Thursday, January 20, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 77

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Daily Cougar pins SA President Tom Cassidy for 15 Questions

By Jim Parsons

If you could ask any person 15 questions, what would they be? The Features section each week will have a question-and-answer column with a campus leader or personality.

This week, Jim Parsons had a chance to sit down and talk to UH Students' Association President Tom Cassidy.

The Daily Cougar: How's it going?

"It's going well."

Describe what you do as SA president.

"Basically, I'm the main liaison between the students and the administration at the University. So what I do is try to relay information back and forth between what the administration has going on and the students, and vice-versa.

"I also oversee the student Senate, the committees, the executive officers and so on. Then we try and react to any problems or concerns that are presented to us by the students."

How did you get into politics?

"Well, I wouldn't really say I'm into 'politics.' I really got into SA because I was getting involved on the campus and I wanted to be a part of it, and I had a lot of friends who were involved, and they said, 'Hey, you ought to get involved in SA and make things happen.'"

We hear you and Speaker of the Senate Justin Ray enjoy professional wrestling.

"Yes, we do."

What started you watching grown men grapple with each other?

"This is what's going to be in the paper? How fantastic. Just wonderful.

"To be totally honest with you, I don't know if you guys are totally aware, but my uncle is a wrestler. My uncle is Tommy Dreamer (of Extreme Championship Wrestling). He is not someone that I really speak to often, but it's something that I always knew, that one of my uncles was a wrestler. It's a family thing."

Do you have any other hobbies?

"I like going out, doing some shopping. I also like going to clubs, doing a little Latin dancing now and then. I do that, and let's see -- I like listening to music. I love just driving in my car listening to music, just hanging out with the guys and stuff, and every now and then going to watch a movie."

What are the best and worst things about being involved with SA?

"That's a tough question. The best thing with SA is that you really meet a lot of people.

"The bad thing is when something's going drastically wrong, it's your head they're after. How do you determine whether a student government is doing a good job or not? ... It's not something you can put in front of people."

You didn't mention your offices being underground. How do you feel about that?

"I don't like it being underground. It's very inaccessible to students. It's hidden way in the back, and I really feel as if it's detrimental to the students to have all these student organizations down here."

Coke or Pepsi?

"Coke, definitely."

What do you think of (new football head) coach Dimel? What do you think he'll bring to the football program?

"What he's going to bring is a new era of football at the University. He's a young guy, he's enthusiastic, he's always recruited in Texas, which is great for us. ... It's letting everybody know that hey, this football program is turning around."

What should be done about parking?

"Every campus I've been on, parking is always an issue. I was just reading today that (a committee) is looking at plans to build new parking areas. Everybody talks about doing parking garages. The big problem is that it takes a lot of money to build those, and our parking fees would have to be increased to pay for them -- probably doubled. I don't know if students would go for that.

Who will win the Super Bowl?

"I think it's going to be St. Louis and Tennessee, and I just think Tennessee is going to pull it off. I think it's going to be close, and I think Tennessee is going to pull it out."

From one executive to another, what advice would you give President Clinton at this point?

"I would tell him he needs to behave himself while he's in office and he needs to be a gentleman and respect women. Maybe he'll help his wife in her future endeavors in the New York Senate seat. He'll be a good husband and help her with her political career."

Where do you see UH in five years?

"I see it as being one of the premiere colleges in the nation. I think the University is headed completely in the right direction. I believe President Smith is a man on a mission, and he knows what he wants, and he knows how to get it. I believe his No. 1 priority is getting this university up to the status of a Texas A&M or a University of Texas.

"And then, with all the construction going on the campus, it's really headed in the right direction. I believe in five years, people are really going to be impressed with this university."

Do you think you've been successful as SA president?

"I believe SA as a whole has been successful. I'm not going to come up and say I've been successful -- I feel that I had an organization that was really self-motivated in going out and making things happen, and I was just fortunate enough to be the man on top of it."

Next week 15 Questions will feature Ed De La Garza, Editor in Chief of the Daily Cougar. 

If you know someone that should be featured in this column you can e-mail the Daily Cougar at dcfeatrs@mail.uh.edu or call Jesse Lauritz at (713) 743-5304. 


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