NEWSLINE

Spanish influence

 

The University of Houston will enter into an agree with the government of Spain and the Texas Education Agency Tuesday to establish a Spanish language and culture resource center, which will provide a library of books, videos, teaching materials and advice to K-12 Spanish teachers throughout Texas.

The Spanish government has established similar centers in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California, in Miami at Florida International University and in Albuquerque at the University of New Mexico. A fifth center is planned for Chicago.

'Customer' service

Being a student trying to get help in E. Cullen can be frustrating. But through the UH Partners in Quality program, officials are trying to educate workers about customer service to generate increased responsiveness to students. Almost 90 staff members from Registration and Academic Records, Bursar's office, Admissions and Scholarships & Financial Aid completed the course.

Schedule reminder

June 21 is the last day to drop a course or withdraw without receiving a grade. The last day for filing graduation applications is June 28.

 

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ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT STRIVING FOR FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE

by Robert Arnold

Daily Cougar Staff

The UH Athletic Department is hoping to raise revenues enough to become financially self-supportive within in the next five years by increasing ticket sales and through corporate sponsorship.

The Athletic Department currently receives a portion of each student's student service fee every semester.

David Keith, assistant to the president, said the Athletic Department is forming a marketing plan to help boost attendance to the home football and basketball games.

"We want to boost student attendance, as well as repeat alumni attendance. We're looking to usher in a new era of 'cougar pride,'" said Keith.

Keith also said the department is working with the Creative Partnership Campaign, a fund-raising effort sponsored by UH. Phase I of the campaign consists of collecting gifts from the community in the form of donations. Phase II deals with obtaining endowment scholarships for the athletes.

Bobby Risinger, assistant athletic director of marketing and broadcasting for the athletic department, said the department is trying to come up with creative plans to boost attendance.

Risinger said they are targeting the "cougar family," which consists of students, faculty, staff, employees, alumni, and their families.

Risinger said they are considering several possibilities of making the games more accessible by sending mail order tickets to alumni and discount tickets to recent alumni.

Risinger said they are also considering abolishing the ticket book and giving the students a punch card instead.

"The punch card will help make the games more accessible because all students have to do is bring the card to the game and they are given a hard ticket. The old ticket book worked so that a student had to purchase the book and then go to a facility on campus to trade-in a ticket from the book for an actual game ticket," said Risinger.

Risinger said they were also considering having a $5 game-ticket to sit in the pavilion section of the Astrodome, which would be renamed as the "Cougar Den."

The athletic department has contracted Ogilvy and Mather, a Houston advertising firm, to conduct demographic research for the perimeter market, the Houston sports fan.

Risinger said the Athletic Department wants to have more of the Houston business community involved with the Cougar teams through sponsorship.

Risinger also said they are trying to bring in more high profile sponsorship for the spring sports teams.

One of the marketing goals, according to Risinger, is to have television commercials on during more prime time hours.

Bill Carr, UH Athletic Director, said one of the main goals to become financially self-sufficient is to have an attendance of 40,000 at every home game.

"Even though nothing will be final until late July, we know that our attendance needs to be 1 percent of the population of greater Houston. We also need to make enough money so we will be able to keep up with the expansion of our athletic program, as well as inflation," said Carr.

Carr said the hoped-for rise in attendance was one of the reasons UH plays their football games in the Astrodome, instead of in Robertson Stadium.

"Robertson Stadium only has a capacity in the low 20,000, which is not enough for the big games and the amount of people we want to attend our home games," said Carr.

Athletics currently pays the Astrodome 9 1/2 percent of the total ticket sales, or a minimum of $15,000 per home game.

Roland Sparks, business manager for the Athletic Department, was unaware of the plan to become self-sufficient in five years, but did say the department is being very frugal with their expenditures.

Sparks also said if the department does become self-sufficient it will no longer need the 34 percent of the total student service fees it currently uses each semester.

Some students believe attendance would be higher if the games were held in Robertson Stadium.

"Attendance would be higher if the games were on campus. The Astrodome is too far away. Home games need to be more connected with the university," said Amy Lane, a senior political science and speech communication major.

"The games need to come back to Robertson Stadium. Plus, having a team with more of a winning record would probably increase attendance," said Frank White, a junior sociology major.

Omar Jiminez, a junior mechanical engineering major, feels that home games should be integrated between playing in Robertson Stadium and the Astrodome.

"I don't know if having the games in Robertson will boost attendance. I feel a winning team would definitely boost attendance. Nobody wants to go out and see a losing team," said Jiminez.

Last year's five home football games averaged a 30 percent occupancy in the Astrodome. Last year's home basketball games averaged a 58 percent occupancy in Hofheinz Pavilion.

 

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SOUND ADVICE

by Rebecca McPhail

Has anyone noticed the squirrels on campus are acting a little strange?

They lack the usual spunk and vigor that normally sets them apart from other schools' squirrels.

Everywhere I look, squirrels are sprawled spread-eagled across benches, grass and pavement. They no longer seem interested in thieving food from hapless freshmen.

What's gone awry with our furry friends? Is it a lethal dose of cyanide or perhaps just a lack of proper entertainment?

Before you go belly-up like our rodent pals, check the calendar and find yourself a reason for living.

Tuesday

The Iguanas at Rockefeller's

3620 Washington Ave.

Fresh from the Jimmy Buffet tour, the Iguanas rock the house at Rockefeller's. For those of you who believe life actually exists outside the loop, be sure to check out the newly-opened Rockefeller's West at 6400 Richmond. For more information on both venues, call 861-9365.

Friday

Search for the Great Sharks at The Museum of Natural Science

One Hermann Circle Drive

The Museum's latest IMAX offering is an up close and personal look at the most feared (and misunderstood) creatures in the sea. Search runs through Jan. 6. For information on show times, call 639-4600.

Ongoing

Public Address: Krzystof Wodiczko at the Contemporary Arts Museum

5216 Montrose Blvd.

CAM presents a survey which spans 20 years of the artist's works. Born in Poland, Wodiczko combines elements of sculpture, performance and architecture in his work. The exhibit runs through Aug. 22. For museum hours and more information call 526-0773.

 

 

Opportunities

Experimental Art at Jim and Tammy's Bar

300 Westheimer

Confess your sins and be a star. Jim and Tammy's is looking for people who've had affairs with priests, fathers and pastors. Their taped phone confessions will be used in an experimental video art project to debut at at the bar on June 23. Confessors should call 784-9530.

 

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LAW SCHOOL RANKED UNFAIRLY, SAY PROFS; UH SHOULD BE HIGHER

by Kristine Fahrenholz

Daily Cougar Staff

A recent U.S. News and World Report survey reported that the UH Law Center ranked 100 out of 176 of "America's Best Graduate Schools."

This was a significant drop, as the survey in previous years had ranked the Law Center as high as spot 45 and the previous low spot had been only 88.

This year the Law Center submitted responses to the survey similar to responses it submitted in past years.

However, two components of the survey - job placement and faculty resources - were rated low for the Law Center.

The rankings were based upon responses to the U.S. News questionnaire, with estimates made by the magazine when a school did not provide particular pieces of information.

"UH did not provide job placement information of graduates so we (the magazine) estimated that 50 percent were employed at graduation and 55 percent were employed six months after graduation," said Robert Morris, the senior editor of U.S. News and World Report.

Morris said they tried about seven times to receive job placement information.

"The Law Center was notified that the magazine would estimate job placement rates if information wasn't supplied," Morris said.

The placement office, however, had no statistics available and they refused to guess.

"We are here to serve the students and alumni in their job searches," said Deborah Hirsch, the director of Law Placement.

Ira Shepard, a professor of law, said that the placement office is efficient and does not guess statistics.

However, the Law Center did indicate to the survey that 94 percent of graduates received work one year after graduation.

But the survey did not consider that percentage. "We were only considering job placement percentages for six months after graduation and 1992 graduates.

"Ninety percent of the schools surveyed did report the job placement data that was needed for the survey," Morris said.

The job placement component accounted for 20 percent of the survey and the resources component accounted for 15 percent.

The Law Center was ranked 163 out of 176 schools, based on faculty resources and the school's total expenditures in dollars per student.

"Our facilities, faculty pay, staff and library support for our students are comparable to those schools ranked high in the U.S. News survey and there is no way to fairly rank UH Law Center in the bottom half, let alone the bottom 10 percent, " Shepard said.

Some public universities ranked in the top quarter were University of Texas--Austin, University of Michigan and the the University of California--Los Angeles.

"In future years, we plan to mirror more closely the way comparable law schools report their costs, " Shepard said.

some public universities ranked in the top quarter were University of Texas-Austin, University of Michigan, and the University of California-Los Angeles.

 

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SHORTFALL GOUGES GRANT FUNDING

by Rivka Gewirtz

Daily Cougar Staff

Low income students may be forced to fall deep into debt as they take out student loans as a result of a $2 billion Pell Grant shortfall.

A Republican filibuster derailed President Clinton's $16.2 billion "economic stimulus" budget which provided money to cover the Pell Grant shortfall. Forty-three senate republicans joined the filibuster.

Pell Grant is a federally funded program designed to help financially needy undergraduates attain an education with direct cash assistance.

Missing funds will greatly affect UH because 4,935, or 15 percent, of UH students received Pell Grants to help pay for their 1992 tuition.

According to Laurent Ross, a research associate with the American Council on Education, 26 percent, or $1.2 million students, who receive Pell grants will lose their grant entirely or have it cut by more than $100. He said that a student who is making about $4,000 per year as an independent will still be able to receive a Pell Grant.

Ralph Perri, a UH financial aid officer, said the shortfall will mostly affect independent students with no dependants.

Dependant students whose parents make little money will be slightly affected by the loss. Their eligibility is judged on the income of their parents, who have other payment priorities and are therefore less affected.

"It will affect us at this university because we are a non-traditional school with a lot of commuting students. Commuting means people who live off campus with jobs; independents," said Perri.

Pell Grants are awarded to students according to a needs-analysis formula. The formula analyzes student income and cost of education, including living expenses. Once these are taken into account, family contribution, loan eligibility and Pell Grant allowance are decided.

The $2 million shortfall is a result of a bill signed by President Bush in 1992 which changed the formula of needs-analysis. A higher usage of the grant during the recession also contributed to the lack of funds.

Before the new law, two different formulas were used to figure out how much money students needed for an education.

One formula decided Pell Grant allowance, while the other was used to calculate all other forms of financial aid. The two systems were criticized by confused parents who were applying for their children's financial aid. Congress attempted to revise the system. Now there is one needs-analysis formula.

"The new needs-analysis formula is the crux of the problem," said Ross.

Ross said many students will have to drop out of school or borrow more money.

"This is going to affect students who are already in the worst situation," he said.

ACE cited as an example of an affected student a 27 year old community college student who makes $9,000 per year. Under the old system, the first $6,600 of the student's income would have stayed untouched because of "income protection allowance."

The student would have been awarded $1,611 per year. With the new formula, only $3,000 of the student's income would be offset and the Pell Grant award would be $400.

Secretary of Education Richard Riley said in a released statement, "We will continue to look for fiscally sound ways to pay for Pell Grants, but we need Congress to become a partner in the pursuit."

 

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PE MAY BE A THING OF THE PAST

by Kristine Fahrenholz

Daily Cougar Staff

Physical education requirements may no longer be needed for undergraduates because of UH President James Pickering's recommendation that PE requirements be phased out by 1994.

The University Planning and Policy Council met Monday to discuss Pickering's reshaping document.

The UPPC made recommendations to Pickering, but they never recommended phasing out physical education requirements.

The recommendation was not made by the UPPC or the Undergraduate Council.

"It is a mystery as to how the recommendation got into Pickering's reshaping document," said Rosalie Maddocks, chair of the Undergraduate Council.

"There are no academic or financial reasons to phase out the program," said Dale Pease, the chair of the Department of Health and Human Performances.

"In today's age, there is a lot of concern for health and it is important for people to understand the role of exercise, " he added.

Physical education requirements generate a lot of money for the university, Pease said.

But if the program is phased out, then UH will have to come up with alternative ways to pay for the upkeep of the athletic facilities and equipment.

The department employs 24 teaching assistants and one full time faculty member.

"It would be economically unsound to have full time tenured faculty members teaching, but the PE courses are taught by teaching assistants, " said Judith Walker de Felix, the interim dean of the College of Education.

The majority of UPPC members agreed that PE requirements should not be phased out.

Pickering's final reshaping document is due in August.

 

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CHEMISTRY PROF'S BACKGROUND AS FASCINATING AS HIS RESEARCH

by Ericka Schiche

Daily Cougar Staff

He recalls working at a cotton gin until late in the evening, an experience most of his students could never relate to.

J. Wayne Rabalais, Cullen Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, says he keeps such memories of his rural life experiences close to his heart.

"I learned a lot of practical things about how to handle yourself and get things done. I was raised poor and I learned the value of things and also hard work."

He speaks humbly, in a somewhat modest fashion when discussing, in a rural Louisiana accent, his work in the field of chemical physics.

Rabalais recently received the Esther Farfel Award, the highest academic honor bestowed by the university.

While at home in a small town near Plaucheville, Louisiana, Rabalais heard his parents speak a French patois. He has retained the Cajun dialect since his childhood.

He also keeps a sculpture of a rugged cowboy on horseback in his spacious office, which is an area also decorated with several posters of the periodic table.

Rabalais, 48, seems to be the exact opposite of the mad scientist archetype. Instead, he is keenly aware of the need for scientists to discuss the practical applications of their knowledge.

A person visiting his office should not expect to find a man wearing a white lab coat and eye wear. Often, Rabalais, a tall man of medium build, dons a pair of khaki slacks and a buttoned pique short-sleeve shirt. In conversation, he keeps his light green eyes focused while sitting, legs occasionally crossed, in his swivel chair.

U.S. Patent Nos. 4,822,446 and 5,068,535 belong to Rabalais. The latter patent, titled "Chemically Bonded Diamond Films and Methods for Producing Same," could lead to applications in the fields of medicine, optics, microelectronics, defense systems and computers.

He discusses his other patent, "Time-of-Flight Ion Scattering Spectrometer for Scattering and Recoiling for Electron Density and Structure," in a chemspeak that is at times hard to understand. When discussing the farming lifestyle of his youth, he doesn't sound like the scholar, researcher and teacher who has taught Surface Science, Thermodynamics and Kinetics, and Classical Scattering.

"The work we do is mainly oriented toward ion beam interactions with surfaces. In this area, we basically work on two different kind of things: One is the application of low energy ion beams toward depositing thin films," he says, referring to the area in which scientists use low energy to grow films of material.

Rabalais says he decided to work in the field of chemical physics because "these areas are areas in which there are still a lot of unknown questions."

"IBM gave us a contract to put a diamond light film on a computer hard disk. This protects the hard disk surface and makes it last a whole lot longer. They can not put diamond films on hard disks by conventional methods because that would cause high temperature and destroys the disk. But we can do it at room temperature, so we did this and it was a success," he says, speaking with a sense of pride about the project.

He says the most fulfilling aspect of his job is the often high level of interaction between himself and his self-motivated students.

He is troubled by the misconception that "people think of scientists (and) chemists as eggheads who walk around in a dream world and are not in touch reality . . . I do things that everybody else does," he says.

Like any sensitive pet owner, he still laments the death of Snooky, the white and black spotted Jack Russell terrier. He loves to eat his wife's crawfish bisque. And he is an avid reader of Larry McMurtry.

Rabalais also delights in reminiscing about his formative years and the Plaucheville cotton gin.

 

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PRIMUS VEERS FROM BEATEN PATH

by Manuel Esparza

Daily Cougar Staff

Experimenting is dreaming put into action, but (un)fortunately not every try succeeds.

From alchemists sweating in fume-filled labs attempting to change base metals into gold came the science of chemistry.

Woodrow Wilson's League of Nations crumbled into World War II.

Karl Marx's social musings begat the misery of the Soviet Union's collectivized farms.

Thomas Edison, after many failures, created the incandescent lamp.

Music, too, can be experimental, and Primus has charged down this direction like a cyclist on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

<I>Pork Soda<P> is Primus's foray off the well-trod paths. However, instead of heading into virgin turf, they're just tracing down the overgrown path that Prong originally hacked but Primus's cuts aren't as clean or as broad.

The album lacks a sense of planning. The impression is that they had one good idea for each song, but only developed that aspect, neglecting the rest of it. In many cases what should have been novel is noxious.

Les Claypool plays an involved bass line that on the first song is good, the second is all right, the third is boring, and the fourth is unconstitutional under the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause.

Claypool's vocals, an attempt to stray from the musical and into the meaningful, wind up in the mutilated. He comes across as a boy singing during puberty. The one song that his whining drone fits is "My Name Is Mud," which is about a boring man.

The bright spots are only relative, and should be considered less irritating than the rest of the album. These 'highlights' come in small chunks in the songs; there is not one cut that doesn't degenerate into toxic tones.

<I>Pork Soda's<P> major flaw is redundancy. The repetitive rhythms and limited lyrics combine into aural mace. With virtually the same bass licks, the cuts have little individuality. Add to that the fact that words are laboured and often sung over and the result is an unlistenable disc on the cringing edge of music.

The attitude Primus takes is best summarized in their song "Welcome To This World".

". . . so many good ideas are slain

by those who would dare not step out of line.

But if I have my way tonight . . . I'll turn those sour minds to grapes of wine."

Of course this would not be so bad if Primus had a better idea than <I>Pork Soda<P>. As Dr. Frankenstein discovered, the fact that something is experimental doesn't mean that it is good.

 

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SIX PLAYERS NEW TO COUGAR BASKETBALL ROSTER

Cougar Sports Service

The 1993-94 Cougar basketball roster is now complete with the addition of six new faces.

As promised, coach Alvin Brooks recruited from the Houston area and signed Willie Byrd, a guard from Reagan High School.

The other two freshmen to join the Cougars are forward Roderick Griggs Jr. from Hueytown, Alabama and forward Curley Johnson from Lebeau, Louisiana.

If Johnson should need any helpful advice, he can look to older brother Jermaine Johnson, who is a junior center for the Cougars this season.

The other three new players hail from junior colleges.

Jermaine Avie is a junior forward who is transferring from College of Eastern Utah in Price, Utah. Avie is originally from Houston, a graduate of Jack Yates High School.

Both Tim Moore and Hershel Wafer are transferring to UH from Lee College in Baytown. Wafer is a junior forward and Moore is a sophomore forward.

 

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TOP SPRINTERS AIM FOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

by Heather Ellis

Daily Cougar Staff

During the next four days Michele Collins and Samuel Jefferson will have the chance to qualify for the Track and Field World Championships held in August in Germany.

That is no small feat, but don't tell that to the two Cougar runners.

Collins and Jefferson will first head off to Eugene, Oregon to compete in the USA Mobil Outdoor Track and Field Championships, where they must finish in one of the top three spots in their events to qualify for the World Championships.

Jefferson, fresh off of a third place finish in the 100-meter and a fifth place finish in the 200-meter at the NCAA's looks forward to the contest in Oregon.

"I am coming off of a great NCAA meet," Jefferson said. "If I run like I have been running all season long I expect to do well."

Jefferson is currently ranked 10th in the country in the 100 meter. He will compete in the 100 and 200 meter at the USATF championships.

Qualifying for the World Championships is something that would add to Jefferson's successful track career.

"It would mean the world to me to go to the championships," Jefferson said. "This is what I train and practice for."

At the almost constant pace that Jefferson has been training and competing, he looks forward to a bit of off-time.

"I haven't really expected to be as tired as I am," Jefferson said. "I will take a week or two off before I start practicing again."

Collins is running in the 400 meter at the USATF championships. She posted a time of 52.25 in the 400 meters at the NCAA's.

Collins however, is not running in the 200 meters, even though she is ranked eighth in the country, because her times recently have been stronger in the 400 meters.

There should be quite a few competitors seeing Cougar red at the USATF championships. Former Cougar runners competing at the meet are Carl Lewis and Leroy Burrell in the 100 meters.

In the 200 meters Carl Lewis and Leroy Burrell reappear as well as Joe DeLoach and Floyd Heard.

There are a few Southwest Conference faces at the USATF. Bryan Bronson from Rice will compete in the 400-meter hurdles and Charles Austin from Texas will compete in the high jump.

With all of the heady competition at the meet, Jefferson doesn't seem to be concerned.

"Track is an individual sport and is based on what a person can do rather than what other people do,"Jefferson said. "I do my best because I love to run. There is nothing better than that."

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