UH SMOKING BAN SET FOR NEXT YEAR

by Veronica Guevara

News Reporter

Smokers at UH who may be trying to quit need not worry if they missed the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 19. The Great UH Smokeout starts on March 1, 1993 -- like it or not.

In a memo to the UH community timed to coincide with the Great American Smokeout, President James Pickering said the new smoking policy was formulated as "the result of extensive study, analysis and comment."

The groundwork for the new smoking policy began in the fall of 1991 when the Faculty Senate proposed a policy which would eliminate the health risk of secondary smoke.

This was followed-up with a referendum on smoking conducted by the Students' Association in March.

"More students voted for restrictions against smoking on campus than voted for the student representatives," said SA President Russell Hruska about the student elections last March.

Hruska, a senior architecture major, said that the exceptions allowing smoking in the well-ventilated UC arbor and certain areas of the Hilton Hotel were reasonable.

"We should make sure to protect smoker's rights, but not at the expense of non-smoker's rights," Hruska said.

Campus-wide debate of the smoking issue spurred the Division of Student's Affairs to survey the faculty, staff and student body in order to gain a better understanding of the opinions on campus.

The resulting 98-page Student Affairs' survey report, as well as smoking policies from over a dozen universities, helped to develop the proposed UH smoking policy which was sent to the campus community for review on Aug. 14.

Although only one comment about the policy was received before the Oct. 15 deadline, Pickering's memo said, "It seems that a broad consensus has been reached on the smoking issue."

As a result, the new smoking policy is almost identical to the proposed policy sent out for campus review.

Non-smokers will be able to breathe a fresh-air sigh of relief because the smoking policy eliminates smoking in just about every enclosed area on campus.

The few exceptions are: University-owned residences where smoking is allowed if all room occupants agree; private enclosed offices with separate door, provided an air filter/cleaner is provided in the office by the occupant (this applies only through January 1994, after which time smoking in private offices is prohibited); Hilton Hotel designated smoking areas; the covered Arbor area and terraces of the UC; smoking in authorized performances requiring smoke as part of production; and any other temporary smoking space designated by the President.

A copy of the official policy can be obtained through each department, according to a Student Affairs spokesperson.

Smokers, however, will not have to go cold turkey on March 1.

The purpose of pushing back the effective date to March 1 was to allow for an adjustment period, according to Pickering's memo.

Free smoking-cessation work-shops will be offered through May for smokers interested in quitting. For more information, contact the Human Resources Department and the Department of Counseling and Testing.

UH Health Center's pharmacy is also offering smoking patches which can be purchased with a prescription.

 

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UH VISITOR SHOT TWICE DURING ROBBERY ATTEMPT

by Michica N. Guillory

Daily Cougar Staff

An unknown male shot a UH visitor twice during a car-jacking attempt in the parking lot near the Quad residence halls Sunday evening.

The 29-year-old man was taken to Ben Taub Hospital where he was treated for a shot in his right front shoulder and the right buttock, said UHPD Lt. Brad Wigtil.

The suspect, who is unaffiliated with UH, is still at large.

"The victim was returning to campus with his sister when he was approached by a stranger asking for dorm visitation hours," Wigtil said. "The victim was standing next to his car and his sister was still inside the car."

"The suspect then pulls out a gun and demands the keys," Wigtil said. When the victim hesitated because he was surprised, the stranger shot him.

The suspect then ran to a car

that pulled up after the shooting, Wigtil said. "Witnesses said the car's headlights were off.

"There were witnesses to the shooting but they all saw bits and pieces of it," Wigtil said. "One group of witnesses was playing basketball near the lot but they didn't see the entire incident."

Composite sketches of the suspect given by the victim's sister have been faxed to offices across campus.

The suspect has been identified as an 18- to 20-year old black male, 5 feet 9 to 5 feet 11 inches, with a thin build and short hair.

He was wearing a red sweater or jacket with the word Houston across the back and dark pants or jeans.

The car leaving the scene was described as a maroon or dark brown mid-80s model Oldsmobile Cutlass or a similar model. The license plate number is unknown and there is no description of the driver.

The name of the victim hasn't been released because police are working on a more detailed composite sketch of the suspect.

"There may be more witnesses and we would appreciate any information they have," Wigtil said. "If anybody saw anything, even if they think it's insignificant, we would like to talk to them."

Call UHPD at 743-3333.

 

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SIGMA CHI THROWS PUNCHES IN SUIT OVER FIGHT NIGHT

by Kristine Fahrenholz

News Reporter

The Sigma Chi fraternity is suing the Amateur Boxing Federation for violation of anti-trust laws, violation of civil rights and breach of contract, Kevin Hanratty, attorney for Sigma Chi, said.

"The suit should be filed within a week and we're going to move as quickly as possible with it," he said.

The 18th annual Sigma Chi Fight Night was cancelled due to the refusal of the Amateur Boxing Federation to issue the fraternity the necessary sanction for the event.

Sanctions provide the organization approximately $1 million in liability insurance, judges, referees, cornermen to advise fighters between rounds and equipment.

Sanctioning by the Amateur Boxing Federation or a license from a professional boxing organization is required for a boxing show, according to Rick Valdez, a professional boxing coordinator.

The license is needed for boxing just like a license is needed for driving. "Just because you've been driving for 18 years doesn't mean you don't need a license anymore," Valdez said.

"All amateur boxing organizations need sanctions approved by amateur associations in order to operate," said Henry Villa-Gomez, regional manager of the Department of Licensing and Regulations.

Club sanctioning is normally done by the registration chairperson; however, the sanction for UH Sigma Chi fraternity was to be decided by a vote of ABF members, according to Ray Ontrivaros, former president of the ABF.

Even with a sanction, there have been problems in the past with fight nights. Referees were unable to manage boxers who were drinking alcohol at the Sigma Chi Fight Night held at Texas A & M University, Ontrivaros said. "You can't judge everybody by one bad apple," he said.

Walt Hailey, president of the Amateur Boxing Federation, said amateur boxers should have several months of training before an event. He said they can't issue sanctions to "tough man" contests. "If we sanction the club and all of our rules are not followed, then our liability insurance is null and void."

Kenny Weldon, coach of Galena Park Boxing Association, said many boxers involved in Fight Night train at his gym and other local gyms. "I've picked up a few good boxers from Fight Night. One boxer won a Golden Glove award for the novice decision," Weldon said.

"In past Fight Nights, we never had anything more than bumps, bruises and hurt egos," Alex Fleishman, Sigma Chi Fight Night chairman, said.

The decision to vote on whether or not the fraternity should be given a sanction rested with Hailey. ABF members generally only attend their monthly meetings to cover annual elections or issues of importance requiring voting, Weldon said.

Twelve of the 28 members were present at the meeting that included the vote on Sigma Chi. The sanction was denied by a vote of eight to four.

Some of the members present were new to the ABF, Ontrivaros said. "They were easily persuaded to vote against sanctioning to Sigma Chi," he said. The Sigma Chi representative was not present at the meeting.

"The decision was strictly a political move to appease the national boxing association," Weldon said.

The Texas Boxing Commission would not have allowed Fight Night to proceed without a sanction. If Fight Night had gone on as scheduled, it would have been a violation of a state statute.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations could have fined the fraternity or put them on probation if Fight Night had been held without sanction or license, Valdez said. "It's not a criminal trial."

The fraternity assumed that by being a member of the Amateur Boxing Federation, sanctioning would automatically be approved as it had been in the past. But with each new president, attitudes change toward who should receive sanctions and who shouldn't.

Hailey said, looking to next year, with several months of training prior to the event, sanctioning would be granted.

Ticket holders can receive refunds from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the UC underground.

 

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STATE REPRESENTATIVE ASSAILS A & M CARTOON

by Melinda McBride

Daily Cougar Staff

Houston Rep. Ron Wilson blasted Texas A&M University's student newspaper Thursday, calling an editorial cartoon aimed at him racist.

In response to not only the cartoon depicting him as a small, black, yapping dog, but also to a threatening anonymous letter sent to him, Wilson addressed the House Monday in his first personal privilege speech in 15 years.

The black state lawmaker said his unusual request to speak to the House centered on his concern with growing racial insensitivity on campuses throughout Texas.

"Sure I talked about the cartoon," Wilson said, "but I also pointed out other problems like A&M fraternities (members) dressing up as slaves. What kind of message are we sending to black children who want to go to college?"

According to A&M's student newspaper, the Battalion, Wilson wrote the Texas A&M Board of Regents and voiced his concerns about the racist overtones at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon "jungle" theme party. The fraternity was fined and disciplined but not shut down.

His letter said, "Any actions that fall short of complete censure and banishment (of SAE) only serve to encourage this type of behavior in the future."

He also says if A&M's actions regarding the fraternity fall short of "what the minority community thinks is appropriate in dealing with this offensive behavior, I will not hesitate to use every means at my disposal as a member of the Texas House of Representatives to ensure that Texas A&M is not rewarded for this type of behavior."

When the contents of the letter were published along with the editorial cartoon, Wilson received an anonymous letter he called "very disturbing."

The problem, said Wilson, is greater than the frat party and the cartoon. "That cartoon is just a festering sore. I want to attack the underlying disease of racism."

But the editor-in-chief of the Battalion, Atlantis Tillman, said she was disappointed Wilson construed the comic and accompanying editorial as racist.

"Our intention was to use the cartoon as an educational tool," Tillman said. "The idea was that we supported the university for choosing not to ban Sigma Alpha Epsilon. We felt educating the fraternity about racism was better than banning them. That's why we used the yapping dog."

Tillman said she doesn't agree with Wilson about the artwork being hateful, either. "I'm not running an apology because the cartoon and editorial ran on the editorial page and you can't have a right or wrong opinion. I don't feel I have anything to apologize for."

But Wilson said, "A black dog? That's a bit much."

Morris Graves, UH's associate director for African-American Studies, said the relationship between the big white boot and the small pestering dog in the cartoon goes too far. "It's a stereotype of blacks going up against a white institution. I call that racist.

"The thing is, though, there's no sensitivity about it. The white media doesn't stop to think before publishing; they just do it," said Graves. "There comes a point when we get tired of it."

Both Graves and Wilson attribute the negative historical depiction of blacks as subservient to the continuing racial intolerance problem on campus. Wilson said he's working on legislation for the 1993 session that will address what actions will be taken against students practicing bigotry.

William Linsley, a media law professor who has taught here for 30 years, said despite the existence of 'hate speech,' the Supreme Court has recently shown support for First Amendment freedom of speech rights.

"Wilson's trying to get legislation that prevents communication of this nature," Linsley said. "But trying to suppress expression he disagrees with doesn't address the issue of why people utter hate speech."

Linsley said eliminating the causes for intolerance is more important than eliminating the expression of it. "People don't have to agree with an idea. They have to be concerned if racial condemnation of character will lead to condemnation of other ideas we want to tolerate."

 

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STUDENT FOUND DECAPTITATED; SUICIDE SUSPECTED

by Michica N. Guillory

Daily Cougar Staff

Early Sunday morning UH student Sivasankaran Somasundaram's body was discovered on the train tracks behind the Kroger supermarket on Cullen Boulevard.

He was decapitated by a train and his body was found at approximately 4:30 a.m., his ex-roommate Nikhil Dukle, a mechanical engineering graduate student, said.

He was identified from the wallet that was still in his pocket.

"It happened around the 1100 block of Milby and the case is under investigation by the Houston police department," UHPD Lt. Brad Wigtil said.

"They are trying to determine whether this was a homicide or a suicide, but it depends on what the medical examiner can find out," Wigtil said.

Many of the Indian computer science graduate students were called together Monday morning to notify them of the incident and ask them for any information which could help HPD with the case. Two counsellors from Counseling and Testing accompanied HPD.

"They (the roommates) said all the signs of a classic suicide were there or someone went through a lot of trouble to make it look like one," said HPD.

When Somasundaram's body was found, his shirt was tucked in and his jacket was still on. There were no signs of a struggle. According to an anonymous source, "They told us the train operator they spoke to said that Somasnundaram was already decapitated when he went by, so it was probably an earlier train.

"He was never in a bad mood or depressed. He spoke to anybody who walked by," the source said.

"He was one of the most popular Indians on campus," Dukle said. "He always helped people no matter when they needed him. Anybody who knew him, liked him."

Somasnundaram was a FORTRAN/Pascal teaching assistant in the computer science department.

 

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PHYSICS PROFESSOR INTRODUCES REVAMPED 'DROP' POLICY

by David Sikes

New Reporter

UH's class drop policy may be drastically changed if a proposal before the Undergraduate Council passes.

The proposal by physics professor Lowell Wood was brought before the Students' Association Monday.

The former associate dean of the College of Natural Science and Mathematics proposed to make the last day to drop a course without a grade coincide with the 12th class day (fourth day for summer).

This change would force students to make early drop decisions. It would also cut back on the time and effort students and instructors have to devote to dropping a class later in the semester.

Wood also wants to limit the number of hours a student can drop to nine, with no more than six hours in core curriculum. His proposal said if "students drop a class prior to the deadline for dropping or withdrawing, they would be automatically receive a grade of Z and would be allowed to accumulate no more than nine hours of Z grades."

In his argument for change, Wood cited that the drop rate at UH is significantly higher than Texas A&M's. Eighty seven percent of UH students complete classes they start compared to 96 percent at A&M.

Some SA senators were critical of Wood's lack of sensitivity to UH's non-traditional students and their particular problems. Many students drop classes for financial, family or work reasons.

SA is in favor of blocking Wood's proposal. A request was made to voice their opposition to the Undergraduate Council.

SA President Rusty Hruska also announced at the meeting that the spring semester fee statements were sent out with several mistakes. The due date is wrong on many of the forms. Class times and dates were left off others.

Four new senators were nominated and elected. The new senators are Cipriano Romero, Jeff Fuller, Gavin Kasyzski and Anthony Cheng.

 

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INTERNATIONAL B-BALLERS LEAVE BAD TASTE IN COUGAR'S MOUTH

by Adam King

Daily Cougar Staff

Hofheinz Pavilion went international Monday night as the visiting teams from Estonia and Germany pitted their basketball skills against the UH women's and men's teams, respectively, in back to back exhibition games.

The ladies tipped off first, but neither team seemed able to dominate the other. In the first of two 15-minute periods, Erina Ilves kept her Club Meelis close with 6-of-12 shooting for 16 points including a three-point shot and seven rebounds.

However, the Lady Cougars managed a tenuous 39-34 lead at halftime -- thanks to 10 points from sophomore guard Antoinette Isaac and seven boards from Margo Graham.

The Lady Cougars built a 10-point lead midway through the second quarter, but that quickly evaporated as Estonians Kristel Pold and Pille Russak combined for 21 of the team's 34 points in the second half. Estonia led 68-67 with 13 seconds left and the ball in Houston's possession, but a costly turnover ended hopes of a Cougar victory as Estonia ran out the clock.

The Houston men started where the ladies left off dropping the first half 36-30 to TTL-Bamberg who out-rebounded the Cougars 21-14 in the first half.

Houston, a quicker, smaller team, couldn't find a way to sneak through Bamberg's towering lineup of 6-foot-9 forwards Brian Martin and Bruno Rochnafski and 6-10 center Robert Reisenbuechler.

Houston Coach Pat Foster must have given a great halftime speech because Derrick Smith began the second quarter with a three-point shot to pull the Cougars within three at 36-33.

But the Cougars looked lackluster as missed shots and pressure defense by Bamberg took their toll, and Houston fell into an 18-point hole at 57-39.

Foster urged the team to step up the defense. Smith answered with a steal and subsequent slam to cut the deficit in half to 59-50, following a feed by Tyrone Evans to Rafael Carrasco for the lay-up. Before that, freshmen Lloyd Wiles and Evans each nailed their three-point attempt to start the 12-2 run.

After trading baskets, Houston went on a wild 13-3 run helped by four turnovers caused by their full-court press. That tied the game at 65-65 but missed free-throws hurt the Cougars in the final minutes.

Trailing 70-69, David Diaz failed to finish off a three-point play after he was fouled on a lay-up that counted. Junior transfer Anthony Goldwire missed his second foul shot that would have put the Cougars up 73-72 with 36 seconds remaining.

Tied at 72, Bamberg had one second left to call a time-out or be forced to turn the ball over after Houston's full-court press kept them from crossing the mid-court stripe in the 10 seconds allotted.

With 24 seconds remaining, Bamberg played keep-away until the final seconds when Houston nearly came up with a steal to send it into overtime.

But forward Pat King scooped up the loose ball and scored with the off-balanced three-point shot from the top of the key as time expired.

 

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POLL SHOWS STUDENTS SUPPORT SMOKING BAN

by Channing King

News Reporter

Based on an informal poll, the new campus smoking policy has the support of three-quarters of the student body.

Of 100 UH students polled, 74 percent agreed with the new campus smoking policy. Twenty-two percent of the students polled said they smoked regularly.

Supporters and detractors of the policy can not clearly be categorized as non-smokers and smokers. Fifteen percent of non-smokers are against the policy. Of those who smoke, 27 percent support the policy.

David Kreid, a junior German major who doesn't smoke, said, "I do believe that smokers have the right to smoke if they want to. There should be some indoor lounges for smokers -- only where they won't hurt anyone else."

Chris Moss, a non-smoker, said, "Policy everywhere is changing."

Even though he does not like the smoke, Moss, a senior studio art major, said the campus should still have designated areas.

"The policy is great for me, but it's not great for the smokers on campus," said Dee Campbell, a senior electrical engineering major.

"I do not smoke in my vehicle. I do not smoke in my apartment," said John McLaughlin, a junior technology major. "I go outside. If I can do it, everyone can do it."

McLaughlin is part of the minority of smokers who will not mind the new university smoking policy.

Most smokers say that the new policy (effective March 1) will be an inconvenience. Most non-smokers say the policy should be appreciated.

"I think the policy is taking things a little too far," said Michael Susko, a chemical engineering junior. "People are getting too fanatical."

David Nguyen, a senior economics major, said, "I believe in not smoking but I also believe in smoking areas."

Claudio Pineda, a smoker, said he prefers the system used today. "There should always be smoking and non-smoking areas," said Pineda, a sophomore archeology major. "We should be allowed to smoke in public."

Laura Franklin, a sophomore philosophy major, said "I'm not a smoker and I don't want the effects of the second-hand smoke."

Katie Skalli, a senior education major, said she supported the new policy. She cautioned that the university needs to put more ashtrays and garbage cans outside "so the butts don't make the campus look like a dump."

 

 

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