O'CONNOR ADVOCATES CIVILITY IN THE COURTROOM

by Ericka Schiche

Daily Cougar Staff

Associate Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said lawyers should respect each other as well as their clients.

Her Friday speech, the sixth Butler & Binion lectureship, attracted about 600 listeners to the grand salon of Houston's Omni Hotel. The lecture gave the justice an opportunity to display her sense of humor and knowledge of reform within the legal profession.

O'Connor, 62, devoted much of her time emphasizing the need for lawyers to work more diligently on clients' behalf and to be more civil in their dealings with peers.

"Practice in the 1990s, we're told, promises to be nasty, brutish and, for some, short."

She spoke of the merits of using alternate means of resolving legal disputes within the system.

"Trial, as we all know, is a notoriously expensive and arduous way of resolving disputes. Accordingly, not all courthouse doors ought to lead right into the court room. Instead, there should be alternate routes, options including such innovations as early, neutral evaluation of the case, mediation, negotiation, arbitration, mini-trials and summary jury trials," O'Connor said.

The comments made during her lecture did not have as hard an edge as former Vice President Dan Quayle's harsh criticism of American trial lawyers. However, O'Connor did have some constructive criticism as she dealt with the need for many lawyers to find the keys to fulfillment and adequate client service.

"We speak of our dealings with other attorneys as war, and it seems we act accordingly. But one need not envision litigation as war, argument as a battle or trial as a siege. Argument could be thought of as discourse," she said.

"I know that when I ask a question at oral argument, it's not meant as an attack. It's an invitation for counsel to address an area of particular concern to me."

O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the court, has served since her 1981 confirmation during former President Ronald Reagan's term. "Judge O'Connor's judicial philosophy is one of restraint," said Reagan on the day the Senate confirmed her. "She believes, as she said in her Senate testimony, that a judge is on the bench to interpret the law, not to make it"

O'Connor garnered The National Law Journal title of Lawyer of the Year for 1992 after a session in which she helped mold the center of the court by moving closer to the middle with her positions on abortion, affirmative action and religion.

She disapproves of the caustic manner in which some attorneys speak with each other.

"Ranting and raving in front of the jury probably does little to convince -- A more persuasive technique is to present oneself as a reasonable person who wants to see justice done ... All too often, attorneys forget that the whisper can be more dramatic than the scream," O'Connor said, perhaps giving advice to those who may eventually argue before her.

The justice injected wit and humor into the lecture, which lasted 45 minutes. O'Connor told a joke in which she imitated a woman who shouted to two men floating in a hot-air balloon. "Well, one man in the balloon said to the other, 'That woman is a lawyer.' 'Well, how could you possibly know that,' said his companion. 'Her answer was clear, precise and utterly useless,' " O'Connor said, drawing laughter from the audience.

"I think we can all agree that perfect accuracy in the interest of utter futility is not the highest calling in our profession."

She said it is difficult to codify and legislate civility.

"Without a fundamental change in attorney conscience, even the best codification of civility can be converted into just another weapon as lawyers club each other with accusations of incivility. Civility becomes, to extend the war metaphor further, just another battleground, "she said.

"In the end, it is by deed rather than decree that attorneys teach each other that it

is possible to disagree without being disagreeable."

 

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SENATOR'S BILL STUNS SA

by Rivka Gewirtz

Daily Cougar Staff

This month's presidential elections could be called "null and void" if Students' Association Bill #29023 passes.

Monday night's special session SA meeting was initially called for the presentation of a state of the university address by UH President James Pickering. However, events took a turn after the president left and two senators also exited the meeting. The controversial election bill was introduced and a quorum could not be made to vote on other bills that could possibly bypass committee review.

The election bill, which was sponsored by Speaker of the House Michelle Palmer and senator Cipriano Romero, called for the general election results to be thrown out. Romero and Palmer maintain the results of the election did not comply to SA rules.

"The election minutes were supposed to be turned in today, seven days after the results were came in. These minutes include candidate expenditures, poll totals, vote totals and any complaints handled by the commissioner," said Romero.

"The candidates shouldn't be punished for his mistakes, but something has to be done to make him stay in compliance with the rules. If we make rules and then don't follow them we lose our legitimacy to the entire student body," he said

Romero, who was one of the presidential candidates, said that the information included in these minutes are the only reports which show whether or not clean campaigns were held by the candidates and the commission board.

"The only issue here is that he is still crying," said SA President Russell Hruska about Romero's failed attempt at the SA presidency.

"The election is certified. The full report was handed in to SA today and a letter of certification was given to Michelle (Palmer) before the meeting," he said.

Hruska also said that the full version of the minutes did not have to be read on the Senate floor.

Another heated debate was held when Romero's bill asking that all student fees be itemized on fee bills, failed on the senate floor. There are 28 units, including student organizations and university use fees, that fall under what students pay.

"Students have a right to see exactly how their money is being spent," said Romero

The bill passed unanimously out of the University Administration and Finance Committee but failed on the floor because of opposing comments.

"This would slow down the process of students receiving their bills. The itemized information is otherwise available. SFAC has copies of it, I have copies of it and I'm sure there is even a copy of it in this room," said Dr. Elwyn Lee, vice president of Student Affairs.

The vote on this issue may not be final. Senators left the floor before initial voting because attendance dropped below the level for a quorum. After Palmer recalled the meeting and senators were chased down to return, a vote was taken under conditions that absent members could later question and change the decision on the itemized student fees.

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow: Pickering discusses how the Legislature affects university appropriations.

 

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PLAN YOUR ALL-NIGHTER RIGHT: STICK TO FRUIT JUICE AND GRANOLA

by Mindi King

News Reporter

It's 4 a.m., and you have five more hours until your mid-term. You're down to the last drop of coffee, last slice of pizza, eight chapters and two months of notes to digest, and the three people studying with you are just as clueless as you are.

So if an all-nighter is on your agenda, plan ahead.

Dr. John Joe, chief of the medical staff at the UH Health Center, said to stock your body and cupboard with nutritious foods before studying all night.

Three balanced meals eaten early in the day should guard against fatigue late at night, he added.

Foods particularly high in carbohydrates, such as pasta and fresh fruit, are recommended to provide energy, Joe said. He added that juices and water are good all-nighter beverages.

Although candy bars and most "junk food" provide quick energy, they should be avoided when studying because the energy level will fall and increase the chances of forgetting during the exam, he said.

While studying, alternate between coffee and juice to keep the body from dehydrating, Joe said. Avoid vending machines, if possible, by stocking up with fresh or dried fruit, vegetables or granola, he said.

If you must resort to a vending machine, he said, crackers and potato chips are more nutritious than candy bars.

However, for students who choose not to follow the doctor's advise, the McDonald's on Elgin Blvd. is open 24 hours, and Domino's Pizza delivers to campus on weekdays until 1 a.m. and on weekends until 2 a.m.

"All-nighters are a short-term fix, not a long-time cure," Joe added, and suggested avoiding them if possible.

Kyle Lavendar, a junior electrical engineering major, said he used to pull all-nighters about three times a month his first two years of school, but has learned to "study smart" to avoid the side effects.

"These days, it takes me forever to recover" the morning after a weekend without sleep, he said.

For those trying to stay awake, Lavendar recommends Mountain Dew and Led Zeppelin, but his best advise is to study a little every day and avoid all-nighters entirely.

Linda Halvorsen, a registered nurse at the Health Center, suggests taking a daily multi-vitamin or Vitamin C to supplement the body's natural resistance to stress and fatigue.

Anu Srivastav, a sophomore biology major, said she felt "great" after 27 hours without sleep while studying for a genetics exam. Constantly eating and changing positions while studying made the fatigue go away, she said.

"I'm usually so worried about a test that I wouldn't get any sleep anyway," she said. The worst problem is the urge to skip other classes on test day, she added.

Srivastav said she also studies in her room in one of the top three floors of the Moody Towers, where 24-hour quiet is enforced. Many students also study in the Towers Commons area or in the Social Work Building's computer lab, she said.

The Central Site Computing Center, located in the Social Work Building, opens at 8 a.m. on Monday mornings, remains open until midnight on Saturday nights, and is open Sundays from 8 a.m. to midnight.

Kelly Cook, a freshman finance major, said when he pulls an all-nighter, he prefers to study in his Oberholtzer Quadrangle room because quiet hours are enforced 24 hours. He said he would also study in the library if it were open later.

M.D. Anderson Library is open 7 a.m. until 11:45 p.m. Mondays thru Thursdays, 7 a.m. until 8:45 p.m. on Fridays, 9 a.m. until 5:45 p.m. on Saturdays and noon until 11:45 p.m. on Sundays.

 

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NEW CONTRACEPTIVE FREE FOR SOME

by Tammy Gamble

News Reporter

Women meeting certain financial standards can receive the newest birth control method, the Norplant System, free at three of Houston's health centers. The system normally costs more than $500.

"The clinic works on a sliding fee scale, where people are charged a percentage of the total cost according to the person's income," Magnolia Center Administrative Assistant Diana Torres said. "The applicants report their income, and we take their word for it."

The Norplant System provides women five years of protection against pregnancy, Gonzales said. The 10- to 15-minute procedure involves inserting four toothpick-size capsules under the skin of a woman's upper arm during an office visit, according to a Planned Parenthood pamphlet. The capsule can be removed if the woman decides she wants to have a child.

The procedure can cause a menstrual cycle irregularity that usually clears up after nine to 12 months. Other possible side effects include headaches, nervousness, nausea and dizziness.

Among the seven Houston health centers, the Norplant System is offered at the Lyons, Riverside and Sunnyside locations. The cost of the system at the centers ranges from free to $30, depending on the woman's gross income and the size of her family, said Diane Fullilove, eligibility coordinator for the Lyons health center.

Lyons Clinic phone operator Jane Kestler said, "The services provided include pre-natal care, family planning, teen pregnancy planning, immunizations and dental care." The centers offer wellness services, while the county clinics provide services for physically ill people, Kestler said.

The Norplant System is also offered at Planned Parenthood on a sliding fee scale, with costs ranging from $100 to $500, according to secretary Sandra Gonzales.

Meanwhile, the same procedure at the UH Health Center cost $525, which is standard for all Houston practitioners, Nurse Practitioner Susan Prihoda said. "The UH Health Center offers all forms of contraception available in the United States," Prihoda said. Women can also buy birth control pills at the center for $7. Birth control pills at off-campus drug stores run between $18 and $29, depending on the type of prescription the person purchases.

A local gynecologist's receptionist said that at their office, the Norplant System cost $500 for the actual device and $200 for the installation.

Spokespeople from Houston health centers, Planned Parenthood and the UH Health Center all said women interested in birth control options should make an appointment to talk to a counselor or doctor. Prihoda said students can receive birth control pills, a diaphragm, cervical caps, sponges and condoms on their first visit; however, Norplant procedures require an additional visit.

 

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FUND-RAISING CAMPAIGN SEEKS DONORS

by Kelechi Osuji

News Reporter

The UH Creative Partnerships Campaign is into its third year, and this campus has raised $172 million of a $263 million goal so far.

The Creative Partnerships Campaign is a six-year fund-raising endeavor in which the UH System hopes to raise $350 million.

UH-Downtown is expected to raise $38 million; UH-Clear Lake, $38 million; UH-Victoria, $4 million; and the system itself, $7 million.

Associate Vice President for Development Susan Coulter said the success of the campaign began when faculty, staff and student organizations were approached to make a financial contribution to the university.

Outside supporters of the university are also being asked to make financial contributions.

The donors are asked to make gifts over a period of years instead of one lump sum, and the donors decide where the money will go. "We help direct the money to an area where it is most needed," Coulter said.

The donors are requested to donate to four priority areas: undergraduate education, research, community outreach or diversity. Programs vary within the four priority groups so that the donors may point out to which particular program they want their money to go.

Within the priority groups are 24 sub-groups that have volunteer committees. Each sub-group has its own campaign during the year.

Associate Vice President for University Relations Wendy Adair said, "The campaign will give focus to all the wonderful things going on at the university."

Coulter said this campaign will inform the corporate community that UH can help meet their needs and assist in public education and research.

 

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CLINICAL DEPRESSION ATTACKS THROUGH STEALTH

by Karla S. Mishak Lee

News Reporter

Depression is known as the common cold of mental illness, but knowing when to seek help, or whether to just let it take its course, can be difficult.

"Depression has various meanings, but when depression gets so severe as to start to interfere with people's functioning -- when people can't get things done, can't get up in the morning, don't complete obligations, withdraw from friends -- that's when it's starting to be something clinical," said psychology Professor Lynn Rehm, a recognized expert in the treatment of depression.

Rehm said five percent of the American population is depressed at any given time, with depression increasing in younger people. He would estimate an even higher percentage for college students. "One out of 10 wouldn't surprise me," he said.

Certain people are at a higher risk for developing clinical depression. According to Rehm, those who experience high stress or chronic stress over a long period of time, or those who experience personal losses are at high risk.

Clinical depression is defined in part as being depressed most of the day, almost every day, for two weeks or more, thus interfering with daily functions.

Mental styles may also put some people at higher risk, such as those who tend to take the blame for the bad things that happen and don't give themselves credit when things go right.

Gender is also a factor, due to the fact that many men react to stress by doing other things, while women are more likely to constantly analyze the problem, thereby placing them at higher risk for developing clinical depression.

There are various symptoms present with severe depression, such as loss of pleasure, changes in eating habits, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, low self-esteem and indecisiveness due to a lack of concentration.

Focusing on one of these symptoms may not lead one to see that he or she may be clinically depressed, Rehm said, but when one looks at the symptoms and the situation collectively, it may be evident that there is a problem.

"It's something different to recognize that all these things are going on with me," Rehm said. "Statistics suggest that two out of three people who really meet these requirements don't seek any help because they don't identify it as a significant problem that they're not able to deal with themselves."

"On the bright side, depression does seem to be quite treatable. There are both psychological and medication treatments that are quite effective for depression," Rehm added.

One way to escape depression is to do something that's enjoyable or do something that distracts from the usual problems, Rehm said. People who are depressed start to see everything in a negative light, he said, and constantly watch for bad things to happen.

"It's important to try to shift that focus," he said, by trying to keep track of the positives that are happening in your life, no matter how small. He suggested noting things such as a nice day, a good cup of coffee or a good joke.

To help a friend who may be depressed, Traci Romero, a resident assistant (RA) in Moody Towers, said, "Try to relate to them, help them to see different sides of the situation -- to see everything else that is going on around them that is good. Don't let them become overwhelmed with the problems."

She also suggested doing things that are nurturing for yourself, such as taking a hot shower or just taking time to listen to your favorite music.

If the depression is something you can't deal with yourself, there is help available on campus.

The Counseling and Testing Center offers a one-time free consultation with a psychologist or psychiatrist and students may set up short-term free counseling. It also offers free group sessions. There is a training clinic in the psychology department with a depression program, overseen by Rehm, that offers group sessions to teach people to deal with depression. The program consists of 12 consecutive weekly meetings, and fees are assessed on a sliding scale based on ability to pay.

If long-term counseling is needed, the Houston Psychological Society can refer students to a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

"There are places to get help," Rehm said. "It doesn't have to take five years and

$1000 a week."

 

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WHO SHOT SHERRY?

by Michica N. Guillory

Daily Cougar Staff

The woman who allegedly shot UH student Sherry Benitez, a junior Spanish major, is scheduled to be arraigned April 7.

Benitez, 25, was shot in the abdomen and shoulder on Feb. 5 outside her apartment, right after taking a picture of Morris, her alleged attacker. She has since been released from Hermann Hospital.

Morris maintains she did not shoot Benitez, a former friend, and said she does not know who did.

"If I had shot her, I certainly would never have turned myself in," Morris said.

According to Morris and Carlos Benitez, Sherry's estranged husband and a UH sophomore psychology major, the two women have been friends since 1991.

The two met at North Harris County College and began seeing each other socially during the fall 1991 semester, which is when she was introduced to Benitez' husband, Morris said.

Morris said despite reports that she and Carlos were lovers, their relationship was never anything more than a friendly one and claims there are many aspects of the case which have been reported without regard to her version.

"I haven't been dealt with fairly in the past; there is a whole different side of the story," Morris said.

After the shooting, Morris subsequently turned herself in, which means she paid her bond and was fingerprinted by bondsmen.

"I posted bond and left," she said. "I have never been arrested and questioned for the crime, but I have stood by the fact that I am not guilty."

Initial news reports about the case alleged that Morris disappeared with Carlos when she could not be located by police. However, Morris attributes her so-called disappearance before posting her $5,000 bond to being in Waco Sunday, Feb. 7.

Morris said she was in Waco visiting her brother to ask him if he would help her move in with their ill mother.

"I spent the night with him and his wife," she said. "I left their house Monday.

"On the way home, I stopped by a friend's house and saw the picture on TV. I kind of freaked out," Morris said. "I had never seen the picture before."

She said her trip home would later be re-routed to a Huntsville rest area where she spent the night after she saw herself on the TV news for the first time Monday, Feb. 8. She said she knew the police would be looking for her.

She said the next morning, she drove into town but did not go home. Instead, she found herself a lawyer.

According to Morris, Benitez took her picture Thursday, the night before the shooting. Morris said her picture was taken because she looked funny in an outfit she wore as a disguise to deliver a gun to Benitez.

"Sherry wanted me to buy her a gun. Since she was involved in a custody case, she did not want a gun purchase on her record," Morris said. "I agreed to do it."

Morris said that on Wednesday, Feb. 3, Benitez approached her about purchasing the gun.

Benitez knew what kind of gun she wanted, a Taurus .38-caliber, five-shot revolver, and where to buy it, a Baybrook area SportsTown, Morris said.

"She told me to bring the gun to her Thursday night, and we could meet outside," Morris said. "The kids would be asleep by then."

Morris said Benitez specified she would disguise herself so as not to be recognized by anyone who knew them.

According to Morris, she put on a baseball cap and a coat that Benitez had bought her for Christmas as a sort of disguise.

After Morris arrived at the apartment complex at about midnight, "(Sherry) came out, and I gave her the gun. She took it in the house and came out, and we talked. Then she said, 'You really look funny,' " Morris said. "She had never seen me like that."

Morris said Benitez wanted to capture the look on film and took out a camera from the trunk of her car.

"I was leaning back (against the wall) trying not to laugh (when she took the picture). After that, I went home," Morris said, at around 12:15 a.m. "I didn't think anything of the picture."

"She really believes that I shot her," Morris said.

Morris has been charged with the shooting of Benitez and has yet to plead either innocent or guilty.

A hearing before a grand jury hinges on her plea next month with the only confirmed fact being that Sherry Benitez was shot -- by whom is not known.

"Every day, I think of what could be the possible motive," Morris said. "It's a hell of a feeling to be charged with something you know you didn't do."

 

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MEDIEVAL STUDIES GIVE INSIGHT INTO DARKER TIME

by Annette Baird

News Reporter

For those interested in the Black Plague and the Holy Grail, the search for an Agnes Arnold Hall office is a quest worth taking.

Tucked away on the sixth floor, behind a door with no name, is the UH Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

"We're still so new; we don't have a name plate yet," said Sally Vaughn, the institute's director.

Last year, the institute was set up under the auspices of the College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication by Vaughn. Forty faculty members, from music to mechanical engineering, constitute its core.

"We are just starting, but we have big plans. We want to encourage communication between different disciplines," Vaughn said.

During the past 11 years, UH has earned the reputation as an internationally and nationally known center for medieval studies through the Charles Haskins Society, said Derek Baker, a visiting professor of history at the University of North Texas.

The society is named after Charles Homer Haskins, scholar and writer of medieval history. When historians think about Houston, they think about medieval studies, said Robert Palmer, professor of history and law.

Two undergraduate classes have been created: The Flowering of the Middle Ages and The Flowering of the Renaissance. They fulfill the knowledge integration requirement, Vaughn added.

The classes are taught by a team of 15 scholars who take a turn to lecture every week in different disciplines of medieval history, he said.

"It is a very exciting concept to have such a diverse collection of faculty for one course," said Cary Dier, a graduate student of medieval history.

"This kind of program brings together those who are not normally together. Each field of study has some kind of medieval connection to it. Every instructor is looking back at a part of that period. By bringing them together, it illuminates the subject as a whole for students and faculty alike," Dier said.

The institute holds monthly public programs presenting the work of UH faculty and graduate students. "We have a large graduate program with 18 graduates at present," Vaughn said.

Baker was invited to UH to deliver two lectures in the spring: "The Use and Abuse of Sources in Medieval History" and "Medieval Aspects of the American Southwest."

"Medieval Aspects of the American Southwest" drew a parallel to the Franciscan monks, who were missionaries in Anglo-Saxon England in the 13th and 14th centuries, with the Catholic missionaries who came to the American Southwest in the 18th century.

Baker, whose specialty is the Middle Ages, recommended medieval history as a fulfilling area of study for both majors and non--majors of history. "It is not a run-of-the-mill history survey class. The work goes far beyond that," he said.

The study of medieval history can be intellectually and socially challenging, Baker added. "Many students have a limited knowledge of geography and sense of history. Medieval and renaissance history transposes the student into a world beyond what they actually know," Baker said.

The institute has begun the collection of a library, with several journal runs, a large number of bibliographies and facsimiles of original manuscripts. It is located in AH room 620. For more information, call Sally Vaughn at 743-3122.

 

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PROMINENT UH ALUMNUS DIES

by Michica N. Guillory

Daily Cougar Staff

Memorial services for Farris Block, a 20-year public relations professor, are being held at 2 p.m. today in the Chapel of the A. D. Bruce Religion Center.

Block, 68, died Friday of pneumonia in St. Joseph's Hospital. His funeral was held Monday in Port Neches, Texas.

Block, a former spokesman for the university, was the director of external relations from 1954-1984. In 1988, the UH chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America named the chapter after him.

He was a former president of Public Relations society of America, the Houston Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists, __X. Block was also an active in the Texas Gulf Coast Press Association.

The decorated World War II veteran graduated from Texas A&M in 1948 and received his master's degree from UH in 1963.

Block is survived by his wife Delores, daughter Reneé in Houston, son David in Spain and son George in Washington, D.C.

 

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COUPLE ARRESTED FOR HAVING SEX IN PARKING LOT

by Robert L. Arnold

News Reporter

A man and a woman were arrested Thursday by UHPD for having sexual intercourse in the parking lot next to UHPD headquarters.

Joe Lane, 74, was seen having sex with Yvonne Gardner, 24, in his Dodge Caravan minivan. The couple was seen by UHPD Sgt. Jon Williams, who arrested them at 11:15 a.m.while conducting routine parking lot surveillance.

Lt. Brad Wigtail said the two have no affiliation with UH and have been charged by the district attorney's office with public lewdness, a Class A misdemeanor.

Ellen Sameth, a criminal lawyer, said public lewdness occurs when people engage in a sexual act that can be viewed by other people who have not given their consent to witness the act.

Lane will be arraigned on March 17 and faces up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $3,000. Gardener pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 days in the Harris County Jail.

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