STUDENTS SPEAK OUT ON FINANCIAL AID BILL

CAMPUS POLITICAL LEADERS URGE GRASS-ROOTS ATTACK ON CUTBACK MEASURE

by Andy Alford

Daily Cougar Staff

Recent measures in Washington, D.C., to pass a rescissions bill that would eliminate $878 million from student aid programs in the 1995 fiscal year budget have sparked concern in UH's student body.

Many Republicans in the House of Representatives would like to see the federal subsidized loan programs eliminated.

Rob Sheridan, UH director of student financial aid, said UH received $24.8 million in Stafford Loans for the 1994-95 school year.

"If the subsidy was removed, interest would begin at the point the loan was originated," Sheridan said. "Interest would accrue and compound. Loan indebtedness would increase to 50 percent from 25 percent.

For example, if a student borrowed $1,250 a semester for four years under the subsidized program, the student would only owe the principal of $10,000 at graduation. If the subsidy programs were terminated, interest at 8 percent a year would change the amount owed after graduation to $12,666.

"We're talking big bucks. For many students, this would mean having to go half-time rather than full time," Sheridan said.

Stephen Reynolds, a senior history major, depends on Stafford Loans, Pell Grants and Texas state grant funds to pay for his education.

"I have school, my apartment and car insurance costs to pay," Reynolds said. "I am definitely concerned about budget cuts."

Reynolds said he hasn't written to his representative or senators to voice his concerns yet.

"I'll probably wait to see what happens over the summer," he said.

However, Angie Milner, president of the Students' Association, warns students that now is the time to make a difference.

"A lot of students are saying they don't want to worry about it," Milner said. "Students need to pay more attention (to the legislation).

"We need to write to our representatives. We need to flood D.C. with letters. Because they're not hearing our voices, they assume we agree," Milner said.

Morgan Taylor, chairwoman of the UH College Republicans, said she agrees with Washington Republicans on their views to cut back on federal government and increase state power, but doesn't agree that education funds should suffer.

Federal funds "are necessary and beneficial to financial aid," Taylor said.

UH, unlike the University of Texas and Texas A&M University, is not funded by Permanent University Funds, Taylor added.

PUF funds are grants to Texas A&M and UT that are guaranteed by the Texas Constitution. Along with the remaining state-funded universities, UH receives lesser amounts of funding from Texas' Higher Education Assistance Fund.

Taylor said she realizes many UH students would be hurt by the elimination of federal programs that state funds wouldn't be able to cover.

John Cobb, the newly elected president of the UH College Democrats, said, "I agree that there is a need for budget cuts. However, I am very concerned with targeting major cuts at education."

Cobb said the College Democrats are organizing themselves and are considering contacting the College Republicans about addressing the issue together.

College Democrat Clarissa Peterson said, "It's bad. Students should let senators and congressmen know how (the legislation) affects them. Let them know that students are an important constituency."

Cobb said, "We have 33,000 people on campus. A majority are voters. Get involved in the political system and tell (senators and representatives): 'You're cutting your own throats with this bill.'

"This (the rescissions bill) is a short-term solution that is going to have deep and long-term effects on this country," Cobb said.

 

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HUTCHISON TO GRACE COMMENCEMENT

by James V. Geluso

Daily Cougar Staff

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, will deliver the commencement address to UH's graduating class May 13, the UH administration announced recently.

"We are very excited that Sen. Hutchison accepted the invitation extended by the university," UH President James H. Pickering said. "Sen. Hutchison has long made higher education one of her major priorities."

The invitation was extended by Pickering on behalf of Provost Henry Trueba, who chairs the committee that recommends honorary degrees and speakers.

Students' Association Sen. Hunter Jackson, who had sponsored a resolution in support of the committee's request, echoed Pickering's sentiments.

"I am thrilled to hear that a woman of such high quality, who has done such a great job representing the state of Texas, is coming to my graduation," Jackson said.

The committee had asked Gov. George W. Bush to address the commencement ceremony, but the governor sent his regrets, saying he could not commit because the Legislature will still be in session.

Last year's commencement speaker was former President George Bush, the governor's father.

 

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STATE BILL SEEKS END TO IMMUNITY IN ABUSE CASES

by Robert Schoenberger

News Reporter

Husbands and wives may lose the privilege to refuse to testify against each other if the Texas Legislature has its way, said freshman state Rep. Jessica Farrar.

"Right now, if a wife is abused, she can claim 'spousal privilege' and refuse to testify against her husband," Farrar said Friday to Professor David Klinger's criminology class. The goal of the new legislation is to put more domestic violence offenders behind bars, where they can receive the counseling and support they need, Farrar said.

"There is some evidence that suggests that for some cases, if you arrest the husband and put him in jail, violent action increases," Klinger said. "The guy's eventually going to get out of jail."

"Most (domestic violence) cases are constant repeat offenders. The police come to the same address all the time, and each time, the violence is worse," Farrar replied. "If we don't hold them for any amount of time, they're going to get out and do it again, and there's no chance of getting any kind of treatment."

Prisoners must go through drug and alcohol rehabilitation in prison and may take GED classes and group counseling if they choose, Farrar said.

The state Legislature has seen the proposal to remove spousal privilege before, Farrar said. "(The state Legislature) is still a very rural house. Urban interests, minority interests and women's interests usually don't get very far. Right now, we have two women on the Criminal Justice Committee, and we've worked the legislation onto the floor."

Farrar is the only representative from Harris County serving on the committee, she said. "I didn't even want this committee, but someone told me that Harris County didn't have any representation there and asked me if I would bid on it," Farrar said.

"I was so surprised when I got my card back and saw that I was on (the Criminal Justice Committee)," the freshman legislator said. "(Committee choice) is all based on seniority, so I didn't think I would get on it. It was my third choice."

Farrar's speech was part of the University of Houston's Legislative Outreach Program, said Liza Bijarro of the office of UH President James H. Pickering. The program gets legislators and congressmen to come to campus and tell students what is going on in Austin and Washington.

 

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CHRISTIAN SINGER KEAGGY LACKS SONGWRITING SKILLS

by Sean Fitzpatrick

Daily Cougar Staff

Phil Keaggy's latest, <I>Way Back Home<P>, is an accomplished, if maddeningly cloying song cycle on the family. Known in secular circles for his guitar-playing (the guitar mags consistently rank him among the top acoustic players in the world), Keaggy has also collected scads of Dove Awards, the Christian music industry's equivalent of the Grammys, for Christian songwriting.

Keaggy's guitar work is exquisite throughout, melding impeccable technique with a level of restraint nearly unmatched in popular secular musicianship. His lyric writing, however, falls prey to the biggest trap in modern Christian songwriting: the problem of pain.

Blood and confusion make token appearances and only in retrospect ("Yet You Saved Me"). Keaggy has lost five children, and that very human reality's impact on the family is never even touched on; instead, it's replaced with stale Christian utopianism and inane duets with his children ("Father-Daughter Harmony").

The CD cover and liner notes are littered with family photos, some even numbered and identified. If this is Keaggy's reality, it is a personal reality with a shrinking social relevance in 1995.

 

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