IN SEARCH OF THAT ONE CLASS -- AND GRADUATION

Limited 'resources' erect obstacles to courses students need, dean says

by Shahida Amin

News Reporter

The limited courses offered every semester may often leave students frustrated, but university officials say faculty availability and funds often leave the university with no options.

The Undergraduate Studies catalog reflects a list of all the courses the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has approved for the university to teach, said Lawrence H. Curry Jr., associate dean of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication. Because some courses are not taught every semester, students looking in the catalog for a special course may not find the same course in the class schedule.

"It's really a question of resources," Curry said. "We don't have enough resources to teach every course every semester. What departments try to do is teach every course every semester that lots and lots of students have to take."

Some speciality courses, thus, are not offered every semester and may even skip a few semesters before they show up on the schedule.

"If a course does not get offered within a three-year period...the course is removed from our official inventory of courses for which we are approved to teach," he said. "And then the course has to come out of the catalog listing."

In the meantime, students remain unaware of which courses in the catalog have been canceled or when a course they are interested in will be offered next.

"There's not university policy that requires a department to tell students more than a semester in advance the precise courses they are going to teach," Curry said.

Students can prepare themselves for such situations by planning their schedules a few semesters in advance, said Sara Lee, associate director of the University Studies Division.

"If you're hoping to take a particular course that you have either heard about or seen described in the catalog, the best thing to do is contact that department and tell them what your overall plan is," she said. "Explain what your major is and your understanding that you may have to wait to take it, but you need to know if you can plan on ever taking it."

Hugh W. Stephens, associate dean for academics in the College of Social Sciences, said undergraduate faculty advisers are the best source for students who have questions concerning the status of a course.

"These people will be able to give the students a good idea about a specialized course," he said. "The adviser is not going to be able to say exactly when that course will be scheduled until a schedule is made up. If (students) are interested about its general availability, it's not too hard for the adviser to answer that question."

In the past, Curry had requested that the Undergraduate Council, an academic governance council that has representatives from all of the undergraduate colleges, offices within the administration and four student members selected by the Students' Association, direct departments to indicate in the catalog how often courses were taught.

The Undergraduate Council chose not to make that recommendation to the departments because of so many different variables that come into play, Curry said.

Student members can submit action items to that council for consideration. If a student wanted to get an item on the agenda of the Undergraduate Council, they must persuade a member of the council to submit it.

"If something like this were to be proposed, it would require a good deal of research to determine what the effect would be," he said. "If someone were to propose, for example, that the catalog include some forecast of how often a course will be offered...it would be referred back to a committee; the committee would investigate the whole question and then report back to the council. We would recommend approval as submitted, we would recommend approval with some modification or we would recommend that it not be approved."

 

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REGENTS LEADER'S SENSE OF PURPOSE ALL IN THE FAMILY

 

by Kevin Patton

Daily Cougar Staff

Beth Morian's red scarf is spread across her shoulder in the cold draft of the John H. Reagan lobby.

The long wait to testify before the House Subcommittee on Education never ends, as 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. crawl by.

State Rep. Steve Ogden, R-College Station, hammered his alma mater, the Texas A&M System and its eight universities.

That should make things easier, Morian jokes. "I'd hate for anything to happen to us like is happening to them," she said.

Between Feb. 7-10, the subcommittee heard testimony from all 51 public universities in the state.

They all want money.

The creased and obviously worn Mary Nan West, chairwoman of the A&M Board of Regents, interrupts Morian in mid-sentence with a "How are you?" Secretary of Agriculture Rick Perry stops her again; an A&M regent greets her, then Tom O'Connor says hello, the grandson of the man with whom her grandfather, Hugh Roy Cullen, discovered an oil field.

That oil field would eventually bankroll UH. Old friends. She smiles.

The Cullens have been one of the most influential families in UH's and Houston's history. The Melchers and the Worthams certainly qualify for that honor as well, but the Cullens have nine UH buildings named for them or their relatives as well as a street, a boulevard that stretches across south Houston. Thirty-two businesses also bear the name. In addition, one of three buildings of Hermann Hospital is named Cullen.

Hugh Roy Cullen didn't even make it to high school. He married into the wealthy Schulenburg family after selling candy for $3 a week. He then worked for the Texas Cotton Exchange brokering cotton futures.

But it was after he moved back to Texas from Oklahoma that he made the fortune that would bankroll UH.

Oil.

Although by Morian's own admission, he was horribly unsuccessful at first. He found an oil field in the Victoria-Prefario area that still produces today.

UH has been fundamentally changed two times: When UH became a four-year institution and when UH began to receive state funding. Morian's grandfather did the first; Morian's father, Corbin J. Robertson, did the second.

"When UH was landed, the old groups (Cullens, Elkins, Worthams), they rallied around, saying, 'We need this four-year institution to handle (the student load),' " Morian said.

In 1963, Robertson led the charge for UH to become a state- funded institution.

"I had two close relatives who were instrumental to the life of an institution," she said.

Her office reflects the bounty of times past: pictures of her as a child at UH football games; pictures of her father; pictures of her grandfather; pictures of the Texas landscape; her son in a UT football uniform; and an antique Texas hutch of smoky mahogany with a gavel, as old as the hutch, used to adjudicate for generations. The view from the 35th floor is outdone by the memorabilia scrunched into the corner behind her desk.

Pictures of her two children, Cullen Geiselman, who attends Duke University, and Grover Geiselman, who attends UT, are plastered about her office almost as much as the rest of her family combined.

For a debutante with a degree in classics from UT, she has an incisive business acumen. She's president of Westview Development, an Austin-based real estate development firm, and president of Cockspur, an oil and gas production firm. She sits on the boards of Southwest Bank of Texas, Quintana Petroleum Corp. and the Greater Houston Partnership. She's also on the development board of the UT Health and Science Center. She has memberships in five different country clubs across the country – and that is only some of her community activity.

But she didn't always want to be a regent. It wasn't until Alex Schilt, UH System chancellor, suggested the idea, that she became interested.

"I've always been interested in education. I served as a trustee on the foundation board and got back involved with the university and its (Greater Partnership) campaign – peripheral things.

"It was shortly thereafter that Alex came on board. I was appointed in 1991. I've been going ever since," she said.

Her vision is one of coupling higher education with its community, coupling UH with Houston.

"Texas deserves three specialized, very fine research centers. UH should be one of those centers," she said.

With faculty disputes and state-funding battles, Morian has more pressing things to say about UH than her family's long and noted contributions.

"We have lived through the corporate restructuring. You have to look at how you structure most effectively to get the job done.

"Higher education is changing. It's getting very competitive. We've got to be prepared to compete, and not just with UT and A&M," she said.

"We're going to be left behind. We've always had to do a little more with a little less -- in the next millennium, we have to be ready to take on challenges," she said.

She added that she hopes UH can compete nationally with the technological advances that are changing higher education, like taking classes from the home with interactive television.

"That's what the board does," she said. "It brings business perspective from being in the community. I'm aware of the things that happen out there.

"Maybe we are in for a reality check," she said.

The Board of Regents is the highest governing body of the university. The regents oversee the System, and its approval is necessary in every major decision.

"Dr. Schilt is (a) wonderfully persistent man, and a great spokesman for higher education," she said of Schilt's work with the Legislature.

She also said she feels a close identity with the UH students as well. After she divorced her first husband and the father of her children, she was a single working mother.

She draws on that experience, she said.

But for Morian, being a regent is more than a job. "It's like being a student, without the final exams," she said.

"I really like people. That's what's fun about this job. You get to meet a lot of different people," she said. "Think of how much fun, as a classics major, I can have with a university."

Apparently her academic bent for learning hasn't worn off: The last book Morian read was Charles Darwin's <I>The Origin of the Species<P>.

The gold thread of her scarf is flying behind her as she lumbers through a disordered crowd; deadpan, Morian turns to Schilt, screaming, "I'm going to try to make the seven o'clock."

She just made it.

 

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BENGAL TIGERS OF INDIA PROVIDE FOLKLORE, DANGER

by Mariana Ivanova

News Reporter

They walk like ghosts where the sea stretches toward the earth and the earth toward the sea. They swim in the ocean on high waves. They hunt day and night. They follow fishermen's boats, climb up and grab the men by the neck. When they die, Allah takes one of their whiskers.

"The Bengal tiger of the Sundarbans is one of the most amazing beings ever to walk on the face of the earth," says Sy Montgomery, an avid student of wildlife and the wild, in her speech, "Spell of the Tiger: Man-Eaters of the Sundarbans," on campus Wednesday.

Scientists have yet to explain the aggressive nature of the Bengal tigers of that region, added Montgomery, who has traveled and researched the Sundarbans. Elsewhere, tigers rarely eat people, but in that "drowned land," they kill hundreds of humans each year, she said.

The Sundarbans, the largest mangrove swamp in the world, is in the Bay of Bengal between India and Bangladesh. This land, where trees and roots stretch toward the sky, is the home of more than 500 tigers, the world's largest population of tigers, she said.

Bengal tigers do not go to the villages to kill people, the scientist said. They wait for people to come to the forest. Usually, they hide in the bushes and attack from behind, she added.

One of the possible explanations for the aggressive nature of the tigers is the lack of fresh water in the Sundarbans, Montgomery said. All animals there drink only salt water. It damages the liver and kidneys of the tigers, making them more aggressive, she said.

Another theory suggests tigers attack because they associate the fishermen's odor with fish, which is part of their food diet, Montgomery said.

A different theory suggests the constant tides that wash the shore make the tigers hyper-territorial, Montgomery added. Everywhere else, tigers mark their territory by depositing feces and urine droppings around it. Because the sea water washes that away, Bengal tigers attack people to defend their eroded land, she said.

Since 1986, when an unknown scientist from Calcutta observed that tigers always attack from the back, people began to wear plastic masks on the back of their heads to protect themselves from the carnivores, Montgomery said.

Other defensive devices include electrified dummies placed in the forest. They smell like people and have a galvanized wire on their necks. As they attack the dummies, the animals scream with pain, she added.

Yet the most common defense for the people of that region is prayer, Montgomery said. People build shrines all around the forest and lay offerings at the legs of the Tiger God and the Forest Goddess, she said.

Although the people of the Sundarbans fear the tigers, they have an uncanny love-hate relationship with them. They believe the tigers' strength and protection come from Allah, their god, she said.

During Montgomery's first trip to that region, between October and December 1992, 16 people were killed by tigers. Some villages are called "tiger widow villages," she said, because many men are eaten by the carnivores.

But the tigers help the people there to make sense of their world. They give them their myths and legends; they give the Sundarbans its identity, she said.

"If we exterminate the tiger, the people of the Sundarbans know that we risk violating the deepest truth that our kind has ever known -- that we aren't God," Montgomery said.

 

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NEW COUGAR FIELD OPENS TODAY 4 P.M.

by Jeff Holderfield

Daily Cougar Sports

Today the Houston baseball team plays its 1995 home opener at the new and improved Cougar field vs. Sam Houston State at 4 p.m.

The new field is part of the $30-million-dollar athletic complex, the money for which was donated by UH alumni John and Rebecca Moores.

The new Cougar field is lighted, giving the Cougars the option of playing night games, of which they have eight scheduled for this season.

The stadium has 2,500 covered seats, 35 spaces for the disabled, and an additional 2,500 seats on the grass berms surrounding the park.

"(The team) is very excited about (the new stadium). We've worked out in it for awhile, and we're pumped up and ready to go," said UH head coach Rayner Noble.

However, the stadium is not yet fully functional. The press box, locker rooms, coach's office and umpires' dressing rooms are not completed. The main scoreboard is not ready, but a temporary one has been brought in.

Ticket prices for reserved seating is $5, but students with a valid UH ID receive general admission seats free.

Houston (4-4) just completed a 2-for-3 showing at the Winn-Dixie Showdown in Louisiana over the weekend.

While there the Cougars defeated then-No.1 Louisiana State 4-3, on the strength of a seven-strikeout performance from right-handed pitcher and tournament Most Outstanding Player Bo Hernandez. The win was Houston's first over a No. 1 team since it defeated Texas A&M 11-3 in 1989.

"It was a good win," Noble said. "We have lost a couple of close games that we could have won. We needed it."

Houston's most recent outing was a 7-6 victory over Tulane.

Jon McDonald, a freshman southpaw, started for the Cougars and threw 4 2/3 innings, giving up three runs and fanning four.

John Box, a lefthanded junior, got the win in 1 2/3 innings of relief. Box gave up one hit and struck out two.

Jeremy McClaughry, a right-handed senior with a 1-0 record and a 0.00 ERA will get the starting nod today.

In his first outing, McClaughry gave up only one hit in six innings of a 6-0 UH win over Texas-Pan American.

Starting shortstop Jason Smiga, a transfer from Sam Houston, will be facing his old teammates for the first time in today's home opener.

Smiga has posted a .300 batting average with two runs scored, two doubles, two RBIs and a .500 on-base average.

"Jason is a fine player and I am very happy that he is starting at UH," said Bearkats head coach John Skeeters.

The Bearkats (5-3), fourth in the Southland Conference, will be sending junior righthander Scott Davis (0-1, 2.31 ERA) to the mound today.

Skeeters said, "We always expect to win and we're surprised when we lose."

 

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MOORE LEADING SWC IN BLOCKIN' THE ROCK

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

Take a look at the Southwest Conference leaders in blocked shots.

There's Texas Christian's 6-9 Kurt Thomas, tops in the SWC in points and rebounds, averaging two swats a game. At the same height, Baylor freshman Brian Skinner gets 3.6 blocks against conference opponents.

But what's that name first on the list? None other than Houston's Tim Moore, all 6-8 of him, setting the pace in a category usually dominated by taller players.

Coming into today's contest at Baylor (7:35 p.m. at the Ferrell Center in Waco), Moore leads all SWC players with 3.3 blocks per game. In conference play, he has boosted that rate to an unbelievable 4.3 stuffs in 11 games.

And he's not really 6-8, either.

"I'm more like 6-6," he said, modestly of his height.

"It's important, but I really take more pride in my rebounding (10.3 average) and scoring (19.7)," the junior forward said of blocking shots. "I always want at least a double-double in (those categories), but if I can get the blocks in there, that's all good too."

Moore got some important blocks in victories at Southern Methodist Jan. 28 and against Texas Feb. 1. He had two crucial rejections of the Mustangs in that game's closing seconds, and wowed the largest Hofheinz Pavilion crowd of the year with back-to-back blocks on the Longhorns in overtime, with his team holding a one-point lead.

He also had three redirections of attempts by the SWC Player-of-the-Year frontrunner, Thomas, Feb. 11.

"I've got the gift (blocking)," Moore said. "I've blocked a lot of big-time people's shots before, so it ain't really nothing new."

The Bears (8-16, 2-8 in the SWC) have not only Skinner, but 6-10 Doug Brandt in the paint, so Moore's defense could be crucial.

"They're big inside, they've got two 6-10s, so that's always a problem for us," Houston head basketball coach Alvin Brooks said. "When we concentrate too heavily on guarding the interior, we give up too many threes."

Brandt and Skinner went a combined 7-of-10 in the two teams' last meeting, but the Bears took 38 3-pointers and made 14, a team trademark.

Moore said, "We don't really have a true center. (Starting forward) Kirk (Ford) and I are true small forwards, so somebody needs to be up in there trying to block shots."

The Cougars (8-15, 5-6 SWC) are coming off a home win against Texas A&M which put them in sole possession of fifth place in the conference. They have a chance to finish .500 in the SWC, with a road game at Texas and a home game against last-place SMU remaining after tonight's game.

 

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HOGG NOT KIDDING: LADY COUGARS BEST TEAM IN SWC

by Jason Paul Ramírez

Daily Cougar Staff

Baylor head coach Sonja Hogg said she wasn't kidding about what she said.

"Player to player, Houston has the best team in the conference," Hogg said. "Good gracious, they can play!"

Thus, it's no secret the Lady Cougars (13-10, 7-4 in the Southwest Conference) have been the league's hottest team since Jan. 25 when they began a six-game winning streak, Houston's longest since 1992.

The Cougars host Baylor (12-11, 3-8) tonight at 7 in Hofheinz Pavilion.

"We are definitely pleased to be where we are at," said Houston head coach Jessie Kenlaw. "But we need to hold on and not jeopardize our standing," Kenlaw said.

Houston currently resides in second place in the conference.

But in order for Houston to keep up its pace and stay in that second slot, it will probably need to win its remaining three games and hope third-place Texas A&M (15-7, 6-4) stumbles somewhere in its last four outings.

Following tonight's game, the Cougars will host Southern Methodist (15-8, 6-5) Saturday before traveling to Austin to face the Texas Lady Longhorns (10-13, 6-5) next Wednesday night.

Conversely, the Aggies still have Rice (home), Texas Christian (away), SMU (away) and Baylor (home) left on their remaining conference slate.

The week-long race between the two teams could get interesting, since SMU, Texas and Rice (9-13, 5-5) are also fighting for conference tournament positions themselves.

However, Houston may have already done much of its part after a 78-75 victory over the then-No. 23 Aggies in College Station Saturday night. It was the Cougars' first win over a ranked opponent this season.

"It's a wait and see thing," Kenlaw said. "We've played one more game than A&M and one game can change everything."

But first things first. The Cougars must take care of business against the team they beat 76-63 that January night in Waco, beginning the six-game winning streak.

 

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HOUSTON GOLF TEAM FINISHES 10TH IN BIG ISLAND INVITATIONAL

by Jeff Holderfield

Daily Cougar Sports

After the first two rounds at the Big Island Invitational in Waikoloa, Hawaii, the Houston golf team went into the clubhouse in fifth place, needing to pick up only six strokes to overtake the first-place Arizona State Cardinals.

But in the end the Cougars played a steady game and finished in fifth with a team score of three-over-par late Monday.

"(Monday's) pin placements were a little bit tougher and the wind was blowing hard," said Houston head coach Mike Dirks.

The Cougars faced some tough competition: three of the teams that finished higher than UH are the top three teams in the nation.

Anders Hansen finished tied for tenth in the 54-hole tournament with a two-under-par 214. Hansen shot an opening-day score of three-under-par 69. In the final two rounds, Hansen shot a one-over 73 and and even-par 72.

"He is just playing great," Dirks said of Hansen. "This is his worst tournament of the year and he finished tied for tenth. He's keeping us together."

Only one District VI school finished ahead of the Cougars. Texas Christian took second place.

"The SWC is awfully strong in golf," Dirks said.

Lance Combrink finished tied for 18th with a one-over-par 217. Combrink started the tournament with a one-under-par 71, and finished with two rounds of 73.

Houston's next tournament is the Louisiana Classic, March 6-7.

 

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SMU FIRST SWC TENNIS FOE FOR HOUSTON

by Roslyn Lang

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston tennis team takes on the SMU Mustangs for the Cougars' first Southwest Conference match today at 1:30 p.m. at the UH varsity tennis complex.

The Mustangs are 3-3 after consecutive victories over Texas A&M and Tulane last week.

"We have a good chance to beat them if we do what we're supposed to," said UH head coach Stina Mosvold.

The Cougars suffered their first loss (4-5) to Southwestern Louisiana Feb. 18, after winning their first two matches over New Mexico State in Houston and at Texas-San Antonio.

"We're 4-2 in singles and lost all three doubles," Mosvold said. "We're not going to do that again.

"We've been playing good singles and we're getting better in doubles – we're working on it."

Freshman Susanne Andersson will play first-flight singles, with senior Karen Dasprez taking second-flight. First-flight doubles will be Andersson and Dasprez, followed by senior Amanda Barnett and junior Caty Sanchez in second-flight doubles.

Even with a few lingering injuries plaguing the team, Mosvold said the Cougars have a good shot at beating SMU.

"It's supposed to be a beautiful day. Come out and watch," Mosvold said. "We'll do our best to beat (the Mustangs)."

 

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VIVA MEXICO -- VACATION AND STUDY

by Sarah Fredricksen

Daily Cougar Staff

Are you absolutely tired of the mundane, run-of-the-mill classes offered in the catalogue? Do the same four walls of your room depress you because you've looked at them for so long? Or maybe you're so busy you haven't seen your four walls in so long you have no idea what they look like?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, a study-abroad program to Mexico or Spain could be ideal for you.

If you've taken at least two semesters of Spanish in either college or high school, you qualify for these programs. The university has two such programs, which run in a three-year cycle.

For the first two years of that cycle, the Department of Modern and Classical Languages sends its students to Morelia, Mexico. The cost, $1600, includes room and board with a Mexican family, excursions and local transportation as well as three to six credit hours from second-year to advanced classes.

"Living with a Mexican family is important for immersion into Mexican culture," Manuel Gutierrez, director of the Summer in Morelia, Mexico program, said.

The excursions included in the tuition are one- or two-day trips to several cities surrounding Morelia. The places to be visited are Patzcuaro, an archaeological site, Santa Clara de Cobre, a village where copper handcrafts are produced, Uruapan, a scenic site located near a volcano, and Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city, which can be compared to San Francisco in its artistic nature.

This program is also run in association with Centro Mexicano International, an educational company based in Morelia.

Gutierrez has been director of the Summer in Morelia, Mexico program for two years. He was also a participant at USC's study-abroad program as a teacher's assistant.

Gutierrez has been at the University of Houston for four years. He advises students to look for certain things in a study-abroad program such as a solid academic program, immersion in the culture, and practical situations in the language.

 

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GET YOUR REMOTES READY, IT'S T.V. WITH CLASS APPEAL

by Lady Oliver

Daily Cougar Staff

University of Houston now offers "Television with Class." These are 14 courses which are taped on campus and broadcast on KUHT-TV (Channel 8).

"While these classes are offered specifically for those wanting to take them for college credit, we welcome everyone who wants to tune in," Dr. Sandra Frieden, director for UH Distance Education and Off-Campus Credit Programs, said.

Mrs. Rose Codding of Houston is one of the late-night viewers. "I don't have to leave home to further my education, and it's free. Besides, the way the course is presented makes me feel as if I'm one of the enrolled students; even though I'm not taking the class for credit," Codding said.

Codding uses her VCR to record "The Flowering of the Middle Ages" and then watches the tape at her convenience.

In an effort to reach an even larger audience, one psychology course, "Problems of Normal Life," is signed for the deaf.

"We want to try as many ways as we can to provide access to the University of Houston, so putting classes on television brings us into nearly every home," Frieden said.

UH "Television with Class" has 565 students enrolled for credit this semester and watching form home. Another 120 students are taking the courses as they are broadcast to several sites, such as the George Memorial Library on Richmond. Many signed up in order to get their education back on track and work toward finishing a degree.

It is unknown how many others are watching and learning without taking the class for credit.

"As we plan for upcoming semesters, it would help to get a feel for the size of our audience. So we would like those viewers who are not enrolled for credit to call and check in, just to let us know they are out there. I promise there won't be any pop quizzes!" Frieden said.

The callers will get handouts and background information pertaining to the class they are watching.

To check in or get more information, call 395-2810 or (800) OUR UHTV.

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FAMILY RESOURCE CENTER OFFERS NEW HOPE

by Christen Hanlon

Daily Cougar Staff

Many readers know only too well the painful effects of divorce. This year thousands of families from all over the Houston area will experience the pain that divorce can cause to both parents and children.

The Escape Family Resource Center is introducing divorce classes designed for both parents and their children. The program is a collaborative project of the non-profit Escape Family Resource Center and the National Association of Social Workers, Children and Families Committee.

"Unlike other programs that deal with the issue of divorce, 'Families and Divorce' provides a separate class for addressing children's issues," Executive Director of the Center Judith Barnes said. "We believe this method is more effective because it offers the opportunity for whole-family participation and communication."

The four-hour classes, which are led by trained professionals, will be held monthly. Parents and children will be taught at the same time in separate classes. The parents' classes are designed to help adults understand how divorce affects their children and how they can help them adjust to the situation. The children's classes help the children learn problem-solving skills for dealing with anger, rejection and loss.

Elizabeth Thompson, a visiting assistant educational psychology professor at UH, said that she is very pleased to see this program being offered in Houston. "Divorce affects thousands of parents and children in the community, and we need to be doing what we can to help families deal with the situation," Thompson said.

If you are experiencing the pain of your parents' divorce, or worried about the affect of your divorce on your children, call the Escape Family Resource Center for help. Classes are held at 3210 Eastside, near the Summit. The classes are held on the first and second Saturdays of every month from 9:30-11:30 a.m. The cost is $25 per person, and most credit cards are accepted. There are also limited scholarships available for those who qualify. For more information about this program or for registration, contact Giovanna Garcia at 942-9500.

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RESEARCH SAYS --REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE

by Lady Oliver

Daily Cougar Staff

Environmental awareness: the phrase has come to mean more involvement in ensuring the well-being of the environment. It can range from recycling to protesting.

Reduce, reuse and recycle: to most of us, this characterizes the extent of our commitment to the environment.

To University of Houston students Cecilia Penarrieta and Darrell Scott, involvement also means research. They have contributed to environmental awareness with their research papers on soil remediation techniques.

Penarrieta and Scott are undergraduate civil engineering students attending UH's Cullen College of Engineering.

These are the first students to be awarded scholarships through a recently established program funded by the Houston Engineering and Scientific Society (HESS) and Petro-Safe.

The scholarship is offered to students with an interest in environmental studies, and requires that recipients present a research paper at the Petro-Safe conference.

Dr. Deborah Roberts, an UH environmental engineering professor, said that the idea behind this requirement is to get more undergraduate students involved in the research.

Penarrieta and Scott presented their research papers during the American Energy Week Conference and Exhibition '95, at the George R. Brown Covention Center.

Both of these students' research techniques consisted of removing contaminated soil, applying a method of decontamination, and returning the soil to its original site. These decontamination processes do differ.

"Soil washing is a technique that consists of washing the soil, scraping off the contaminants," Penarrieta said.

In low-temperature thermal desorption, by contrast, soil is heated to remove contaminants. The soil is then returned to its place of origin.

At the conference, Penarrieta explained the results of her research on soil washing.

Penarrieta is committed to repairing environmental damage. She makes a contribution by using science to mend the environment.

Penarrieta, a future engineer, is exploring soil remediation as a possible alternative to landfills for contaminated soil.

Penarrieta has shown an interest in environmental engineering over the last years while pursuing her degree, and plans on a career in this area after graduation in May this year.

Scott also presented his findings on low-temperature thermal desorption at the Petro-Safe conference.

Scott has only recently developed an interest in environmental engineering.

He is a 21-year-old University of Houston undergraduate civil engineering student, whose exceptional academic performance has contributed to his winning the scholarship.

The environment is more than a trendy topic. With increased awareness of the damage done daily, everyone is encouraged to do his or her part to help.

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HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR VISITS UH

NOBEL PEACE LECTURER WIESEL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST HATE

by Lady Oliver

Daily Cougar Staff

Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, will speak on the persistence of hate in the 21st century at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at UH's Cullen Performance Hall. The lecture is part of the University of Houston's Tenneco Distinguished Lecture series.

Wiesel has worked on behalf of oppressed people for much of his adult life. His first-hand experience with the Holocaust has led him to use his talents as an author, teacher and storyteller to defend human rights and peace throughout the world.

He established the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity nine years ago to advance his human rights and peace missions by creating a forum to discuss ethical issues confronting humanity. His efforts have earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States Congressional Gold Medal, the Medal of Liberty Award, the rank of Grand Officer in the French Legion of Honor and the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize.

UH's Cullen Distinguished Professor of English and noted author, Dan Stern, is Wiesel's close friend. Stern said, "He (Wiesel) considers himself a messenger. He was a witness to the Holocaust and believes the only way he can justify being alive, when so many others lost their lives, is to bear witness to that tragedy and to the suffering of all people."

Stern said his friend's dedication to human rights is a testimony and a revelation about the future. "Wiesel is a deeply caring, devoted person who is also very determined in his attitude and his work," he said. "It is these virtues, along with the birth of his son, which freed him from the anguish of survival.

"In the birth of his son, he saw a second generation of Holocaust survivors. He saw a new stake in the world, in life," he said.

Stern, who is godfather to Wiesel's only child, said Wiesel's compassion and tenderness are his strongest qualities, because they helped to bring him back from despair after World War II.

UH's Tenneco Distinguished Lecture Series provides an opportunity for Houston community leaders to consider historical and social perspectives directly related to the decisions they make.

The series, administered by the College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communications, is made possible by a grant from Tenneco Inc. with support from the National Endowment of the Humanities.

For more information, call Christine Womack at 743-2996.

 

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T-BONE WITH MOD DRESSING, PLEASE

by Kevin Patton

Daily Cougar Staff

Forget what you know – trombonist Armin Marmolejo takes the Mod Squad approach.

Sure, his music uses modern harmony; sure, he plays bop and swing, big band and blues; sure, he's played with Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra, Carla Bley and Eddie Henderson. He's played in every continent but Antartica – well, he flew over it.

But the Mod Squad – that's where it's at.

You see, Marmolejo, a South Texas native brought here by the Mexican-American Studies Program, is trying to synthesize black and brown. He is trying to tie jazz music back to its roots, and exploring modern harmony with contemporary rhythm.

It's straight-ahead music with a twist: "It's kind of a mesh, some real jazz with Latin spice," he said. "A grafting."

His performance Tuesday at UH's Dudley Recital Hall was all that – a grafting: eight bars of straight groove, then, like a brick to a trucker, he hits you with latin spice. His music is somewhere between Joe Henderson and Chick Corea.

His unique blend of music and culture will be on show tonight as he ushers in another semester of great guest artists with the UH Jazz Orchestra at 8 p.m., at the Village Brewery.

 

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ACTING AND INTENSE PLOT MAKE <I>JUST CAUSE<P> A THRIller

by Eric James

Daily Cougar Staff

It is hard to find a good thriller these days, but <I>Just Cause<P> is one of those rare winners where the plot is not predictable and you keep twisting and turning until you become as intense as the movie.

The film begins in the Everglades of Florida. Bobby Earl (Blaire Underwood) is arrested for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl. The police beat him and hit him with a phone book while trying to get a confession from him, but he maintains his innocence. Then Tanny Brown, brilliantly played by Laurence Fishburne, comes into the room. Brown begins playing russian roulette with a gun in Earl's mouth. Thus, a confession is given.

Enter Harvard professor and ex-lawyer, Paul Armstrong (Sean Connery). Earl's grandmother, played firmly by Ruby Dee, enlists Armstrong's services in hopes of helping her grandson. Earl is on Death Row, and Armstrong is a staunch opposer to the death penalty.

Armstrong goes to Florida and investigates the mystery in hopes of finding justice for his client.

Earl is obviously a victim of a racist society. Armstrong's arrival, as a character put it, is "tearing open a wound."

The acting is superb. Blaire Underwood is powerful in his transition from television to the big screen. Connery is back in top form, and Fishburne gives such an intense performance that he is clearly the shining star in this tour de force film. Fishburne is turning out to be one of America's finest actors.

Kate Capshaw appears as Connery's wife and Liz Torres of <I>The John Larroquette Show<P> makes a couple of wonderfully comedic cameos. Ned Beatty also shows up in a nice scene where he plays the small southern town's district attorney. Ed Harris shines as Blaire Sullivan, a psychotic killer who is also sentenced to Death Row.

Sullivan loves to quote the Bible and ask if everyone believes in Jesus. He's a vicious killer, but he is pro-life. He becomes a cross between Anthony Hopkins' Lechter in <I>The Silence of the Lambs<P> and Bobby DeNiro's Max Cady in <I>Cape Fear<P>. He is composed and elegant like Hannibal the Cannibal, but he is violent and wrathful like Cady.

Jeb Stuart and Peter Stone, the screenwriters who adapted the movie from John Katzenbach's book, are brilliant in allowing Sullivan to show pain, fear and real emotion, as opposed to most psychos who become one-dimensional in such thrillers.

The movie periodically gives tiny twists in hopes of keeping you guessing. It works. The ending is not predictable and the screenwriters do a fine job in duping the audience.

The end does become a bit clichéd but the climax is intense. You wonder where the killer is going to pop up, and also whether or not the good guys are going to be attacked by snakes or alligators.

The confession scene is one of the most effective scenes I've seen in the movies in quite a while. Sullivan is also great, spewing out lines like "There's no formula for people like me," "You ought to be ashamed of yourself for lying to a condemned man," and his response to Armstrong's "Go to hell": "Oh, I will--no doubt about that."

This movie is full of interesting characters like Tanny Brown, who always has his tea and cigar. The scenery of the Everglades is also beautiful.

This is the kind of top-notch thriller that comes along once in a blue moon. See it.

 

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ROOTS GIVES HIP HOP <I>MORE<P> WITH JAZZ ELEMENTS

by Frank San Miguel

Daily Cougar Staff

Hip-hop is continually embroiled in unrelenting wars -- take-no-prisoners battles of "Us" and "Them" in which there will probably never be a winner. East Coast versus West Coast. New School versus Old School. Gangsters versus Anti-gangsters. Then there's the ultimate rhetorical clash.

Real versus Fake.

"Real" rappers/DJs reflect their surroundings; "fake" performers make music based on trends instead of their own roots. "Real" artists are true to underground music, but aren't afraid to take the mainstream's money; "fake" musicians make music to sell singles. The essence of "real" is, ultimately, being yourself (as much as one can be oneself in the image-conscious world of hip-hop) instead of being a cartoonish image.

"Real" artists are in a constant crusade against the unseen "fake" artists and their encroaching values. In punk, it's the do-it-yourselfers against the Establishment/Corporate Rock, and hip-hop isn't much different. People who were once called fake, like Hammer, aspire to be "real." Being real means being accepted in whatever circle you run with and admired by those outside of your circle. Being real can also be pretty exasperating since you're damned if you're not real and stuck proving yourself to everyone -- so much so that many hip-hop artists' crowning achievement ends up a debut record. Then they disappear from the scene faster than Dog Chow at a kennel.

The reverse strategy is being real without claiming such status. Enter the Roots, a Philadelphia hip-hop band with a foot in reality.

For starters, the Roots -- composed of Black Thought (Tariq Trotter), Malik B. (Malik Abdul-Basit), Hub (Leonard Hubbard) and B. R. O. the R.? (Ahmir-Kalib Thompson) -- is not your average MC-and-DJ setup. In fact, on its DGC debut <I>Do You Want More?!!!??!<P>, the Roots put together an indisputably real hip-hop record with its members playing the instruments and without a single sample. Guitars, percussion and all sorts of aural oddities are created in the studio as the Roots forge a reality unlike other hip-hop records before it. <I>More?!!!??!<P> is a merger of jazz and hip-hop unlike its predecessors.

While bands such as Digable Planets, Guru (of GangStarr fame), Greg Osby and MC Solaar have helped make jazz and hip-hop interminglings respectable, none have taken it to quite the level of the Roots. Perhaps it's the authenticity of the instrumentation or the lyrical delivery, which at points resembles a poet's inflection as much as a rapper's vocal.

The success of <I>More?!!!??!<P> comes from the unconsciously jazz stylings -- not so much unconscious as they are original and innovative. Whereas the Roots' contemporaries blend jazz which is instantly recognizable or whose influence looms large over the recording, <I>More?!!!??!<P> introduces a new breed to the kennel -- a breed of experimental jazz which unites yet divides the hip-hop. The Roots successfully differentiates itself from the pack while still bringing in an undeniably jazzy element. Be warned -- it won't be easy to swallow for someone looking for a Miles Davis-George Clinton hybrid.

Herein lies the possible only obstacle for the Roots if it is in reality intended for widespread listening. The music is buried underground not by self-consciously screaming its own realness to the world, but because it weds avant-garde, original jazz with anti-pop hip-hop. The success of the Roots' single, "Proceed," notwithstanding, whether the Roots can garner major acceptance for its adventurous style of rap is a question mark.

<I>More?!!!??!<P> is sure to entice many people to abandon a battle for a minute and check out what's real.

 

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