SYSTEM FAILS MANY STUDENT ATHLETES

by Dai Huynh

Daily Cougar Staff

Education places a distant second to winning in the University of Houston football program, several football players said.

Former superback Lawrence Mouton said, "They don't care about our education, as long as you're eligible. That's all they care about. They have tutors, but it's just to keep you eligible.

"Young players are molded by the program to care about only football and not about their education," said Mouton, a 1991 junior college transfer from San Phillips.

A former football coach, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, "John Jenkins doesn't really care about the players' education. The only thing he's interested in is if those people (players) can help him win games and set records.

"The only reason education would be important to him is to keep his players eligible. That's all he cares about -- people being eligible long enough to use up their years of playing time. What happens after that is no concern to John Jenkins," said the coach, who worked for Jenkins for two years.

One of the roadblocks players face in getting their degree is the number of hours they spend practicing.

During the 1992 football season, the team practiced up to six hours a day, said Jeff Tait, last year's starting offensive guard. "You don't have time to study."

A current scholarship player, who asked to remain anonymous because he fears retaliation, said he is seriously considering forfeiting his scholarship and leaving the university.

"What it comes down to is that if you don't put football first, you won't play football at the University of Houston. That's how it is. We're not student-athletes -- just athletes," he said.

In response, football head coach John Jenkins said education is an important part of the athletics program, which provides tutors and counseling for the athletes.

However, if he had to draw the line between what's best for the team and what's best for the individual, he said the team comes first.

"What's best for the team, that's the first guideline in coaching, regardless of any sports," Jenkins said. "In decisions that are made, it's whatever is best for the team first. That's the general rule. And then what's best for the individual comes next."

Some players also claim the Athletics Academic Advising Department told them to take easy classes to ensure their eligibility.

"They told me when I was recruited that they had P.E. classes that were easy so I can stay eligible," the scholarship player said.

A former special teams player, also asking for anonymity, said a number of players who have used up their 5-year scholarship eligibility are now scrambling to get their degrees because they didn't take the courses they should.

"It's sad to see people who can do the work but are taking classes that don't go toward their degree," he added. "And as far as looking out for the students, they can care less. "

Athletics Academic Coordinator Michele Matticks said counselors do not tell athletes to take certain classes because they're easy. The athletes take courses in accordance with their degree plans, she added.

The Athletic Department provides a study hall, in which attendance is mandatory for freshmen, junior college transfers and players on academic probation. However, players said it just doesn't work.

The coach The Daily Cougar spoke with said he agrees with the players.

If the head coach punishes some players for not attending classes or study halls, he said, and lets other offenders go -- it's not going to work.

Tait said, "Study hall doesn't really help. You can't force somebody to study. Putting players in a room with a bunch of guys they see all day long doesn't work."

Special Assistant to the President Dwight Davis, who's on a committee to improve the athlete graduation rate, said, "We have study halls, but these study halls would be meaningless. The kid goes to study hall, he opens up his comic book, and reads his comic book.

"One night we went to the football study hall, 64 people should be in attendance. There were three people there. Three -- that's ridiculous," Davis said.

The university has not done its job in assisting student-athletes in getting their degrees, but it is in the process of trying to improve graduation rates, he said.

The Athletic Department said its study hall attendance is almost 100 percent this semester.

In a NCAA study released last year, UH was among the schools with the lowest graduation rate of football players recruited in 1984. The university graduated only 20 percent of its players compared to the national rate of 43 percent.

Although the Athletic Department didn't provide The Daily Cougar with the 1987 freshman class graduation report, Jenkins claims all 20 of the 1987 football recruiting class graduated.

"Our first class of players, and that's 1987. It's close to 100 percent graduation rates," Jenkins said.

Sports Information Director Ted Nance said, "I wish it was 100 percent, but it's unrealistic to even think that."

Out of about 21 players from the freshmen class of 1986-1987 that he knows of, about eight have graduated, he said.

 

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GROUP EDUCATES COMMUNITY, PROVIDES INJURED WILDLIFE NEW HOME

by Rhonda Compton

News Reporter

Orphaned and injured wildlife animals are being rehabilitated and released back into the wild, thanks to a joint effort by the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition and the Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center.

Carol Meyer, president of the TWRC, said the group is a volunteer, non-profit, educational program that was formally founded in 1980, in response to the 1979 PEMEX oil spill.

"We try to help people with problems like squirrels and birds in the fireplace and raccoons in the attic. We give access to people with problems. A little information goes a long way," she said.

PEMEX is a government-owned oil industry in Mexico. Late in 1979, the ISTOX II oil well blew up and leaked oil for three months. The threat of an oil spill brought licensed animal rehabilitators together, Meyer said.

"We learned about oil from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department. They gave us oil spill training so we could teach the public before the oil reached our coast," she said.

TWRC has one permanent building in Town & Country Village, off Beltway 8 behind the Country Playhouse Theater. It opened in June, and relies on public donations. "What is donated tells us what we are able to do month to month," Meyer said.

Linda Cook, a registered veterinary technician at the center, said, "We have a staff that treats incoming injuries, and (Dr. John) Huckabee does surgery. Animals will stay here until they can be released into the wild. We handle raccoons, owls, hawks, water birds, coyotes, foxes, fawns and all injuries.

"Basically, we want people to be aware that there is a place to take natural wildlife. If they find an injured or orphaned animal, call someone before they jump the gun. We can tell the person the animal's needs and whether or not it needs to be picked up and delivered to a shelter," Cook said.

"Our goal is to educate with alternate methods. The majority of problems are caused by man. The animals are shot, poisoned or hit by a car. Other problems stem from a lack of an environment. Animals are having to compete for space," she said.

Meyer said TWRC has more than 30 licensed rehabilitators and focuses on four areas of town, south, west, central and north. "We have speakers who talk to us on things like hand-raising young animals. The north area centers around Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, which has a veterinary staff," she said.

Dennis Johnston, director of the Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, said, "The park opened in October of 1982. Its nature center, which works with and holds workshops for TWRC, was completed in 1985.

"We turned the greenhouse into a lab and doctor's workroom. Besides us, there is only one other county-run facility for wildlife rehabilitation in the country and it is in Chicago. We also have educational programs, and an outreach program where we go to schools and guided walks through our park," he said.

Cook said TWRC is different and separate from the nature center, "but we all have the same goals. TWRC differs in that they are licensed rehabilitators that work out of their homes. They have a drop-off center where animals are brought in and farmed out to a rehabilitator."

"Our program is supported by Harris County Precinct 4 and is sponsored by Huckabee and myself. Huckabee goes out and applies for grants and funding for the facilities we need to make the nature center work. The precinct provides us with salaries, space and some supplies. We rely on donations, the public and funding," Cook said.

 

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COUNCIL REVIEWS ENGLISH DEPARTMENT

by Heather Wolk

Daily Cougar Staff

The Undergraduate Council voted Wednesday to address the problem of inadequate supervision and the large number of teaching assistants in the English Department. The members also voted to change UH's foreign language requirement policy.

The council voted to continue English 1303, 1304, 1309 and 1310 as part of the core curriculum, provided the English Department considers the following problems in the lower-level areas:

•The number of supervisors is not sufficient enough to supervise the large number of TAs.

•The supervisors are generally temporary or non-tenure track instructors.

•The lower-division coordinator should be a tenure track position with authority in the English Department.

The council discussed the quality of teaching in freshman and sophomore classes.

One council member said the Faculty Senate is acquiring data implying that in the past, students who failed the Writing Proficiency Exam tended to be those who had not completed the English requirements at UH.

However, the council member said now the majority of failures are students who have completed English at UH.

"The English Department does not have the right number of tenure or tenure-track faculty involved in lower-level courses," said Marianne Cooley, an assistant professor of English.

"Funding is a problem. If there was more funding for freshman and sophomore level courses, departments would be more equipped," said Cooley.

Council members also argued about what the supervisor's and coordinator's duties are.

The lower-division coordinator is responsible for training new TAs, setting and monitoring the exit exam, interviewing and hiring lecturers and ordering textbooks, Cooley said.

"The (English) Department relies on supervisors, which may be a weakness," said Cooley.

"Full-time members of the faculty should be responsible for overseeing the graduate students and TAs teaching these courses," said Lawrence Curry, associate dean of the College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication.

The English Department will be asked to respond to these observations by May 15.

The council also approved a recommendation allowing students to petition to have their foreign language requirement of six hours at the 2000 level waived if they meet one of two requirements:

Students may present a Test of English as a Foreign Language score qualifying them for admission, proving that they are fluent in a language other than English.

Students who have completed at least eight hours of formal education in a school where English was not the primary language of study may have the requirement waived.

Ernst Leiss, a professor of computer science, said that a policy is needed to accommodate foreign students.

"Obviously, if a student has lived in another country for twenty years, he is probably fluent," said Leiss.

Currently, no policy like this exists, said Leiss.

 

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DRACULA BRINGS NEW BLOOD TO OLD TALE

by Manuel Esparza

Daily Cougar Staff

He's described as over 6 feet tall with an aquiline nose and breath like rotting flesh. His many names include Prince of Darkness and Nosferatu. He is simultaneously repulsive and attractive. He is Dracula and he's at the Alley.

Leave the garlic on your pizza, this production is more humor than horror. <I>Dracula, A Musical Nightmare<P> is a fun romp through the stuffy old Victorian era. Written as a music hall styled tale in a tale, the story line sticks closely to Bram Stoker's book.

This version was written in 1974 for the Berkely Repertory Theatre by Douglas Johnson (book and lyrics) and John Aschenbrenner (music). Johnson directs here and Aschenbrenner, who arranged the musical pieces, plays the piano.

The theatrical troupe consists of three brazen chorus girls and their gap-toothed emcee, Chauncy DeVille. Faith, Chastity and Hope, the chorus, take on roles throughout the show as well as singing in squeaking English accents. Mr. DeVille narrates the tale, providing smarmy asides. The show slips back and forth from the music hall to the actual story.

Johnson's and Aschenbrenner's staging reduces Stoker's characters to caricatures. Lucy Westenra is vain and self-centered, while Mina Murray soliloquies in legalese and Van Helsing bumbles worse than Columbo! These, and the other adaptations, wreck preconceived images of the cast with all delicacy spared resulting in a fresh perspective of the 100-year-old book.

Van Helsing was originally a meticulous and brilliant man. James Black is great at remaking him into an unkempt clod with the English of a convenience store clerk. Black exudes the energy and confidence that makes him stand out in the ensemble scenes.

Thomas Derrah turned the bug eating Renfield into a case of studied overacting. All his expressions were large enough to make those in the back of the house feel in the front. Countering him is Dr. John Seward, the schizoid psychiatrist, played by Ken Grantham. Where all of Renfield's motion's were large and dramatic, Seward's are small and quick. Derrah makes Renfield definitely mad, but the jury is still out on Seward.

Though it is mainly a spoken play, there are some songs. Faith, Hope, and Chastity do a raucous number aptly titled "Evil." They slink around ethereally erotic, extolling the virtues of bad.

The solo highlight is Lucy's lament "Vanity." Kimberly King, Lucy, sings with great intensity. She really does have a sweet voice, though it's given only one time to show.

Adding to the music hall effect, is the pianist and violinist in the orchestra pit. Playing nothing more contemporary than ragtime, the duo stays in theme with Romanian Gypsy music. Providing just the right touch, they transported the Alley back to Victorian England

The play is pure fun. The ridiculousness in the characterizations don't leave a clue as to what will be remade, or how. But when <I>Dracula<P> wants attention, it uses the vampire's powers to rivet all focus where desired.

There are several promotional events coinciding with this show. <I>Dracula, A Musical Nightmare<P> runs until May 2. Tickets are available, and there are student rush tickets for the cheap at heart.

 

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FUNNY FAMILY FINDS FORTUNE

by Karen Snelling

Daily Cougar Staff

Imagine living in New York in 1936 and having a mother who writes sex and war plays, a father who tests firecrackers in the basement, a sister who constantly dances an atrocious version of the ballet and a grandfather who keeps pet snakes.

A girl would definitely have home entertainment. But how does she introduce a free-spirit family like this to her fiance's dignified, upperclass parents?

The UH School of Theatre does an excellent job portraying this dilemma in "You Can't Take It With You," by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.

The Sycamores are a delightful family who believe the most important thing in life is having fun.

They all have full-time jobs pursuing their hobbies and don't worry about anything else.

Alice is the daughter with the only regular job. She works as a secretary for a rich Wall Street broker. Following her family's golden rule, she works on Wall Street because she loves her job.

Alice finds an additional job perk when she falls in love with her boss' son, Tony Kirby. Inevitably, they decide to get married.

Tony loves the Sycamores, who are easy going, happy and completely different from his stuffy folks. However, Alice worries that her future in-laws could forbid the marriage because of her family's spunk.

She tries to fool the Tony's parents by begging her family to hide their hobbies for one night and invite the Kirbys over for a typical dinner party.

Being the loving family they are, her family agrees. Everything is running smoothly until Tony brings his parents over on the wrong evening.

Caught in their atypical habitat, the Sycamores don't do too well at improvising an average family. It's too bad the Kirbys can't relax and realize how much fun total chaos can be.

The cast works well together presenting the play's message about enjoying life.

Grandpa, played by John Biondi, is unforgettable as a man who acts only by his beliefs. Why doesn't Grandpa pay income taxes? "Because I don't believe in them," he says.

Although at times he sounds like a greeting card, Grandpa's witty humor and advice about happiness is great.

Adding to the lively performance, the stage crew has created a beautiful set of the Sycamore's home and great firework effects.

"You Can't Take It With You" runs April 16-18. Call 743-2929 to reserve tickets.

 

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CELEBRATION OF BLACKS

Courtesy of Media Relations

A celebration of Houston's African-American community, its music, its food and its artwork will be the focus of this year's first Cultural Arts Festival hosted by the UH African-American Student Coalition.

The first Cultural Arts Festival is specifically designed to introduce the Black community to the various African and African-American musical performers, restaurants, clothing and artistic entrepreneurs that Houston has to offer.

The festival is also designed to promote the celebration of the culture of Africa and its diaspora and to make a call for unity among African-Americans in the community.

Live entertainment from local performers for the day will be provided by artists including The Houston Steel Light Orchestra, The Acres Homes Dance Troupe and the Greater Owerri Dance Club. The music, provided by DJ's K.G. and Oakcliffe, will also embrace the diaspora of the Black community with reggae, gospel, rap, R&B and jazz.

Houston's black businesses participating in the festival will promote and sell their products and artwork to the community.

The university's African-American Student Coalition is a group of students representing various African-American organizations that have united for the purpose of promoting a relationship between UH and the Houston community.

The arts festival will take place Saturday, from noon until 6 p.m., on campus in Lynn Eusan Park, on Wheeler Avenue between Calhoun and Cullen Boulevard. Admission to the Arts Festival is free to the public.

For questions or more information about the festival, please contact Dena Fonteno or Veronica Ferguson in African-American Studies at 743-2816.

 

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VOLUNTEERS HONORED FOR GOOD JOB WELL DONE

Twenty-two Houstonians were named volunteers of the year by the University of Houston during the institution's third Annual Report to the Community yesterday.

The honorees are:

•Anne Bohnn, College of Architecture

•H. Devon Graham, Jr., College of Business Administration

•C.K. Stephenson, College of Education

•Leo Garcia, Cullen College of Engineering

•Catherine C. Maloney, Honors College

•Robert D. Planck, Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management

•Wilhelmina R. "Beth" Morian, College of Humanities, Fine Arts, & Communication

•Leonard B. Rosenberg, Law Center

•John F. Childers, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

•Hugh A. Sticksel, Jr., College of Optometry

•Charles R. Atkinson, College of Pharmacy

•Catherine Chapin, College of Social Sciences

•Cele S. Keeper, Graduate School of Social Work

•James Lofstrom, College of Technology

•Glenn Lilie, Department of Athletics

•John Elliott, Blaffer Gallery

•Kathryn S. Gehbauer, School of Communication

•Don Easterling, University Libraries

•Mary Kay Freeman, School of Music

•Corbin J. Robertson, Jr., Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston

•Jo Ann Swinney, Texas Center for University School Partnerships

•Annabella Sahakian, School of Theater

 

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SCHILT: PARTNERSHIPS IMPORTANT TO UH

by Rivka Gewirtz

Daily Cougar Staff

Partnerships that aid UH financially and academically were discussed at President James Pickering's third annual address to the greater Houston community.

An invitation-only lunch was given in the Hyatt Regency so Pickering could update the community on the status of funds and academics at UH.

UH has received $175 million in funds out of a set goal of $263 million.

The funds have been raised by a program called Creative Partnerships, a UH system-wide program that raises money from businesses and private citizens in the Houston area.

"The funds will be used for everything from superconductivity to the music school," said Pickering.

Pickering, along with UH System Chancellor Alexander Schilt, stressed the importance of community-university links that would both serve the community and help UH students and faculty grow academically.

The programs range from the Third Ward Redevelopment Project, which joins Third Ward community organizations and several UH colleges to help revitalize the neighborhood around UH, to research projects such as one where UH College of Pharmacy students work with Texas Medical Center groups to study drug treatments for pediatric AIDS patients.

"We have to be absolutely missionary in our service to this community. As an urban university, we have to reach out to those people who traditionally have not sought out our university," said Schilt.

Research programs, funded primarily by the local business community and the government, have created a budget of $52.7 million.

Although Pickering praised the work of the university and the community around it, he warned the audience about legislative cuts. "There may have to be cuts in basic programs," said Pickering, who added that he and Schilt are working closely with leadership in Austin to discourage passage of bills that adversely effect UH.

 

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UH GOLFERS WIN

AAII TOURNAMENT

by Heather Ellis

Daily Cougar Staff

There will be another trophy to add to the Houston Cougars' case since Brad Montgomery and the golf team brought home first place honors at the All-America Intercollegiate Invitational.

The Cougars sweep was complete, after the team finished 13 strokes over par, shooting 877 over three rounds Tuesday and Wednesday at Old Orchard golf course in Richmond, Texas.

Southern Methodist University, which was leading the tournament after the first two rounds of play, finished second shooting 882.

Southwestern Lousiana rounded out the top three, shooting 889 for the tournament.

"Anytime you win it's fun. Today it's extremely special," head coach Keith Fergus said. "This was a total team effort."

The Cougars did not stop at scooping up the tournament title alone. Montgomery captured the first-place individual title, finishing two over par and shooting 214 over the three rounds.

"I didn't start thinking about winning until the ninth hole today," Montgomery said. "I tried not to let the pressure get to me and treat it like another round."

Pro golfer Steve Elkington was the last Cougar to win the title in 1985.

"I am thrilled to be the first Cougar since Elkington to win it. If I can be half as successful as the other A.A.I.I. champions, I will be pretty happy," Montgomery said.

"Brad did a great job and showed a lot of composure," coach Fergus said.

Sophomore Dean Larson finished in sixth place, shooting 221 for the tournament.

"Hopefully, this will give us momentum heading into the Southwest Conference championships next week," coach Fergus said.

 

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UH BASKETBALL SQUADS SIGN TOP RECRUITS

by Jason Ramirez

Daily Cougar Staff

In hopes of building a once again successful basketball program, the UH men and women have already begun to add a few top recruits in order to prepare them for next season.

Continuing with the junior college recruiting route, men's coach Alvin Brooks announced the signing of 6-7, 200- pound forward Hershel Wafer out of Lee JC in Baytown, Texas on Tuesday afternoon.

Wafer was a First-Team All-Texas East Athletic Conference selection after averaging 21 points and nine rebounds during his sophomore season at Lee.

Career-high numbers include 34 points against San Jacinto College and 19 rebounds against Panola.

Wafer joins former Lee teammate Tim Moore, who signed with UH last fall.

A native of Galveston, Texas, Wafer was an all-conference and all-district performer at Galveston Ball High School.

To accommodate the loss of graduating senior post Margo Graham, women's coach Jessie Kenlaw signed 6-1 post Pat Luckey of San Marcos High School and 6-2 post Shauna Tubbs of Trinity Valley JC.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Luckey and Tubbs are ranked No.1 in the state in their respective school divisions.

 

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VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

Lee Hogan was named the UH Volunteer of the Year at the university's annual Report to the Community Wednesday.

Hogan, group vice president for external affairs at Houston Lighting & Power, serves as executive campaign chairman for the UH portion of the system-wide Creative Partnerships Campaign. The UH portion of the campaign has a goal of $263 million.

"Lee's years of expertise, his knowledge of Houston and his enthusiasm have already made a major impact on everyone engaged in the campaign. He is the right person to complete this effort," said UH President James Pickering.

"When I received the invitation to serve, I couldn't say no. This campaign is that important for UH's future, and for the city's future. I thank you for the honor of Volunteer of the Year," Hogan said in accepting the award.

A graduate of Georgia Tech and Harvard Business School, Hogan has been an active proponent of Houston during the last 10 years.

He has been president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership and the Houston Economic Development Council, and was instrumental in organizing the city's bid for the 1990 Economic Summit. He started at HL&P in 1990.

Currently, Hogan is a board member of St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, director of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Outreach Foundation and director of the Forum Club of Houston.

 

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1993 MEN'S BASKETBALL RECRUITS

Tim Moore • 6'-6" guard Lee College

Hershel Wafer • 6'-7" forward Lee College

Roderick Griggs • 6'-10" forward Hueytown, Ala.

Curley Johnson • 6'-7" forward Lebeau, La.

1993 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL RECRUITS

Pat Luckey • 6'-1" post San Marcos

Shanna Tubbs • 6'-2" post Trinity Valley

Nater Dunn • 5'-9" forward Marion

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