the Vatican has no parking lot. Police wouldn't be able to distinguish cars belonging to Vatican patrons from cars belonging to people at the meeting of Asian-Americans across the street.

However, neither the Fire Marshall nor HPD was guilty of irrational behavior Thursday night. To make the club a lot of money, Vatican management packed the hall with a huge, mostly under-21 crowd. The management could have easily avoided the fire-code violation by limiting the audience to 21-and-older patrons or by simply refusing to let anyone else in the door when they knew the club was full.

The 20 minutes They Might Be Giants got to play uninterrupted wasn't much fun for the band either. The guys had stern looks on their faces as they made two appeals against the slam-dancing and the stage-diving going on in one section of the audience.

They Might Be Giants' material is not suitable for slam-dancing. This abusive practice is more suitable in a Metallica or a Nirvana concert.

But the angst-ridden morons would have thrashed to anything. They did it to the very mellow opening band and to the ultra-mellow Eartha Kitt music that preceded the They Might Be Giants short performance.

They Might Be Giants has enough material to fill an hours-long performance of fan favorites, and the group's stage antics make their concerts better than any of their four albums.

Even during the short time Linnell and Flansburgh had on stage, they pleased the crowd with several songs, including a few from their latest album, <I>Apollo 18 <P>. The band also incorporated great guitar work and lighting.

However, the Vatican was proven not to be the right venue for the group -- or any other group -- that won't put up with the disservice the club does to its patrons and its performers. By violating fire codes, not refunding patrons' money and allowing abusive audience members to disrupt the show, the club cheats bands and their faithful followers.

If They Might Be Giants comes back to town, see them. But don't see them at the Vatican.

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LAIBACH: RHYTHM OF MACHINERY

By Amey Mazurek

Daily Cougar

Laibach played last Tuesday at the Vatican.

The six band members, anonymous, some with silver faces and some in darkness, stood rigidly on stage, grimly pounding drums, playing keyboards and guitars with the rhythmic movement of machinery.

Somber Gregorian chant-like vocals on some of the songs were combined with a relentless, nearly militaristic dance beat. The silver face paint on the three front-stage members highlighted jaws and cheekbones, enhancing their masculine image.

Long, black banners with silver hammer-and-gear insignia adorned the backdrop, framing a screen on which was projected the group's artwork based on war, industry and hunting.

"Impressive stage show," said Chuck Roast, owner of Vinal Edge record store, DJ at KPFT and member of local experimental band Turmoil in the Toybox. "It looked a hell of a lot like a Nazi rally."

When the set ended, the audience stood patiently waiting for an encore. After a few minutes, a Laibach video came on the screen, and the audience watched with as much fascination as if the band stood on stage.

When asked about the encore, one of the members, who wanted to be identified only as Laibach, indicated disappointment with the turnout.

"...Today," he said, "partly because they are tired, because the venue is empty and so on, they simply decided not to come on to play the music itself. And so for an empty venue, an empty encore."

The band used some pre-recorded samples from their studio, since the band's musicians are interchangeable. "We cannot produce, obviously, the same sounds live as in the studio," Laibach said.

"Plus, in the studio, we're working with an entire range of different poets, musicians . . . if we would want to bring them on tour, it would raise up all the costs . . . the studio is an instrument; therefore, the tapes we treat the same as any instrument, and it's a part of the show."

"I was disappointed," Roast said, "that about 80 percent of their material was on DAT. I'd have rather seen them playing their drums and playing their horns. The band could've sent their videos. It would've been the same effect."

Roast, however, was impressed with the band. "The lead singer (who sang live) has a great voice," he said.

When asked about having a reputation for a Nazi audience, Laibach said, "...Usually our concerts are described as whatever, a huge release of people "seig heiling" and so on, but it's usually not true . . . usually, it's the very different crowd, from extreme left to extreme right, and in the middle, everything what you can get -- all possible kinds of ages, social vagrants, cultural vagrants."

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PARTYING ARTIST PROTEST GAGS

By Meagan McGovern

Daily Cougar

Pink poodles and packs of puppies prowled in the street Saturday night at a party to protest the Bush administration's "gagging" of the arts.

The "Zocalo Blowout" bash was held in the street as an all-night-long fundraiser to support the GAG rally to be held August 18 at the Menil Collection. GAG is a collection of artists and musicians who have

The party was an eclectic mix of artists, musicians, patrons of the arts, amused passers-by, and teenagers looking for beer. The small but enthusiastic crowd wore everything from full evening dress to Superman T-shirts.

The big hit of the evening was the pack of dogs roaming the street. Since the evening was open mic night, five dogs of every size took center stage and entertained the crowd by chasing balls, swimming in the ducking tank, and barking at the human performers. As an accompaniment to the band M.C. Poodle, the dogs were impressive.

The lead singer of M.C. Poodle wore light pink corduroy bellbottomed pajamas trimmed with fur, accented with a tutu and a dark pink rhinestone belt and collar. The ensemble was topped with a pink fluffy poodle hat, complete with ears and pompadour.

The only thing that could have topped his outfit was possibly the fact that he drove the stage home. The stage was a car with panels that folded down to support the entire band and all the equipment resting on top of it. There were more than a few jiggles of the chassis when the more enthusiastic bands jumped around onstage.

The acts included an "experimental band," a master of ceremonies named M.C. 900 foot cheeseball, and an androgynous pair who, dressed as little-old-ladies with wigs and rhinestoned glasses, did a strip-tease that revealed three-foot long pendulous breasts of cloth and stuffing, as well as similar nether regions.

But this event was not for the artists to outdo one another in creativity; rather it was to create a united front that would hold together during the GAG rally during the upcoming Republican Convention.

At the beginning of the night, the atmosphere was avant-garde and open- the fans were quite literally dancing in the street. The stage-cum-car was pulled up to the front door of the Commerce St. Artists' Warehouse (CSAW), east of downtown. Basketball hoops and shattered glass lined the street with cars and people. Amid a plethora of artistic graffiti and unique decorating styles, a stand for beer, the principle fundraiser, was set up inside the building.

The audience stood in the street, straining to hear the bands and speakers whenever the noise of a passing train eclipsed the sounds onstage. The train became a part of some songs that had spur-of-the-moment lyrics.

But after the bands played and the dogs fell tired, the genuine anger of the participants had began to be felt. A few hardy souls took to the stage (cartop?) in the early morning hours to rant and rail against the current administration's "gagging" of artists.

M.C. 900 foot cheeseball (Mr. Ball?) said the fund raiser was to send a message to everyone about the "dangers that confront them in a democracy. They will not be able to open their mouths in a few years."

In addition to his speeches about the current administration, he said of the GAG project, "There's no use for society to protect itself from the arts, because then it isolates itself from the arts. Art serves the people. You may as well gag the philosophers next, and then the astronomers, and then physicians. Artists as well as doctors treat patients."

He believes art serves an important function as a reflection of society. "In any mirror you confront yourself to see as much of ourselves as we need. The arts serve as our mirror."

In his final tirade on-stage (on-car?), he continued, "I have no defense for the arts. The arts are the defense of society and the solution to the ills within it."

Perhaps the theme of the evening was summed up best by Nestor Topchy, the lead singer for M.C. Poodle: "Everyone bitches about freedom, but what good is freedom if you don't use it?"

The National Endowment for the Arts has recently placed a new restriction on funding for artists, insisting that all federally funded projects adhere to some "general standard of decency." GAG is calling for the removal of the director of NEA, Ann Imelda-Radice, and the removal of the restrictions on artists.

The performers included, in addition to M.C. Poodle, The Stu Mulligan Project, Art Guise, and Pleasure Center.

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SPB PLANNING FULL SEMESTER

By Rebecca McPhail

Daily Cougar

While most UH students are mired in summer classes or looking forward to one more month of vacation, members of the Student Programming Board are already busy planning a full roster of fall activities for the UH community.

SPB had already begun work by pulling together leaders from various campus organizations such as the Council of Ethnic Organizations, the Students' Association and Pan Hellenic. These leaders make up the Council of Campus Leaders.

According to Benny Mathews, SPB's executive director, the group, which has already met once and will continue to meet bi-monthly, will concentrate on bringing together the different groups on campus.

"Our goal is to provide better programs for the campus and to open the lines of communication between the various groups," he said.

The group's first order of business is a "Back to School Bash," which they hope to stage on Sept. 2. The party, which will feature bands and comedians, will also serve as a benefit for local AIDS groups.

In order to simplify the organization process, SPB is divided into nine separate committees. Each committee is currently planning their schedule of fall events.

The Homecoming committee will arrange all of the activities leading up to the October 31 game. The list includes a blood drive, a comedy show, student group events, the homecoming dinner and the homecoming dance.

"We hope to get more groups involved and to increase school spirit within those groups," Mathews said.

Also in the planning stages is a possible appearance by Spike Lee and Denzel Washington. The Speaker's Forum committee, in conjunction with the Council of Ethnic Organizations, would be responsible for orchestrating the appearances.

The group also hopes to bring political speakers such as Bill Clinton and Dan Quayle to campus.

Not content to simply show movies, the cinema committee is negotiating an appearance by Austin filmmaker Richard Linklatter, as well as a screening of his film <I>Slacker <P>.

Mathews is careful to stress the importance of campus involvement in the planning of these activities.

"We encourage students to come by, fill out an application and join SPB.

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FIRST AMERICANS INTRODUCED TO COMPUTERS

IRVINE, Calif. (CPS) -- Eleven Navajo Indian students from two community colleges in Arizona and New Mexico are attending a six-week pilot program at the University of California, Irvine, as part of the Computer Science Summer Institute.

The Institute was recently awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation to fund the program for 60 Native Americans to attend the program for the next two years.

"The response has been great," said Lubomir Bic, associate professor of information and director of the institute. "Actually, the businesses wanted more students than we have. We'll have to go to the Sioux tribes next year because there aren't enough Navajos to fill the slots."

Bic contacted the community colleges two years ago, and established a partnership of Orange County businesses to form the institute.

The students, who arrived on campus the end of June, are spending three days a week in academic courses and two days in corporate internships at Xerox Corp., Hughes Aircraft Co., Unisys Corp. and Rockwell International.

 

 

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