UH ROTC UNIT CONSIDERING PENDING LEGISLATION CONCERNING HOMOSEXUALS

by David Sikes

News Reporter

The camouflage closet may soon open for gays if President-elect Bill Clinton keeps his campaign promise to force the Department of Defense to accept homosexuals into the armed forces.

The future of Clinton's proposal was under fire last week when the Navy refused to allow an admitted homosexual to report to duty. Petty Officer Keith Meinhold, a 12-year Navy veteran, returned to work at Moffett Naval Air Station in northern California after a judge threatened to hold the Navy in contempt of court..

While the military's ban on gays and lesbians is at odds with UH's equal opportunity policies regarding sexual preference, the ROTC unit adheres to current defense department regulations regarding gays.

The only exception: Homosexuals are allowed to audit lower-level courses.

While gays are banned as of now, speculation about an anti-discrimination policy isn't. "I don't foresee any particular problems because the cadets don't live together," said Lt. Col. Art Stemmermann, professor of military science and commanding officer of the ROTC unit.

ROTC Cadet Sgt. Micheal Fernandez disagreed. "The military is not the place to test out sociological ideals The experts know what they're doing and gays aren't part of the plan."

Cadet Pvt. Angela Smith said, "I don't think it was a wise decision on Clinton's part. I think he should let things stay the way they are."

The present military policy cites morale as one of the reasons for not allowing homosexuals in the military. Officials believe that gays among the ranks will cause dissention. This reflects a homophobic attitude, according to some in the gay community.

"There have always been gays in the military. They just had to keep it a secret. I have known several gays who are very high up in the military," said Angelique Simnacher, a member of the Gay/Lesbian Student Association at UH.

"One is a lieutenant colonel and a lawyer in the Air Force. Her sexual preference, lifestyle and intimate relationships are separate from her job," Simnacher said.

Kristy Lelvis, administrative officer of the GLSA, said, "We think it's great that gays may finally be given the same opportunity to openly serve their country. (It's the same opportunity) that the other 90 percent of the population now enjoys."

Marine Staff Sgt. Bob Beyer, public affairs non-commissioned officer for southeast Texas, said changing the policy wouldn't be a problem.

"How we feel about it doesn't matter," he said. "Military personnel may not act on their personal feelings. If they can't do that, then they shouldn't be wearing the uniform. If the president changes the policy, we will comply."

Gays in the military may cause problems similar to those of women serving alongside men.

"The Navy will have it the hardest because sailors are often isolated on a ship for up to six months in cramped quarters," Stemmermann said.

"A lot of your privacy is given up, so segregation is a possible solution to potential problems with sleeping quarters," Beyers said.

People fear that information leaks in the defense department would occur with the existing policy.

Having soldiers' homosexuality used to blackmail them into revealing sensitive secrets to the enemy is a legitimate fear, said Byron Oler, postbaccalaureate student and Navy veteran.

"Only if something is hidden or in the closet is blackmail a threat," Oler added.

Some hold that gay men should not fight for this country because they are not suited for combat. A similar debate exists about women as combat pilots and women soldiers in combat. But the questions about homosexuals in combat are hypothetical because gays are already in the military.

"The two gay guys I know in the military are more macho than a lot of guys that are straight," Sinmacher said.

The treatment of gays in society is probably a good indication of how they will be treated in the microcosm of the military, Stemmermann said.

"There will be isolated incidents (of mistreatment), but it won't be any different from any other minority," Stemmermann said.

 

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SATF REDEFINES SEXUAL ASSAULT, REWRITES POLICY

by Deborah Hensel

Daily Cougar Staff

Following two extra meetings this month, the Sexual Assault Task Force will ask UH President James Pickering for an extension on the Dec. 1 deadline to have policy recommendations placed on his desk.

SATF Chair Cynthia Freeland opened Thursday's meeting by disseminating policy drafts written by various committee members. She also handed out a copy of current protocol for handling assault cases.

One policy draft was a definition of sexual assault written by UHPD Lt. Brad Wigtil and Vice President of Student Affairs Elwyn Lee. It reads:

• A stranger or acquaintance commits sexual assault through forcible sexual penetration, however slight, of another person's mouth, anal or genital opening with any object.

• These acts must be committed with the victim's consent either by force, threat of force, violence, intimidation or through the use of the victim's mental or physical helplessness, of which the accused was aware or should have been aware.

• Sexual assault also includes the touching of an unwilling person's intimate parts (defined as genitalia, groin, breast or buttocks or clothing covering them) or forcing an unwilling person to touch another's intimate parts.

• These acts must be committed either by force, threat, intimidation or through the use of the victim's mental or physical helplessness, of which the accused was aware or should have been aware.

Also at Thursday's meeting, Susan Leitner-Prihoda of UH's Health Center presented her recommendation that UHPD no longer take sexual assault survivors to Ben Taub Hospital because "that experience is just another assault on the victim." Leitner-Prihoda suggested that Hermann, Methodist and St. Luke's hospitals be used as options.

Julia Bristor, professor of marketing, said the university is about to undertake a large-scale survey to determine student, staff and faculty perceptions of safety on campus.

The group also discussed the need for consistent notification of crime incidents on campus through the Daily Cougar, and the necessity for an updated map of emergency call-box locations.

 

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PROFESSOR SAYS UNITY THE KEY TO SURVIVAL FOR ALL SEMITIC PEOPLE

by Hermina Frederick

News Reporter

Unless Jews, Arab and Palestinians start to think of themselves as a community of nations, there is little chance of achieving peace in the Middle East, said Maher Massis, political science doctoral candidate.

Speaking to fellow Middle East students Wednesday, Massis said the major cause of conflict in the Middle East is the failure of its political systems to unite the people.

For centuries, Massis said, government in the Middle East has gone from one form of barbarism to another. Whether it be sheikdoms, monarchies or dictatorships, "We continue to have the same cycle of oppression," he added.

Life for Arabs was no better under the Shah of Iran than it was under Komeni's Islamic fundamentalism, and despite all of their efforts, neither Sadam Hussein nor Mumarar Ghadafi will succeed in liberating Iraq or Syria, Massis said.

The in-fighting among Israel and Arab and Palestinian states also stems from each nation's perceptions of its right to exist, Massis said.

At one time, the Arabs were determined to abolish the state of Israel; since then, Israelites seem to believe any attempt to give independence to the Palestinians would indicate they had given up their rights to the Gaza Strip, he said. Furthermore, the dispute between Syria and Israel over control of the Golan Heights adds to the growing sense of self-destruction that pervades the Middle East today, he said.

There are extremists on both sides who condemned the peace process before it even began, Massis said. Arabs and Palestinians will not allow Israel a permanent hold of the West Bank, and even if it means mass suicide, the Arabs will continue to try to recapture territories occupied by Israel, he added.

"Will drastic measures through armed struggle work?" he asked. Pragmatically, "Israel will not go out of existence and Palestinians will not push them out either."

If the peace process collapses, Massis said not only will war occur, but the extremists will triumph and the people of the Middle East will resort to armed struggle.

Massis stressed such conflict among Middle East nations leaves a bad impression on other world nations, at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise.

"Racists are not going to make distinctions between Semites," he said, "and I would hope that Arabs and Jews would look at these things and unite."

Massis's solution to Arab and Israeli unification is what he calls pluralistic democracy. He envisions the Middle East as a political society where the Arab learns to tolerate the Jew, and Syrians the Iraqis. This is why "we have to begin to think trans-continentally," he said.

 

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DIFFERING FAITHS NOW PART OF DIVERSITY MONTH

by Kristine Fahrenholz

News Reporter

"Persons who know only one religion know no religion," said Rabbi Stuart Federow, director of the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation, as he addressed UH students Thursday at a panel discussing religions.

Last year, when UH had its Diversity Week, it focused on ethnic, cultural, racial and gender differences, but ignored the differences among the faiths, Federow said in a letter to the administration, hoping UH would include diversity of faiths on its next Diversity Week agenda. He added that diversity on campus is derived from differences in students' and faculty members' faiths.

However, the administration continues to ignore diversity of faith, Federow said.

This year, however, the Council of Ethnic Organizations expanded Diversity Week to a month of diversity awareness.

Panels met to discuss Judaism, Hinduism and Christianity. The representative for Islam was unable to attend.

"Our views of God set us apart as do our approaches to everyday activities," Federow said, speaking about Judaism.

"For example, Christmas is a Christian holiday; therefore, Jewish people are set apart from Christians when Christmas comes," he added.

Judaism and Christianity have different definitions for words such as "messiah," "sin," "heaven" and "hell." Articles of clothing as well as "kosher" foods also set us apart, Federow said.

Madhu Jhaveri, professor of structural mechanics at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, focused on the Hindu perspective. "Hinduism is not a religion, but a science of spirituality," Jhaveri said.

Two principles stressed by Hindus include individual growth and harmony. "Every individual must grow," he said.

Duty is heavily stressed in the Indian culture. "With duty there is peace in the family, and the family has to survive no matter what," Jhaveri said.

The concern of Hinduism is whether or not you are growing, not what path you are taking, according to Jhaveri. "Spiritualism should not cause problems in the world."

Victor Wong, senior pastor of the Chinese Baptist Church, represented the Christian point of view.

Most religions focus on doing well to reach a goal, but Christianity is the opposite, he said. The Christian lifestyle is not a condition of faith, but evidence and a result of faith, he added.

Federow said breakdowns of society come from separation of people from religion.

 

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TECH, UH TO LIGHT UP SCOREBOARD

by Keith Rollins

Daily Cougar Staff

Statisticians assigned to Saturday's football game between Houston and Texas Tech better get their ball-point pens ready.

Over the last four years, the Cougars' and the Red Raiders' high output of offensive yards and points have put the number gurus through an excessive amount of work.

The two schools have a combined average over the last four contests of 77 points and 939 yards per game.

"The last two years have been free-wheeling, high-scoring affairs," Cougar Head Coach John Jenkins said.

UH (3-6, 1-4 in SWC) enters the meeting with the highest ranked offense in the nation at 485 yards per game, the best passing attack at 379 yards per game and the league leader in receptions per game (9.1), Sherman Smith.

Tech (4-6, 3-3) will counter with its own potent offense that records 407 yards every game, good enough for 24th place on the national scale.

The most prolific wide receiver for the Red Raiders, Lloyd Hill, is the best in the business when it comes to receiving. The junior averages 119 yard per game.

Jenkins will key on the eye-opening Hill.

"I've enjoyed watching Hill's career ever since his days at Odessa Permian. He has certainly developed into one of the finest performers in the Southwest Conference and in the country," Jenkins said.

Also, Jenkin's pass-happy offense will have to contend with a decent Red Raider secondary led by Tracy Saul. Saul is the SWC career interception leader with 25 picks, five of them this season.

Unlike the last two offensive-influenced games between the teams, Jenkins said that "this year the defenses could make up the difference."

Houston owns a lopsided 17-5-1 advantage in the series between the two schools, but Tech is in a position to splinter that reign.

If the Red Raiders pull off the victory in Lubbock this weekend, it will mark the first time they have beaten the Cougars twice in a row. Tech won last year's battle, 52-46, and is 3-2 this season at home. The Cougars are winless in five road games.

Jenkin's feels a win would boost the Cougar players' confidence.

"Our guys need to get some momentum rolling as far as getting back on the track and begin winning again," Jenkins said.

 

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TOURNAMENT OUTLOOK GOOD FOR UH

by Heather Ellis

Daily Cougar Staff

The Cougars' volleyball hopes for a place in the NCAA tournament are on the line this weekend at the SWC tournament in Austin.

This weekend will prove if all is fair in love and war when the Cougars play the same SWC teams they faced during the regular season.

A winless team like the Rice Owls or the undefeated Texas Longhorns could very well find themselves holding a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Coach Bill Walton knows that anything is possible at this stage of the game.

"We always have to anticipate that every game is going to be a hard one," he said. "This tournament shows that a team that has lost all year can be good for three straight days and win. Miracles happen, that is why we play."

The Cougars clinched the second seed at the tournament by winning second place in the SWC. They will play the winner of the Rice Owl-Texas Tech match-up Saturday afternoon.

The winner of the match on Saturday will proceed to play on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. against either the Baylor Bears, Texas A&M Aggies or the Texas Longhorns. That game will determine the winner of the tourney and automatically qualify them for advancement to the NCAA tournament.

There is a strong possibility that the Cougars will once again face their SWC nemesis, the Texas Longhorns. If that happens, Coach Walton will be ready.

"It had better come back down to us versus Texas," he said. "The team is fired up. Their attitude is the same as it was last week, and they are ready to play."

To prepare for the SWC and NCAA tournaments, the Cougars have been alternating practices to give them a well rounded workout. By the time the NCAA tournament comes around, the Cougars will have undergone four weeks of overall conditioning.

 

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CAMPUS AMERICA TOUR BRINGS MUSIC, FREEBIES, GAMES, SPIDERMAN TO UH

by Veronica Guevara

News Reporter

Go ahead and fling yourself against a Velcro wall!

UH students, feeling the end-of the-semester pressure mounting and looking for new ways to relieve it, can don Velcro suits and launch themselves via springboard onto a 12-foot Velcro wall today -- the last day of the Campus America Tour.

The CAT Entertainment event at Lynn Eusan Park features various companies hawking their wares amidst a carnival atmosphere while "Shining Happy People" plays over the loudspeaker system.

Late Thursday afternoon UH students found not only shelter from the rain at the CAT's promotional tents, but also filled their plastic Reebok bags with freebies. Freebie booty included cookies, cologne, key chains, bookmarks and chances to win T-shirts or tennis shoes.

But one of the best deals was the part-time job which Mirza Baiq, an electrical engineering major, parlayed into a pair of new suede shoes. "I work for two days (for Reebok) and I get these shoes and this T-shirt," Baiq said as he pointed to his new suede Reeboks.

Word got out quickly that the CAT event had free food, and Stefan Röhrbein, urban sociology graduate student, was on the trail. "They said that they had food here and I'm so hungry," Röhrbein said. He left in the rain, disappointed that there were only cookies for the taking.

Participating sponsors include Fuji Film, The New Yorker magazine, Reebok, American Express, Everfresh Juice Co. and Campus Outreach Opportunity League (COOL), to name a few.

 

 

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