by Maike van Wijk

News Reporter

The beginning of spring has been celebrated in every culture and symbolizes a time of renewal and commemoration in religious holidays like Easter, Passover and Ramadan.

According to Lynn E. Mitchell, coordinator of UH Religious Studies, in the past, "every natural phenomenon had pagan holidays."

The word "Easter" is derived from a Roman-Greek goddess. Death and renewal myths have been attributed to many gods and goddesses, Mitchell says.

"The eggs and rabbits (of Easter) were imports from cultures of people who became Christians," Mitchell said. "Those symbols were related to fertility, but people could baptize it and turn it into a new symbol of the death and resurrection of Christ. Christianity tried to rework people's ideas about the celebration."

In the first century, every Sunday was considered a celebration of the new life and resurrection, Mitchell says. Only when Christianity moved out of Palestine did the celebration concentrate on an annual event, he says.

"Easter refers to the most basic Christian doctrine that Christ, who died, was raised from the dead," Mitchell adds.

According to Maura Gillan, MBA student, the Catholic Church seems to prepare more during Lent than other Christian churches. Gillan says the 40 days are a "journey of reliving the persecution and all Christ went through and a preparation for the joy of his resurrection."

The Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, is the busiest time of the year, said Laura Linz, Catholic Newman Center secretary.

Holy Thursday celebrations will begin with a pot-luck dinner 6 p.m., Thursday at the Newman Center, Linz says. A mass will follow at 7:30 p.m., during which time, foot-washing to commemorate the Last Supper takes place. "We had over 150 people at the service last year," Linz adds.

Good Friday will also be celebrated with a student-led prayer service at 3 p.m. Friday in the A.D. Bruce Religion Center chapel. "This service is student-led and reflective. The students explain what the cross means to them," she says.

A service of light, the Easter vigil, will be held in the Baptist Student Center parking lot at a bonfire 8 p.m. Saturday. "We'll walk around (the Newman Center) and hear different stories from the Old Testament," Linz says.

Easter Sunday, the celebration of Christ's resurrection, concludes Holy Week with a mass at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

The Catholic Church administers the Eucharist at every mass, not just at Easter or once a month, Linz adds.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrates Easter every Sunday, says Marion Pomeroy, director of the Houston Texas Institute for Religion. "Every Sunday, we have a Eucharist and remember the resurrection as the mission, atonement and sacrifice of Christ for us."

Pomeroy says Easter is significant on a continual basis, instead of having extraordinary value once a year.

Judaism acknowledges that Jesus Christ existed, but does not see him as the Messiah, said Craig Ginsburg, a member of B'nai B'rith Hillel, a fraternal Jewish organization.

The Jewish Bible does not include the New Testament, and its celebration of renewal and commemoration is the Passover, he adds.

"Judaism is moral and ethical. It is not just a ritual; it is a way of life. It is somewhat a culture, not a race, but a religion. It is centered around the relationships with God and man," Ginsburg says.

The Seder is the annual festive meal for Jews, during which the story of the Exodus is told, he says. The meal consists of matzo, the unleavened bread eaten during the original Passover, when the bread did not have time to rise during baking, the sociology major adds.

Bitter herbs symbolize the suffering the Hebrews endured when they were slaves in Egypt, he adds. Charoset, a mixture of apples, nuts and wine, symbolizes the mortar Hebrew slaves used to make bricks for the pharaoh, Ginsburg says. Parsley, representative of new life, is dipped in salt water to remember the Hebrews' tears during slavery, he adds.

The Jews drink four cups of wine during the Passover meal in remembrance of God's promises, he says. One drop of wine is spilled in remembrance of each plague the Egyptians suffered before the pharaoh let the Hebrews go, Ginsburg says.

The Seder is a family feast. Ginsburg will celebrate with three or four befriended families. This year, Hillel has a Seder for UH students and faculty who may not have immediate family in the Houston area. The Seder will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Drumsticks Backyard Kosher Restaurant.

Another religion that does not celebrate Easter is Islam. The Muslim Student Association just finished Ramadan, a 30-day fast, last month, said computer science major Mohammad Ali Mirza. This fast is celebrated on its last day, when Muslims acknowledge they could not accomplish the fast without the help of Allah, he says. Before the prayers of that day, food and money are given to the poor, he says.








by Andy Alford

Daily Cougar Staff

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, verbally trounced financial aid cuts recently passed by the House of Representatives.

Lee spoke Tuesday at a conference of college newspaper editors and university officials from UH, Rice University, University of St. Thomas, San Jacinto Community College, Houston Community College and Houston Baptist University.

Rob Sheridan, UH director of Scholarships and Financial Aid, said, "In the event that all the cuts are to come to pass, the number of students that would be affected just within the UH System is over 19,000 students. The total ramifications to those people would be in excess of $48 million."

Sheridan said more than 8,552 students using the Stafford Student Loan program would be affected. Not just younger students, but returning and graduate students would suffer if subsidized loans were cut, he said.

Lee added, "We're at a point where a concerted effort must be made to articulate the devastating economic impact (the cuts would make)."

"Don't forget that if the subsidy is reduced -- you're adding another $6,000 to $10,000 to the principal -- but that isn't the final cost. From that point forward, interest is being calculated on the total amount. So the total amount of interest that a student might pay over 10 to 15 years of repayment becomes astronomical," Sheridan said.

"This isn't about the University of Houston," Sheridan added. "This is about America's investment in America."

Lee said the $878 million in education cuts proposed by GOP House leaders "is definitely the wrong way to go with the Contract (with America).

"Hard decisions will have to be made. This is not a plea to say that we don't think that we have to go and look at what we have and make a decision," Lee said.

She said instead of taking cuts out of the Department of Education's budget, the government should look at further downsizing other programs.

"We are having to look very hard at what to do with many of the domestic programs. We will have a welfare-reform package. There will be a few shavings out of that. We have cut defense already, but there will be a big debate on that. We have asked NASA to look internally.

"I'll be looking to make sure that NASA remains, but remains efficiently and effectively. There will be some severe revisions. We will have to make choices for this fiscal year and for the next fiscal year."

The rescissions bill that passed through the House this month has UH officials, as well as officials from neighboring universities, anxious to stop it before it passes the Senate.

"There is the sentiment in the United States Senate, that the tax cuts are somewhat misdirected and that they are too large at this time," Lee said.

She added that Democrats would take advantage of that sentiment to vocalize the severe impact cutting education programs would have on America.

"Out of that, we hope to generate an alternative proposal, so that if a tax cut comes out of the United States Senate, it will be drastically lower," she said.

Lee pointed out that beneath the heel of the GOP plan, the only federal loan program that would remain would be the Stafford Loan program -- severely diminished by subsidy elimination.

"The classification of a student loan as an entitlement is a complete misinterpretation. It is an investment. The student loan program must be shored up. The government has a responsibility to ensure that the program works," Lee said.

Melvin Plummer, president of Texas Southern University, said, "The important thing is not to miscalculate the impact of what's been passed in the House. A reduction in aid is not to be taken lightly."

UH President James H. Pickering said, "The strength of American higher education, both in the public and private sectors, has been the availability of choice. That is what in part is at stake: the ability of people to choose among American institutions of higher education."

Victor Vega, financial aid consultant for a private firm, said, "I'm a father with two daughters in college. I'm a divorced parent, and without the student-loan program, they would not be able to get their degrees."

Vega said it costs him $80,000 to send his children to school. "Middle-income parents need this kind of help. We can provide half or a portion of the support, but we can't provide 100 percent. Without these programs, students like my daughters would not be able to get an education."

Lee added, "I will be working with the U.S. Senate to ensure that these programs are not cut because of tax cuts, which I think are misguided."

Lee challenged Republican assertions that the federal deficit could be reduced at the expense of education programs, while losing $189 billion of government revenue through tax cuts.

Sheridan said a large percentage of students who would be affected by the proposed cuts would be minorities and women.

"Sixty-five percent of all Hispanic students enrolled in the University (of Houston) would be affected by this -- also, about 65 percent of African-American students, 60 percent of the Asian students and women in excess of 50 percent. So when one looks at diversity -- when one looks at access, it's a devastating proposition," Sheridan said.

Jennifer Liu, a junior elementary education major, has received Stafford and Perkins Loans, as well as Pell Grants.

"They've helped me a lot. I've received these programs since I was a freshman. I want to be a public servant -- I want to teach elementary school -- but if you congressmen and women get rid of these programs, I will be set back. I don't know when I'll graduate. Please, do not vote against these financial aid programs," Liu said.

Sheridan added, "The kinds of jobs that exist, and the kinds that will exist in the future, require and dictate a highly-trained work force. In the absence of colleges and universities and various vocational programs being able to provide that, I think the United States could very well set itself up to be a second-class country in terms of its educational and productivity levels."






by James V. Geluso

Daily Cougar Staff

The Texas House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday to eliminate the nonresident tuition waiver that allows nonresident students to pay in-state tuition. To take effect, the bill must still pass the Texas Senate.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Anna Mowery, R-Fort Worth, would save more than $30 million annually, according to Dude Martin, Mowery's legislative assistant.

The waiver, which requires that students win a scholarship of $200 or more to qualify, is an important part of the National Merit Scholarship program and allows many other students to attend UH, said Laurie Reese-Powling, UH's National Merit Scholarship coordinator.

"As a recruiter, I think (the loss of the waiver) would devastate the National Merit program," Reese-Powling said. She estimated that the cost of the National Merit program will double if the bill passes the Senate.

"Many alumni and Cullen scholars also rely on that waiver to make their education affordable," she said. "One-thousand dollars (the amount of the Cullen scholarship) is not a lot in the scholarship market. Taking away the tuition waiver is basically making our education the same price as a private one (for a nonresident)."

Grover Campbell, UH System vice chancellor for Governmental Relations, said UH has supported bills raising the minimum amount for the waiver, but has made no effort to lobby for Mowery's bill.

Two bills currently in the Legislature would raise the minimum to $1,000. One of the bills, sponsored by Rep. Robert Junell, D-San Angelo, raises the nonresident tuition rate by $46 per hour. Junell's bill, which was supported by UH, passed the House last week. The other, sponsored by Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, is still in committee.

Not everyone at UH supports raising tuition rates. President James H. Pickering and Ted Estess, dean of the Honors College, both say raising nonresident tuition and eliminating the waiver will hurt UH more than it will help.

"The presence of out-of-state students at UH makes for a much richer intellectual and social environment," Estess said. "Other states, for example, Tennessee, are passing laws to make it easier for out-of-state students to attend their schools because they recognize the benefit of bringing in students. I think it (the cancelling of waivers) is very short-sighted."

Jonathan Williams, a senior political science major, said he thinks the bills will greatly affect out-of-state enrollment. "If I wasn't given the tuition waiver or the National Merit Scholarship, I would not have attended the University of Houston," he said. "Regardless of how much I liked the school, I just wouldn't have been able to afford it."






by Jenalia Moreno

Daily Cougar Staff

Professor Richard Sinkhorn, a UH research mathematician, died Saturday of complications due to a stroke. More than 50 of his colleagues, students, family and friends attended his funeral services at Crespo Funeral Home at 4136 Broadway Tuesday. He was 60.

"He was a good friend, a wonderful colleague, and we're going to miss him," math professor Garrett Etgen said. Etgen and one of Sinkhorn's doctoral candidate students spoke at the funeral service.

Sinkhorn, born Dec. 31, 1934, began his teaching career at UH in 1962. Three years later, he was promoted to associate professor and in 1972 was named full professor.

In his 33 years at UH, he taught 17 master's degree and 10 doctoral degree candidates.

"He was an excellent mathematician, and he was extremely well-liked by his students," Etgen said.

Sinkhorn was voted a top professor in 1985 by the Mortar Board Society, a leadership fraternity. He won the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics' Teaching Excellence Award in 1982.

"He was one of the best-known contributors to linear algebra and matrix theory," math professor Michael Friedberg said.

Sinkhorn received his bachelor's and master's degrees at Wichita State University and his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.







by Jason Paul Ramírez

Daily Cougar Staff

Houston freshman pitcher Jon McDonald pitched a nine-inning complete game to help lift the Cougars to a slim 2-1 victory over the Sam Houston State Bearkats in Huntsville Tuesday.

It was just the third complete game, second by McDonald, thrown by a Houston pitcher this year, as the nine innings of work was the single-longest UH outing of 1995 (the other two complete games were seven-inning affairs).

McDonald's (3-2, 5.61 ERA) line, along with just the one run, included seven hits, one walk and a career-high eight strikeouts.

The eight Ks were also a 1995 team-high.

Houston (18-22) got on the board first in the third inning. Junior outfielder Chris Scott led off the frame with a walk. Following a groundout to SHSU (16-25) shortstop Wes White by Cougars counterpart Jason Smiga, Scott advanced to second on the fielder's choice.

A Tom Maleski single to left advanced Scott to third before Brandon Milam loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch. It was the school-record 12th time Milam had been beaned this year.

But outfielder Jason Farrow brought Milam home on a groundout to second before first baseman Brant Romero flew out to left, ending the inning. Farrow's RBI was his team-leading 26th on the season.

Houston increased its lead to 2-0 in the fifth. With one out and nobody on base, Smiga singled and Maleski flew out.

Thus, Smiga was at first with two outs and Milam in the batter's box.

Houston head coach Rayner Noble called for a hit and run play. As Smiga took off, Milam hit a high blooper that bounced just in between four Bearkats players in short left field.

Smiga's speed then brought him home for the insurance run.

Though the base knock was ruled a hit, it was the second major blunder by the Sam Houston defense on the afternoon.

In the second inning, Romero hit a fly ball into center field. As centerfielder Corey Ciphus tried to make the play, he collided with leftfielder Brad Prihoda, allowing Romero to reach second.

The error was charged to Ciphus.

But despite the sloppy play from its fielders and the mastery of McDonald on the mound, the Bearkats were still in the game and would finally break through with a run in the seventh inning.

Designated hitter Jamie Branham led it off with a single, followed by a fielder's choice by rightfielder Danile Jenkins, which forced Branham at second.

Third baseman Daniel Groberg then hit another Sam Houston single, advancing Jenkins to second. White finally delivered the RBI with his single that followed and scored Jenkins.

For the first and, as it turned out, only time on the afternoon, McDonald was in trouble as he had two runners on with just the one out.

But catcher Chad Polk lined hard to Maleski, when the Houston first baseman stepped on the bag and got White on an unassisted double play.

The Bearkats got no closer.






by Mariana Ivanova

News Reporter

Gallery Furniture, Houston's "Save you Money" furniture store, will be the new sponsor of The 1995 Houston Women's Tennis Championships tournament, formerly the Virginia Slims of Houston. The event began Monday and will run through Sunday at Westside Tennis Club.

"It was always our goal to find a local sponsor who recognizes how important this event is to the city of Houston and its many tennis enthusiasts," tournament Director Barbara Perry said. "We welcome Jim McIngvale and Gallery Furniture, who will be the vital force in continuing the economic impact, international recognition and charitable benefits that this tournament brings to our community."

"Mattress Mac" McIngvale, Gallery Furniture's president and chief executive officer, said, "This tournament has been one of the premier sporting events in Houston for the past 25 years. We are pleased to continue a great tradition. Linda and I want to give back to the community that has been so good to us. Because this event is important to our community and because money is raised to help local charities, this is a very worthwhile project for Gallery Furniture to be involved with."

The tournament is part of the Women's Tennis Association Tour, consisting of 59 tournaments, including the Grand Slam championships: Wimbledon and the United States, French and Australian opens, Perry said.

The Houston Women's Tennis Championships has the distinction of being the only sanctioned professional tennis event in Texas, Perry said. It is under the direction of Mark McCormack's International Management Group, the oldest and largest sports marketing organization, Perry said.

"Houston is one of the most successful events on the women's professional tour," she said. "We look forward to the beginning of a new era for this tournament, complete with exiting competition and wonderful ambience for Houston tennis enthusiasts and their families."

Twenty-eight of the top-ranked female tennis players will compete for $430,000 in prize money, said the tournament's public relations director, Martha Claussen. Among them are Mary Pierce, Conchita Martinez, Mary Joe Fernandez, Zina Garrison-Jackson and Steffi Graf. "With three of the five top players in the world coming to Houston, we expect an exceptionally high level of competition during the tournament," Claussen said.

The top player in the world, Steffi Graf, whose No. 1 ranking for a record 186 weeks is unsurpassed by any man or woman in the history of professional tennis, will appear for the first time in the tournament, Perry said.

"The many tennis fans in Houston and throughout Texas have been eager to see Steffi in person," Perry said. "We expect record attendance at this year's event."

Daily tickets range from $10 to $30, series tickets from $90 to $135 and box-seat packages for $900 are on sale. Purchases may be made through the tournament office at 953-1111 or in person at all Ticketmaster outlets, including Sears, Foley's, Fiesta and Blockbuster Music.






by Sean Fitzpatrick

Daily Cougar Staff

It would be impossible to overstate the utter radiance of <I>Angels in America: Millennium Approaches<P>, the first part of Tony Kushner's epic meditation on end-of-the-century America.

Now in performance at the Alley Theatre's Neuhaus Arena Stage, <I>Millennium<P> will be joined by the second part, <I>Perestroika<P>, starting April 19.

Even the critical hoopla that accompanied the play's Broadway run (which included a Pulitzer Prize and both the 1993 and 1994 Tony Awards for Best Play) is scant preparation for Kushner and the Alley's work. Subtitled <I>A Gay Fantasia on National Themes<P>, the play's perspective is rooted in the experience of the American gay minority, but grows in scope to comment on modern America without openly preaching.

<I>Millennium Approaches<P> hinges on the relationships between two couples in New York City.

Louis Ironson (Joseph Haj) is a gay Jewish man whose lover, Prior Walter (John Feltch), has just been diagnosed as having AIDS. Joseph Pitt (David Whalen) is a conservative Mormon whose wife, Harper (Annalee Jefferies), suffers from emotional disorders and hallucinations.

Kushner brings the couples together by linking their struggles. Louis hates himself for his inability to deal with his lover's illness; Joseph's fraying self-concept, and his complicity in his wife's emotional turmoil, brings him to a complex moral crossroads.

Integral to Joseph's struggle, and to the play's momentum, is Roy Cohn (James Black), the nonfictional McCarthyite lawyer and political power-monger who was an outspoken persecutor of homosexuals. Kushner captures Cohn in his declining years and uses his fall (Cohn died of AIDS after contracting HIV through sex with other men) as the tragic linchpin of the narrative.

Cohn acts as the catalyst for the climax of Joseph's internal struggle and the struggle of a nation. As written by Kushner and portrayed by Black, Cohn nails the hypocrisy and greed of Reagan-era America with slithering precision.

Instead of restaging the Tony Award-winning New York production of <I>Angels<P>, director Michael Wilson opted to start from scratch on his own interpretation of Kushner's work. As performed in the Alley's smaller Neuhaus Arena, Kushner's writing and Wilson's direction snap with energy and, in the intimate surroundings, completely involve the audience.

The cast, composed largely of members of the resident Alley company, contributes universally stunning performances. Black's towering Cohn is a bile-spewing marvel, while Michael McElroy's Belize, Prior's friend, adds a no-nonsense counterpoint to Cohn's bluster.

<I>Angels in America<P> has been widely referred to as the greatest American work since <I>Death of a Salesman<P>. In the end, even that comparison doesn't come close to capturing Kushner's unique achievement.

There are still a few tickets available. For more information, call the Alley Theatre at 228-8421.

What: <I>Angels in America: Millennium Approaches<P>

Where: Alley Theatre

When: through June 25

Phone: 228-8421

How much: $27 to $35





by Kristen Liebmann

Daily Cougar Staff

Friday! Friday! Friday! April 14! Live at the Urban Art Bar (2801 Brazos)! It's a Texas music extravaganza! Parents, bring your kids. Four bands, I repeat: four bands on one stage for the low, low price of $6 ($5 if you're over 21).

First to appear will be Austin's own Gut. With its driving drum beats, it is guaranteed to blow you away. Next to take the stage will be CaRbOmB, from Temple. Do not be fooled by the name -- no explosives are involved. The intensity of its vocals will capture your attention.

Houston's own Badger will be appearing next. Its three-chord punk music will make you bounce around, but don't forget your tissue. The sappy, love-song lyrics might make you tear up a bit. And, if that's not enough, kiddos, headlining for the evening will be Houston's famous Blueprint. Harmonizing vocals, with that emo-punk style, will surely bring the house down.

Hold onto your seats, folks! The evening will be wild and crazy! It's more sensational than the Super Motorcross! More tantalizing than the Thrill Show and Destruction Derby! More exciting than the Monster Truck Show! It's the Texas music extravaganza of a lifetime!






Cougar sports services

Houston golfers Chris Borgen and Anders Hansen finished first and second, respectively, as the 40th annual UH All-America Intercollegiate Invitational completed its two-day event Tuesday at Richmond's Old Orchard Golf Course.

Despite No. 9 Houston's top two finishers, the Cougars finished just third as a team in the 16-team, 87-player field.

Houston totaled 900 points, 12 strokes behind champion Louisiana State (888) and four shots back of runner-up Colorado (896).

Individually, Borgen became the 20th Cougar to win one of the nation's oldest collegiate tournaments as he shot an even-par, 54-hole total of 216. Hansen finished just two strokes back at 218.

The third-, fourth- and fifth-place spots were then dominated by LSU, thus carrying the No. 14 Tigers to their eventual victory.

Chip McDonald topped the LSU list as his 219 score was just one better than teammates Phil Schmidt and Brian Bateman, who both tied with a total of 220.

Monday's team leaders were Houston Southwest Conference-mates Southern Methodist and Rice, but both dropped to 11th and sixth, respectively, following Tuesday's second- and third-round action.

Colorado made its jump from seventh place Monday to pull in just behind the champion LSU and ahead of the Cougars.

The Buffaloes placed four in the AAII's top 25 as Mike Troyer led the way, finishing 10th with a score of 225.

More top finishers were what prevented Houston from possibly winning the meet. With the exception of Borgen and Hansen, no other Cougar finished in the top 50.

Lance Combrink was third on the team, checking in at the 55th spot with a score of 235.



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