SGA discusses Arabic,
Microsoft at meeting
By Tim Williams
Daily Cougar Staff
Those in attendance at Wednesday's Student
Government Administration meeting, in addition to the ordinary routine
of Robert's Rules of Order,
were treated to an added bonus: hearing
up-and-coming artists' music bleeding through the walls of the University
Center's Cougar Den.
Due to scheduling conflicts, the SGA moved
from its usual meeting area in the Bluebonnet Room on the UC's second floor
to a room adjacent to
Coog's Cafe in the UC's underground level.
Apparently a popular place on Wednesday nights, Coog's serves up a powerful
combination of alcohol
However, once merry-makers wrapped up the
final chorus of "On the Road Again," senators started driving home their
thoughts on obtaining a
purchase agreement with Microsoft that
could aid students in a big way.
"The Microsoft Office suite retails for
$399, (while) students could purchase it for only $5," Humanities and Fine
Arts senator April Spreeman-Harter
said of her proposed purchase agreement
bill. "If the University of Texas can do it, then why can't we?"
Currently, $212,000 of student fees is
used to purchase Microsoft software for UH faculty and staff, Spreeman-Harter
said. Citing conversations with
Betty J. Roberts, associate vice president
of technology support services, and other UH officials, Spreeman-Harter
said that it would cost a total of
$300,000 to include students in the purchase
Carl Wilson/The Daily Cougar
Members of the SGA Senate,
contending with the sounds of karaoke singing from Coogs Café, hold
their Wednesday meeting in the unfamiliar
surrounds of the University Center's Cougar
The main concern with the bill is that
it must be worded tightly so as not to allow UH administration to raise
students' costs, said SGA President
James Robertson Jr.
Upon the recommendation of Spreeman-Harter,
the senate sent the purchase agreement bill to committee for further consideration.
Once there is an indication of a "groundswell"
of student support and "solid proof" that UH has sufficient funds to cover
said she intends to circulate a petition
to document the fact that students want the purchase agreement.
In other business, senior communication
major Nora Ashour spoke to the senate about Arab and Muslim students' efforts
to ensure that the Arab
Language Studies program remains in place
"With all the Arabs, military personnel
and business majors that want to learn Arabic, (College of Liberal Arts
and Social Sciences Dean W.
Andrew) Achenbaum recognizes that it would
be a good program," Ashour said.
The program is vulnerable to being cut
because of a lack of funding, she said. "We have been told by administration
that if we as the Arab
community don't raise the money, then
the program will go away."
Estimates are that the program will cost
$148,000 to run for the next two years, Ashour said. A more permanent endowment
of $1 million to $5
million would be needed to ensure that
the program doesn't fade away.
"Rice has an excellent Arab language studies
program funded with money that was originally offered to UH," Ashour said.
"I don't know if there are
politics behind it, but once people get
enrolled, (the program) will be harder to get rid of."
Robertson replied, "That's just one part.
The College of Business has had to cannibalize some programs. Some students
come (to the business
school), get presented with all these
excellent programs, and are told that only one is available, with 20 spots