FORMER SAE PREZ SUED AFTER BRAWL

by Michica N. Guillory

Daily Cougar Staff

Indicted in August 1991 for biting off the tip of Carrin Huber's left pinky finger, former Sigma Alpha Epsilon president Steve Jack Ferro appeared in court Tuesday on charges of aggravated assault.

Testimony was still being given at press time and will continue today.

Rusty Hardin, Huber's lawyer in the civil case, said Ferro got into a scuffle with Huber's boyfriend, 19-year-old Kevin Schramm, during a party at the fraternity's house. Reportedly, Ferro had asked Schramm to leave and he refused.

In earlier reports, Huber said Ferro jammed her finger into his mouth and severed it. However, several witnesses testified that Huber's finger was bitten off unintentionally when she intervened in the altercation.

Joe Bailey, Ferro's attorney, said Huber's purpose in intervening in the brawl was to give Schramm the advantage by pulling Ferro's hair and choking him.

In an unrelated incident, Ferro is being sued by fraternity brother Christopher Shaw for an assault on Feb. 25, 1990.

Shaw's suit claims he was attacked by Ferro when Shaw asked him to move his car, which was blocking other cars in the fraternity's driveway at 3036 MacGregor Way.

Shaw is seeking punitive damages in excess of $2 million.

The suit, filed Feb. 10, 1992, states Shaw suffered "serious and disabling personal injuries ... (including) a crushed skull and a hole in his skull due to the battery."

The suit states as a result of the assault, Shaw suffers from numbness in the upper right side of his face and permanent facial disfigurement.

Huber's case brought on a barrage of protests from the university community, prompting UH officials and the SAE national chapter to disband the Houston chapter.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

SA COMES TO A HALT

by Rivka Gewirtz

Daily Cougar Staff

Last-minute legislation was introduced to a sparse senate floor Monday night at the final Students' Association meeting of the semester.

The meeting was held up for 20 minutes because 10 of the 28 senators did not show up. A quorum, which requires 17 senators, was finally achieved when a senator straggled in at 7:17 p.m.

In the last administration, SA had an attendance problem -- three meetings were held up because of a lack of quorum.

According to the SA code, senators can only miss five unexcused meetings and two excused. Meetings include both full-floor sessions and standing committee reviews.

"Going into finals, it doesn't surprise me. I was disappointed (about the absences), but at this point only four senators are in danger because of absences," said senator Coy Wheeler, a senior business major.

Quorum may be harder to make if legislation requiring more floor sessions and standing-committee attendance is passed.

Proposed Bill #30001 requires senators to put in two hours of office time per week. Right now they are not required to be in the SA office at any time. Bill authors Jeff Fuller, a senior RTV major and the student regent, and Angie Milner, SA's public relations director, believe senators should be more available to the constituents who elected them.

"A lot of the new senators don't even know how to write legislation yet. Also, if our intern program takes off, senators will have time to spend with the interns," said Fuller

A similar bill was introduced in the last administration asking SA executives to dedicate more hours to serving the student body.

Another piece of legislation introduced Monday outlines a book exchange run by SA, independent from UH's bookstore.

The exchange would be a database filled with lists of different books and their sellers. The database would act as a go-between for sellers and buyers, but would have no inventory nor handle any actual sales.

The bill, which was authored by chairman of the University and Administration Committee Justin McMurtry, was written to help students avoid paying the bookstore's prices for used books.

The database program would be run by an appointed director from the senate.

"I'm hesitant to create any new expenditures. We can't pay anyone, but I'm hoping somebody will volunteer for it. It will only be for the first three weeks of the semester.

"I don't think the bookstore will suffer too much from the new program. They make all their money off sweatshirts and pens and new books," said McMurtry.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

ALUMNI HONORED FOR THEIR SERVICES

Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, Houston attorney John M. O'Quinn and educator Shirley Rose will receive the 1993 UH Alumni Organization's Distinguished Alumni Awards. In addition, Mayor Bob Lanier will receive the President's Service Award.

All four will be honored at a black-tie dinner tonight at the Houston Club.

Carl Lewis will be recognized for his achievements and contributions to track and field, as well as his long list of credits in community and public service. He is a 1982 graduate with a bachelor's degree in business technology.

John O'Quinn has been recognized by the National Law Journal as one of the top 10 litigators in the nation. O'Quinn specializes in trial work with emphasis on personal injury, including a $25 million judgement in a defective silicone breast implant lawsuit that became a landmark case. O'Quinn has been active in many charities and civic organizations and is a very generous supporter of the UH Law Center. He received a bachelor's degree in 1965 and a law degree in 1967.

Shirley Rose, superintendent of the Harris County Department of Education, will be honored for her professional and personal commitment to educational excellence. As superintendent of HCDE Rose oversees educational services to Harris County's 24 school districts. She is a past president of UHAO and holds three UH degrees: bachelor's, 1960; master's, 1969; and doctorate, 1973.

Lanier will be honored for his long record of public service and support of higher education.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to former students who have made significant contributions to society and brought credit to the university. The President's Service Award is presented to non-alumni whose dedication and service to UH has been exemplary.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

COMMUNICATION REUNION A GREAT CHANCE FOR SENIORS

The 500 graduating School of Communication students may be experts at writing and speaking, however, they've never had an opportunity to practice their skills on successful UH alumni.

Not in an informal group gathering, that is.

The School of Communication is bridging the gap between graduating seniors and alumni Friday during their first Communication Alumni Reunion.

Organizers hope as many as 200 alumni will come to mingle with graduating students, pour over Houstonian yearbooks and catch up on old times.

Since meeting successful people, networking, is often done in formal conference-type settings, organizers hope the less-formal setting in the School of Communication Building will allow students to meet alumni more easily and perhaps to gain valuable contacts in the business world.

Graduating seniors from all areas of the communication program are encouraged to attend. The reunion, complete with wine, cheese and soda, is from 5-8 p.m. Friday.

There's a $5 charge and sign-up forms are available from Jean Richardson in Room 222, COM or call 743-2869.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

DANCE STUDENTS PROVING THEY HAVE <I>MAJOR<P> TALENTS

by Karen Snelling

Daily Cougar Staff

Although a degree in dance doesn't exist at UH, the university Dance Theatre's ensemble turns heads in the dance community.

The ensemble was honored for presenting one of the 12 best choreographed pieces out of 50 submissions at the American College Dance Festival at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.

Approximately 25 colleges from Texas, Arkansas, Ohio and Louisiana presented dances at the festival on April 14-17, said Joanna Friesen, head of UH's dance program.

One of the dances must be choreographed by a student, she said. Other pieces can be created by a student, faculty or guest choreographer.

Three judges critiqued each dance and picked the best to be performed at the festival's Saturday Gala, Friesen said. "This is the second year a student piece performed by the UH ensemble has been chosen for the gala," she said.

Tamarie Cooper, whose dance "Get Back to Me on This One" was chosen for the gala, said she aimed at a funny theme.

The piece told the story of a woman choreographing a dance, and the dancers the audience saw represented dancers in the woman's head, Cooper said.

Cooper shared an example in her dance where the audience watches a romantic duet flowing smoothly until the choreographer changes her mind, and the man drops his female partner.

"I think my dance succeeded at the festival because it wasn't typical ballet or jazz," Cooper said.

Cooper created her piece in about two months for the Dance Theatre's fall concert. She said she's been refining it for the festival all spring. "(The gala's) a real honor among professionals," she said.

Cooper graduated from Houston's High School of Performing and Visual Arts and has been dancing at UH for three years. Although she is majoring in elementary education, Cooper plans to keep dancing after college. "Dancing is not what I plan to have a dental plan with, but I will always use dance as a creative outlet," she said.

Don Decker, a UH junior, was also chosen as a scholarship finalist.

Last year, festival officials asked former student Michael Leleux to perform his piece in the gala and invited him to a national festival at Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz, Friesen said.

Leleux is now trying to start his own dance company in Houston, she added.

It's ironic that although UH dancers are winning numerous awards, they can only minor in dance, Friesen said. "We have a program where we compete with top schools in the country, but (we have) no dance major," she said.

To perform with UH Dance Theatre, students can audition in the fall for the ensemble group or for a fall concert.

"We pick kids with performer qualities (for the ensemble group)," Friesen said.

The ensemble performs at various high schools, at competitions, such as the regional festival and in a spring concert on campus.

Along with scheduled practices (three times a week), the ensemble meets at nights and on weekends for additional rehearsals, Friesen said. This year, the ensemble has rehearsed a minimum of five hours each week, she said.

The Dance Theatre will hold more open auditions for a fall concert, Friesen said. This concert is a fun event for everyone involved, she said.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

ACT THREE

by Donna Gower

News Reporter

The Houston Suitcase Theater will host its First Annual Ethnic Minority Playwriting Festival April 27-29.

Elizabeth Brown-Guillory, an associate professor of English and director of THST, said the festival gives students an opportunity to write, direct and produce their own plays.

The festivities will include staged readings of the top three plays chosen from THST's Ethnic Minority Playwriting Competition. The competition was opened to all UH students.

Entries were limited to one-act plays not exceeding 30 pages. The plays were to be written about ethnic minority groups and their experiences. Competition guidelines states that "ethnic" refers to any group of people distinguished by race, language or culture.

One reading will be done each day of the festival. All the performances will take place at noon in the Embassy Room in the UC, and a discussion or critique of the play will follow.

According to competition guidelines, the critique is to "stimulate student thought and aid the playwright in further development of his/her work."

The winners of the competition were Kenneth Goodwin, Travis-Jon Mader and Ericka Schiche.

Schiche, a junior English major, and Goodwin, a senior majoring in biology, based their works on African-American experiences. Goodwin's play <I>Just a House<P> is about a white man and his mulatto sister who are feuding over their parents' house. Goodwin based the characters on himself and his sister. He said he is trying to point out "how material things are thought of as more important than people."

Mader, a senior English major, is currently studying under playwright Edward Albee after being chosen by Albee to do so. His work, based on Asian-American experiences in the United States following the Vietnam War, is called <I>Flowers on the Moon<P>.

Mader said he writes because "it is nice to have a creative outlet."

Brown-Guillory said, "The festival gives students a chance that they may not have had otherwise."

Mader agrees. "All you need is a little encouragement," he said.

The keynote speaker for the festival will be Denise Chavez, a nationally recognized novelist and playwright. Chavez, a visiting professor at the University of New Mexico, has written over 20 plays, and her short story "The Last of the Menu Girls" was winner of the Puerto del Sol Fiction Award in 1985. Chavez is currently working on a new novel, <I>Face of an Angel<P>.

Chavez served as the judge for the playwriting competition. Each entry was sent to her without the names of the authors. She had a standardized critique sheet to score the plays and determine which three were to be staged during the festival.

Chavez will make her keynote speech on Thursday, the last day of the festival, at 1 p.m. in the Embassy Room.

On Wednesday, at 6:30 p.m., the festival will hold its dinner. Chavez will be the guest of honor and will perform a selection from her new work. The dinner will be held in the third-floor lounge of Roy G. Cullen.

For additional information about THST or the festival, contact Brown-Guillory or Tamara Conner, president of THST, at 743-2976.

THST will end the semester with a Jazz Night on May 3 at Cody's Rooftop Jazz bar and Grill. Students will meet there at 6 p.m. for an all-you-can-eat buffet and enjoy a night of jazz music beginning at 8:30 p.m.

For additional information on Jazz Night, contact Janice Brown at 522-9747.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

'PROUD TO BE BLACK' MORE THAN A FORUM

by Annette Baird

News Reporter

Three African-Americans from the local community were invited to take part in a panel discussion concerning issues as diverse as role models, self-identity, racism, assimilation, education and class structure within the black community.

Proud to be Black was the subject of the discussion organized by Scott Carvajal, Marie Jones, Chrissy Koumonduros and Donna Tafelski as an assignment for a cultural psychology class.

Lois Jean Moore said, referring to the discussion, she would like to see more of these kinds of activities to understand each other's culture. "But it has to be sincere, not just an exercise that is imposed on people," she emphasized.

With regard to racism, Moore, president and chief executive officer for Harris County Hospital District, said, "We shouldn't believe that racism will ever be wiped out. We will continue to make small gains."

Racism is learned, and society teaches our children racism, said Dashiel Geyen, UH-Downtown associate professor of psychology. We have to be careful about what we say and do in front of children, she added.

Geyen told students his mother was his mentor, and the driving force and financial force behind him attending school.

Isaac Matthews, owner of Matthews Childcare Academy, said he learned about successful business transactions from his mentor.

African-Americans find difficulty in launching businesses, Matthews said. "The banks want to know your track record of success. If you have no history of success, it is difficult to get loans," he said.

To impart a stronger sense of "self" in African-American children, Geyen said parents have to maintain communications with their children, instill self-confidence and self-esteem.

Sixty-three percent of black families are headed by females, not an easy job for these women, Geyen said. They go to work, and if their kids get in trouble at school, they can't leave their jobs to address the problems, Geyen said.

Moore advocates welfare reform that would allow mothers flexibility in supervising their children. The current welfare system does not allow people to become independent, Moore said. "We need to give families on welfare the means to help themselves," Moore added.

Affirmative action benefits qualified African-Americans because they understand what affirmative action is, and they can fight for it, Moore said. African-Americans and other ethnic groups with little or no qualifications need affirmative action just to get employment, Moore added.

Ary Bolanos, a senior psychology major, said the ideology of success the panel espoused is too closely related to the eurocentric idea of success.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

UH HANDICAPPED BY FUNDING SYSTEM

by Heather Wolk

Daily Cougar Staff

Out of 37 Texas universities, UH ranks last for all funding.

If the Legislature passes the proposed budget, UH will take the largest funding cut in the state -- $10.6 million.

On the flip side of the coin, Texas A&M will receive an $8.7 million budget increase, and UT-San Antonio will receive $7.5 million in additional funds.

Wendy Adair, vice president of university relations, said one of the problems is the recent shift in funding from doctoral hours to undergraduate hours.

"There is a cap on the number of doctoral hours they're going to fund. We get hit harder because of the large number of full-time doctoral students. And a lot of these students are taking 12 hours instead of 15 or more, and it takes them longer to graduate," Adair said.

Mary Rubright, executive director for Planning and Policies, said although the doctoral cap accounts for about $4.8 million in budget cuts, it is only part of the $11 million UH is expected to lose.

"There has also been a shift in the faculty salaries formula, from graduate to undergraduate studies, and this will cause us to lose about $1.4 million," Rubright said.

"In addition to the 3 percent pay raise rollback, we're down 2 percent in student credit hours. This will cost us approximately $2.1 million," Rubright added.

In response to imminent cuts, Senator John Whitmire D-Houston, said, "It's a damn shame. UH's message is still not getting out.

"Historically, Houston has been hurt by it's lack of communication. Civic leaders have not realized how important UH is to the community. A&M and (UT) always get the top dollars. It has to do with their alumni numbers and their size."

Whitmire added that UH doesn't have sufficient representatives in the Texas senate.

"We don't have proper representation in the Finance and Appropriations Committee. We have one senator on the finance committee, the same as small communities like Lubbock and Laredo.

"I am happy that Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) was recently placed on the finance committee. It will be interesting to see now if Houston gets someone in the (House Finance and Appropriations Committee)," Whitmire said.

Whitmire said there are five members elected to the finance committee in the Senate and five elected to the House, which results in the final state budget.

"It's a combination of a lot of things," Adair said, "but mostly, all the different bills proposed for funding were looked at separately. And each individual bill made it seem like it wouldn't affect one single institution, so it looked like it would even out."

But it won't, and UH will be hit the hardest.

"Unfortunately, we will be hurt under every possible circumstance and worse than any other state institution in several issues," said Grover Campbell, vice chancellor of Government Relations for the UH System.

"The legislative session is over May 31, so I expect in about mid-June we should know what to expect and where we stand. This is far from being resolved, and we're all optimistic that things will work out for UH," Campbell said.

George Reiter, president of the Faculty Senate, said some members are going to Austin today.

"State workers from all across the state have been invited to lobby legislators (this) afternoon," said Reiter.

Mitch Rhodes, Students' Association director of External Affairs, said the Faculty Senate will be focusing on the Optional Retirement Program bill, which calls for a reduction in retirement pension funds. Also, the Faculty Senate is concerned about the 3 percent wage increase. The state has decided not to fund the pay raise, which means UH will have to shoulder the cost.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

COUGAR, HOUSTONIAN GET NEW EDITORS

by Robert L. Arnold

News Reporter

The elections' results are in. The university's newspaper, The Daily Cougar, and yearbook, The Houstonian, will have two new editors at the helm.

Melinda McBride, current managing editor of the Cougar, said her plans as editor-in-chief for the summer and fall will be to pay more attention to campus organizations.

"We're putting together a staff to cover feature stories on campus. Hiring more writers to focus on campus organizations and general college topics will give the paper a little more diversity," said McBride, a senior RTV major.

Joyetta Johnson, a junior journalism major and current managing editor of the Houstonian, will officially take over as the Houstonian's editor in September.

Current Houstonian Editor Kristen Roberts, a graduating journalism major, said Johnson has been working with her to prepare for her new responsibilities.

"Joyetta will be a very good editor. She has good writing and editing skills, and a good understanding of what goes into the yearbook," said Roberts.

Johnson, the first African-American editor-in-chief of the Houstonian, said she wants to increase circulation of the yearbook by making more students aware that UH does have a yearbook.

"Many people don't know we have a yearbook," Johnson said. "We have to get the yearbook out there and let people know UH has one. We plan to co-sponsor more events, so hopefully we will become more visible to the student body."

The yearbook will also be going through a transition because many people on the yearbook staff will be graduating, she said. Johnson and Roberts have been recruiting people for the yearbook by targeting high school seniors planning to attend UH.

"We have been sending out mailers to high school seniors to let them know there are positions available on the yearbook staff. Hopefully, from making the yearbook more visible and reaching incoming freshmen, we will have a good staff with new people and new ideas," Johnson said.

Roberts said Johnson can handle the new transition and is ready get the ball rolling.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

OPTOMETRY PUPIL EYEBALLS NATIONAL AWARD

by Katherine Bui

News Reporter

An Optometry student discovered the high price of being absent from an Optometric Student Association meeting.

Bill Pope, who represented UH at this year's Varilux Optometry Super Bowl, was awarded third place and $250 for his knowledge of pathology, anatomy, basic science and optics. Pope, a third-year optometry student, was chosen to compete in the bowl when he opted not to attend a recent OSA meeting.

"I think I drew attention to myself when I didn't show up at that OSA meeting," Pope said.

Damon Smith, UH's American Optometric Student Association trustee, picked Pope from 385 students for his high GPA, top 10 standing and Ocular Anatomy Award.

Pope placed third behind a student from Tahlequah, Oklahoma's Northeastern State University, who received $1,000. A student from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon came in second and received $500.

The international tournament consisted of 18 optometry students from colleges and universities in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. The event, an annual jeopardy contest, was held in St. Louis, Mo.

The Super Bowl consisted of four rounds, three preliminaries and one final, involving six contestants. The multiple choice trivia questions, similar to those on optometry license exams, were supplied by deans, professors and doctors.

Judges included optometry doctors James Leadingham, president of the American Optometric Association; Daniel Houghton, president-elect of AOA; Larry DeCook, vice president of AOA; Jerry Christensen, dean of University of Missouri's Optometry School; and Earle Hunter, executive-director of AOA.

Pope said, "I didn't think I was quite ready for the contest, but I guess I was."

UH's OSA paid for Pope's air fare and lodging from a fund raiser. A dozen other OSA members accompanied Pope to Missouri, but most paid for their own expenses.

Tom Markus, president of OSA, said, "What Bill did brings quite an honor to our school. He's highly regarded here."

Pope said, "I bought everyone beer with the amount I won after the contest to celebrate."

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

CONSERVATIVES COMPLAIN ABOUT ELECTION COVERAGE

by Tammy Gamble

News Reporter

The fate of political candidates depends greatly on the opinions and biases of election coverage, a panel of politicians concluded at an April 20 round-table discussion at the Houstonian Hotel.

"I think what we saw in this last election and what we will see in future elections is that the media knowingly or unknowingly can damage a candidate without even trying to do it," said political panelist Ken Bentsen, chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party.

"Politics and the Media" was sponsored by the Houston Young Republicans and presided over by a panel of four politicians and three media representatives. Political panelists included Denis Calabrese, president of a political consulting and public affairs firm; Dolly Madison McKenna, a candidate in a recent state congressional election; and George Strong, president of a governmental relations firm.

The political side was met by media professionals Jane Ely, political columnist for the Houston Chronicle; Roger Gray, host of radio station KPRC's <I>Roger Gray Talk Show<P>; and Gwen Daye Richardson, publisher of National Minority Politics.

Ely said the media play a significant role in shaping candidates, but the role is not all-powerful, as many believe. Space and time constraints have a great deal to do with the number of candidates who receive coverage, Ely said.

Calabrese agreed with Ely, but added that this means the media are businesses trying to maximize their profits, Calabrese said. "If something sells more papers, it will get more coverage no matter right or wrong. This can be seen in the recent incidents involving a NBC <I>Dateline<P> magazine show showing a false and planned truck fire," he said.

Strong said, "The electronic media is interested in paid advertising to get the message of a candidate out to the public."

Gray defended the media, saying editorial people do not talk to the sales people about which stories attract advertisers; therefore, reporters' writings do not solely reflect advertisers.

McKenna, who was involved in political campaigns in the early '70s, said the media have gotten worse at choosing which candidates get coverage over the past 20 years.

Richardson said, "More reporting needs to be on how the political process affects the aver-age person."

The media need to be more balanced and fair in covering the candidates, Richardson said.

Visit The Daily Cougar