STUDENT SHOT TWICE SUSPECT'S PHOTO TAKEN BY VICTIM BEFORE SHOOTING

by Michica N. Guillory

Daily Cougar Staff

A UH student was shot Friday after she took a picture of the woman who has been charged with trying to kill her.

Sherry Benitez, a 25-year-old Spanish major, was shot in the abdomen and shoulder at an apartment complex in the 22700 block of Imperial Valley.

Ethel Ann Morris, 22, has been charged, but the exact charge is pending due to an ongoing investigation. Morris is allegedly a friend of Benitez's estranged husband, Carlos, a sophomore psychology major at UH.

Sherry Benitez took Morris' picture because she recognized Morris as the woman who had been allegedly following her for at least three days, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Department.

Mrs. Benitez was taken to Hermann Hospital Friday and is now listed in stable condition. Further information regarding her release is being withheld.

"She has asked us to put her on no-information status," said hospital spokeswoman Lisa Fuglaar.

A gag order restraining Mrs. Benitez from further contact with the press was issued Wednesday night.

Though Mrs. Benitez said she does not know her alleged attacker, Mr. Benitez, 27, said he and his wife both knew Morris. After being questioned by police Saturday for violating his wife's protective order against him, Mr. Benitez paid his $500 bond then reappeared in court Wednesday for his two children's custody hearing.

Mr. Benitez's parents want custody of the children they say they have been raising for five years.

In a sudden turn of events, Morris posted her $5,000 bond Tuesday, but the (bondsmen) failed to notify the sheriff's office after the posting.

Morris also posted a $5,000 non-arrest bond Tuesday, according to Detective Norman Welsh of the Harris County Sheriff's department. A non-arrest bond allows a person suspected of a crime to bypass arrest before appearing in court.

Despite reports that Morris spoke with the sheriff's office, Welsh said, "It was a mistake; she never came in."

Mr. Benitez is still enrolled with the university, and Sherry Benitez's files are now under privacy protection, according to Tyler Townsend, a records specialist in the Office of Registration and Academic Records.

Morris is due in court on March 17.
 
 

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UP FOR A TRIVIAL PURSUIT?

by Julie Johnson

Contributing Writer

If you can't name Abraham Lincoln's first vice president, you may not fit in at the battle of the brains today.

But you can take a crack at the questions and avoid embarrassing yourself in front of your peers with wrong answers by keeping your mouth shut and just watching.

The final rounds for the nationally-renowned, question-and- answer tournament known as the UH College Bowl will offer a test of wit and trivia knowledge to the 13 teams competing in the tournament and its spectators.

Not surprisingly, most of the contestants harbor their brains in the lounges around the Honors College.

As an advisor for both the Honors College and the College Bowl, Jody Fiore said, "It is fun to watch because you can test your wits against the competitors by just answering the questions in your head."

Charlie Ebersbaker, the tournament's director, said it's a lot like watching your favorite TV quiz show.

"The closest it (the tournament) comes to is like Trivial Pursuit or Jeopardy!, without the answer being phrased in the form of a question," he said.

The questions center around literature, history, sports, math and science. There are also a few questions pertaining to current events, which Ebersbaker said are the most interesting.

One current-events question in the first preliminary round was answered before the mediator even finished asking.

"Everyone knew that the answer was Studs, the show where two guys date three girls and then pick their favorite," he said.

Unlike Jeopardy!, contestants don't get to choose their topic of choice. Question cards received from the College Bowl Organization come hermetically sealed and are read randomly.

Fiore said the tournament does not necessarily require contestants to be book-smart, and those who just have a general knowledge of trivial facts can do just as well.

Preliminary rounds were held Tuesday and Wednesday for about 52 students. Matches between two teams with four players each were played simultaneously for 14 minutes.

Each match begins with a toss- up question worth 10 points. The team member that buzzes in first has three seconds to answer without checking with his or her team members. If the question is answered correctly, the entire team must answer a bonus question correctly for another 20 or 30 points.

The tournament works on a double-elimination process. Teams that lost two matches during the preliminaries will not proceed to the final round.

The team that wins the final round will advance to the next round on an all-expenses-paid trip to the regional tournament at Louisiana Tech University, Feb. 26-28, to compete against other universities.

David Richita of Campus Activities said he aspires to see student organizations get together as teams and compete in future College Bowls. "It's a real spectator sport, and the participants really get into it," he said.

Richita is involved in the Association of College Unions International, which sponsors College Bowl nationally.

Along with Fiore, Ebersbaker and Richita, Bill Schwehr of the UC Games Room also contributed much of his time and effort to making College Bowl a success.

Jump-start your brain waves; the final round will be held today at 4:15 p.m. in the World Affairs Lounge.
 
 

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RARELY LOSE THEMSELVES IN ROLES

by Deborah Hensel

Daily Cougar Staff

Rarely does a thriller open with an in-depth profile of a psycho strategically rehearsing his crime.

The Vanishing breaks the mold by doing exactly that, showcasing Jeff Bridges as a chemistry professor who has voluntarily taken a leap from the ledge of sanity.

The philosophical rat's maze that comprises the mind of Bridges' character, Barney Cousins, is a frightening place to visit -- probably the only aspect of the film with any real "fear factor."

No, this is not the scariest movie since Silence of the Lambs-- not by a long shot. The film has an interesting twist or two, but not enough to rank with last year's Oscar-winning best picture.

Still, The Vanishing is a gritty, credible, suspense story, supported with strong performances.

Kiefer Sutherland wins the viewer's sympathy as Jeff Harriman, a man obsessed with knowing the truth about his girlfriend Diane's disappearance, no matter what the cost.

Nancy Travis, most recently seen in Chaplin, plays Rita Baker, his new love who's fighting to save him from his obsession.

Three years after Diane vanishes from a convenience store, poor Jeff is still consumed by the mystery, ruining his life and career.

Finding her -- or at least, finding out what happened to her -- has become his whole identity.

"Who is Jeff if he's not the guy who's searching for Diane?" taunts Cousins.

Cousins becomes so intrigued with Jeff's persistence, he decides to let him in on the secret of Diane's fate. The catch is, Jeff has to be willing to relive the experience firsthand.

"Your obsession is my weapon," Cousins tells him. "You're my laboratory rat. I provide the materials; you build the cage."

Vulnerable and tormented by unresolved guilt and grief, Jeff is much too willing to comply.

Thank goodness there's a strong, sane woman in his life to come and bail him out of trouble. Rita proves a much better mental match for Cousins than her lover.

By her own admission, Rita is a fighter. The question is, why fight for a man who's obsessed with a dead woman?

And will she dig through the clues that clutter Cousins' madness in time to save Jeff? Hold your breath and see.
 
 

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COUGARS' THREE-POINT BARRAGE SINKS TITANS

by Adam King

Daily Cougar Staff

The California night air must have had a rejuvenating effect on the Cougar offense.

Houston, 13-6, sank a team-record 15 three-pointers and snapped Cal State-Fullerton's 12-game home winning streak with a 77-63 victory, its second in three days.

Guard David Diaz followed up his 28-point effort against Nevada-Reno to lead Houston with seven treys, tying Horace Chaney and Richard Hollis for the individual single-game record.

Diaz also helped break Houston's single-game team record. The previous record was 14 against Stanford in 1991.

"We played just average," said Houston coach Pat Foster, "but that takes nothing away from Fullerton. They played with intensity from start to finish. My hat's off to their coach."

Houston actually had a tough time putting the Titans, 12-7, away, considering coach Brad Holland suspended three of Cal State's starters the day before the game for violating unspecified team rules.

The Cougars led by 19 with 9:37 remaining after center Charles Outlaw, who missed two earlier jams, slammed home a pass from Diaz for a 59-40 lead.

But the three's began to rain down as Fullerton guards Casey Sheahan and Don Leary each hit from long range. Bruce Bowen, who came into the game averaging 17.8 points, then converted two consecutive jumpers on a 10-0 run to close to within 59-50 with 6:20 remaining.

Houston countered with a 9-5 spurt to pull out a 68-55 lead, during which Diaz hit his sixth three-pointer to tie the Cougars' 2-year-old record.

Houston made 53.6 percent (15-of-28) from three-point land and shot better than 50 percent from the field (27-of-52) for the second time in two games.

"Our players are disappointed that the home-streak ended," Holland said. "Hopefully, this will send the message to the players that were suspended and show them that they really let the team down."

Houston had a 15-point lead with just under 2:00 remaining in the first half when Leary, who finished with 21 points including five treys, hit his first three-pointer to close to 34-22.

After Derrick Smith missed a three, Leary connected with his second trey with Outlaw in his face. Lloyd Wiles answered with a three of his own, but Leary sank his third consecutive three-pointer to send the Titans into halftime down only nine points, 37-28.

The Cougars' offense, on track for the second game in a row, nailed 9-of-18 shots from beyond the arc in the first half alone. Jesse Drain scored 14 points, and Diaz contributed three apiece. Smith added two.

Outlaw, who finished with four points and nine rebounds, was again a non-factor in the first half, collecting only two points and seven boards.

The Titans were able to stifle Houston's inside game with a 1-2-2 zone, forcing the Cougars to take the outside shots. Left corner. Right corner. Top of the key. You name it, Houston made it.

"Our players came focused and ready to play," Holland said. "I was very glad with their performance, and they really showed a lot of heart out there."
 
 

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STUDENTS MAY GAIN POWER OVER SERVICE FEES LEGISLATION INTRODUCED TO GIVE STUDENT COMMITTEES FINAL SAY OVER EXPENDITURES

by Deborah Hensel

Daily Cougar Staff

AUSTIN -- Legislation that will grant final control of the amount and expenditure of student service fees to student-dominated advisory committees was introduced in the Texas House of Representatives last week.

In his address to the Texas Students' Association rally in Austin Friday, representative Glen Maxey, D-Austin, said, "It is time students have a direct voice. It is your money, not the regents' or the administration's.

"It's time for students to have control of student service fees."

The amendment, sponsored by Maxey, alters the existing bill to require university presidents to submit only SFAC-approved budgets to the institutions' governing boards.

As the bill now reads, presidents are not required to tell governing boards of the student committees' recommendations.

By law, SFAC committees are composed of five student members and four faculty or staff members appointed by the president.

At a TSA-sponsored workshop Saturday, conference attendees heard Kristen Saltzgiver of Sam Houston State explain how the state Legislature has refrained from imposing unpopularly high tuition increases by raising fees instead.

Saltzgiver, a graduate student in elementary education, said the Legislature is under the misconception that students aren't paying their fair share in tuition. Yet, general use fees are virtually the same thing as tuition.

"I'm not so big on lobbying against tuition increases," Saltzgiver said. "Right now, some universities are charging almost as much in fees as they are in tuition.

"In 1991, the Legislature said they wanted to raise student service fees. At the time, we said that's okay, we'll let you raise it, but we don't want you to raise it one dime until you give us control of where that money is being spent," Saltzgiver added.

She said the Legislature has structured fees for automatic increases. For instance, the previous cap on student service fees was $90. That has been raised to $150, which can be achieved at a rate of a 10 percent increase annually, Saltzgiver said.

The current fees at UH are $96 for student services, $1 for international education, $15 for the university center, $180 for general use, $50 for computer use, $18 for the health center and $15 for the library.

For the student taking 12 hours, student service fees are $375 -- tuition is $345.

UH Students' Association President Rusty Hruska said that to his knowledge, the SFAC committee has never encountered any problem with having its budget recommendations accepted by the Board of Regents.

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