Dean of Students Munson accused of conflict of interest

by Andy Alford

Daily Cougar Staff

The Student Fees Advisory Committee meeting bordered on the controversial Monday morning when Kenneth Waldman, director of Psychology Training Services in the Counseling and Testing Service, accused Dean of Students William Munson, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and SFAC adviser, of a conflict of interest.

SFAC decides what student fees go to five major divisions: Student Services, Student Service Organization, Student Activities, Student Organization Funding Sources and Student Services Operating Contingency. Hearings started Friday and will continue until Monday in the UC Regents Room.

After deciding fee allocations, SFAC makes recommendations to the vice president for Student Affairs.

Waldman said he would rather have someone else as SFAC adviser because Munson is the Dean of Students (a unit of Student Services) while serving as adviser to Elwyn Lee, vice president for Student Affairs, on SFAC.

Munson said, "I take pride in being an objective person. Sometimes I feel like I've been objective to the point that I've not come forward with various requests (from the DOS Office)."

If anything, Munson said, "I feel confident with the students' endorsement."

Waldman said he objected to the way the system is ordered. "I don't have anything against Munson as a person," he said.

Waldman came before SFAC to plead for additional base funding, more space for CTS offices and increased staff to meet the needs of CTS' growing clientele.

CTS does crisis counseling, outreach programs and individual and group workshops.

In addition, attorney Marilyn Golub, with Student Legal Services, defended a request for an increase to $2,000 from $750 in funds allocated for supplies.

"Every other year, the Legislature meets, and when the Legislature meets, the laws change. I don't think $750 is going to cover the cost of new law books," Golub said.

Elizabeth Gregory, professor of English and presidential appointee to SFAC, and Michael Martin, Students' Association representative to SFAC, asked if Golub had considered a fee increase or graduated fees for the students who use Student Legal Services.

Golub responded, "I see problems with raising the fee. I don't want someone to say, 'I can't come in because I can no longer afford to.'

"But I am totally against a graduated scale. It would take up 50 percent of my time just to figure out how much someone should pay. I would rather have all the fees raised."

Golub said she sees about 300 students a year at a charge of $5 each for a consultation. UH students pay 55 cents a year (under student service fees) for SLS.

Patrick N. Daniel, director of Student Support Services, asked for the same amount of funding for Learning Support Services that the unit received last year, plus a one-time allotment of $20,000 for tutors' salaries.

Daniel also wanted to extend the hours of LSS to accommodate nontraditional students.

After the committee returned from lunch, it listened to Noe Marmolejo, director of the UH Jazz Ensemble.

Marmolejo is requesting $6,100 from SFAC to augment the ensemble's music library and buy a new drum set for the group. Last year, the group received $6,148 from SFAC, the first time the ensemble partook in the fray for funds. Marmolejo said the ensemble receives $2,600 from the School of Music and another $600 from the Marching Band.

Munson questioned Marmolejo about the number of students who were directly affected by the ensemble. The director told the committee that the group had 65 members, up from last year's 45, and that they perform for many people.

The group has a set concert each month as well as impromptu concerts in front of the UC Satellite and the Fine Arts Building.

The day concluded with the presentation of the "Student Needs Assessment," a survey gauging the use and effectiveness of student services.

The hearings continue Wednesday with presentations from Intramurals, the Spirit Board, the Department of Campus Activities, the Metropolitan Volunteer Program, forensics, intercollegiate athletics, the Activities Funding Board, the Council of Ethnic Organizations and the Students' Association.






by Samaria Jones

Contributing Writer

The newly sworn U.S. trustee for Region Seven, Richard Simmons, credits the UH Law Center's Clinical Studies Program with setting the course of his career.

The UH Law Center alumnus says that while participating in the Clinical Studies Program, he worked as a part-time law clerk for former bankruptcy Judge William M. Schultz.

In his new position, Simmons will oversee the administration of bankruptcy cases in Region Seven, which includes the southern and western federal judicial districts of Texas. Simmons was appointed by Attorney General Janet Reno in August and was officially sworn in as a new trustee Jan. 24 at the UH Hilton. The oath was administered by Judge Edith H. Jones of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"It takes years of dedication and hard work to achieve a position of such distinction and importance to both individuals and major corporations," said Elwyn Lee, UH vice president for Student Affairs and associate professor of law.

"The University of Houston is especially proud that one of its law graduates has attained this appointment. We're also proud that, as an African American, he is a role model to the community, and a symbol for diversity in the legal profession and the university as a whole," Lee added.

Simmons said some of the challenges of this position are to structure an efficient bankruptcy system that adequately services debtors and creditors, to monitor the funds of the region and to ensure that trustees are sufficiently bonded.

Simmons received both his bachelor's of science and master's of arts from Ohio State University. He received his law degree from UH in 1977. After working for E.I. Dupont de Nemours in Delaware, Simmons returned to Houston to take a full- time clerk position with Judge Schultz. Simmons has practiced bankruptcy law in Region Seven for 15 years, 12 of them with Nathan, Wood & Sommers, where he was a shareholder.







by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

The final business of the day, scheduled for the second round of Student Fees Advisory Committee meetings Monday, was a presentation of the "Student Needs Assessment" by David Small, assistant vice president for Student Services.

The survey, which measures the use of student services by the student body, was the second of its kind, the last being done in 1991.

Small, who served as chairman of the Student Needs Assessment Committee, said the survey was updated from ’91's, and that the sampling was done differently.

This survey polled every fourth student from the complete student data base for students who were enrolled in both the spring and fall 1994 semesters, about 20,000 students; therefore, about 5,000 were polled.

According to the executive summary of the survey, just two of the 16 student services were used by more than 50 percent of those polled. The University Center was the service most frequently used by students, at 86.5 percent, and Computer Services was second at 66 percent.

Next in line was Financial Aid Services, at 45.4 percent, followed by the Health Center, the Counseling and Testing Service, and the Career Planning and Placement Center, which were all in the 30s.

The Child Care Center was last in the survey at 1.12 percent, but Small was quick to point out that the numbers did not reflect how beneficial the service is to those who use it.

The survey also asked how many people had never heard of the services listed. The best-kept secret was Veterans Services, which remains unknown to 46.8 percent of the students polled. Next was International Student and Scholar Services, followed by the Child Care Center and the Center for Students with Disabilities. In addition, 1.3 percent were not aware of the UC.

Those polled were also asked to rate services on a scale of one to four, one being lowest and four being highest.

The Student Information and Assistance Center in the UC ranked the highest at 3.27 with the Health Center right on its tail at 3.26. Residence Hall Services was last at 2.57.

As far as general items went, the students seemed satisfied with UH as 20 of the 27 "university – general items" were given a 2.5 or better. The new VIP form of registration stood out at No. 1 with a ranking of 3.17. The quality of instruction in major courses was a close second with a 3.13 rating. Library helpfulness and the Admissions Office also received a 3.0 or better.

Parking rounded out the survey at 2.02, and the Students' Association was given a 2.16. Social life at UH was third from the bottom.

The final section asked students questions. Using the same scale, they were asked if they agreed or disagreed.

When asked if VIP registration was effective, the response was almost perfect with a 3.78. The next closest rating, 3.21, came from whether there was a need for more retail establishments near campus.

The strongest disagreement came from the funding of intercollegiate athletics. The question of whether or not the athletic program should be supported by student service fees was met with a 1.77, the lowest point total. Yet the question of athletics being important to the university was given a 2.61.








Former Rocket Otis Thorpe is no longer towering over Rockets' opponents now that he's in Portland.

O.O.C. with Chris P.

Once again, my so-called editor and wannabe columnist, Ryan Carssow, took time out to shower us with his weekly dose of wisdom.

Who cares, Ryan? Here's my assessment of the Rockets' trade last week:

The Rockets are a much better team with Clyde Drexler and Tracy Murray than they were with Otis Thorpe.

Although I loved to see O.T. swoop to the hoop and dunk with all the funk he had in his trunk, I'd rather see Clyde sky glide and slam jam, thank you, Sam (Cassell).

Who needs a power forward anyway? The world champs have Pete Chilcutt, a born-again basketball player who can shoot it from the outside as well as take it to the basket with <I>force<P>.

The post-Thorpe Rockets are quicker and more athletic in all areas. A quicker forward can get a rebound before a bulky one gets off his feet.

But Vernon Maxwell should have been traded also, because he has the disposition of the late Vernon Howell (a.k.a. the wacko in Waco, David Koresh).

The trade rumor that had Maxwell going to the New Jersey Nets for Jayson Williams straight up excited me more than being hired by Carssow.

Can you imagine Derrick Coleman, Kenny Anderson and Maxwell on the same squad? The Nets would have to get an extra ball, an extra shrink and extra security.

So where can the Rockets send their in-house psychiatric ward patient? Uh, let's see who needs a guard.

Unlike column boy Carssow, I would not send Maxwell to Portland for Buck Williams. After all, the Summit doesn't allow players in wheelchairs on the court, and Williams is so old he'd play the whole game with his left blinker on.

Since I'm from New York, I'm used to talking about impossible trades. People would always call in on the sports radio talk shows saying, "Uh, yeah. What about Gooden and Dykstra for Mark Salas? Straight up."

So let's talk about impossible trades.

Maxwell for Anthony Mason, and the Knicks throw in Greg Anthony so he can sweep the floor after practice.

Better yet, Maxwell, Scottie Brooks and the Rockets 2020 second-round pick for the Bulls' Scottie Pippen – minus the Afro.

Alas, I think Max is here for the duration (of his sanity). But you never know what will happen before Thursday's trading deadline. There's nothing wrong with dreaming.

Maxwell for Cedric Ceballos and Elden Campbell . . .

<B>Peña is a junior who Carssow is trying to trade for Mickey Herskowitz – straight up.<P>






by Michael P. Martin

Contributing Writer

<I>". . .If it weren't for the coffee, I'd have no identifiable personality whatsoever."

-- David Letterman, Esquire, December 1994.<P>

In the early morning chill, I quickly learn why this area of P.G. Hoffman Hall is called a breezeway.

It's 7:45 a.m., and the crowd is already gathering around the Bottari Cafe coffee wagon.

Three students in plastic chairs surround a plastic table and engage in an animated discussion. Nearby, two other students peer intently at textbooks. One grips a highlighter in her hand, poised and ready to strike. All are huddled against the cold air and have steaming cups close at hand. I have a feeling those cups contain more than a little caffeine.

"Any of those folks drinking decaf?" I ask Jennifer Bentsen, a journalism/advertising senior who is busy rattling the brew baskets and filling the cups.

"None," she says. "We have one customer who comes in every morning and buys a double decaf latte. That's it."

Laura Quinn, an undeclared freshman, walks up and orders a small decaf latte. "Doctor's orders," she says, before I can ask, "but if I had the choice I'd probably do a little of both."

Talking to strangers seems not to be a problem here.

Bea Price holsters her highlighter and gets ready to head to class. "I'm here early most mornings. I prefer to sit outside if the weather's nice," says the education junior. "I did sit out here one day when it was really cold. It was okay -- for about 15 minutes!"

Price likes the convenient location. Morgan Taylor says there is more to it than that.

"It's the locale, sure, but it's also the company," says Taylor as she drops into the chair next to mine. "You have all types of people here. I come before my 8 a.m. class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and drop by at other times -- but not when it's cold."

"Yes you do! And when it rains, too!" someone yells from two tables away.

"Well, I was here that day it turned cold and rained so hard," admits Taylor, a freshman HRM major. "We just moved the chairs closer to the wall and carried on."

Taylor lights a cigarette. I ask if being able to smoke is one of the draws. "No," she says. "There are lots of places on campus I can smoke. I just like it here."

Perhaps there is a warmth here of a different kind.

The next sunrise finds me in the American Cafe in the UC. The air is nice and warm, but the atmosphere has a distinct chill. Most tables are occupied by a lone student. Some heavy studying is going on, but very little conversation.

I quickly move to the UC Satellite. Most tables have more than one occupant, but no inter-table chatter. People seem to be staying within their own groups.

Dan Jackson, a pre-pharmacy sophomore, sits alone with his daily paper. "I find the Satellite more convenient, and it's warmer in here," says Jackson. "This is my time to kick back and get my head together for the day."

Jackson quickly adds that he does frequent the breezeway coffee wagon. "I just don't go when it's cold," he says.

I begin to detect some of the chill I felt at the UC and head back to the breezeway.

Business and conversation are brisk around the coffee wagon. Owner Richard Colt is at the helm. I ask him for his secret.

"There are a lot of walls around people on campus," Colt says. "Here we have no walls -- of any kind."






by Deanna Koshkin

Daily Cougar Staff

Andy Garrison, an independent film maker has recently shown three short films based on childhood and life in rural Whitesburg, Ky. The films were shown at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.

The first shown, <I>Portraits and Dreams<P>, was originally a slide show and was adapted to fit the screen, maintaining its original form.

The slides focus on the lives of children between the ages of six and 14. The entire slide show contains incredible photographs taken by young children, illustrating life through their eyes, while they talk about the pictures as they appear on the screen.

Co-producer Wendy Ewald taught the children about the idea of self-portraits, and had them take photographs of themselves by either stretching the camera out in front of their faces or posing in a way that reflects their personality as someone else takes the picture.

The next film shown, called <I>Fat Monroe<P>, is based on a book called <I>Kinfolks<P>, by Gurney Norman. "I wanted a short story and I could easily picture this story as I read it," Garrison said.

<I>Fat Monroe<P>, a documentary about the life of a young boy named Wilgus, focuses on the daily life of children in a small town.

Garrison said the film took four years to complete because of a lack of financial funding.

"I make my own images and present them to show what the region is all about," Garrison said.

<I>Night Ride<P> is a continuation of <I>Fat Monroe<P>, taking place six years later when Wilgus is 15. The film centers around the time Wilgus spends with his uncle as they ride down the road. More of a drama than a documentary, this film contains several intense scenes between Wilgus and his uncle. It is much more dramatic and serious than the humorous <I>Fat Monroe<P>.

Garrison's future plans include another sequel, called <I>Maxine<P>, in which Wilgus is 23 years old. It will come from another chapter in Gurney Norman's <I>Kinfolks<P>.

At some points the films lagged because too much time was spent in certain spots. However, the films' redeeming qualities far outshined the weaknesses and made them well worthwhile.

Be on the lookout for more films by independent film makers at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.






by Deanna Koshkin

Daily Cougar Staff

Kerbdog has recently released its self-titled debut. Taking its name from a Southern California BMX club called The Curb Dogs, its original post-punk style of rock has earned the band a contract from Phonogram Records after nearly two years of writing and redefining material.

The group has also recently attained the title of one of the top five best new bands in both <I>Kerrang<P> and <I>Raw<P> through reader polls, and was voted one of the top 10 live acts of 1993 in <I>Raw<P>.

Kerbdog's members grew up in a small town called Kilkenny. It was here that the four met at college in Dublin and formed a band. After this quartet was chosen as one of the top live acts, the group went on to make a name for itself as one of the more popular underground independent rock bands in the vicinity.

The group's punk anthems and grinding guitars help give its strong rock a new and fresh style. Innovative and invigorating, the band knows what it takes to make it in the hard-to-crack rock'n'roll world. Though most of its songs are hard and heavy, the band is also capable of producing a strong mellow and lyrical sound. These slow songs are gentle and relaxing in contrast to the faster, more upbeat songs.

Kerbdog's new debut album includes great songs like "Dummy," "Crusher," "The Inseminator," "End of Green" and "Earthworks."

Each of the album's songs features the confidently powerful vocals of Cormac Battle and Dara Butler's superb backup percussion. With Colin Fennelly on bass and Billy Dalton hammering it out on guitar, this band produces a unique and diverse sound. With this new release, guitar solos are taken to new heights.

Kerbdog's expert sound can be compared to the likes of Soundgarden, Nirvana and Mudhoney, especially since the groups share the same producer, Jack Endino. He is probably Seattle's most well-known sonic architect.

Kerbdog's recent release is extremely strong and forceful, making for a splendid record. It is a great band to take a chance on if you are feeling adventurous. It is guaranteed to blow you away.



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