ASIAN-STUDIES DEMAND LOW, DEAN SAYS

 

 

by Naruth Phandungchai

Contributing Writer

More student interest plus sustained funding would be needed to realistically start and maintain an Asian studies program at UH, said James Pipkin, dean of the College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication during a panel discussion Thursday.

The panel of UH administrators, student leaders and others met to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of an Asian studies program at the university.

Pipkin was the only panelist to discuss the feasibility of the program.

"It's significant that this dialogue takes place," said James Anderson, assistant to the president, at the start of the meeting. Asian students, who make up about 12 percent of the UH student population, need some kind of academic representation at the university, Anderson said.

However, most of the seven-member panel spoke of the lack of representation in the curriculum and of the need to make students and faculty aware of contributions made by Asian Americans, without saying how they plan to implement such a program.

Members could not decide whether the program should focus on the cultures and languages of Asia or on the history of Asian Americans, who helped build the United States.

The program, if implemented, would expand on the existing course offerings in languages and history and would involve other colleges.

Presently, HFAC has in its course listings two years of Mandarin Chinese and Japanese, plus 4000- and graduate-level courses on China, in addition to Asian sections included in the syllabi of other history courses.

Enrollment and retention, particularly in the language program, Pipkin said, "has not always been strong." These numbers are among the factors used to gauge student interest for courses that would make up an Asian studies program.

Pipkin said the college has difficulty keeping students beyond the first year in language classes, although he did not offer specific figures.

Japanese-language classes are limited only to honor students and those who get the consent of the instructor. Pipkin said he was not aware of such restriction, which would limit student access to the course and thus show a low enrollment. He promised to look into the requirement for the language class.

Because of the monetary crunch, the university cannot add more courses, Pipkin said. It can only offer new courses while cutting others.

However, Pipkin said there are ways around the dilemma. For the Chinese- and Japanese-language-class program, "we had to be creative," he said.

A three-year grant from Taiwan, for example, paid for the Chinese classes, and fellowships to two Japanese graduate students in exchange for their teaching Japanese made those language courses possible.

But for sustained funding, the university needs to look to the Asian business community for its help, Pipkin said.

"The next step is to expand the offering (in the courses) beyond HFAC," Pipkin said.

Already, there is interest among other schools, he said, with the UH College of Business Administration wanting to start a major in international business, the focus of which would be on Japan.

Pipkin said he had discussed a plan for an Asian studies program with UH Provost Henry Trueba, but added he has not talked with the Undergraduate Council, which approves the UH course curriculum.

"We must first have commitment from colleges and departments," Pipkin said, "before taking the idea further. So far, the plan has only been discussed informally among faculty and students."

The other panel members included Morris Graves, director of the Urban Experience Program, and Houston City Council member Martha Wong. Three student leaders were also on the panel.

 

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

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

 

STATE REPS RAP ABOUT BUDGET CUTS

Views on possible state-mandated tuition hike vary

by Patricia Davis

News Reporter

Coming on the heels of last week's political media blitz, only a handful of students showed up Wednesday for the Students' Association's "Legislators Day."

State representatives Talmadge Heflin, district 149; Debra Danburg, district 137; Gerard Torres, district 143; Ingrid Williams, aide to Garnet Coleman, district 147; and Francisco Sanchez, aide to Diana Davila, district 145, took part in an open forum to address students' concerns for the upcoming legislative session.

Many faculty and administration personnel were there to ask about State Comptroller John Sharp's recent proposals to save the state $2.1 billion over the next two-year budget period.

Sharp proposes to garner $934.8 million of those savings by cutting 11,700 state employees from the payroll and reducing the state contribution to retirement plans for state employees and teachers.

Heflin said that while Sharp's proposal will only cut 6 percent from the state contribution, that still represents about $400 million.

Heflin said there won't be a 6 percent cut. He said the largest cut will probably be one-fourth of the current contribution.

"Whatever is decided, we want to find a figure that doesn't erode the capability to serve," Heflin said. "We want to be sure funds are solid and stable."

Heflin said the 1995 session would definitely see a "tussle over money," but not because the state is broke.

"We're not broke – it's just a matter of setting priorities," he said.

Heflin said a state-mandated tuition raise would most likely come up, but it would be phased in over a few years. He said people should look at the total picture.

"Tuition is a good buy, and a dollar or two wouldn't hurt, but then you look at fees, and it's a different story," Heflin said.

Torres said he would vote against any tuition raise. He said he agrees that tuition is a good buy, but that his constituents, mostly Hispanic, are barely able to afford an education now.

"It means a lot to them – I would be against a raise," Torres said.

All the attending representatives said the Harris County delegation would fight to see that UH gets its fair share of funding in the coming two years.

Danburg, a UH alumnus, said she would fight or amend those bills that proposed cuts to UH's special programs. However, it is the formula funding that penalizes UH.

Most funding, except funding for special programs, is formulated and administered by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board – not by legislators, who are elected and can be lobbied in a traditional manner.

Williams said Coleman wants to change the formula so it will have a positive impact on UH. Heflin said it could be frustrating because change takes longer through the board.

 

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

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

 

SHAPE FUN RUN CELEBRATES 10-YEAR MILESTONE

by Paige Cessnun

News Reporter

At least 600 runners and walkers will be on their marks Saturday, getting set to go in the 10th Annual Unity Fun Run/Walk, a fund-raiser for the SHAPE Community Center.

"Our goal is to pull hundreds of people from diverse backgrounds together in unity to raise money for the program. As long as the event remains wholesome, drug-free and family-oriented, we've reached a goal," said Deloyd Parker, executive director and one of the founders of the center.

For 25 years, the Shape Community Center has been committed to serving families in the Third Ward neighborhood, located between downtown and UH. The organization has also been successful at working with the city to destroy hundreds of crack houses and dangerous abandoned buildings in the area, Parker added.

Arthur White, a UH political science major, said he is participating in the walk because the SHAPE program does a lot of good work for families in the area. White, 20, who grew up in the Fifth Ward, said he is a product of similar programs and feels obligated to return the support to poor, inner-city kids.

White is an undergraduate assistant in the African American Studies Program. He said AAS works with SHAPE to expose students from Yates High School to college life and society in general. He said kids in the Third Ward need mentors.

Eight other UH employees from AAS and the Career Planning and Placement Center will join him in the event, White said.

Kicking off at 7:45 a.m., the 10K run, about 6.25 miles, is for runners who are at least 12 years old. The race starts and finishes at the TSU track, circling UH in the course.

The 5K walk, equivalent to 3.1 miles, is for any age and will start at 7:50 a.m. The course for the walk also starts at the TSU track.

Rogers said the fee is $12 per person presale, $15 Saturday. Groups of five to 10 people cost $75. Winners receive trophies, and all participants get T-shirts.

The track is located on the south side of the TSU campus, on Blodgett, between Tierwester and Ennis streets.

 

 

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

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

 

REMEMBER THE ALAMO, FORGET ALAMODOME

by Jason Paul Ramírez

Daily Cougar Staff

The 1994 season wasn't supposed to be this kind to the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

As it was, the preseason workouts found the Raiders without their three main offensive weapons from a year ago. Absent from the Tech practice field this summer were quarterback Robert Hall (2,894 yards passing and 21 touchdowns), wide receiver Lloyd Hill (794 receiving yards and six touchdowns) and all-time Southwest Conference leading running back Byron "Bam" Morris (1,752 yards rushing and 22 scores).

In fact, of the Raiders' 5,227 offensive yards last season, only 171 of those returned for the '94 campaign.

So what does head coach Spike Dykes do? He tries to reinforce his defense.

And going into Saturday's contest with the Houston Cougars (1-8 overall, 1-4 in the SWC), Tech (5-4, 3-2) boasts the second-best defense in the conference and one of the top 30 in the nation.

"(The Raiders) are an outstanding defensive football team," Houston head coach Kim Helton said. "They are one of the more aggressive teams in the conference."

Saturday's kickoff at San Antonio's Alamodome is set for noon and will be televised locally on Raycom on Channel 11.

The Raiders are led by junior All-America candidate and linebacker Zach Thomas, who has contributed 100 tackles, 10 of which went for lost yardage.

It was the defense and plenty of offense that got Tech by Houston last season in the Alamodome as the Cougar offense managed just one touchdown in a 58-7 defeat.

But that has not discouraged Helton from wanting to make a return trip to the Alamo City.

"You're playing in a neutral site," Helton said. "It gives it the flavor of a bowl game. It's a chance for our kids to go to a great city and play in a great arena."

 

 

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

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

 

COUGARS LOOKING TO TAKE SWC TOURNEY

by R.L. Lang

Contributing Writer

Playing hard and up to its potential should net the Cougar volleyball team the Southwest Conference Tournament championship, head coach Bill Walton said.

"If we do that, everything else should take care of itself," he said.

The tournament begins today at Rice's Autry Court, with the final game to be played Sunday at 2 p.m. The Cougars' (22-4 overall, 9-1 in the SWC) first match will be played Saturday due to the first-round bye awarded the regular-season champion. The Cougars will face the winner of the Baylor-Texas Tech game.

Having today off should be an advantage. The team can have a look at the other teams in the tournament, Walton said.

"The other teams know our strengths and weaknesses. They will be preparing for those weaknesses," he said.

Though Walton said he thinks Texas Tech and Texas A&M will win their initial matches, he said the Cougars are not preparing to play any particular team.

"Our whole goal is to win the tournament. Line them up, and we'll play them. We'll play all five of them if we have to," Walton said.

Cougar trainer Michelle Leget said the team is in better health this week than last. Senior hitter Lilly Denoon-Chester, who leads the team's offense and is an All-America candidate, has been ill with the flu.

She had been playing at "60 percent" last week and is practicing at "85 percent" this week. The rest of the team is healthy, Leget said.

When the Cougars played Texas during the regular season, several key players were injured going into the match. Walton said besides Sonja Barnes, a sophomore middle blocker, they are all back.

"Because we are playing at Rice, and it's so close, you could consider it a home court – if our people will come over there," Walton said.

He said the Longhorns and the Aggies will have their people out there and that it would be an advantage to have Houston fans at the tournament.

The winner of the tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

 

 

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

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

 

LOCAL BAND KEEPS CONSTANT BUZZ

Local band Constant Buzz will be performing at Fitzgerald's Saturday.

Graphic box:

Who: Constant Buzz

What: Concert

Where: Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak; 862-3838

When: 8 p.m., Saturday

How much: All ages $7

by Aaron Dishman

Daily Cougar Staff

For those who were disgusted when Kurt Cobain blew his head off, and for those of you who have had it with the vacuous whining of Axl Rose, I am pleased to report a refreshing replacement for the exhausted grunge and pop rock scenes.

The guys of Constant Buzz have a maturity Nirvana could never sober up to and talent that at the very least is as intense as Guns N Roses.

Constant Buzz's music is definitely worth passing on. The guys took a few minutes during a rehearsal to give me a taste of their music and some insight on its attitudes.

"Collaboration" was the theme of the evening. Constant Buzz's writing is collaboration, its promotion is collaboration, even the cash to produce its CD was a collaboration. Unlike many acts (especially locally), the word "band" actually fits here.

If one member of the band were forced to leave for a year, the band would most certainly break up. This band has the textbook attitude for staying power. The band members are dependent on and totally loyal to each other. The constant in Constant Buzz is assured.

When asked about the goals of the band, Constant Buzz (after a little conversation) settled on two words: bigger scope – more people, bigger places and more exposure.

The band started in the neighborhood where most of the members grew up. One of its first gigs was a talent show at Katy High School. The catchy name comes from a friend of the band who religiously nursed a bottle of Jack Daniels while listening to the band develop its material.

Guitarist Eddie Rodriguez describes his goals as that of entertainment. "I'm from suburbia, not war-torn Ireland or the inner city."

While the band tries to balance its subjects, the members don't want to be the kind of idealistic, preachy "alternative" band that has been so popular in the past. Above everything else, the members want to give a damn good show.

Constant Buzz describes its music as "not punk, not funk, just no-bullshit, straight-ahead '90s rock 'n' roll."

With the attitude, the sound, and the talent, success is inevitable, right? Hardly. Drummer Mark Archer describes the band as a group that works as hard off stage as when the members play their no-cover formats. Hundreds of mailers, hours of calling and supporters referred to as the Constant Buzz Committee are always working to get the news of the band around town.

While these guys want nothing to do with the clique of music bands found inside the Loop, they prefer to be considered a Houston band over the Katy billing they usually receive.

This is not to say that Houston is its final goal. The band is working on booking an eight-show tour of the Southeast. Other appearances have included Louisiana and the Best of Texas Music Festival in Austin last month.

The date you should pay attention to is Saturday. The band will be at Fitzgerald's with the doors opening at 8 p.m. Come check these guys out. With their average audience usually being between 300 and 500, I guarantee you won't be alone.

 

 

 

Visit The Daily Cougar