GROUP SELL THEMSELVES TO STUDENTS

by Tammy Gamble

Daily Cougar Staff

Recruitment was the theme on campus Wednesday as UH students sampled from a buffet selection of campus activities and organizations around campus.

The Campus Activities Mart took place from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the University Center surrounding the ground and lower levels.

The Campus Activities Mart featured approximately 40 tables with information on campus departments and organizations, allowing students to browse and talk to organization representatives.

Held at the beginning of each semester, the Activities Mart is a way to inform students about organizations and campus departments. "Lots of students came out and looked at the variety in one easy location," Consuelo Trevino, director of Campus Activities, said.

Coralie Somers, a career counselor from the Career Planning and Placement Center, said the flow of students started off slow the first hour, but the pace gradually picked up by noon. "Many students had very good questions, and it is good we were here to answer those questions," Somers said.

A few buildings away, the College of Technology Student Council was holding a back-to-school Organizational Membership Party for Technology majors.

The second annual bash was a way to unite the nine different Technology fields which have buildings on opposite ends of campus, Andrea Villegas, president of the College of Technology Student Council, said. "The party welcomes students back and invites new students to learn about and possibly join the college's organizations," Villegas said.

The party included booths from nine of the 12 Technology organizations, and free food and beverages.

"We have had great participation from the groups, and we are very happy with the turn-out. This is the Student Council's way of starting the year with a bang," Villegas said.

 

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

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

 

BROOKS' SALARY HIGHER THAN AVERAGE

by Yonca Poyraz-Dogan

Daily Cougar Staff

The university came up with a survey to determine head coaching salaries and said the compensation level was consistent with the national market. However, the survey includes only eight universities.

Moreover, according to the survey, base salaries average $79,000 and the total packages average approximately $95,000 with the guaranteed outside income.

Basketball head coach Alvin Brooks' salary increased to $125,000 from $75,000 after the university's survey, which was conducted by the Athletics Department. Brooks has 11 years experience as a full time assistant. His predecessor, Pat Foster, who resigned to take the head coaching job at the University of Nevada, made $113,645 in his final year at UH. Foster had eight years experience as a full time assistant and 12 years head coaching experience.

According to a UH press release that came out after the Board of Regents meeting on Aug. 25, "...the total compensation for each position was consistent with its relative national market as well as the occupant's experience and background."

The survey includes five public and four private universities. One of the public institutions and three of the private institutions are Southwest Conference schools.

Athletic Director Bill Carr said he used his professional judgement to decide on a salary increase for Brooks.

"If you hire a person and expect (that person) to do great things, the compensation level should be commensurate. We expect an outstanding performance," Carr said. He also said somewhat objective and somewhat subjective judgement affected his decision.

"I am comfortable with the information I gathered," he said. Carr added that he did not decide just by looking at the numbers because he is not in a chemistry laboratory.

Salary information gathered by the Daily Cougar shows Lamar University's and University of California's (Berkeley) basketball head coaches were in 1993. While Lamar's head coach makes $75,000, UC's head coach makes $170,000 together with the guaranteed outside income. Neither of them had headcoaching experience before.

On the other hand, San Diego State and Southwest Missouri State Universities' coaches, who were hired in 1992 without head coaching experience, make between $80,000 and $110,000 including their guaranteed outside income.

Texas Tech University's basketball head coach James Dickey, who was hired in 1991 without headcoahing experience and with 11 years full time assistant experience, recently received a salary raise. His new salary is $108,000.

A second survey provided by another university lists 81 salaries for head basketball coaches throughout the country. The survey also looks at 62 more salaries that include base and market generated income.

In the men's basketball program, 298 four-year universities exist in Division I throughout the country, according to the NCAA.

While Carr said the second survey was done by someone from another university, he would not indicate the specifics.

The second survey does not provide any information on the coaches' experience, universities represented or correlations between the salaries and coaches.

The same kind of survey was conducted for head football coach Kim Helton. The survey includes 81 base salaries and 63 base and market generated income salaries. It also doesn't indicate coaches' experiences.

In Helton's package, the university transferred both the housing allowance and life insurance supplements to his base salary, increasing the salary line from $120,000 to $149,200.

Helton is also guaranteed a maximum of $120,000 in market-generated income, bringing his total package to $269,200. Helton has 11 years of experience as a top assistant coach in the National Football League.

President James Pickering will present contracts for the Board's approval at a special meeting that will be called some time in the future, according to the Aug. 25 press release.

 

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

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

 

PRESIDENT OFFERS EX-COACH $40K

by Meagan McGovern

Daily Cougar Staff

UH President James Pickering offered former-UH football coach Steven Staggs nearly $40,000 Tuesday to settle all claims against the university with the provision that "Staggs agrees not to disclose the existence an/or terms of this settlement agreement," according to a copy of the document the Cougar has received.

Staggs apparently rejected the offer by filing suit Wednesday for wrongful firing.

Staggs named the university, through Pickering and the Board of Regents, as defendants, claiming UH violated the "Whistle-Blower Act," which prohibits retaliation against public employees who report official wrongdoing.

Staggs' statements to the media this spring concerning alleged NCAA violations by former UH football head coach John Jenkins resulted in Jenkins' resignation April 30.

On June 16, Staggs was fired by Athletic Director Bill Carr in a letter that claimed Staggs showed "disloyalty toward your head coach . . . deficiencies in handling your position players . . . and deficiencies in job performance."

Staggs appealed his dismissal and went to the media with his accusations about Jenkins, saying that he was fired only because he "did the right thing."

A hearing panel recommended that the termination be upheld, but that the letter of termination should be revised to include no indication of disloyalty, but to give "credit to (Staggs') high moral standards and (to point) out the difference in philosophy between (Staggs) and the current Athletic Department."

The panel went on to say, "Dr. Pickering agreed with the findings and recommendations. . . His decision is final and concludes the administrative process for your appeal."

Pickering included a revised termination letter with the offer of $39,531.36, or one year's of Staggs' salary, in exchange for him signing the "release and settlement" agreement.

The agreement stipulated that if Staggs accepted the offer, he must not only release all claims against the university, but must also agree never to disclose either the terms of the settlement agreement or the very existence of the agreement unless required to do so by law.

In the letter offering the settlement, Pickering said in part, "Although I do not find any unfair treatment or other problems with the procedures followed in your termination, I am willing to offer, as a settlement of all disputes, a cash settlement."

Pickering said he agreed with the committee's recommendation to uphold the termination. A revised termination letter written by Carr but included with Pickering's offer, stated: "Coach Helton and I feel the team is headed in a new direction and a change in coaching philosophies and policies is mandatory. We appreciate the time and effort you have expended for our program and we wish you all the best in your career."

The first letter of termination signed by Carr, dated June 16, said, "Your presence at the athletic facilities will not be required or allowed after today. All keys provided to to you by the Athletic Department must be returned immediately," and went on to list reasons for termination.

After learning of the lawsuit Wednesday night, Pickering said Staggs' termination was valid and that the panel was right to uphold it. When asked why UH would be willing to give $40,000 to someone who no longer worked for the university in exchange for dropping all claims and keeping silent, Pickering had no comment.

"I can't say anything about personnel matters - it's likely to come back and haunt you in a court of law," said the president.

Although he did say he believed Staggs had been treated fairly, he added, "Where legal matters are concerned, I have to rely on speaking through attorneys."

In fact, he told the Cougar, "Keep me as far away from this as you can. You don't need me out in front saying a hell of a lot."

When Carr was asked about Staggs' suit, he too said he felt it was unwise to comment on the issue. He said he agreed with whatever Pickering had to say about the suit.

Pickering said this case was no different than any other legal case involving UH, but that Staggs' suit is more "sensational, coming as it does on the heels of other collegiate athletic issues."

There have recently been questions raised by the Faculty Senate over the issue of athletic salary raises in a time of campus-wide cutbacks.

Staggs was unavailable for comment and referred all questions to his attorney.

 

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

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

 

LASER DISCS: THE BIG SCREEN LOOK AT HOME

by Jenalia Moreno

Daily Cougar Staff

Just when you think you have upgraded and bought everything available in the world of video technology, something new appears.

The laser disc player is quickly becoming a popular item for entertainment and a new way people can enjoy movies in their own homes.

Laser discs give viewers the feeling they are seeing a film in a movie theater, because of surround sound and better video quality than VHS.

"Laser disc players give you a 60 percent sharper picture than a regular VCR would," said Alan Mueller, an employee at the Third Coast Laser Audio and Video store, located on Westheimer. "If laser discs are kept at room temperature, they won't degrade or fade like a VHS movie would, so you can keep it forever."

Laser discs can be purchased or rented from various video stores around Houston. There are over 10,000 movies available on laser discs including most current video releases.

The price of a laser disc starts at $29.95 and can go up to $150. The players can cost anywhere from $400 to $1,200.

Mueller said that, in approximately five years, laser discs will become as popular as compact discs and VCRs are now.

Third Coast has about 800 customers in the Houston area.

"(Laser discs) are definitely turning around, since the machines are getting in a price (range) you can afford," Mueller said.

Laser disc players, which have been available since 1978, allow people to do more than just watch movies and listen to compact discs.

"I use my laser disc player as a karoke machine," said pre-med sophomore Binh Hoang.

"When the video is on, you can sing along with the words on the screen."

 

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

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

 

A. D. BRUCE RELIGION CENTER AN ELEGANT SPOT FOR PEACE

by Rashda Khan

Daily Cougar Staff

Some people say religion is wherever you find it. The A.D. Bruce Religion Center offers UH students a place to find their own religion.

Among the center's most remarkable physical features are its gigantic stained-glass windows overlooking the campus.

The tinted glass filters the sunlight, and the whole world seems to mellow.

The graceful, high, white arches, the elegant vermilion pews, the marble floors and the old pipe organ all add to the center's atmosphere.

Entering the center is like opening a jar of carefully preserved silence. It fills people with peace and inspires them to spiritual heights.

Because the center is home to various denominations, it brings people with different beliefs together.

Several student religious groups can be found at the center.

They have their offices and hold their meetings and religious services at the center.

The Catholic Newman Association holds regular masses Monday through Thursday at noon and on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

"Few people attend the weekday masses -- maybe 10 to 15 -- which is a pity, because the masses are short and interesting, and it really is a nice and comfortable place," said Anh La, a UH employee.

The Muslim Students Association (MSA) has weekly prayer sessions, on Fridays, beginning at 1:30 p.m., that include prayers, discussions and lectures.

Discussions have focussed on topics such as how some media coverage of Muslims has been misleading, said Farnaz Dandia, a member of the MSA.

Besides weekly services, the center is also a popular place for weddings. Couples wanting to be married at the center must make reservations at least one year in advance.

Although the religious center doesn't perform weddings during the week, about four marriage ceremonies take place each weekend.

Then there are students such as Mira Adrit, an undeclared sophomore, who said although she's not very religious, she comes to the center regularly.

"It's so quiet and cool that it's one place I can read, sleep or contemplate in peace," she said.

Whatever their religion, the doors of the A.D. Religion Center are open to all UH students. Those who choose to peek inside may like what they see.

 

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

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

 

SPORTSCASTER HITS AIRWAVES HOPEFUL ABOUT THE FUTURE

by Adam King

Daily Cougar Staff

Jim Bergamo knows what it's like to bounce from job to job. Call him a journeyman and he nods his head vigorously up and down in agreement.

The soon-to-be-newscaster sighs when he remembers his two years in Connecticut as a studio anchor for ESPN's Sportscenter. Those were the good days.

But Bergamo, who will become the weekend anchor on all-news KNWS Channel 51 in November, remains optimistic, if not definitive, about his future.

His present job as host of the Kim Helton Show (11 a.m. Saturday's, Channel 39) has punctuated that optimism.

The opportunity to host the University of Houston football coach's show came about four months ago when Bobby Risinger, UH associate athletic director for external affairs, was in Channel 39 program director Bob Clark's office.

Bergamo, who was the sports director at the station between 1989-90, had returned to his old stomping grounds to let his friends know he was back in town. Risinger immediately offered him the job.

"Obviously, I didn't offend anybody at Channel 39 because they recommended me for the job," Bergamo jokingly said.

But Bergamo makes no bones about it. He's thrilled to be associated with Helton and the show.

"I met coach Helton when I was doing a feature for ESPN on J.D. Mearleveld, who was cut by the Oilers training camp," he said. "It was an interesting story because he was a recovering cancer patient. Coach Helton (the Oilers offensive line coach) was partly responsible for getting J.D. a shot with the Oilers as a free agent.

"Coach Helton is going to turn this (UH) program around. I'm excited, aside from any financial gain, of being associated with seeing this program turn around. I can't say if it's going to happen this year or next year. It may take two or three years, but I know eventually, if he's given the time, he'll be able to do it his way."

Bergamo also likes doing things his way. But there is a certain philosophy involved when it comes to hosting another man's show.

"I was watching another coach's show on the air, which shall go nameless, and I thought the poor coach had to sit there and inject all the personality," Bergamo said.

"The host was about as dead as you could be. My role is certainly not to upstage Kim, but it is to help inject some life and keep the pace going.

"Kim is entertaining enough to where I won't have to try to get a decent response out of him. Kim tells it like it is, and I'm looking forward to that, to having some good banter going back and forth and to make it entertaining."

And entertainment is an art Bergamo has learned over the years -- from cooking an egg on the hood of a car in a "How hot is it?" segment at the New Orleans Saints training camp, to having his face plastered on the mat at a karate tournament.

For those of us outside the tube looking in, each 30-minute segment or 30-second byte is but a moment in time. For Bergamo, they make up the rungs in his career ladder.

"Having been through the ups and downs in my business, you can't say where you'll be next week," he said. "Anchorage, Alaska, could just come up with an offer that I couldn't refuse. It's a volatile media that I've chosen to make my living in.

"The good times are very good. The bad times are very bad. You just don't know on a particular day when you're going to be riding the good or the bad."

 

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

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

 

THIS <I>MONEY<P> IS NOTHING

by Robert L. Arnold

Daily Cougar Staff

What would you do if you found $1.2 million? Hopefully, you would not spend any of it on a ticket to go see <I>Money for Nothing<P>.

This movie centers around five days in the life of an out-of-work longshoreman named Joey Coyle.

Coyle, played by John Cusak, finds $1.2 million lying in the middle of the road after the money falls out of the back of an armored truck.

The movie then proceeds, at a horribly lethargic pace, to take the viewer through Coyle's experiences with trying to hide his newfound fortune until he can have it laundered.

Unfortunately, Coyle has a problem with restraining himself from spending the money, which is all $100 bills, in an extravagant manner around his south Philadelphia neighborhood.

Coyle's first attempt to launder half of the money leads him to Vicente Goldini, played by Maury Chakin, a small time bookie with mafia ties.

Goldini completely confuses the strung-out Coyle with some verbal gymnastics concerning the percentage he will receive for laundering the money.

Goldini, also a "street philosopher," eloquently recounts the story of how Benjamin Franklin captured lightning in a bottle while flying his kite, and explains to Coyle that by finding this money he has also captured lightning in a bottle.

This brilliant piece of poetic wisdom cinches it for Coyle who then decides to launder half of the money and bring the other half in the next day.

Meanwhile, Coyle's reluctant girlfriend Monica Russo, played by Debi Mazar, figures out that Coyle is the one who found the money.

"Can you show me what $1.2 million looks like?" is the question Russo asks Coyle before they explode into a steamy sex scene in the middle of a pile of cash. This scene definitely gives new meaning to the term "liquid assets."

The rest of the movie drags on with only a few noteworthy scenes like one where Coyle goes to pick up his laundered money and finds that it has been broken down into quarters and nickels.

Cusak's ability as a comic actor is the only real bright spot in the movie. Otherwise the jokes are poorly timed and take too long to set-up.

The best line of the movie comes in the beginning when Coyle's friend Kenny Kozlowski, played by Micheal Rapaport, tells him if they give the money back they will be famous, to which Coyle replies, "Who wants to be famous for being stupid?"

Mazar plays the role of Coyle's girlfriend perfectly, but that is mainly attributed to the fact that she can't play any other character than herself, a working-class girl from Queens. Michael Madsen, who plays Detective Laurenzi, goes way too far with trying play a laid-back character. Let's face it, there are Buddhist monks who look like they get more excitement out of life.

Despite sparsely humorous scenes Cusak's talent is wasted on this picture and the title of the movie is definitely an accurate description of the quality.

 

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

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

 

NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT, BIG WINS STILL MISSING FOR SWC TEAMS

by Adam King

Daily Cougar Staff

The Southwest Conference member schools stumbled to a 2-5 record against non-conference opponents last week, including 0-3 against the Big Eight.

The competition doesn't get any easier, but the damage might be lessened with Houston, Texas Christian and Southern Methodist all having byes this week.

Houston (0-2) returns to action Sept. 25 to take on the Michigan Wolverines (1-1) in Ann Arbor. The Cougars lost to Tulsa last Saturday 38-24 and Michigan fell to Notre Dame 27-23.

The Horned Frogs (1-1) and SMU (0-2) also face off Sept. 25 in Fort Worth at TCU's Amon Carter Stadium to kick off the conference schedule.

But several key match-ups this weekend could go a long way in determining how much respect the SWC deserves.

Texas A&M (1-1), ranked 16th in the Associated Press poll, returns to the friendly confines of Kyle Field in College Station, where the Aggies are unbeaten since losing 23-22 to Arkansas on November 24, 1989.

They face the Missouri Tigers (1-0), who are given the daunting task of breaking the Aggies' 18-0-1 streak since the Arkansas loss. Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum is 22-1-1 at Kyle Field since he began in 1989.

Missouri, another Big Eight school, demolished Illinois 31-3 last week in its season opener. Last year, the Tigers lost to the Aggies 26-13 in Columbia, Mo., but stayed close most of the game.

The Aggies had a bomb dropped in their laps Saturday when Oklahoma ripped them 44-14. With a national championship virtually out of the picture, Texas A&M is playing for respect.

Texas Tech takes its 1-1 record on the road to Athens, Ga., where the Georgia Bulldogs are a surprising 0-2 after losses to South Carolina and Tennessee.

Tech was whipped 50-27 by Nebraska Saturday but still remains one of the most potent offensive teams in the SWC with receiver Lloyd Hill (six receptions, 106 yards, one touchdown versus Nebraska) and running back Byron "Bam" Morris (16 carries, 114 yards, one touchdown) in its arsenal.

Texas (0-1) had a bye last week after losing to No. 7 Colorado and now faces an even tougher challenge when No. 6 Syracuse (2-0) and Heisman Trophy candidate Marvin Graves visit Austin.

Graves boasts a rocket arm and completion of 31-of-44 passes for 553 yards and five touchdowns on the season.

Rice (1-1) blanked Tulane 34-0 and looks to do the same to Division I-AA Sam Houston State.

And Baylor (1-1) seeks redemption against Utah State after the 45-21 clobbering it took on the chin from Colorado.

The SWC also seeks redemption. The scheduling of top opponents has been a plus for the conference in exposure, but the lack of competitiveness against the major programs has kept respect for the SWC pinned to the mat.

That could begin to change Saturday.

 

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

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

 

TRULY GREAT

by Jayne Zuluaga

Contributing Writer

As they say, love is a many splendored thing. Or is it?

Theater LaB Houston's production of <I>Unidentified Human Remains & the True Nature of Love<P> explores the lives of seven people in their search for meaningful relationships.

Set in the Canadian city of Edmonton, Alberta, the plot involves the adventures of Candy (Lisa Morrison) and David (Colin McLetchie), two friends who share a small apartment, and attempt to find someone to love while a serial killer is loose around town.

David, formerly an actor on Canadian television, now works as a waiter in a restaurant, and is befriended by a young busboy named Kane (Todd E. Jordan) while counting tips at the end of the night. Undaunted by David’s homosexuality, Kane decides to accept him and take him in as a friend.

Meanwhile, Candy is interested in meeting new people, and seeks a relationship from either sex. While working out at the gym, she is approached by Jerri (Jennifer Doctorovich), a lesbian who sees her as an amazing and beautiful woman. This is an odd, yet interesting experience for Candy, but she decides to try something new, and allows herself to meet with Jerri again.

Then again, there is that bartender, Robert, played by Michael W. Rhoads, who asks Candy out on a date. She dates both Jerri and Robert, and decides that a serious relationship with another woman is too much for her to handle. Candy decides to see more of Robert, while wondering if she did the right thing.

On the next date, David takes Kane to see his friend Benita, wonderfully portrayed by Celeste Cheramie. Benita is an odd character. She psychically "reads" people, performs sexual acts for a fee and is fascinated with grotesque stories of mutilation and death.

Benita reads Kane's mind and tells David that Kane is in love with him. David, a cynic, believes that there is no such thing as love and disregards Benita's claim.

Enter Bernie. Played by Mark Roberts, Bernie has been David's best friend since college and is always there for him. The relationship between David and Bernie is greater than just being close friends. Although Bernie is married, he finds that he is torn between his sexuality at times when around David.

The characters in <I>Unidentified Human Remains & the True Nature of Love<P> eventually intermingle and learn more about themselves and their expectations of relationships. The play, written by Brad Fraser, is a hilarious comedy and at the same time, surprisingly dramatic.

Although Theater LaB Houston presents theater in the off-Broadway genre, the performances are not far from those you may see there. The play, directed by Ed Muth, involves an excellent cast, offering entertainment while prodding at thought provoking issues.

Colin McLetchie proves his extraordinary acting flexibility in his portrayal of David, leading the rest of the cast, as he combines comedy with drama. Leading lady Lisa Morrison was also excellent, in her dramatic scenes.

Theater LaB Houston is a small, renovated black box theater, where actors can perform intimately with the audience and keep them rapt in attention.

Owner Gerald Blaise LaBita converted his parents' former grocery store to a modern day stage. Although it only recently opened in April of this year with <I>Catholic School Girls,<P> TLH is proving to be an excellent addition to the arts in Houston.

<I>Unidentified Human Remains & the True Nature of Love<P> is a wonderful play that blends the issue of homosexuality and relationships into one. Although it deals with themes of a sexual nature and is on an adult level, it is still entertaining in every way, after all, Theater LaB Houston is "where dangerous theater prevails."

Visit The Daily Cougar