TASK FORCE TACKLES CONSOLIDATION OF UH DEPARTMENTS

 

by Kevin Patton

Daily Cougar Staff

The daunting task of reorganizing several departments -- with implications of collapsing some senior positions and dissolving others -- into the new Office of Recruitment, Admission and Retention confronted members of the Task Force for Reviewing Recruitment, Admission and Retention Services.

The task force's duties range from assessing what is wrong with student services from an organizational point of view, to making recommendations to Henry Trueba, UH provost and vice president for academic affairs, on changes, ranging from admissions to dorm services, to be made within its structure.

"Part of our job is to establish parameters," said Sara Lee, associate director of the University Studies Division and a member of the task force.

The task force also has command of a national search for the director of the new office. John Butler, professor of geoscience and chairman of the task force, said he hopes to have a job description by mid-March and to fill the position by Sept. 1, 1995.

It is this new position, as well as a vice provost for Research and Graduate Studies position and the assistant vice provost for Academic Affairs position -- the first time in UH's history that a vice provost position has been created -- which indicates how major a reorganization it may be, Trueba said, emphasizing that he hopes the task force will examine all the aspects of admissions, retentions and recruitment.

There are people not qualified on the bottom, Trueba said, adding that positions may be collapsed or eliminated.

The task force is creating a survey to be distributed to almost every department and college, including Mexican-American Studies, African-American Studies, the Dean of Students' Office, Financial Aid and Admissions, initiating a process by which they will evaluate current student services.

"We want to make this a broad survey in student services or closely related areas," Butler said at a Wednesday meeting.

However, of paramount importance to Butler is student involvement -- the student who is supposed to be on the committee was conspicuously absent from Wednesday's meeting.

"We want to give students the same opportunities that we have given the other offices.

"The further you are from the teaching aspect, then the harder it is to get student involvement," he added.

Butler ended Wednesday's meeting by asking members to imagine UH like Montgomery College, a new four-year institution looking to other universities for ideas on how to set up their department of student services.

"It's healthy because then you can focus instead of being constrained by what you have," he said.

After an analysis of the survey, the task force will begin to make recommendations to Trueba, under whose initiative the task force was formed.

Also discussed at the meeting were the future plans for a student affairs building, which will be paid for by the Higher Education Assistance Fund.

HEAF funds are monies set aside for capital projects at Tier II schools like UH and Texas Tech. The University of Texas and Texas A&M are assisted by the Permanent University Fund, a substantial amount of money guaranteed to each institution by the Texas Constitution.

Plans for the student affairs building are still pending.

 

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ABSENCE OF FIRE ALARM IN FLEMING WORRIES PROF

by Jennifer Smith

Daily Cougar Staff

In a memo pleading for the construction of a new research building, Donald Elthon, chairman of the Chemistry Department, said he fears "catastrophic" consequences because of alleged inadequate facilities in the Fleming Building, including the absence of a fire alarm system, which Elthon said has been out of commission for more than a month.

"We are, in my view, at considerable risk of having a catastrophic fire or explosion. We need to have chemical storage facilities that are safe.

"There are many problems associated with the storage of chemicals and gas cylinders in the Fleming Building. At any time, a fire, an explosion or leak can lead to a catastrophic loss of life," said the memo, dated Dec. 12.

The disabled fire alarms are part of a replacement and improvement scheme for a better fire alarm system, which should be up and running by Feb. 10, according to Timothy Ryan, director of the Environmental and Physical Safety Department.

Ryan said that although there is no functioning fire alarm system in place in the Fleming Building, UH police usually drive by on their rounds and would report any signs of fire at night, and that hopefully, there would be people in Fleming during daytime hours to report fires.

The Fleming Building was built before modern safety guidelines for chemistry laboratories were made, Elthon added.

"I am primarily concerned about safety to all involved -- the staff and the students," Elthon said.

"But if any life is lost, that is catastrophic," he said. "Clearly, a new building with proper ventilation and a sprinkler system (would be safer)."

Elthon also expressed concern about the safety of those who work in the Fleming Building, particularly because of the poor ventilation system. He cited continual breathing of vapors as a possible health hazard.

Elthon said people who walk through Fleming, or people who take a class in Fleming, are almost certainly not at risk for serious types of health problems.

"People who work in Fleming and spend long hours ... well, most people try to minimize exposure to chemicals ... It is an accepted fact that these chemicals are not good to breathe," Elthon said.

Elthon said that in a new building designed using current safety guidelines, there would be better provisions made for the storage of dangerous chemicals.

Elthon wrote in the memo that Fleming, built in 1964, is "... worn out from 30 years of service."

"All of the major utility systems ... are remarkably substandard," the memo continued.

Elthon said Wednesday that he did not want to cause panic, just air a concern.

"You have to understand the context in which that memo was written," Elthon said. "It was a request for a new building.

"The (types of) hazards in Fleming are intrinsic to almost any chemistry building," he said. "However, the state of the building could be (an aggravating factor)."

Elthon said that because of the state of the building, the Chemistry Department "has carefully chosen the experiments that chemistry students do to absolutely minimize risks to students."

The memo also complains of insufficient quality and quantity of space in the Fleming Building.

Elthon cited an inadequate air-handling system and unsafe storage facilities for chemicals and compressed gasses as major problems with the Fleming Building.

Ryan said in response to the contents of the memo that, in his opinion, the Fleming Building is not unsafe.

"I'd like to think that we've done things to make it safer," Ryan said.

He said the Environmental and Physical Safety Department has undertaken several inspections of Fleming, and made several strong recommendations, including putting a scavenging hood on an air drain to minimize vapor leaks from the disposal method.

Ryan also said air-quality testing had been applied, and that there were no dangerous chemical levels present.

Because of space problems in Fleming, the Chemistry Department has had to spread out into three buildings in its search for adequate research space. The memo calls this division "inefficient."

In addition, student demand for undergraduate laboratory courses is continually frustrated because there is not enough space. There is 100 percent enrollment in these courses, which start at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday and continue far into the evening, according to the memo.

The University Planning and Policy Council has tentatively recommended that a HEAF allocation be made for a new science research building in 1998.

The building would cost an estimated $39 million and would provide space for researchers to do their work.

According to the plan, the undergraduate lab courses currently housed in Fleming would still be held in Fleming or the Old Science Building, following a complete gutting and renovation of those buildings as undergraduate teaching centers.

If this plan takes place, the building of the new science research building will be primarily intended for researchers' use, though one plan may possibly include two large lecture halls and some undergraduate labs.

The renovation of Fleming, according to the plan, would take place the year after the new science research building begins construction, and would cost an estimated $8 million.

Elthon said that if the plan is accepted, the researchers would be moved into the new science research building, then the undergraduate labs would be renovated floor by floor, though the undergraduate chemistry lab classes would continue to go on.

 

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OFFICIALS HARP ON MUSIC BUILDING FUNDS

by Andy Alford

Contributing Writer

Starting next September, the sound of construction will be music to UH's ears. Maybe.

Originally scheduled to begin in April 1994, the construction of the $19.5 million new music building is now scheduled to begin Sept. 1, 1995.

In October 1992, UH's Board of Regents approved a five-year plan that included building the new music building, but the plan was delayed in 1994 while university officials waited for bond prices to improve.

However, James Berry, associate vice chancellor for Facilities Planning and Construction, said the delay was caused by the reorganization of the financing of the project.

Although in 1993, John and Rebecca Moores donated $10.2 million for the construction of the new music building, Berry said System and campus financial offices will decide whether construction will be funded through Higher Education Assistance Funds or through the Moores' gift.

The HEAF Task Force of the Deans Council released a preliminary expenditures report last December in which it said, "We understand that consideration is being given to using some $18.5 million in HEAF funds for the music building, thus freeing the Moores gift to be placed in the UH endowment. The task force expresses concern about substituting HEAF for private donations received to fund building construction."

The new music building fails to appear on the list of projects HEAF will consider whether or not to fund.

If UH officials ever work out how they want to go about funding the new music building, it will be built directly north of the Science and Research 3 Building, where part of Lot 16 is now. It will contain an 800-seat concert hall with three levels for opera and symphony performances, as well as classrooms and practice rooms.

 

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5-34-1

COUGARS BURN ORANGE FOR 105-96 OT VICTORY

1-18-2

5,024 fans rock Hofheinz Pavilion

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

Some upsets you can see coming. This one wasn't so obvious.

Back-to-back wins over Southwest Conference deadbeats Baylor and Southern Methodist were nice, but with Texas coming to Hofheinz Pavilion, few gave the Houston Cougars basketball team any chance to continue its streak.

Time to sit up and pay attention. This streak is for <I>real<P>.

Led by a dazzling performance from freshman point guard Tommie Davis, Houston destroyed, mauled, demolished and otherwise completely smoked a vaunted Texas full-court press defense to come out on top 105-96 in overtime Wednesday night.

The win pushed the Cougars' season record to a still-disappointing 6-13 overall, 3-4 in the SWC, but gave serious reason for future hope.

"This win puts us back in the thick of the conference race," Houston head basketball coach Alvin Brooks said. "Two weeks ago, we weren't even a player. This is the first time all year we've had some continuity."

Texas (12-5, 4-2 in the SWC) never led by more than four points in suffering its first loss to Houston since March 13, 1993. The Longhorns died in the extra period, getting outscored 16-7.

The story of the night, though, was in the Houston backcourt. Although shooting guard Damon Jones racked up all the assists (11), it was fellow freshman Davis who continually wowed the crowd of 5,024 with his spinning drives and elusive moves up the court.

"(Davis) was definitely the difference in the game," Longhorn coach Tom Penders said. "He broke the pressure, he made good decisions and some unbelievable shots."

Davis said, "Our main focus was to stay wide (offensively). Teams that have had success against Texas played a 2-1-2 offensive set.

"Once I brought triple and double teams, other players were open."

Players like forward Tim Moore, who led all scorers with 31 points -- two shy of his season and career high -- exploited the seams in UT's defense. He also had a game-high 13 rebounds, eight on the offensive side, and killed six Texas shots.

Once the overtime started, Jessie Drain sank a baseline shot with one foot inside the 3-point line to give UH a two-point lead. Following a Davis free-throw, Texas' Tremaine Wingfield put back a Rencher miss to cut the Cougars' lead to one.

Houston then ran off eight straight points to give itself a 100-91 advantage with 1:02 left. Jones' right-corner trey and breakaway layup, along with a resounding follow slam by Moore (one of many) keyed the surge.

Moore also had two huge blocks on the Longhorns to preserve the delicate 92-91 lead early in overtime, proving his game-saving defense against SMU Saturday was no fluke.

All in all, Moore logged 44 minutes, while starters Davis (17 points), Ford (25) and Jones (12) logged more than 40 minutes each.

<B>Cougar staff writers M.S. Ameen and Jason Paul Ramirez contributed to this report.<P>

 

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UH'S RECRUITS READY FOR 'BIG'TIME

Helton stocks up on offensive, defensive lineman

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

Looking at the breakdown by position of the Houston Cougars' 1995 football signees, the emphasis seems pretty obvious.

Out of 23 players whose commitments were announced for Wednesday's national signing day, six recruits are listed as defensive linemen and five as offensive linemen.

"I think it's very evident that the big people on this board have an opportunity to compete to play immediately," Houston head football coach Kim Helton said Wednesday, pointing to the charts outlining his signees.

Big they are. Four of the five offensive linemen boast weights of 285 pounds or more; two (Gregory Brown of Miami and Wilbert Brown of Hooks, Texas) top 300.

"I felt like we were certainly hurting on the offensive line," Houston football coach Kim Helton said of a front that routinely featured three freshmen in 1994. "We lost (senior left tackle) Billy Milner and we don't have enough backups to be able to compete."

Marcus Spriggs, a 6-3, 290-pound tackle from Hinds Community College in Mississippi, was one of only four junior-college transfers who came on board.

"The right offensive tackle (Spriggs), I'll take anytime he's on the board," Helton said.

Larry Roper, a 6-1, 265-pounder from Arlington Sam Houston who was featured on several Top 100 lists, headed the defensive front additions. Freddie Fisher (6-1, 210) and Ahmard Charles (6-2, 200), both from Cleveland, Texas, were also big local names on defense. Helton said both would also be looked at as outside linebackers.

The Cougars grabbed a pair of quarterbacks, Glenn Odell from Class 4A state champion Stephenville and Tyson Helton, the head coach's son, from Sugarland Clements.

Odell hasn't lost a football game in two years, going 28-0 as a starter for Stephenville and winning two straight 4A titles.

"The two quarterbacks both have great potential," Helton said. "I think both have big, strong arms, both are 6-2-and-a-half, both are 170 (pounds).

"If (returning quarterbacks) Chuck Clements, Chad O'Shea and Larry Oliver play poorly, (the recruits) will have a chance to compete."

Any quarterback not in a Run-and-Shoot offense could use a tight end to throw to, and may be finding either 6-3, 250-pound Rodney Griffin from Friendswood High or 6-2, 255-pound Jonathan Dennis from Pensacola High in Pensacola, Fla., on third-and-eight situations in the future.

"I felt that there were two great tight ends in the state of Texas, and we got one of them," Helton said. "Both (tight ends) can run and catch, both can knock you off the ball."

 

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2-20-2

LADY COUGARS LOOKING TO MAKE LONGHORNS 4TH STRAIGHT VICTIM

by Jason Paul Ramirez

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston Lady Cougars, winners of their last three games, will host Texas at 7 tonight in Hofheinz Pavilion.

The Cougars (9-9, 3-3 in the SWC) are coming off a 94-45 belting of Prairie View A&M Monday night, and are looking to leapfrog the Lady Longhorns (7-9, 3-2), losers of two in a row, and take over fourth place in the conference standings.

But the Longhorns appear to have history on their side tonight. Texas' all-time record vs. the Cougars is 50-1 since the series began in 1975.

The Cougars' lone win was a 73-65 victory in Hofheinz on Jan. 8, 1992.

"I don't know if it is just us Texas has success against," said Houston head coach Jessie Kenlaw. "Until this decade, they had always dominated the conference in every category."

But these are the 1995 Longhorns, and head coach Jody Conradt's team is off to its worst start in her 19 seasons at the helm of women's college basketball's winningest program.

Texas limps into Hofheinz fresh off an 84-40 loss Saturday at Texas Tech. The margin of defeat for the Longhorns was also the worst in Conradt's tenure.

"It is a little bit unusual that Texas is struggling," Kenlaw said. "But knowing Conradt and Texas, they will be ready to play."

 

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FEBRUARY CELEBRATES SIXTY-NINE YEARS OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH

BLACK HISTORY MONTH LOGO

by Lady Oliver

Daily Cougar Staff

African American History Month, held in February, is the observance of a special period to recognize the achievements and contributions of African Americans, according to Chase's Events Calendar.

Carter G. Woodson and others conceptualized this month-long observance back in 1926. Although it was initially a one-week observation, the month of February was designated in honor of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas, the great opponent of slavery and founder of the North Star newspaper. Douglas was once quoted as saying, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress." Lincoln's birthday is February 12 and Douglas' is thought to be February 14.

In 1976 President Gerald R. Ford proclaimed February to be Black History Month.

Since that time, February has been known as Negro History Month, Black History Month, Black Heritage Month and Black Expressions.

This year's heritage theme is "Reflections on 1895: Douglas, Dubois and Washington."

Although these names may be well-known, there are many people of African heritage who have made outstanding, history-making contributions.

Did you know?

• January 13, 1966: Robert Weaver became the first African American to serve as a presidential cabinet member.

• February 25, 1870: Hiram R. Revels became the first African American United States Senator.

• February 27, 1872: Charlotte Ray, a Harvard University graduate, became the first African American woman to practice law.

• March 26, 1937: William Hastie became the first African American federal judge.

• April 10, 1947: Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play major-league professional baseball.

• May 14, 1963: Arthur Ashe became the first African American to play on the United States Davis Cup tennis team.

• June 13, 1967: Thurgood Marshall became the first African American appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

• July 9, 1893: Dr. Daniel Hale Williams became the first person ever to perform open heart surgery.

• August 12, 1962: Mel Goode became the first African American news commentator on national television.

• September 22, 1950: Dr. Ralph Bunche became the first African American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

• October 17, 1970: Dr. Clifton R. Wharton Jr. became the first African American to head a major university, Michigan State University.

• November 5, 1968: Shirley Chisholm became the first African American woman elected to Congress.

• December 16, 1977: Andrew Young became the first African American to be appointed ambassador to the United Nations.

This is a small sampling of the many contributions African Americans have made throughout American history. As part of our celebration of Black History Month, Daily Cougar readers can look forward to observing the role African Americans have played in American history.

 

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WATERS JUST A DANCE DIVA

by Joey Guerra

Daily Cougar Staff

Crystal Waters' latest album, <I>Storyteller<P>, actually tells two stories. The first half of the album has Waters playing the part of dance diva, while the second half shows her romantic, more serious side. Only one of these tales has a happy ending.

The first five tracks are definite winners. The first single off her Mercury release, "100% Pure Love," is a fierce dance track that bubbles with energy and excitement. The furious bass line will keep your toes tapping all day long.

"Regardless" and "Relax" are also prime examples of great club music. Definite house and hip-hop influences are evident, with excellent production and arrangement by the Basement Boys. Themes of love pop up in the lyrics written by Waters but never grow tired, due to infectious beats and catchy phrasing.

"Ghetto Day" is a light, springy tune that evokes feelings of a family picnic on a warm, sunny day. "I Believe I Love You" is also very listenable and continues down the dance music track.

Unfortunately, Waters isn't happy with catchy dance hooks alone. The title track, "Storyteller," starts off promising but falls into the usual, tired R&B ballad mode. "Lover Lay Low," another attempt at romance, is also repetitive and instantly forgettable. With songs like these, Waters sounds like just one of the dozens of Top 40 artists being heard on the radio.

Especially disappointing is "Is It For Me," a nice try at variation that fails on every level. Waters sounds like she's trying to imitate the 1940s chanteuse style that Vanessa Williams covers so beautifully. Instead, she sounds out of her league, vocally and musically.

Yet another frustrating moment is "Daddy Do," an attempt to address serious issues. Waters returns to a dance beat, but lyrics like, "She found the rifle/ she was his wife/ she had to take his life" seem out of place here. It's hard to imagine becoming a dancing machine while a song about child abuse and domestic violence plays on the turntable.

Perhaps most disappointing is the fact that the album's first half is so fun and energetic. Waters has a knack for putting out great dance music, but it seems as if she's trying too hard to be taken seriously with this album. It's as if she must make up for the carefree attitude of the first half of the album with the drippy, romantic sound of the second half. Not only does it disappoint, it weakens the entire album. Perhaps the most telling story on <I>Storyteller<P> is this piece of advice for Waters - if it ain't broken, don't fix it.

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