TEXANS WILLING TO PAY FOR HIGHER ED

by Rafe Wooley

News Reporter

Houstonians say they are willing to pay a higher price for education if it will ensure that all Texas college students receive an education competitive with that of other states and foreign countries, even if it means a tax increase.

These are the results of a poll conducted exclusively for the Texas Faculty Association by Hart Communications and Texas A&M University.

Harb Hayre, past president of the TFA and a professor of Engineering at UH, said in a meeting of the TFA that the poll is intended to send a strong message to the Texas Legislature.

"We want to accomplish three things with this poll. We want to help the legislature make up its mind about how to increase higher education funding. We want to look at alternative sources for funding higher education such as a tax. We want to tell the legislature that the public is sending a message to stop spending so much on administrative costs," he said.

The poll states that if the legislature has to cut the higher education's budget, the people of Houston indicated a strong preference for cutting the budget of college and university administrations first.

52 percent said the administration should be cut first, 17 percent said student services should be cut first, and nine percent said libraries should be cut first.

Debbie Stevenson, regional director of the TFA, said that administrative costs appear to be the biggest complaint of the public.

"Colleges are very top heavy," said Stevenson.

The poll also indicates that the people of Houston place a high value on the research mission of Texas institutions of higher education. 96 percent said they consider scientific and social research an important role of Texas colleges and universities.

But Hayre said that universities must not let research funding outweigh student services funding.

"It is important that we keep a careful balance between the two," said Hayre.

Donna Fox, Ph.D., president of the UH TFA chapter said that if a tax increase was approved, it would need to be designated for a specific function in colleges and universities, like student services, in order for the public to support an increase.

"It is hard for people to support a tax if they don't know what it's specifically used for," said Fox.

Texas schools rank 34th in higher education funding, which is extremely low, considering the many metropolitan cities in the state, Fox said.

When asked to grade Texas colleges and universities on a scale of "A" to "F" in terms of the overall job they are doing, Houstonians responded by giving high marks. 18 percent gave "A's", 36 percent gave "B's" and 30 percent gave "C's", only two percent gave "D's" and two percent gave "F's." 12 percent declined to answer the question.

Whether the legislature approves a new tax remains to be seen, but the TFA poll results are sending them a strong message that something should be done, said Hayre.

 

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CHANCELLOR'S GOAL: COOPERATION WITH SISTER-CITY

by Ericka Schiche

Daily Cougar Staff

During a recent trip to Japan, UH System Chancellor Alexander Schilt sought to strengthen the existing ties between UH and the eastern country.

While there he gained some valuable contacts with Japanese businessmen and government officials.

"One of the things I'm interested in is helping our universities create as many opportunities for faculty and student exchanges as possible," Schilt said.

"It was just an opportunity to be connected with all facets of Japanese society. It also gave me a chance to reinforce the work that has already been done by the College of Business Administration dean and the wonderful work that he has done and the connections he has created with Chiba University," he said, referring to the sister-city exchanges that have taken place between both universities.

Schilt said, "I think the principal result of the meeting was, on one hand, appreciation for the difference between us.

"On the other hand, (it was) a realization that the two countries are working cooperatively and that those of us who are in positions to help -- need to help."

Schilt said countries need to work "cooperatively, both for our own respective interests as well as for the interests of the rest of the world." Schilt was given an invitation to visit Japan by Japanese government officials in the fall.

Visiting Japan also gave Schilt the opportunity to learn more about some of the social problems in Japan.

"They are facing some issues in the near future that we've already faced in this country," he said.

He said because of an expected decrease in the number of 18-year-olds, the universities are beginning to work to see how they can employ their capacity in other ways, since there will be fewer young people going to college, he said.

Since 1972, Houston has had a sister-city relationship with Chiba City, Japan. The exchanges of people and ideas that have continued since the establishment of ties has resulted in collaborations on various municipal, educational, cultural, professional, and technical projects.

The recent rash of scandals -- including a kick-back scandal involving Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa (Japan's former minister of finance) and the illegally gotten campaign contributions of Shin Kanemaru, former vice president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party -- has had a negative impact on a country that once seemed invincible on every front.

While there, Schilt said he learned about more of the problems and scandals, but also realized why he has been so fond of the culture and society.

He visited Kyoto, the old imperial capital, and even displays a book of Japanese art on one of the tables in his office.

When meeting with Japanese university presidents, he discussed the role of continuing education -- something that will become increasingly important for both countries in the future -- and the enrollment of women in universities.

He also spoke with governmental officials about the conditions that prompted Japanese farmers to protest against the government.

 

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ETHICS SEMINARS TO KICKOFF THIS YEAR'S SA OFFICER ELECTIONS

by David Sikes

Daily Cougar Staff

Any student interested can now apply to earn almost $600 a month as the student body president.

Candidate applications became available Wednesday for president, vice president, students regents and senators of the Student's Association.

Thirty-three senate seats are up for grabs this year, including four at-large positions. Each college is represented by one or more senators depending on its size.

Candidates can file applications between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Feb. 3-10. The pick up and drop off for applications is the SA office UC Underground, room 57 (behind Campus Activities).

The general election is scheduled for Wednesday, March 3 and Thursday, March 4.

Last year's voter turnout was not as good as it has been in recent years said Angie Milner, an SA election official. She agreed that this may have been a result of the messy campaign.

Last year's elections were marred by personal attacks, questions of conflicts of interest and unethical campaigning which resulted in a heated run-off election for president.

This year, however, three seminars will be conducted to instruct candidates on ethical guidelines and election rules and regulations.

Election Commissioner Ron Kephart and his assistants have a $4,000 budget and are in charge of overseeing the elections, said Milner. Polling officials will be in place to prevent any violations at the polls.

Four parties and several independents ran in last year's elections. There is no limit to the amount of candidates who can run for offices, Milner said.

Two debates will be held this year between the presidential candidates. Last year's debates raised issues such as having a live cougar mascot on campus again, food service contracts, book store prices, campus pride and beautification, a library fee and a no smoking policy.

Presidential candidates Rusty Hruska and Damien Kauta carried out a heated debate of their own in the pages of the Daily Cougar. Their race resulted in a run-off which Hruska won.

At least 26 campaign violation complaint forms were filed last year. Not all warranted any action by election officials.

An election guide will be out approximately a week after the deadline for applications to help students decide how to vote. The guide will include qualifications, campaign platforms, organizational affiliations, goals, majors and classifications, experience and specific solutions to key UH problems.

Students have complained in past years that the elections are a popularity contest or an elitist's exercise for special interest groups or Greek organizations.

One of this year's parties has a Greek affiliation, but there are only approximately five Greek candidates on the ticket so far, said Milner.

Students interested in running for any position must be a current UH student. These seats are paid positions if students have maintained a 2.5 GPA for the past 24 credit hours, and they are enrolled in at least nine hours per semester.

The SA president is one of the highest paid student officials on campus, earning $560 a month, funded by student service fees.

"Since the voter turnout of 18 to 24 year olds was extremely good in the recent national elections, we expect a great turnout in our election this year," Milner said.

 

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NEW POLICY, LESS CLASS

by Heather Wolk

Daily Cougar Staff

New freshmen are recommended to take no more than 15 hours per semester, the Undergraduate Council decided at a meeting Wednesday at the UC.

The council consists of 35 members, with a representative from each UH college. Its duties include developing undergraduate programs and activities, changing policies and suggesting new ones, and approving new courses.

In their second meeting this semester, they concluded that students enrolling in more than 14 hours would receive an Academic Notice if their GPA falls below 2.00.

The reason for the change is because it is suggested by the university that for each hour in class, three hours of study time should be devoted, a committee report said.

The purpose of revision was to make the language more clear to undergraduate students and to "alert them that college can be tough."

It was also agreed that in the fall semester of 1995, all new UH transfer students will be required to seek academic advising from both the Academic Advising Center and the college of their major.

In addition, the council discussed changes in art degree requirements as well as 1300-level math courses.

While no decision was reached for art degree requirements, the council agreed to keep 1300-level college algebra in the core curriculum.

Undergraduate Council's focus for this semester will be revising the UH core curriculum and monitoring the departments' teaching of the curriculum, said Brian McKinney, staff associate to the senior vice president.

As a result of disagreements on undergraduate course load, items on the agenda such as enrollment and retention of freshmen and faculty work load are slated for discussion at the next meeting.

 

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WELCOME TO SURREAL WORLD; MAGRITTE AT MENIL

by Ericka Schiche

Daily Cougar Staff

He could sculpt a feminine figure the way Leonardo da Vinci illustrated the male anatomy.

However, Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte was no student of convention. Like Russian dolls that decrease in size and can be placed in the next largest doll, his bronze sculpture of woman is something to marvel at.

Curators at the Menil Collection agree -- his sculpture is placed prominently in the hall outside the galleries that feature the Magritte retrospective exhibit, which includes 150 sculptures and paintings and runs until Feb. 7.

One of the last works of his career, the sculpture is evidence that the late painter mastered the reproduction of images, but did not feel obligated to sculpt a figure that had uninterrupted contours.

The exhibit, which is a representative sample of his complete body of work, includes well known paintings such as "Clairvoyance" and "Time Transfixed," later works such as the bronze sculpture, abstract paintings, still lifes, landscapes and portraits.

For quite some time, the Menil Collection featured Magritte's "Man Ray," which is an imaginary portrait of the Marquis de Sade. The painting features an angry expression of the stony-faced French dictator as flames rise from a castle in the distance.

Fire is one of the strong recurring images in Magritte's body of work. When he painted fiery images, Magritte seemed to capture his own passion, which has inspired pop artists and contemporary surrealists alike.

Threads of surrealism are perceptible in much of Magritte's work.

However, the Belgian painter -- who died in 1967 -- also painted a work that seems inspired in part by Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus."

In addition to mastering the principles of surrealism, Magritte also mastered the art of combining words and images in works.

There is also some humor in his work. In one painting, titled "L'esprit de geometrie," Magritte painted the figure of a woman (with the head of an infant), who is holding a baby that has wrinkles, long hair, and adult facial features.

Most of his work is provocative and inspiring in that it challenges the viewer to look beyond the painted image, however weird it may seem.

There is an element of timeliness in some of his works. "The Witness," painted in the late 1930's, speaks for Magritte, indicating his willingness to accept the consequences of war. The bullet featured in this work is huge, suggesting the magnitude of the destruction caused during wartime.

Overall, the exhibit is one that should not be missed because both Magritte's signature and lesser known works are presented in a way that does justice to the artist and the curve of his work.

 

RACIAL TENSIONS CENTER STAGE AT ALLEY

by Karen Snelling

Daily Cougar Staff

Picture a warm southern place where the sun shines down on loving families and neighbors, and then taint this picture with racial harassment.

The mental image will resemble Greenwood, Miss. before the Civil Rights movement, the setting of <i>From the Mississippi Delta<p>, currently at the Alley Theatre.

Employing a modest set and minimal props, three energetic actresses retell the joys and hardships Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland experienced living in the Delta during the 40s, 50s and 60s.

This autobiographical play progresses to chronicle Holland's work as a civil rights worker, doctoral student and playwright.

The actresses, Kena Tangi Dorsey, Kim Brockington and Shella Ramsey, portray all the people who influence Holland's life by sharing the play's characters.

The women re-create the happiness and pride Holland's mother, Aint Baby, experiences when she becomes a certified midwife. Aint Baby, who earns the title of the Second Doctor Lady, carefully prepares herself because she'll "be catchin them babies left and right!"

Aint Baby shows off her skill as a midwife in a scene where she turns a newborn in his mother's womb so he will enter the world head first instead of feet first. The actresses use an abundance of enthusiasm to act out this scene and make it appear very real.

The actresses convey the excitement a young girl feels on her eleventh birthday. In 1955, Holland couldn't dream of a better birthday than being treated to the "picture show" and being given two dollars for babysitting some whitefolks' child.

Then, on the same day, Holland learns that growing up as a black child in Mississippi can be extremely frightening. The cheery humor ends during an intense scene when she's raped by a white man.

As a teen, Holland decides she wants to dance in the town's fair and cause the town's menfolk to holler and carry on after her.

She takes sexy dancing lessons from the fair's star dancer, learns how to smoke a cigarette between her legs and becomes the fair's Delta Queen.

In this hilarious scene, the Delta Queen gets her wish to be the star of the show and talk of the town. The only drawback is that she can't understand why her family won't let her continue her career.

As a young adult, Holland takes on new struggles-- those for civil rights.

At first, much of her work is opposed by people from her town, such as her mother. Change, whether good or bad, scares these people who live by old tradition.

Tackling all obstacles, Dr. Holland worked hard to promote the civil rights movement. Now the Alley Theater presents her autobiography with humor, drama and song.

<i>From the Mississippi Delta<p> runs until February 7. Tickets range from $16 to $33. Student discounts are available. For reservations call (713) 228-8421.

 

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UH OFFICER SALUTED FOR DEEDS

by Michica N. Guillory

Daily Cougar Staff

Little did Sgt. Richard Vaughn know that his efforts while evacuating the E. Cullen building during the Jan. 28 fire would bring him more than job satisfaction.

His co-workers called those efforts heroic then and call him employee of the year now.

Surrounded by 25 of his peers and co-workers, Vaughn was presented with UHPD's 1992 Employee of the Year award for helping the Houston Fire Department during the fire --without the initial benefit of an airpack.

UHPD Chief George Hess was presented Vaughn with a plaque and a uniform breast bar.

"It gets harder and harder each year to select one person," said Hess. "He's part of the backbone (of the department)."

To the amusement of his peers, Vaughn asked Cempa to give up the podium for his humble speech.

"Andy Warhol says you have 15 minutes of fame. I have a shift - so I'll take five," he said. "I don't see myself as special, just as a flag bearer."

In addition to be humble, Vaughn is described by his peers as "being very dedicated."

"He always liked to see things completed rather than have it assigned to someone else," said Sgt. David Swigeart about working with Vaughn before he was promoted.

"He is among the most professional and caring sergeants at the department," said officer Lance Jones. "He goes out of his way to help you out both professionally and personally."

In addition to being winning the Employee of the Year award, Vaughn was also officer of the month in January and October last year.

Vaughn joined the department full-time in 1983 and was promoted to sergeant in 1987.

 

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