DAY WITHOUT ART OBSERVANCES TODAY

by shane patrick boyle

Daily Cougar Staff

Sorry, no art today. Come back tomorrow.

Today is Day Without Art, also known internationally as the World Health Organization's AIDS Awareness Day.

The name Day Without Art is actually misleading because the day is often observed with performances and exhibits of art.

The purpose is to call attention to the impact AIDS has had on the arts community. In some cities, museums have done this by closing their doors for the day and last year Houston artists covered up sculptures around town. But mostly it is observed with art.

This year both the Alley Theatre and Da Camera will interrupt performances with a moment of silence.

The Museum of Fine Arts will be showing AIDS-related films all day today. For films and times call 639-7530.

Artist and physician Eric Avery's exhibit <I>Texas/ Between Two Worlds<P> will be on view at the Contemporary Arts Museum and Avery will present "HIV testing as public performance." Call 526-0773 for more information.

At 8 p.m., DiverseWorks will present readings of 4 one act plays with AIDS themes written by Houstonians. The readings will be performed by Theater LaB. For information call 868-7516.

Rice University's Sewall Art Gallery will present a day-long reading of the names of people who have died of AIDS. For information call 527-4815.

Here at UH, the Blaffer Gallery will kick off its third annual collection of miscellaneous items needed by people with AIDS (PWAs) in conjunction with the Bering Service Foundation.

The drive will continue through Dec. 14, and the gifts collected will be placed in surprise boxes which will be presented to PWAs at the Bering Care Center Christmas Party.

Lists of items needed are available at the Blaffer Gallery in the Fine Arts Building.

 

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FUNDING, GANGS TOP LIST OF STATE REP'S CONCERNS

by Rivka Gewirtz

Daily Cougar Staff

Public school funding and gang control may be the two biggest issues facing next year's Legislature.

State Representative Mario Gallegos, D-Houston, visited UH Tuesday and addressed students in the Mexican American Studies Department.

While UH was expecting its budget to be cut by $20 million in the last legislative session, the school only lost $8.5 million. Gallegos said UH is in danger of losing the same amount or more in the next session.

Gallegos said he will use the high amount of Hispanics at UH as an argument to "deflect" cuts to in the next legislative session.

In the last legislative session, a group of South Texas cities brought a case against the state, stating that the Hispanic population in South Texas would be "deprived" if the area's public universities received high cuts. "We can definitely use that argument too. There are more Hispanics in Harris County than there are in the Valley," said Gallegos.

 

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GREEKS THROWING OUT THE KEGS

by Tiffany Vaughner

News Reporter

With campus alcohol abuse on the rise nationwide, UH Greek communities are cracking down on alcohol use on campus.

According to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, alcohol abuse is the primary health problem on America's college and university campuses. The survey also states that 240,000 to 360,000 college students will die of alcohol related causes, which is "comparable to the entire undergraduate body of the Big Ten dropping dead."

Gail Hudson of the Counseling and Testing Center said UH is just below average in campus alcohol consumption according to a recent survey.

"Eighty-two percent of UH students consume alcohol at some level. The national average is 85 to 90 percent. We did a survey in the spring of '91 and (the spring of) '92 and we found that when asked if alcohol should not be served at campus activities, one third of the students surveyed said they would rather not have it," Hudson said.

She also said the survey showed students thought there was more drinking on campus than there actually was. Hudson said she thinks the perception problem stems from the fact that people who are visibly drunk are easy to notice.

Tanya Kelsaw, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha said,"I haven't seen any drunkenness at frat or sorority parties. I assume people drink but I haven't seen any. It may very well be a problem but I couldn't know for sure."

Tau Beta Sigma president Linda Spillane said chapter members are not allowed to drink at formal gatherings or when they are wearing their letters, but at non-chapter get-togethers it is acceptable. She said she didn't notice much abuse but there will always be trouble-makers.

"There will always be a few people whose life goal is to get smashed," Spillane said.

Even so, some fraternities aren't taking any chances.

Sigma Phi Epsilon president Todd Smith said, "We have strict guidelines for any party. We have one HPD security officer for every 75 people. They're in charge of checking if people are too drunk to drive and we stop serving alcohol one hour before the end of the party."

Greg Wassberg, commander of Sigma Nu said, "Our policies are made in our national office and they state that we cannot buy alcohol with chapter funds. We have designated drivers for people who can't drive home and HPD officers to patrol the party and make sure that no one under 21 drinks. We're not allowed to have kegs at our parties anymore and those who are drinking must do so out of opaque containers."

The Fraternity Insurance Purchasing Group has a Risk Management Policy for alcohol consumption at social events that applies to all fraternities and sororities. The policies have been adopted by the UH Interfraternity Council and are included in the student handbook.

All of the policies restrict alcohol use, such as the rules that state rush activities must be dry functions, drinking games are prohibited, no bulk quantities of alcoholic beverages (kegs) are permitted and chapter members cannot purchase for, sell to or serve minors.

 

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STAFF INSURANCE MONEY IN LIMBO

by Yonca Poyraz-Dogan

Daily Cougar Staff

Despite a delay in distribution, more than 6,400 UH System employees can expect to receive their remaining medical insurance balances before the end of the year.

Edward Whalen, vice chancellor for administration and finance for the System, said about $5.9 million was planned to be distributed from the Employee Benefit Trust in mid-November.

The system will distribute the residual balance that remains in the trust fund, which stopped operating when the system joined a state insurance program in 1992.

A miscalculation caused the delay, Whalen said. The finance office discovered an error in the federal income tax withholding, which meant the amount was insufficient to meet the Internal Revenue Service requirements, he said.

About 80 percent of the employees, or more than 5,000 people, who are waiting for their checks work for the UH main campus. Employees are expecting to receive between $750 and $2,000.

Whalen said disappointed employees called the personnel offices to voice their reactions.

"I don't expect the money until I see it in my hand (but) I know some staff members who are already out of cash because they overspent, expecting to get the checks. (The system) put them in a bad situation," said Cay Osmon, staff associate in the office of the senior vice president for academic affairs.

Ana Flores, a senior librarian clerk, said she called the personnel office to check the situation after she received a memo saying the checks would not be distributed on the expected date. "I was disappointed. It was great to know that I was going to get something," she said. She hopes the money will be given before Christmas so she can do some shopping.

"I sympathize with the employees (in their reaction)," said Whalen. He said his office is doing everything possible to distribute the money before the end of the year, but he was unable to give a specific date for the distribution.

Employee and employer contributions were deposited into the Employee Benefit Trust to pay for medical costs since 1988, Whalen said. When the UH System joined the Texas Uniform Group Insurance Program in September 1992 because of the cost-effectiveness of the state program, the trust came to an end, Whalen said.

The UH System Fringe Benefits Committee, which was designated to be the trustee of the funds, evaluated various options to distribute the funds, he said.

According to the committee's decision, all employees who were employed by the UH System and insured through the trust fund as of Aug. 31, 1992, will be eligible to receive a portion of the remaining balance. The portion they will receive is based on the proportion of their contribution to the fund.

 

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PROFESSOR RESEARCHES AIDS AMONG AFRICAN-AMERICANS

by Thomas Hewett

Daily Cougar Staff

Janis Hutchinson, UH professor of medical anthropology, said she began conducting AIDS research four years ago because of her "concern about health for African-Americans."

Hutchinson, who has taught at UH since 1984, studies relationships and the increase of HIV rates among African Americans in the Houston. She previously conducted similar research among people in the Caribbean Islands.

"I've been doing research on HIV among African Americans and the context in which they make decisions about whether or not to use condoms, engage in multiple relationships and so on," Hutchinson said.

African Americans are at the greatest risk in terms of new HIV cases than any other ethnic group, she said.

"Just by talking with people about HIV (and) reading and learning about it, I realized that a lot of people in the black community have misconceptions about (HIV)," Hutchinson said.

Many people are still not completely sure how the virus is transmitted, she said. She added that for a long time, there was a sense of denial on the national level that AIDS was a health problem in America.

"I don't think anything was done, particularly during Reagan's administration," Hutchinson said. "It was already three to four years into the epidemic before (Reagan) mentioned the word AIDS."

Efforts to fund AIDS research have skyrocketed since the early '80s, Hutchinson said.

"Since Clinton has been in office, more has been done," she said. "For the first time, we have coordination among different organizations trying to get money to fight HIV."

Statistics from the Texas Coastal Bend AIDS Foundation reveal 30-40 million people will be infected with HIV by the year 2000.

"Education is the most important factor," Hutchinson said. "It's kind of strange, that in 1993, there are still people who don't know what AIDS is."

She recommends that anyone who has had sex within the past 10 years be tested for HIV.

"Think about yourself," Hutchinson said. "We never had a disease before that cuts into your DNA and becomes a part of you. It's something more difficult to deal with."

 

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BEARS FIRST TO TRAP COUGARS IN SWC

 

by Heather Ellis

Daily Cougar Staff

A first loss is never easy, as coach Alvin Brooks and the Houston Cougars discovered in their 71-65 fall to the Southwest Missouri State Bears Tuesday night at Hofheinz Pavilion.

Forward Hershel Wafer led the Cougars with 18 points and point guard Anthony Goldwire followed with 16.

Southwest Missouri State shut down the Cougars offensive game, holding them to just 40.6 percent from the field, with the Cougars doing the rest to themselves.

"We have to learn from our mistakes," coach Brooks said. "There were so many things that we didn't do. Defensively, we were slow. We were slow on our full-court pressure and our reads were not as good."

Bears guard Johnny Murdock was definitely reading something right. He led the Bears with 18 points and was unstoppable on the court.

The Bears held the Cougars to just 27 points in the first half and kept forward Jessie Drain imobilized, especially from three-point range.

Southwest Missouri State head coach Mark Bernsen said his team did what was necessary to get the victory.

"In the middle of the second half they had a good run, but we countered well," Bernsen said. "We got tired, but we made some clutch free throws that helped us."

In the second half, the Cougars put their press in effect, slowing the Bear offensive down and allowing the Cougars to pull within three, 63-60 with 2:55 left in the half.

With 1:23 left, Wafer brought the Cougars to 65-63. After that Murdock took control. He sank a three pointer that pushed the Bears up 69-63 and the game was effictively over. Houston scored two more points but the Bears let time run off of the clock for the game.

"We left Murdock open a lot in the second half, and that wasn't good for us," coach Brooks said. "We have a lot of young guys and we just need to work on better reading our defense and getting rebounds."

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