VAKSMAN CASE DOWN TO DEADLINE

By Robert L. Arnold

Daily cougar Staff

 

The final chapter of an ongoing battle between UH doctoral student Fabian Vaksman and the university may soon come to a close.

Vaksman was given a letter of expulsion from the history graduate committee in 1986 for not making progress on his dissertation and being "a polemicist who substitutes political ideology for original research and scholarly analysis."

Vaksman's original submission of Ideological Struggle was rejected on the basis that it dealt more with Russian history and not U.S. history, according to Professor Clifford Egan, Vaksman's official adviser.

"I wrote my dissertation on topical events occurring in Mother Russia at the time. "I felt a patriotic duty to write about these issues, and if my adviser and the head of the department are too stupid to understand this, then they have no business running a doctoral program," Vaksman said.

Vaksman responded to his expulsion by filing a massive lawsuit in 1987 against UH, listing several grievances, including breach of First Amendment rights.

The district court ruled in favor of Vaksman and ordered UH to reinstate him into the doctoral program. Vaksman was also awarded $122,500 for legal fees, actual damages and emotional duress. UH is currently appealing this decision.

Vaksman further retaliated by writing an epic poem titled RRacist. The poem vividly describes the murders of faculty members by a disgruntled doctoral student.

Excerpts from RRacist describe in explicit detail how the poem's main character, RR, shoots these characters with an assault rifle.

The similarities between the fictional characters in the poem, coupled with graphic depictions of death and existing History Department faculty, led UH to place an armed guard outside the History Department offices in the summer of 1993. The guard was removed in lieu of adding extra patrols by UHPD in Agnes Arnold Hall.

Vaksman continues to defend his poem as strictly fiction and said the atmosphere of terror expressed by the department is unnecessary. "This is just fiction. I used faculty members in the History Department as prototypes for my characters."

"The reaction to my poem is absurd; it is like trying to arrest the author of a spy novel for espionage," Vaksman added.

Amid UH's appeal to overturn Vaksman's reinstatement and the "smear campaign" he feels is being run against him, Vaksman faces a new enemy: the deadline for his dissertation.

According to Egan, Vaksman's submission of his doctoral thesis is due Sept. 30. If Vaksman does not submit his work at this time, he will be expelled from the doctoral program under UH's five-year policy, which states a doctoral student has five years to complete a dissertation after taking comprehensive exams.

"Because of the situation surrounding Vaksman's enrollment at UH, he has about as much of a chance of being given a time extension as I do of leaving for Mars," Egan said.

Vaksman contends his dissertation is not due until the appear UH filed has been resolved. He further blames UH for abusing the legal process by filing extensions, which are keeping him from receiving his doctoral designation.

"If they really wanted my dissertation, they would stop all this nonsense, but they don't," Vaksman said.

According to Lee Liggett, UH general counsel., UH's appeal in no way affects the deadline for Vaksman's dissertation.

"If Mr. Vaksman is holding off working on his dissertation until our (UH's) appeal is heard, he has been ill-advised," Leggett said.

He added that the appeal has been drafted and will be submitted to the Texas Supreme court within the week.

Egan said he feels Vaksman will not be ready to submit his work on the 30th, adding that he "becomes very irritated when questioned about his progress,"

Vaksman will not comment on his progress, but said he has every intention of submitting is work in U.S. history and earning his doctoral designation from UH.

Vaksman continued with his endeavors in fiction by writing RRacist II and the treatment for the screenplay of RRacist I.

"I felt it was my duty as a historian to relate my experience here at UH, and I used fiction to get at the truth," Vaksman said.

Even though two years have passed from the time UH received Vaksman's poem, many history faculty members are still nervous about his intentions.

"Certainly, some individuals are still very aware of (Vaksman's) presence and very leery of his agenda," said a UH faculty member insisting on anonymity.

Vaksman said he feels his career has been damaged by the negative publicity he said UH has given him, and is considering suing the university again on those grounds.

 

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STUDENTS HOLD FATE AS LIBRARY FACES POSSIBLE FUNDING CUTBACKS

by Jennifer Smith

Contribution Writer

Each year, UH students pay a $15 library funding fee. This spring, the student body has the opportunity to rescind or renew the fee.

University Bill NO. 28016, establishing the library fee in 1992, provides that the university will not assess this fee after '94-'95 unless the administration of the Students' Association determines an extension is necessary.

The bill requires that the university provide funds in addition to the fee collected form students and bring the university's percentage of formula-determined funding up to at least 100 percent.

The decision to continue the fee requires a special study by SA representatives.

SA will establish a library committee this week to review all the information associated with the 1995 spring semester's impending decision. SA President Angie Milner said the members of the committee will research the numbers involved.

Milner said the committee will decide, among other things, if a student referendum is needed. She added that referendum is needed. She added that referendums, because of their high cost, are usually only implemented in a controversial vote.

The library fee was passed during the 1992 spring semester. The same biennium the fee was implemented, 1992-93, M.D. Anderson Library fell in the Association of Research Libraries' rankings form 101st to 106th of 107, said Robin Downes, library director.

In 1992-1993, the library exceeded the previous year's percentage of recommended funding by about 14 percent, achieving slightly over 100 percent of its recommended budget, up form 86.3 percent the year before.

Acting Assistant for Public Services Pat Anser said the library fees and the university's matching funds form about 20 percent of existing library revenue. Since the fee arrangement with the university has been implemented, the influx of well over $1million per year has been used to double the acquisition rate for books and greatly improve its technological facilities, she said.

The library plans to double the CD-ROM data base and its workstations because there has been such a great response form students for that facility.

Downes said the recent renovations and improvements to the facility were paid for by existing funds freed by the student library fee, while the fee and its matched funds pay for acquisitions both of journals and of books, as well as technological innovations and improvements.

Downes said if the library fee is not renewed, it would be a catastrophe.

"The library is trying to phase in an electronic library component while maintaining the traditional library," Downes said.

Without these improvements, he said, the library would be totally out of the ballpark in terms of progressing as an institutional library.

"The extra funding is the linchpin, the key to this transition, in which we've made healthy progress," he said, adding that without the funding provided by the library fee arrangement, drastic cuts in every library program would be necessary.

 

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MATH TUTORING GIVES STUDENTS BETTER ODDS

by Jenalia Moreno

Daily Cougar Staff

Terms like square root, lowest common denominator or logarithm no longer have to be perplexing for UH students who have had a history of math problems.

The Math Department is offering video labs, tutorials and math review sessions for students enrolled in math classes. Every students who is enrolled in a 1000- or 2000- level math course will automatically be charged $15 on their fee bills to pay for these services.

The program was CO-founded by Leigh Hollyer and Michael Friedberg because they felt many students are not prepared for college math courses.

"There are six million reasons students didn't learn math," Hollyer said.

The review sessions have included algebra, calculus and finite math reviews so students can remember things they may have forgotten since high school or things they may have never learned.

"There is a need to pay more attention to undergraduate education and the needs of undergraduate students and this math program is an attempt to do this," Friedberg said.

The video lab will be in room 210 PGH and offer videos that have been taped during Summer IV reviews and taught by different math professors. Students may watch the tapes in the lab for as long as is needed.

A tutoring lab is available in room 272 PGH. Students will be tutored in groups if not enough tutors are available for one-on-one tutoring.

The pair have been working for more than a year on getting the project off the ground.

"Anybody who has a problem with math can just walk right in," Friedberg said.

 

 

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COOGS OFF ON WRONG FOOT AS KU TURNS FAST START INTO 35-13 CRUNCH

by Jason Paul Ramirez

Daily Cougar Staff

Upon arriving at the Astrodome for Thursday evening's football contest, several Houston Cougar fans had one thing on their minds-"See Red."

Unfortunately for many of the cougar faithful, there was not a whole lot of red to see.

In a classic demonstration of ball control, the Kansas Jayhawks held the football for almost 40 of the 60 total minutes in the game to score a 35-13 victory over the Cougars in the 1994 regular season opener for both teams before the 18,150 on hand.

The time of possession (38:38) for Kansas nearly doubled the amount of time the Cougars were on the fields (21:22).

"I think the physical dominance that Kansas put on us was the biggest difference in the game," said Houston head coach Kim Helton. "I don't remember being dominated by a team like this one (dominated us) tonight."

The Jayhawks ran roughshod over a beleaguered Houston defensive line for a whopping 346 yards rushing.

Sophomore and All-Big Eight candidate June Henley got his season off to a good start, running for 114 yards on 16 carries.

"Kansas had a good outside running game tonight," said linebacker Chris Jones. "And those long drives they were taking were taking their toll on us physically."

Indeed. Kansas began the game with an impressive 10-play, 80-yard drive capped off by a touchdown pass form quarterback Asheiki Preston to tight end Jim Moore, giving the Jayhawks an dearly 7-0 lead 4:20 into the contest.

Following a three-and-out possession from the cougars, KU drove down the field once again, scoring another touchdown with running back L.T. Levine punching it in form four yards out on a fourth- and - one situation.

The drive took another 4:40 off the game clock and gave the Jayhawks a 14-0 lead.

"And we were playing our hearts out too," Jones said. "It was just that the amount of time they were on the field was draining us out."

As a result, Kansas took a 21-0 lead with it into the locker room at the half.

but even when the cougars were on the field, the Jayhawks didn't let them establish enough of a rhythm of offense to have an opportunity to compete.

"It was our first game and we were off," said Houston quarterback Chuck Clements. "Some of our younger guys didn't know how to respond to the pressures of a college football game."

However, Houston did show signs of an offensive uprising in the second half.

Still trailing 21-0 in the fourth quarter, the cougars finally got on the board when Clements found reciver Ron Peters on a fade route that the Houston senior was able to turn into a 51-yard catch-and-run for the touchdown.

"The line gave Chuck enough time to get off the pass and I made the catch," Peters said.

"We moved the ball pretty good at times on offense, but we weren't consistent," Clements said. "We have to do that for the entire game, not just in spurts."

Clements himself turned in an outstanding first game. The 6-3 sophomore was 23-of-38 for 304 yards and his impressive touchdown.

Peters was his favorite target on the night, catching seven balls for a total of 135 yards.

Unfortunately, the cougars were unable to move the ball on the ground, rushing for a total of 71 yards on 18 carries.

Aside form the long scoring pass, the remainder of the HOuston scoring came on two Trace Craft field goals of 37 and 33 yards.

"Though we didn't win tonight, I thought a lot of our younger guys and some of our veterans made some serious strides at getting better in a couple of weeks," Helton said.

 

 

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TENNIS TEAM GETTING ITS FIRST TASTE OF MOORES' GIFT

By Hiren Patel

Daily Cougar Staff

The 1994-95 Houston women's tennis team has made a new addition, not in the form of a player, but in the form of a new set of tennis courts.

The $25 million athletics complex scheduled to open in March includes 12 lighted tennis courts. Nine of the 12 courts are currently usable, while the other three will be finished by late fall.

The tennis courts are the first part of the complex to be completed for competition.

"(Playing on the courts should be) very nice. the girls really like it and they can practice on their own if they want to," tennis head coach Stina Mosvold said about the courts.

The tennis players are so impressed with the condition of the courts that some have already started practicing on their own, even though official tennis practice doesn't begin until Tuesday.

"Some courts weren't even playable," Mosvold said of the old courts. "It's less stressful (now) for the girls just to be able to walk down the road (to practice)."

The tennis team begins it season by hosting a seven-team tournament Oct. 14-16.

As a result of the courts' completion, part of the Fall Festival tennis tournament, which is held throughout the city, may be held at UH.

The courts are only part of the athletic facility funded by John and Rebecca Moores. The tennis team will finally be able to practice on indoor courts, an indispensable aid considering all the rain the team typically puts up with.

There is a free faculty/staff clinic offered on Sept. 10. To make reservations, call Stina Mosvold at 743-9376. There is also a faculty/staff tournament Nov. 11-13.

Students, faculty and staff can reserve courts by calling the Intramural Department at 743-9500.

 

 

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VOLLEYBALL HISTORY ALIVE AT HOFHEINZ

Walton hoping past success to rub off in competition between alumni and '94 team

By Hiren Patel

Daily Cougar Staff

Old vs. new.

The Houston Cougar volleyball team plans on bringing back its talented former players to compete against its present corps.

the Cougar varsity-alumni volleyball match will be held Saturday, and the first game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion. Admission is free for all UH students with a valid ID.

A few of the alumni scheduled to appear are Wendy Munzel, Karen Bell, Janie Honeycutt, Rosie Eickenhorst, Edwina Ammonds, Amie Roberts and Shannon Burger.

Munzel, a student assistant coach participating in her first alumni game, earned second team ALL-Southwest Conference honors as a senior in 1993.

"It's hard to watch practice and not be able to be out there with the others," said Munzel, who is finishing her degree. "I'm excited and glad that they have a chance to play.

"It's going to be weird playing against some of my teammates form last year."

Munzel was a key part of last year's team that won the first NCAA tournament game in team history. She hit .487 in that post season trip, leading the squad.

"This team should do well because four or five starters are from last year's team," she said.

Ammonds, a close friend of star Cougar netter Lilly Denoon, quit volleyball after the 1992 campaign in order to pursue a track career. She was a heptathlete her last two years at UH.

This year's varsity team includes six new players, which give the Cougars a solid balance.

Head volleyball coach Bill Walton said the goal of the match was to play like a real match.

"(We want) to try and have our players play a match against a quality opponent and bridge the gap between the alumni and the present players," Walton said about the purpose of the match.

"WE are trying to show the alumni that they are still part of our program," Walton said.

some other players also scheduled to participate are Reg Jewell, Karina Faber, Ginger Wittkofski, Julie James, Nancy Martini, Deborah Jackson, Delores Hemmen, Ashley Mulkey and Darlene Evans.

Faber was the leading attacker for the Cougars and part of the All-SWC first team in 1991 and 1992.

She became one of five Cougars to reach the career 1,000-kill mark in '92 and still holds the SWC seasonal kill mark at UH.

Mulkey helped Houston win the NIVC Tournament title as a freshman in 1990. As a sophomore, she was second-team All-SWC.

Her senior year was definitely her best, as she finished with career highs in kills (45), total attacks (1147) and digs (350).

After her freshman success, Mulkey played in 288 of 290 possible games the rest of her career.

After finishing with a record of 20-16 last season, Houston will open the 1994 season at Ohio State Sept. 9. their first home game is Sept. 14 against Sam Houston State in Hofheinz Pavilion.

 

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THEATER LAB PLAYS WITH THE DEVIL

by Shane Patrick Boyle

Daily Cougar staff

In The Ghosts of Forever, Ray Bradbury poses the question, "What will God be like (in the future)?"

Larry Larson and Levi Lee's play Some Things You Need To Know Before The World Ends: A Final Evening with the Illuminati, currently playing at Theater LaB Houston, explores possibilities along these lines.

What will the post World WarIII American church be like after the nuclear holocaust?

Will biblical revisionists searching through the literature of today consider the sports pages to be inspired scripture?

Will Elvis be considered a saint?

After the economy has entirely collapsed, will there still be an offering after every sermon?

Answering these questions and more, the play, set in 2028 A.D., presents an image of a church where sermons equally incorporate sports metaphors and King James English, correctly folding a map is considered a miracle, prospective saints must pay an application fee, creative self-mutilation is next to godliness and martyr deaths may be selected form a catalog.

Theater LaB's production, directed by Ed Muth, features Colin McLetchie as Reverend Eddie and Dean Turner as Brother Lawrence.

Reverend Eddie is the holier (and more paranoid)-than-thou preacher, and Brother Lawerence is his disfigured loyal follower who looks up to Eddie like God, even though Eddie like God, even though Eddie treats him like a small dog (a large rat or a medium-size otter).

Lawrence has visions of a space lady promising him he will be healed, but the self-righteous Eddie dismisses the relevance of anything Lawrence has to say, telling him, "Hunchbacks don't have visions."

Eddie, on the other hand, is troubled in his sleep by visions of a spectral figure with a strong resemblance to Brother Lawrence in a Halloween costume. the confidence normally projected by the pastor is stripped away, and he cowers in fear in the presence of this ghost.

In his waking hours, he is also troubled. Visions of masons in fancy cars make the holy man's life a living hell.

The reverend interprets these visions as a warning that the Illuminati, who (like Reverend Eddie) want to control all the money, have infiltrated the congregation and are out to let him.

Ultimately, Eddie must confront his nightmarish visitor in a basketball game with his soul at stake.

The simplicity of the plot is forgivable because of the humor that makes the play as a whole a very entertaining experience.

Anyone who takes faith seriously, however, will probably not sit through - much less enjoy - this hilariously irreverent production, but in order to catch all the jokes, some religious background is useful.

For example, in one scene, McLetchie and Turner re-enact the circumstances under which the misogynist Apostle Paul's epistles were written. For anyone who is familiar with Paul's writings, this scene will result in a lot of laughs and provide insight on how Paul (played by Turner) developed some of his views many now regard as the word of god.

Audience participation is cleverly incorporated into two scenes, as they take the role of the congregation, with one, of the two scenes, that provides a funny segue into intermission. (You will find a responsive reading on the back of the bulletin.)

Maurice Tuttle's simple but effective set design presents a very interesting view of a post-apocalyptic church, with a G.I. Joe and ceramic nativity figurines sharing space on an altar that is a work of art.

the intimate space of Theater LaB affords everyone a good view and facilitates the illusion that the action is taking place in a church.

If you can only see one more play before the world ends, see Things You Need To Know Before The World Ends.

Theater LaB Houston

1706 Alamo, 868-7516

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ARTISTS ADDRESS BORDER ISSUES IN EXHIBIT

By Valerie Fouche

Daily Cougar Staff

What do a stuffed fighting cock, broken glass, woven rugs, a caged dog and an electric saw have in common? They are all discarded material used in artists Terry Allen's and James Drake's first collaborative installation, Poison Amor.

Allen and Drake are childhood friends who grew up in Lubbock and independently established careers as nationally known artists. Both are recognized for work that addresses issues of the Texas/Mexico region, and each has captured the essence of the border experience. They combined talents in the spring of 1993 to create the exhibit that is a product of the pair, rather than the two individuals.

"The secret to a good collaboration is lots of beer," Drake said. "Seriously, Terry and I had no problems working together. Collaboration is really about trust and instinct. We just tried to be like the people along the border who do the best they can with what they have."

this is a most unusual and fascinating historical trip along the Texas/Mexico border. Allen and Drake visited the city dump in Juarez and collected refuse to create their ironic and satiric view of life.

The exhibition is a series of tableaux that uses everyday objects, rugs and drawings to create narrative environments that have a sense of danger. Border towns and cities represent both a dividing line and bridge between two countries. These towns are a merger of cultures and offer artists a melting pot of ideas, creating an almost yin-yang effect in their art.

Many of the pieces in Poison Armor show the representation between several opposites such as love/hate, life/death, old/new and reality/fantasy.

Drake sent drawings that the artists created together to a family weaving business in Oaxaca, Mexico, to be made into rugs. These rugs were then used in their works as a symbol of "home" and to give a feeling of domestic centers. The use of rugs in their work is an interesting choice because of the social perception they hold. Rugs are found in many homes, normally collected as souvenirs and act as a reminder of their place of origin.

One of the more provocative works, "Dream Dog," houses a live dog in a cage. Inside hangs a life-size bronzed male figure suspended by a rope upside down. The figure was cast from one of Drake's friends after he had a few too many to drink. The dog in the cage with the figure suspended above it represents the idea that numbing yourself to reality doesn't necessarily make it go away.

Poison Amor can be seen in the Blaffer Gallery through Oct. 9. Blaffer Gallery is located in the Fine Arts Building and is open to the public free of charge.

Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday through Sunday, 1p.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Mondays.

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