PEOPLE'S LAWYER EXTOLS PEOPLE'S LAW SCHOOL

Courses expose students to world of legal lingo

by Niki Purcell

Daily Cougar Staff

The People's Law School program will begin at Krost Hall Oct. 15 to educate individuals about the laws that affect them in their everyday lives.

"After the session, (individuals) will be able to resolve disputes that they might not have been able to resolve before," said Richard Alderman, associate dean for the UH Law Center.

"College students view themselves as the least displaceable to (the law), but really they are the most displaceable to it," he says.

Knowing your legal rights is very important in dealing with outside-world situations that begin to occur when students leave home, he added.

The People's Law School will offer two sessions: 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m to 4 p.m. The session of interest must be specified on the application.

"My goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to come and learn about the law," Alderman added.

Registration is limited to the first 500 applicants and is issued on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In each session, 10 one-hour classes will be offered, from which the applicant can choose three.

The classes cover attorneys, basic business law, consumer law, credit and debt collection, criminal law, death and dying, family law, insurance law, landlord/tenant law and small-claims court.

"I think it is extremely important for people to know about their rights. The law is something that is not readily available to people," Alderman said.

Alderman has been educating individuals about the law for 12 years. He writes a column for the Houston Chronicle, has a segment on KTRK-TV (Channel 13) and writes books.

"I do (these things) to educate people about their rights," he said.

The classes are taught by law professors, judges and lawyers.

The session is presented by The UH Law Center Consumer Law Project and is sponsored by the Houston Bar Association, KTRK-TV and the Houston Chronicle.

"Overall, it is a pretty worthwhile program," Alderman said.

The program has become so popular, he said, that there will be two additional sessions offered in the spring, and organizers are considering offering one session on a week night.

Alderman said he is semi-optimistic about the attendance for this year. Over 400 people attended each session last year, so this year's sessions will more than likely be full, he added.

Applications can be picked up at the law school in the dean's office off Calhoun and Elgin or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Dean Richard Alderman; "The People's Lawyer"; University of Houston Law Center; Houston, Texas 77204-6371.

"My goal is to have someone walk out of the session and say, 'I learned something’ or 'I didn't know that,' " he said.

 

 

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OFFICIAL SAYS VAKSMAN CASE 'HISTORY'

 

by Robert L. Arnold

Daily Cougar Staff

According to the UH History Department, Fabian Vaksman has run out of time, but Vaksman says he feels the fight is not over yet.

Vaksman, a UH doctoral student in the History Department, began his battle with UH in 1986 when he received a letter from the History Department notifying him of his expulsion. The letter stated Vaksman was "a polemicist who substitutes political ideology for original research and scholarly analysis."

UH history Professor Clifford Egan was Vaksman's chief adviser and said his original dissertation, <I>Ideological Struggle<P>, was rejected because "it was more Russian history than American history."

Vaksman contested Egan's rejection by saying his dissertation was not accepted because "bullies, demagogues and scatter-brains are running our academic institutions."

Vaksman sued UH in 1987 for breach of his First Amendment rights in the 125th District Court and won the case, which forced UH to reinstate him and pay a total of $122,500 in damages and legal fees. UH immediately appealed this decision, which is still under litigation.

Since Vaksman's reinstatement into the doctoral program, an atmosphere of apprehension has surrounded his enrollment. This state was mainly attributed to a poem, "RRacist," written by Vaksman.

The poem tells the story of the murders of faculty members by a doctoral student who has been expelled from the program. The concerns raised over the poem stemmed from the similarities between the fictional characters and actual UH history faculty members.

"I simply used existing faculty as prototypes for my story. It was my duty as both a writer and historian to recount my experience here at UH.

"These stupid people need to realize my poem is fiction," Vaksman said.

According to History Department Chairman Tom O'Brien, when Vaksman was reinstated into the doctoral program, he had until last Friday to submit a dissertation. O'Brien also said Vaksman was notified two other times of his deadline.

Vaksman contests he cannot alter his original dissertation in any way until the appeal filed by UH has been resolved in the Texas Supreme Court.

Vaksman plans to use the testimony of expert witness Daniel Orlovsky, a professor of Russian history at Southern Methodist University, for his defense in the appeal.

Orlovsky was an expert witness called by UH in the original lawsuit proceedings. Vaksman said he believes Orlovsky's testimony was strong enough to help him win the original case.

Vaksman also said he will use Orlovsky's testimony in the appeal and that because he is using this evidence, he cannot change his dissertation because Orlovsky's opinions were based on his original submission.

"If I change my dissertation to fit what UH wants, then I will be crossing Orlovsky's testimony," Vaksman said.

Orlovsky's deposition said that he would have accepted Vaksman's original submission of <I>Ideological Struggle<P> for critique and that it needed revision and further research to be complete.

Orlovsky also stated that Vaksman's dissertation "...was not a very good job ... it seems to me you have here a person who shows between these two covers a lack of interest in writing history and a strong interest in writing."

"Vaksman has not sent anything to me, and as far as I am concerned, the matter is, as they say, 'history’," Egan said.

Vaksman argues that Egan has no place commenting on his dissertation because "I had him removed as my official adviser.

"The man discussed my dissertation, which is clearly a violation of my right to privacy. I had him removed because I couldn't trust him anymore," Vaksman said.

O'Brien said Egan is still Vaksman's adviser and that he has received no word from Egan that Vaksman turned in his dissertation.

"I will further investigate to see if Vaksman has made any attempt to turn in his dissertation and if he has not, then he will be sent a past-due notice.

"These deadlines are not set in stone, but if no attempt is made for submission, then Vaksman will have to retake his comprehensive exams and begin the process all over again," O'Brien said.

Vaksman continues to fight his case based on Orlovsky's testimony and chides UH for asking him to submit a different work than his original dissertation.

"For the university to try and disavow Professor Orlovsky's expert testimony in court on my dissertation is obscene," Vaksman added.

 

 

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STUDY ABROAD

Scholarship program offers chance to live in foreign lands

by Farnaz Dandia

News Reporter

The four-week-old Study Abroad program is offering scholarships for study in foreign countries each semester through the International Education Fee Scholarship Fund.

"My prime goal is to see more people off this campus. I have had too many people come to me and say that the best semester they spent at UH was abroad," said David Judkins, director of the Study Abroad Program at UH, as he explained the different aspects of studying in a foreign country.

He said the most popular countries to visit are Mexico, France and England. The majority of students go abroad to improve their language proficiency and to learn more about the culture of the foreign country. Students usually stay with a foreign family or in student accommodations; therefore, they are able to experience the everyday aspects of life in a foreign country.

Judkins added, "More and more people recognize the need to have not just international travel, but to have a real international experience that is education-or work-related, will give them a different perspective and will make them more attractive to a future employer."

"President Pickering, who has had a longtime interest in study abroad, realized that the campus now has reached the point where a central office was necessary if study abroad was to grow further and to serve more students," Judkins added.

He said the office hopes to expand by showing strong student interest, by attracting outside funds and by getting additional funding from the university as interest develops.

Currently, the department of Study Abroad tries to offer as many scholarships as possible. The money for these scholarships comes from the International Education Fee of $1 that every student attending the university pays per semester.

Judkins said this fee was authorized by the state Legislature for universities across Texas in order to encourage students to go abroad for some of their college education. The scholarship pays for approximately 20 percent of the student's expenses.

Judkins added, "All students who have been enrolled at UH for one semester are eligible (for the scholarship). The committee takes into consideration the academic performance of the student, so a stronger GPA is going to be more likely to help get a scholarship than a weak GPA, but I would not say that there is a cutoff point.

"This scholarship is available to UH students who are going abroad on a variety of different programs. It is a way for the university to show its support for this kind of activity, and we are interested in supporting as many students as we possibly can as long as they are going to use it in a responsible way. We're not sending students off to Europe just for a 'good' time. Students must be going on a program that will generate academic credit," he said.

Some exceptions are made for students doing graduate work who go abroad on work-study programs, he added.

The office makes sure students are following their designated programs by communicating with the students while they are abroad and by having them complete an evaluation of their experience once they come back, he said.

Currently, the office sends approximately 150 students abroad, but Judkins hopes to increase this number to 500 students by helping students facilitate their time abroad, by making sure they get credit for their courses and by letting them know there is now an office here that represents them.

Judkins added that the biggest advantage of going abroad is that it opens the minds of the students, whereas the disadvantage is that it makes people restless, and it makes it difficult for them to follow the prescribed patterns for their lives.

Christie Farris, a senior English major, visited Mexico on a study-abroad program. Her main purpose was to improve her oral Spanish skills and to learn more about Spanish culture "The program was not very organized on the Mexico side. People there didn't know what was happening," she said.

Farris added, "I saw firsthand how people lived. A lot of the stereotypes I had were eliminated. I really got to understand the people. I think everybody that majors in a foreign language needs to go on at least one program."

Elisa Guardia, who graduated with a math degree, visited France during her undergraduate years. She, too, wished to improve her French language skills. "I think the best thing is just getting in touch with a different culture. For some of the students, it was a shock. At the beginning, they only saw the negative aspects of the French culture, but as time passed, they realized the positive aspects as well."

 

 

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POLLS PROVE PAST PRECEDES PLAY

Volleyball team tackles top opponents, but lacks consistency

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

To volleyball fans here at UH, it might have seemed like last Wednesday's triumph over No. 11 Texas was the Cougars' biggest win in awhile.

Ask Houston head volleyball coach Bill Walton the last time the Cougars won a more important game in terms of rankings, however, and his answer is, "This Sept. 9, against Ohio State (UH's first game of the season). (Ohio State was) ranked No. 6 at the time."

Hmmm.

So why, in the two regular-season national volleyball rankings available, have the 6-3 Cougars not gained a higher place than their spot outside the top 25?

Even though the Texas win will first enter this week's rankings, due out early this afternoon, it still seems as though a win over the No. 6 team in the country should have counted for something.

Not necessarily.

"After that weekend (of the Ohio State game), we were tied for 26th," Walton said. "Then we went to the Northern Arizona tournament (Kachina Classic, Sept. 16-17) and played three unranked teams (Northern Arizona, California-Northridge and Memphis).

"We won one match (Memphis) and lost two."

That performance no doubt is a big reason why the Cougars are ranked lower.

The NCAA conducts five regional polls during the season and a national poll only after the season. Monday, the Cougars were ranked fifth in the South regional poll.

"Right now, the polls are still operating off preseason rankings," Walton said. "The way it works is, if you've got a reputation, it's hard to lose it.

"If you don't, you have to be 9-1 or 10-0 through your first 10 games (to be in the top 25). If we maintain a level of consistency, we can be ranked."

Walton's opinion is that the two national polls, the Volleyball Monthly poll and the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, take about one-and-a-half to two months before they truly reflect teams' abilities.

"Nobody knows what anybody has," he said of the preseason polls. "There's no way to know until the season actually starts.

"The preseason polls reflect biases and reputation rather than actual outcomes," he said.

Texas would certainly have both of those factors working in its favor. No team other than UT has ever won the Southwest Conference women's volleyball title since SWC play in that sport began in 1982.

Walton said he thought the preseason polls saw UH as a team that had lost its key players from its 20-16 NCAA Tournament team of a year ago.

"In reality, all our key players have come back except Ashley Mulkey," he said. "We have four starters returning, whereas Texas has two starters returning and four new players."

Those four starters are seniors Lilly Denoon-Chester and Carla Maul, along with sophomores Sami Sawyer and Emily Leffers.

Sophomore Nashika Stokes also played quite a bit during the Cougars' 8-2 month of November in 1993.

"It's just like football," Walton said. "If you were good last year, they assume you'll be good this year. If you were good last year and that was your one year, and you were bad before that, they don't rank you high.

"We have the key wins (over ranked teams), but we haven't played the matches to show consistency," he added.

"We're at 6-3 now. If we go the next few weeks and stay at three losses, we'll be ranked."

 

 

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REVEREND HAS PURITAN WORK ETHIC

The Reverend Horton Heat is a Texas Holy Trinity, and sounds like it on their newest release, <I>Liquor in the Front<P>.

Photo by Michael Lavine/Interscope Records

by D. McAdams

Daily Cougar Staff

There's something I like about this state. Maybe it's something with which all Texans are born. Maybe it was instilled in me in my seventh-grade Texas history class. Every now and then, I'm reminded why I love this state so much: the Dallas Cowboys, the Houston Rockets and the Reverend Horton Heat, a Texas Holy Trinity if you will. Who is the Reverend Horton Heat, you ask? He's only the best recent Texas musical export since the Butthole Surfers and the Pain Teens.

The Reverend Horton Heat features the Rev, "Taz" on drums and the stand-up bass-playing terror Jimbo. Perhaps the Rev's own press release best describes the band: "A puritan work ethic, a spare tire and enough suave to kill... ."

Puritan work ethic, indeed. These guys pound out a good 200 shows a year, but fortunately for us, they found time to produce the wickedly aggressive <I>Liquor in the Front<P> with the aid of Ministry front man Al Jourgensen.

This is rockabilly, or "psychobilly" at its best. Imagine Southern culture on the skids hyped up on speed and the volume cranked to 10 and you've got an inkling of what Rev sounds like. <I>Liquor<P> features everything you ever wanted to know about rockabilly but were afraid to ask. The opener "Big Sky" had the Rev torturing his guitar to scream some of the most frightening reverbs known to man. The screaming only gets worse (or better) as the record goes on in tracks like "Baddest of the Bad," "One Time for Me" and "Cruisin' for a Bruisin'."

<I>Liquor<P> comes on the heels of another of the Rev's ball-busters, <I>The Full-Customed Gospel Sounds of the Reverend Horton Heat<P>, a true classic. (You may have seen them play material from this CD at the last UH Perpetual Park Party.)

If you need demons cast out of you, if you need salvation or just a sinful back-slider, then go out and get <I>Liquor in the Front<P>, or go to the Abyss Friday to catch their show. The Reverend Horton Heat is sure to lead you back to that road of glory.

 

 

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BALLET LEAPS NEW BOUNDS

The Mark Morris Dance Group will perform its innovative and ethnically diverse dances at Wortham Theater Friday.

What: Mark Morris Dance Group

Where: Wortham Theater Center

When: Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.

How much: $18-$26

Phone: 227-ARTS

Photo courtesy of the Society for the Performing Arts

by Deanna Koshkin

Contributing Writer

The Society for the Performing Arts' Dance Series will be presenting the Mark Morris Dance Group Friday and Saturday as part of the Society for the Performing Arts' New Now Series. The performances start at 8 p.m. at the Wortham Center.

It will be the group's first Houston performance since 1987. Formed in 1980, the troupe consists of 16 dancers, including Morris himself.

Morris' infusing, fresh style of dance has contributed to the growing success of his group. His innovative dancers combine their stylistic physical ability and their diverse ethnic backgrounds to produce an original work of art.

The Mark Morris Dance Group is returning to Houston after rave reviews. The program opens with <I>Lucky Charms<P>, which has been described as one of its most irresistible works.

Next on the program is Morris' solo work, commissioned by the American Dance Festival as part of its 60th anniversary season. Dressed in dark clothing, Morris paints visual images of the small nuances heard in the music.

After a brief intermission, <I>Handel Choruses<P>, a series of four dramatic solos, is performed. <I>The Office<P>, a compelling work commissioned by Zivili, an Ohio-based dance company, is devoted to the music of the Slavic nations.

Following a second intermission, <I>Gloria<P> completes the evening with a soft balletic rhythm and gentle waving arms.

Mark Morris is very inventive and highly sought-after in the dance community today. Tickets have gone quickly in the past and should be purchased early. Prices are $18, $22.50 and $26 and may be obtained at the Houston Ticket Center as well as all Ticketmaster locations, including Foley's, Fiesta and Blockbuster Music. To order tickets by phone, call 227-ARTS.

 

 

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