TRIAL OUTCOME RILES PHYSICAL PLANT STAFF

by Adam King

Daily Cougar Staff

In the aftermath of the Dana King verdict, employees in the Physical Plant still feel the tension they experienced before the trial ended.

King, who was awarded a $100,000 settlement, said he has received numerous phone calls from former co-workers upset that Building Maintenance Manager Paul Postel is still employed with the department.

King said many of the workers have asked him, "'How come you're not back to work? Why is Paul at work?'"

"That's what the guys are seeing. Paul is being told by the university that it's okay to do these things. 'We'll bail you out,'" King said, referring to UH's decision to pay for the settlement.

Postel was found guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress to King and must pay $80,000 of the settlement.

"The Attorney General's office has said they are going to appeal," said Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Dennis Boyd. "(UH is) taking the assumption this thing has not run its course at all."

A source working in the Physical Plant, who asked not to be named, said problems within the department still exist.

"Why are these guys back, and why isn't UH doing anything about it?" he asked. "It blew everybody's mind that these two people (Postel and Mechanical Maintenance Foreman Robert Scott) are back at work, and Dana's sitting at home."

"It should have been the other way around," he added.

However, Scott, who's liable for $20,000 of the settlement, has not worked in the Physical Plant since Aug. 31 when he retired. Postel, on leave because of an illness in the family, could not be reached at his home.

"All the stress, all the threats were for nothing," King said. "We went through the courts doing what we're supposed to do, and it didn't do a thing."

"The evidence speaks for itself, and I'm still out of a job. It was a hell of a price to pay," King said.

Physical Plant Executive Director Herb Collier contends King, who was fired for the second time on Sept. 25, 1990, elected not to return to work despite repeated attempts by Postel and Scott "to get him back to work" the entire month prior to his release.

King said he never quit, but he would take his job back if it was offered to him.

The source also said he and others were outraged the university could not find the money to raise their salaries, yet could spend $100,000 to bail out Postel and Scott.

"The guys see all this money going out in the air," the source said.

Boyd said the university has an established contingency fund to pay for legal damages incurred by its employees in civil cases.

Another area of concern for plant employees is the presence of Collier, the source said.

The source along with another Physical Plant worker said Collier should leave.

"Everybody's wondering why Collier is staying on," the staff member said.

Collier, 67, is eligible to retire and to receive full social security benefits. He also said Postel is set to retire in January.

Collier, a defendant in the trial, said he's heard nothing about plant employees being upset with him.

"They (the plant workers) probably don't like me," he said. "They should get upset at someone closer to the situation."

"I've tried to get them to give me their problems through a communications committee. There will be some discussions," Collier said. "There's not anything that can be done about it until the appeals are done."

According to King, there is no solution in sight to the problems he sought to remedy.

"It looks like (the problems) won't be stopped," King said. "I have exposed them, but (the Physical Plant) is just going to build a better mousetrap."

King's efforts continue, though, as his lawyers are expected to file breach of contract, wrongful retaliation and wrongful termination claims against the university itself in state court.

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DOCTOR'S IN, BUT NOBODY'S KNOCKING

by Rachael Gewirtz

News Reporter

Do you want to get what you pay for? All students pay an $18 basic Health Center Fee, and some have health insurance coverage, but many do not use the center's services.

The fee keeps the Health Center building open and makes it possible for female students to get affordable gynecological care, said Susan Leitner-Prihoda, UH Health Center nurse practitioner.

Although the UH Women's Health Clinic is in full swing and often crowded with students, only about one third of the women on campus use its services.

"We help about 5,000 women per year, but there are about 17,000 attending the school," said Leitner-Prihoda.

The Women's Health Clinic, located inside the UH Health Center, attends to all health needs weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment only. Leitner-Prihoda and the staff see about 25 to 30 patients a day. On duty are Leitner-Prihoda, one other nurse practitioner and a gynecologist, who visits at least twice a week.

"If I had known there was a women's clinic on campus, I would have been attending it. I even have full college health coverage," said freshman Stephanie Wilson.

A number of women had the same reaction, and some wondered why they do not have more information on the clinic.

The women's clinic is explained during orientation, in the health insurance catalogue, but many women are not getting the message.

"Students are too busy during orientation trying to figure out the campus, where to park and how to register. They will never remember that women's health services are offered," said Stephanie Pugh, a junior psychology major.

"The message needs to be put out more through the semester. It should be in the paper more often. Remember, most students don't look for that information until they get sick. I only found it because I went searching for it," she added.

Sophomore Julia Rosen said, "I have been to the health center for other reasons and did not even realize there was a women's clinic in the building."

Leitner-Prihoda added, "Students' health fees are used to keep the health center open. The money is used to cover things like electricity."

These fees also make inexpensive health care available to students without full health coverage. While many gynecologists have sky-rocketing prices, the Women's Health Clinic offers a regular physical and pap smear for $24, she said.

The students who have attended the clinic are pleased with the results. "They are helpful and cheap. It keeps busy students from having to run all over Houston looking for a good doctor. It is also private," Pugh said.

Although the clinic is often crowded, it can accommodate most walk-in's and all those with appointments. "The flow is constant. The health center is superb, and we offer reasonable rates," Leitner-Prihoda said.

The Women's Health Clinic offers:

-Pelvic Exams

-Pap Smears

-Diagnosis and Treatment of Infections

-Birth Control and Family Planning

-Pregnancy Counseling and Referral

-Colposcopy

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NEW BUDGET ALLOCATES FUNDS FOR HEALTH CENTER'S EXPANSION

by Karen Snelling

Daily Cougar Staff

"This year the Health Center has had a face lift, and I'm very excited about that," said Gayle Prager, associate director of the Health Center.

Members of the Health Center presented allocation plans for their approved budget for the 1992-93 school year to the Student Fee Advisory Committee on Sept. 18 at the UC.

SFAC must now review the Health Center's budget, which was approved this summer and recommended to UH's administration, said Rodger Peters, SFAC chairman.

The Health Center has already increased full-time staffing to five physicians, four office assistants and a telephone operator, Prager said.

She said the new office staff should increase the efficiency of operations. They will replace student part-time help because some people were concerned about students handling other students' confidential records, she added.

Some physical improvements for the Health Center include a more secure storage area for students' files and a reception area with an open counter instead of a glass wall, she said.

The Health Center received a new roof in July, and "for the first time in 10 years, there are no buckets in the hallways to catch the drips," she said.

"We are reallocating some of our space in order to free up three additional exam rooms," she said. She added this will hopefully decrease students' waiting time.

The average waiting time is an hour and 30 minutes on busy days, like Mondays and Tuesdays, and 30 minutes on slower days, like Wednesdays through Fridays, she said.

To avoid a long wait, Prager recommended not going to the center during lunch time because the staff temporarily decreases.

Prager also said some fees are being increased. The fee for the walk-in and dermatology clinics increased to $5 from $4 for students with health insurance, she said.

She said the Health Center decided to raise students' out-of-pocket fees instead of their insurance premiums. Students pay $206 in the fall and $286 in the spring and summer for premiums.

Students without health insurance will continue paying $7 to visit these clinics, she said.

The student-dedicated fee, which first appeared on tuition bills in 1990, has been raised to $18 per semester from $15, she said.

Prager said the extra three dollars per student will be primarily used primarily to pay for the increased number of physicians and new examining rooms. One of the most expensive additions will be the new $12,000 exam tables, she said.

Prager said these price increases are not terrible when students consider prices of other doctors.

SFAC unanimously accepted the Health Center's budget as is.

Elwyn Lee, vice president of student affairs, appointed Holly Sterneckert, assistant vice president for Campus Services, as the new interim director of the Health Center. Maintaining both positions, Sterneckert will replace Dr. Billie J. Smith, who left her position at UH in the summer.

Lee also announced John C. Joe as chief of medical staff. Joe will be in charge of all medical, lab and X-ray staff.

Sterneckert and Joe were appointed to their new positions in July.

Willie Munson, dean of students, concluded the meeting by proposing a calendar for future SFAC meetings. SFAC includes faculty and student members and meets on a monthly basis.

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GROUP ENLISTING COLLEGIANS' SUPPORT FOR CLINTON

by Phillip Baeza

News Reporter

A political group has emerged at UH called the "Youth Core for Clinton/Gore."

This group is the campus branch of a statewide organization dedicated to getting college students registered to vote and hopefully, getting them to vote for Clinton/Gore.

Clay Sands, the statewide organizer and director of Youth Core, already has branches set up at UH, Rice, TSU and St. Thomas in Houston. Now Sands is working on getting the smaller universities and junior colleges involved in the Youth Core.

UH, with the largest student involvement in the state, has about 50 people who work alongside the College Democrats, Sands said.

"This is the first time in decades that the youth generation can make a large difference in an election," Sands said, "so we're trying to create a 60s fever with this campaign."

According to Marjorie Goodman, a UH graduate and Youth Core volunteer, the Clinton campaign believes this election will be close and the young people of America (ages 18-30 years) will be the major voting block Clinton/Gore will need to win.

Regardless of who a young person votes for, they have to get out and vote, Goodman said.

"We're the future and too many of us are just not voting, people have got to listen to us so we have to get together and vote," she added.

Registering voters, providing literature and answering questions are some of the activities planned by the Youth Core at UH, said Andrew Monzon, the president of the College Democrats and the Youth Core organizer for the campus.

According to Monzon, the Youth Core has been received very well on campus and there has been a great demand for Clinton/Gore literature and bumper stickers. Also, the group has signed up some UH students as volunteers at the Harris County Democratic Party office.

The Youth Core's major function, Monzon said, will be a "Farewell to Bush Party" on Oct. 13. In attendance will be Sen. Tim Wirth, D-Colo., as well as Houston-area politicians. The group will also try to get vice- presidential candidate Al Gore to attend since he will be in Houston.

The UH branch is planning a debate of the issues between the College Republicans and Democrats, a question/answer session, and a large voter registration drive. They are also trying to recruit more politicians to speak on campus.

Both Sands and Goodman said the response to the Youth Core has been so good at UH they hope the organization can keep some form of the Youth Core on campus well after the presidential election is over.

 

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