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Volume 70, Issue 5, Friday, August 27, 2004


Speaker from League of Women Voters calls Republicans hypocrites

By Will Franklin
The Daily Cougar

The UH Women's Resource Center served chocolate cake and a bit of controversy during a voter registration drive to mark the 84th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guaranteed American women the right to vote.

The amendment was ratified Aug. 18, 1920, and certified eight days later.

Phyllis Frye, speaking on behalf of the nonpartisan League of Women Voters, used her time to criticize President George W. Bush and U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, by name and "the party in power" on a variety of issues from minimum wage to contraception.

Attorney Phyllis Frye, right, speaking on behalf of the League of Women Voters, criticized Republican lawmakers during a talk at the Women's Resource Center on Thursday.

Manuel Rearte/The Daily Cougar

"I don't know if you are pro-choice or against choice, but the right to choose is continually being eroded in the state Legislature, and the intimidation factor is much higher now thanks to elected officials," Frye, a transsexual who received her master's of business administration and law degrees from UH, said.

She also called elected officials "hypocrites" regarding the issue, saying they are "walking all over contraception."

Frye said if incumbent officials are re-elected, "you are going to start wondering why your rights are eroding. If you don't get involved, it's your own damn fault."

Near the end of her speech, Frye told the approximately 20 people in the audience, "I've bent over backwards today (to be fair). I haven't named anybody. I haven't said anything about parties."

Nevertheless, pharmacy freshman Travis Thibodeaux said he felt Frye's talk was biased.

"(It's) great for people to have their own ideas, but the Women's Resource Center should have multiple parties, not just one side of it, especially if it is getting funds from the school," he said. "That's just not right."

The WRC received $80,000 from the UH president's office last year, Susan Rosthal, the center's director, said.

Voter registrars were also on hand. Deidre Kinard of the NAACP and the Harris County clerk's office estimated she registered 10 people between noon and 2 p.m. Kinard also demonstrated how the county's new computerized voting machines work.

Jeff Allen, a business sophomore, said registering people to vote was the most important part of the event.

"People need to get out and vote," Allen said.

The WRC, which opened in the University Center Satellite in the spring, specializes in programming, information and referrals geared toward female students, faculty and staff members, but Rosthal said it is open to men as well.

"Men can be raped. Women can beat on men like men can beat on women," she said. "The Women's Resource Center is open to everybody."

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