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Thursday, April 20, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 137

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EDITORIAL BOARD

John Harp                                 Ed De La Garza 
Jason Caesar Consolacion     Jim Parsons


Just the facts?

UH President Arthur K. Smith told the Faculty Senate on Wednesday he would not seek an independent investigation into the controversy surrounding former Cougar football player Michael DeRouselle and the dismissal -- or not -- of UH Police Chief George Hess. Smith said he believes the facts of the case speak for themselves.

Of course, it is easy to say that when you're able to distribute hundreds of copies of a five-page memorandum writing off all disputes as "unsubstantiated allegations by disgruntled employees." But do the facts really speak for themselves? Let's review.

The facts of the case, to the best of our knowledge, are these. First, DeRouselle was convicted of forging an Athletics Department requisition form in 1998 for $700 worth of books, which he sold for his own profit. He was suspended from four football games, and later suspended from UH, for doing so.

Second, although UH policy in place at the time required the police chief to be among those notified of crimes against the University, Hess wasn't told about the forgery. When he did learn about the matter, he told administrators he planned to take it before the district attorney. Hess said when administrators heard that, they fired him.

Third, Smith said Hess was not fired. He said neither he, Athletics Director Chet Gladchuk nor General Counsel Dennis Duffy realized that DeRouselle's forgery was a crime because they did not know the Athletics Department purchasing form was a state document.

Fourth, Assistant Police Chief Frank Cempa took notes at a meeting he had with Hess and Associate Vice President John Martin on Nov. 8, 1999, days after DeRouselle was sentenced for his crime. The notes tell about a meeting in which Martin told Hess he should "go out in a dignified manner due to his being a long-standing, good performer."

Finally, a former Athletics official told the Cougar he had made it clear to Gladchuk that DeRouselle's forgery was a crime.

Do the facts really speak for themselves? No, they don't. The only thing the facts indicate is that, somewhere along the line, someone is not telling the truth. If it is someone within the police department, should we really be trusting them to guard our campus? And if it's someone in the upper administration, shouldn't they be reprimanded?

The University community deserves to know the real facts in this case, and we should not be willing to put the matter to rest until -- by whatever means necessary -- they are made clear.
 

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