FACULTY GROUP SAYS RESHAPING A JOKE

by Tanya Eiserer

Daily Cougar Staff

Academic excellence, research mission and less bureaucracy are the battle cries of the Coalition for Excellence.

This group of distinguished researchers and academics is fighting to save a university it believes is in peril.

The professors say the university is not making a real effort at reshaping, that the UH System is bureaucratic and wasteful, and that the university is moving away from its research mission.

Administrators, on the other hand, disagreed, saying they are doing the best they can.

UH Provost Henry Trueba and President James H. Pickering both assured coalition members that the UH administration places research among its top priorities.

Trueba added that he supports coalition efforts as long as the movement leads to academic excellence and not political polarization.

UH's reaching the $60 million "benchmark" figure this year in research funding proves that the university has made a commitment to research, Pickering said.

On the subject of reshaping, Kent Tedin, political science department chairman, said the university can't call it reshaping when the university merely cleans up the paperwork by eliminating programs without students.

"In reshaping, people will get their toes stepped on because resources will have to be moved around. People will scream like hell. It will be a battle. It's tough to do," he said.

Pickering disagreed, saying reshaping was not a "hoax." He added that the university just can't go around eliminating programs at will.

He also pointed out that the Communication Disorders program that was slated for elimination is now supported by the United Way and that reshaping can occur without causing a major upheaval.

In addition, Pickering said coalition leaders failed to mention the 99 positions cut by Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance Dennis Boyd, which saved $1.9 million a year for the university.

"Reshaping is about change. It's not just about money. It's also an ongoing process," said Skip Szilagyi, associate vice president for planning. "It's not a one-shot deal."

Szilagyi admits some things went right and wrong with the last reshaping process, pointing out that because of the funding shortfall last time, reshaping took on a distinctly monetary tone instead of focusing on the larger picture.

"When you get into eliminating programs, that takes time because you have faculty and students involved," he said.

He also points out that without reshaping, the university would not have been ready to take an $8.5 million funding shortfall.

Szilagyi said the next step of reshaping is slated to begin soon.

Coalition leaders want an outside consultant brought in to make recommendations on how the university can be streamlined. Garrett Etgen, a math professor and member of the 1986-1987 reshaping process, agreed the recent reshaping process was not a monumental change.

Members pointed out that the Mathematical Statistics program eliminated by reshaping was already slated for elimination by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board because of low student enrollment.

The classes still exist for students who want to take the statistics program.

"All the university will save is the price of the ink that it took to write 'Statistics' on the diploma," Etgen said, adding that the merging of biology and biochemistry was already being planned.

It only amounts to having one department administrator instead of two, he said.

Jim Martin, a history professor, said, "We were certainly assured that reshaping was a monumental success. It was a monumental waste of time."

Pickering disagreed, pointing out that part of the reshaping process was about streamlining and cleaning up the university.

Coalition leaders are also demanding a management audit of the UH System. They say the $30 million allocated to the UH System is too much.

"It's the only way (Chancellor Alexander) Schilt can gain credibility with the faculty. We then all agree to live with their report," Tedin said.

Schilt pointed out that the UH System was one of 30 to 40 state agencies receiving a "clean bill of health" from a state auditor.

William Fitzgibbon, a math professor, said, "Sending money to the System means that money is not spent on teaching, research or student life.

"The System is removed from what a university is all about," he added. "They live in luxury downtown."

Coalition members are upset that UH composes 82 percent of the System, but has the same voice as UH-Clear Lake, UH-Downtown and UH-Victoria.

Grover Campbell, vice chancellor for governmental relations, said, "If the System is not adding value, then we ought to have a different System."

Campbell added that he believed the System was able to minimize the weaknesses and maximize the strengths of all four member universities.

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UH LOBBIES TO PREVENT UNDERFUNDING

by Tanya Eiserer

Daily Cougar Staff

UH leaders face an uphill battle to ensure the university does not receive drastic funding cuts in the upcoming legislative biennium.

In the last legislative session, UH lost $8.5 million in state funding for the biennium.

Declining enrollments and changes in the enrollment mix contributed to $6.6 million of the loss. Another $1.7 million was due to changes in the formula, and $900,000 was due to doctoral-cap reductions. (The doctoral cap halts state funds for doctoral students once they take more than 130 hours.)

This funding loss resulted in the loss of course offerings, the delay of renovation and repair of buildings, and the eliminations of many administrative jobs.

UH and UH System leaders are initiating a massive campaign of legislative outreaches to give legislators information on campus and system operations, achievements, challenges and opportunities.

Engagement strategies include campus visits and guest lectures by legislators to familiarize them with UH.

Other tactics include impromptu telephone calls to legislators, community outreaches and public presentations about the needs and goals of the university.

After last week's hearing with members from the Governor's Office and the Legislative Budget Board, UH leaders are waiting for the board to issue funding recommendations on the Legislative Appropriation Requests.

"Our needs are so complex, so severe and so important for Houston to have a strong higher education institution. The future of Texas rests with what we are doing here," said Beth Morian, Board of Regents chairwoman.

Powerful Houston-area legislators – Rep. Talmadge Heflin, R-Houston, and Reps. Debra Danburg and Rodney Ellis, both D-Houston – showed up last week to lend their support early in the process. Their appearance was a visible reminder to the hearing board that Houston-area legislators won't take deep cuts quietly.

A&M and UT "have the ear" of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Heflin said. Many legislators are A&M and UT graduates, so UH has to present its story more clearly and more aggressively.

In UH President James H. Pickering's address, he focused on UH's research and academic efforts. He said he wants to tell the UH story.

He focused on special line items, especially funding for the Optometry Clinic, Advanced Technology Materials Research, the Center for Commercial Development of Space, the Energy Lab, the Small Business Development Center, the Houston Partnership for Space Exploration, and the Health Law and Policy Institute.

ATMR includes the research conducted by Paul Chu, a noted physics professor, in the field of superconductivity.

Pickering considers these areas to be the most exiting and critical areas in special line-item funding.

Still, Pickering said, "We have stayed within the strict bounds required. The funding levels in the Legislative Appropriation Request will not meet the needs of UH."

During the hearing, UH Chancellor Alexander Schilt argued that the Legislature must provide the UH System with level funding – real level funding.

UH's funding appropriation was $277 million.

Out of the $277 million, the university had to deduct a state-mandated 3 percent salary increase and an Optional Retirement Plan shortfall of 1.2 percent totalling $9 million.

In previous years, the state had funded the ORP at 8.5 percent. The ORP is designed to recruit senior faculty members from other states.

From the $277 million, rider reductions totaled $3 million.

"Rider reductions are tack-ons added after the legislators finished appropriations," said Skip Szilagyi, associate vice president for planning.

Holds harmless totaled $18 million. Holds harmless are funds the state gives, but may take away at a later date.

System analysts have figured a 3 percent inflation rate, reducing the amount by another $8 million.

"We will be down to $29 million to $248 million in 1995 dollars," Schilt said, pointing out that a $29 million loss is more than the $24 million funding request for UH-Downtown.

"Real level funding for the UH System means a general revenue appropriation of $285 million for the coming biennium," he said.

Legislators do not view higher education as a top priority like prisons or schools. Constituents are simply not out there demanding more funds for higher education.

The estimated $3 billion in additional state revenue will quickly go for prisons, public schools, environmental programs and transportation.

Besides higher education's not being a top priority, Gov. Ann Richards and key legislative leaders have let it be known they will not retool the tax structure or institute new taxes.

System leaders point out that lower general revenue appropriations may be compensated for by additional money from the Higher Education Assistance Fund, but those funds must be spent on construction, equipment, repair, renovation and libraries.

In the last session, HEAF was increased to $175 million from $100 million for all Texas public universities.

The Coordinating Board has recommended a biennial allocation of $74,636,534 to UH System universities, a 136 percent increase over the previous 10-year cycle.

During the last funding go-around in 1992-1993, funding formulas changed to favor undergraduate over graduate education. This change favored UT and A&M over UH because of their higher percentages of undergraduates.

Established in the 1950s to equitably distribute state funds to universities, formula amounts are based on the number of total credit hours. Since many of UH's students are part-time, the university typically generates less credit hours.

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UH BRACES FOR BUDGET KNIFE, FUNDING MÊLÉE

by Tanya Eiserer

Daily Cougar Staff

The Legislative Appropriation Request Hearing was the first step in the complex legislative appropriations process of UH and other Texas public universities.

Leaders present their requests to members from the Governor's Office and the Legislative Budget Board.

After the hearing, the LBB, chaired by Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock and composed of 10 members, issues its general appropriations bill.

The Legislature must pass a general appropriations act that covers all state funding for a two-year period.

Under the Texas Constitution, deficit spending is prohibited; thus, funding levels cannot exceed revenue or the bill cannot become law.

Texas State Comptroller John Sharp, who calculates state revenue, also certifies that LBB funding does not exceed his calculations.

The process then moves into the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, where adjustments are made.

The bill then moves to the floor of both houses, where legislators attempt to pass it through both houses by late April and complete conference negotiations, where final changes are made to the bill by mid-May. Once the conference deliberations are completed, neither house can amend the conference committee report.

After the committee makes final adjustments, the bill is sent back to each house, where it must be passed without amendment.

Once the bill passes both houses, it goes to the governor, who has line-item veto authority.

After the governor signs the bill, it becomes law and the appropriations process has been completed for the biennium.

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UH BRACES FOR BUDGET KNIFE, FUNDING MÊLÉE

by Tanya Eiserer

Daily Cougar Staff

The Legislative Appropriation Request Hearing was the first step in the complex legislative appropriations process of UH and other Texas public universities.

Leaders present their requests to members from the Governor's Office and the Legislative Budget Board.

After the hearing, the LBB, chaired by Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock and composed of 10 members, issues its general appropriations bill.

The Legislature must pass a general appropriations act that covers all state funding for a two-year period.

Under the Texas Constitution, deficit spending is prohibited; thus, funding levels cannot exceed revenue or the bill cannot become law.

Texas State Comptroller John Sharp, who calculates state revenue, also certifies that LBB funding does not exceed his calculations.

The process then moves into the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, where adjustments are made.

The bill then moves to the floor of both houses, where legislators attempt to pass it through both houses by late April and complete conference negotiations, where final changes are made to the bill by mid-May. Once the conference deliberations are completed, neither house can amend the conference committee report.

After the committee makes final adjustments, the bill is sent back to each house, where it must be passed without amendment.

Once the bill passes both houses, it goes to the governor, who has line-item veto authority.

After the governor signs the bill, it becomes law and the appropriations process has been completed for the biennium.

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MUDSLINGING COLLEGE VOLUNTEERS HELP CAMPAIGNS MUSTER MORE AMMUNITION

by Stephanie Silva

Contributing Writer

Texas just got a little hotter. If the humidity in Houston is too much to bear, the folks in Austin are sweating in the shade.

The 1994 Texas gubernatorial race is upon us as incumbent Democratic Gov. Ann Richards faces challenger George W. Bush, who is following in the footsteps of his conservative father. The press and the pollsters eagerly await the salvos to be fired during the upcoming campaign season's verbal sparring matches.

The powerhouse of every race is the campaign staff and the aides surrounding the candidate, who advise, debate and attempt to put their candidate's best foot forward. Campaigns mean money for advertising, which spells a need for volunteers – and that means students.

"I hear from a lot of students. I heard from a few UH students today who are interested in volunteering. A lot of them are attempting to tie it in with their government classes," said Charles Wickman, deputy coordinator for the Harris County George W. Bush campaign.

The public may believe that volunteering for political campaigns is mandatory for a degree in political science. It is not required, but it is encouraged. Dottie Newton, volunteer and office supervisor for the Harris County chapter of the Ann Richards for Governor campaign, says volunteering can lead to political involvement on a larger scale.

"In every campaign, there's usually been some students who started it because it was assigned, and some actually get interested in it. One student, not in the Richards campaign, went on to run for chairman of their precinct. I think they get the idea that individuals can make a difference. It's fun working with people who have the same ideas they do," Newton says.

Volunteering isn't all patriotic ribbons and block-walking. Extensive planning and the constant changing of those plans occur on a regular basis.

"We've got some fund-raisers that we've planned. Basically, things are up in the air. We've got rallies going on, things of that nature. When George comes into town, he tries to go to the schools. There's not a lot of things set in stone," Wickman says.

Both candidates will have to work harder to win the ballot box, as recent polls indicate that Richards and Bush are neck-and-neck. Some have criticized Richards for her support of then-Governor Bill Clinton for president in 1992. Republicans gleefully predict polls in Washington will have a major influence on votes in the South.

"I think people separate those things," Newton insists. "They know what's in Washington and what's in Texas. I don't think the voters are as easily fooled, or led, as some of the media seem to think. I also don't think his (Clinton's) unpopularity is as bad as some would have you think."

Wickman predicts it will not be Clinton's record that is important, but that of the governor, herself.

"This campaign is going to be a typical sort of mud-ball politics, and you're going to see it from the governor. Governor Richards has made a name for herself, insulting the Bush family for several years now, all the way back to 1988 at the Democratic National Convention," he says. "She's called George a jerk. She's not running on her record, and that's not a lot to run on. George is running on education, crime and welfare reform."

The Richards camp also has a formidable agenda.

"Well, apparently crime is a big concern; both candidates have done television spots on that issue. Education is always the big issue, and the economy is always an issue," Newton says.

Issues in the campaign can only give voters a window overlooking the next state administration and its policies. Volunteering can give those close to the campaign a more intimate view of upcoming governmental changes. As Wickman puts it, "It's a good sort of glimpse into the political system, and how a big-time campaign works."

Newton was also reassuring in regard to volunteers' roles in the political process, citing their part in political harmony.

"We couldn't get along without volunteers. We really try to bring them in as much as the paid staff. They really are the backbone of the campaign," he said.

Nov. 8, Election Day, will be the day of buttons, T-shirts and media buzz.

Let the mud-slinging begin.

In the ever-dignified words of one-time gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams, sit back and enjoy it.

Students interested in volunteering for the 1994 Texas gubernatorial race can contact the campaign headquarters of their choice:

Ann Richards for Governor 3200 Travis

Houston, Texas 77204

522-4266

George W. Bush for Governor 2400 West Loop South, #102 Houston, Texas 77027

626-2874

 

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STUDENTS TAKE TO TAILGATING

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

Tailgating has finally come to the University of Houston.

With members of the Cougar Marching Band at every entrance of the Astrodome and the remaining musicians marching into "tailgate alley" for a pep rally an hour before the game, UH fans saw something new Thursday night for Houston's home opener.

Part of the new "See Red" campaign, tailgating festivities were seen for the first time ever at a UH home game in the Dome. An estimated 400 UH fans showed up in "tailgate alley," a flagged-off area that allows fans to roam freely and see the sights.

Those sights included 101-KLOL broadcasting from the Astrodome parking lot, shooting koozies into the crowd with an air launcher; the Cougar Marching Band, Cougar Dolls and UH cheerleaders putting on a show; and, of course, there was plenty of fans eating their food and drinking their nonalcoholic beverages – or whatever else a student may drink.

For those that did not have time to pack some food or grab a six-pack of whatever, Astrodome U.S.A. had a concession stand set up in the parking lot. Picnic tables were also provided for those who may drive a car – hence, no tailgate.

"This is what it (college football) is all about," UH President James Pickering said as he joined the tailgaters before the game. "I'm happy with last night (the Cougar Kick-Off), this (the tailgate party) and ticket sales. This football program is growing. We just need to stay the course."

And it seems to be a course that most who turned out enjoyed.

"We're having a great time; the brothers are all excited," said Robert Kramp, treasurer of Delta Sigma Phi. "It's an opportunity for different student organizations to focus on one event as a university at large. Football is for the students."

It is also for the alumni. Many of the Cougar faithful in attendance have graduated in years past and were enjoying the festivities. Many dropped by to talk with athletic director Bill Carr, who is responsible for taking the UH athletic program to new heights.

"I think this is a great start," Carr said. "(More) people will come as they hear (about tonight)."

The Dome, itself, was part of the festivities. Across the west entrance, a giant "See Red" banner was hung. Inside, the team entered the field through the mouth of a large inflatable Cougar head as fireworks were shot off.

All in all, the "tailgate alley" festivities were something no Cougar has ever seen before, but fans will have another opportunity when the Cougars host Missouri Sept. 17.

 

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An article on page 7 of the Sept. 7 edition of The Daily Cougar incorrectly stated that the UH varsity tennis program will offer a free clinic for UH faculty and staff. The clinic will be for the children of faculty and staff. For more information call head tennis coach Stina Mosvold at 743-9376.

The Daily Cougar regrets this mistake.

 

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ALL COUGARS WIN IN ALUMNI VOLLEYBALL MATCH

VARSITY TEAM BEATS ALUMNI 3-1 IN GAME WHERE REUNION, SPORTSMANSHIP OUTWEIGH SCORE

by Hiren Patel

Daily Cougar Staff

This Saturday the Houston Cougar volleyball varsity team displayed what fans can expect from them this year.

The team took part in the annual Cougar varsity-alumni game at the Hofheinz Pavilion.

The alumni team, which included Ashley Mulkey, Wendy Munzel, Amie Roberts and Karen Bell among others, won the first game but lost the match 3-1.

Volleyball head coach Bill Walton said the game progressed about as well as possible.

"The match was a good practice for the team," Walton said. "The alumni played seriously but the players didn't play as hard as the should have.

"It was good to watch the alumni," Walton said. "It was nice to have the alumni back on campus."

Munzel, playing in her first alumni game, earned second team All-Southwest Conference honors her senior season in 1993.

"It was fun to play against the team I'm helping coach," Munzel, a graduate assistant coach with the Cougars, said. "I think if we can bring the alumni team out here, it will bring out the fans." Mulkey helped Houston win the NIVC Tournament title as a freshman in 1990. As a sophomore she was second-team All-SWC.

"It was hard for me because this is my first year away from the team," Mulkey said about playing in her first reunion game.

Mulkey lead the alumni team with eight kills and also had an ace.

"Hopefully, it (the program) will grow and more fans will come out to the games," Mulkey said.

Amie Roberts, an assistant coach playing in her second alumni game, lead the alumni team with 24 assists. In 1991, Roberts recorded a team high 758 assists.

"I feel older and older but it's fun," Roberts said. "I always love playing in this type of match because there is lots to talk about with the other players."

After watching the team play in its first game-like situation, Walton said the team needed to improve on serving during practice because the players are making more serving errors than aces. In the alumni game, the team had 13 serve errors as opposed to only nine aces.

"You can never do enough serving and receiving because you can always improve ball control," Walton said.

Houston opens its 1994 season on the road at Ohio State Sept. 9. The Cougars' first home game is Sept. 14 against Sam Houston State in Hofheinz Pavilion.

 

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EDIE IS 'PICTURE PERFECT' WITHOUT BOHEMIANS

 

by Valérie C. Fouché

Daily Cougar Staff

Edie Brickell is back, <I>sans<P> the New Bohemians.

She appeared last week on David Letterman, composed and noticeably older to promote her solo debut album <I>Picture Perfect Morning<P> (Geffen Records). Brickell told CNN she enjoyed recording her first solo album because she was able to do different things from what she had done previously with the New Bohemians.

This was also a new experience in the studio, as the album was produced by her famous husband, Paul Simon. Simon also appears on the album courtesy of Warner Bros. Records playing acoustic guitar alongside his wife. However, there are no duets of the couple on this album.

Brickell started out her soul-pop career in a Dallas nightclub in 1985, where she got up on stage and sang songs by making up lyrics. A band called New Bohemians caught her act and asked her to join.

The band's popularity hit the roof, and in 1986, Geffen executive Tom Zutaut traveled to Texas and signed the group. In late 1988, the band cut its first album, titled <I>Shooting Rubber Bands at the Stars<P>. The album went platinum, selling more than 2.5 million copies worldwide. From that album came Edie's Top 10 hit, "What I Am."

In 1990 the group released its second album, <I>Ghost of a Dog<P>, which also fared well in Billboard's Top 40.

After the New Bohemians broke up, Brickell headed for New York, where she wrote songs for her solo album and had a son.

<I>Picture Perfect Morning<P> is a real peach and is just as good, if not better than Brickell's previous releases with the New Bohemians. The first single to come off the album is "Good Times," a soulful little ditty with a guest appearance by the great Barry White.

The title song "Picture Perfect Morning" is not what you would expect it to be about. The song starts out, "I haven't learned to say goodbye," and ends with "But I was so sure that I'd see you again/I was not afraid of anything."

Brickell is banking on the fact that many of us have stayed up crying until dawn over a lost love.

Several songs on this album seem to be about relationships that have gone bad. The song "Lights Go Down" uses a saying we've all heard many times before: "(Cause) you don't want to lose what you've found."

"In the Bath" is refreshing both lyrically and musically. "Stay Awhile" is reminiscent of a Spyra Gyra tune with a lilting piano solo and trombone quartet. "Another Woman's Dreams" has a moving '70s beat kept up by an electric guitar and electric keyboards.

All the songs on this album make it worth adding to your collection. Not only is it Brickell at her best, but the album also has several other guest appearances by well known artists such as Dr. John, David Bromberg, Michael Breacker, Dave Samuels, Art and Cyril Neville, and violinist Ashley MacIssac. The guest appearances definitely help make Brickell's first solo attempt a winner.

 

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