@thedailycougar www.thedailycougar.com Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Issue 11, Volume 86
Long Overdue Almost a year after UH reported its first two COVID-19 cases, mass vaccinations are set to begin on campus. | PG. 2
SPORTS After he tore his ACL last year, senior forward Fabian White Jr. wondered if he’d ever return to basketball. | PG. 7
LIFE AND ARTS
‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ is a must-read for those in a reading slump. | PG. 5
Black women have long carried the heavy burden of society’s judgment. | PG. 11
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SYDNEY ROSE & EDITORS AMINAH TANNIR,
UH to begin mass on-campus COVID-19 vaccinations this week HAYA PANJWANI
ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR @HAYAPANJW
The UH Student Health Center has partnered with Walgreens to set up an on-campus mass vaccination clinic this week and distribute the 1,000 Moderna COVID-19 vaccines allocated by the state of Texas, according to the school’s latest vaccine update on Friday. UH also updated its distribution plans for the COVID-19 vaccine next week to include those within the campus community who fall under Phase 1B. Those eligible will be directly contacted by the school. On-campus vaccinations will begin on Wednesday and run through Thursday, according to an email sent to some UH students
and faculty. The University plans on opening two COVID-19 vaccination sites this week. The first vaccination location will be at the Student Health Center, which was approved as a distribution site in January, inside of the Health 2 building. The other location will be at the Lone Star Circle of Care clinic, also in the Health 2 building. UH plans to administer 500 vaccines a day, Lindsey said, and those eligible will be notified directly by the school with appointment information. In the meanwhile, UH encourages students and faculty to seek vaccinations through other means. email@example.com
Gerald Sastra/The Cougar
As SGA election heats up, candidates’ pasts take center stage SYDNEY ROSE
NEWS EDITOR @SYDNEY_ROSEY
As the Student Government Association election season heats up, complaints from opposing parties resurface past tweets of candidates running in 2021. The two parties, the Student Action Party and #RiseUp both have their fair share of complaints go through the election commission, some of these complaints noting violation of election codes and having merit Student Action Party candidate Yazen Hamoudah was held by a complaint violating the SGA election code with recent tweets expressing insensitive things, according to the statement. “I never meant to offend anyone, but that is not an excuse for my tweets. There is no excuse for the use of the N-word in any context, and I believe it to be a racial slur that is unacceptable in today’s society,” Hamoudah said in an apology. “These tweets do not reflect who I am as a person.” Other tweets from Hamoudah mention offense in regards to sexual assault and the LGBTQ community, all written before he was a student at UH, he said. The complaint had merit and the sanction was a 48-hour ban on campaigning originally, but Student Action decided to drop Hamoudah from the party. “The Student Action Party categorically denounces racism, homophobia and any and all forms of hate speech,” according to the statement released on the party’s Instagram. “We have
Gerald Sastra/The Cougar
decided to part ways with Yazen Hamoudah. What was revealed was shocking and disappointing to all of us and does not in any way represent our values.” Elliot Carter, a candidate for #RiseUp, filed the complaint against Hamoudah and has a complaint against himself for similar violations. The complaint against Carter said he retweeted hateful speech that satisfies instances of discrimination, but #RiseUp did not drop him as a candidate.
“Those dearest to me, as well as members of my party, know that I would never seek to berate or belittle individuals that are members of the LGBTQ+ community in any way,” Carter said in his statement. “Even if I disagree with certain cultural events due to the guidelines established by my religion, that does not in a million years mean that I view LGBTQ+ individuals as lesser than myself.” In the statement, Carter said he would be proud to represent
the LGBTQ community at UH regardless of what is deduced from the screenshots presented in the complaint. He will continue running with #RiseUp with the sanction of a 48-hour campaigning ban on Tuesday and Wednesday. “If you cannot vote for me, I understand, but that should not take your vote from #RiseUp itself, as once again, my thoughts are completely my own,” Carter said. #RiseUp’s presidential candidate Quentin Edmiston
released a statement and apology in regards to tweets he wrote in 2013 using a racial slur and prejudice against the LGBTQ community. The party as a whole also released a statement to their Instagram page. In the defense against the complaint filed against him, Edmiston used Chief Election Commissioner Chiamaka Chukwu’s case from a past election to compare similarities. This piece of evidence was dismissed in the complaint. The complaint against Edmiston did not end up having merit due to his age when the tweets were published. “We did not judge Quentin for who he used to be, but rather for the person he rose up to be,” said a statement on the #RiseUp party’s Instagram. Including a party statement, Edmiston releases an apology video from #RiseUp’s Instagram page addressing the 2013 tweets. “As I’ve gotten older and wiser, I’ve learned a lot about the difficulties and obstacles marginalized people have dealt with for generations and continue to face to this day, including hateful speech and microaggressions amongst other heinous treatment,” Edmiston said in his apology. “I am running for the honor of representing individuals of all creeds, backgrounds and sexual orientations, and this is an opportunity I hold dear to my heart,” he added. firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 | 3 SYDNEY ROSE & EDITORS AMINAH TANNIR,
SHRL director Antonio Pee previously fired for sexual misconduct, documents show JHAIR ROMERO
EDITOR IN CHIEF @JUSTJHAIR
UH residential life director Antonio Pee was fired from a similar post at Michigan State University in February 2017 after making inappropriate and sexual contact with MSU student residents, according to disciplinary records recently obtained by The Cougar. Pee, who worked at the University of Cincinnati for two years after his firing from MSU before ultimately landing at UH in December 2019, was first disciplined in April 2016 after making “contact of a personal nature, including sexual discussion … and contact” with a student on a dating application, the documents show. Then an assistant director for residence education, Pee was put through several prohibited harassment, sexual misconduct
and relationship violence training programs by Michigan State after the initial incident. Pee remained employed for months afterward before harsher discipline fell on him in early 2017. In the early morning hours of Jan. 20 of that year, Pee again made “contact of a personal nature” with a student resident through a dating application. Michigan State suspended Pee without pay a week later as it investigated the incident. A month later, on Feb. 27, 2017, Pee was fired from MSU for “sexual misconduct, failure to maintain reasonable standards of professionalism and off-duty misconduct.” “The University just learned of the situation … and we are still reviewing the matter,” said UH spokesperson Chris Stipes. Pee, 36, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. UH “will not tolerate any form of sexual harassment,” per the
Donna Keeya WEB EDITOR
Mason Vasquez NEWS EDITORS
Sydney Rose Aminah Tannir ASSTISTANT NEWS EDITORS
Graduation rates haven’t changed over the course of the pandemic, but record breaking numbers have been reported for the 2020 academic year. The pandemic caused the lives of many to shift dramatically over the last year. Students and professors alike had to quickly adjust in order to stay on track. Mental health has been a concern since students had to switch from such a populated learning environment, to being practically isolated and docile for hours at a time. Moreover, many students have been put under financial stress, finding their caretakers or themselves unemployed. These factors alone, combined with the pressure of academic performance looming over them, create concern for those not wanting to continue their pursuit of higher education. Provost Paula Short said that
despite the pandemic, dropout rates have slightly decreased. In Fall 2019, the withdrawal rate was 1.1 percent for around 46,000 students. This past fall, the rate dropped to 0.9 percent for about 47,000 students. Class availability during the pandemic was also a concern since online would be considered the optimal choice. “Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, the University is committed to offering enough courses in multiple delivery formats for students to fulfill their academic requirements, leading to a timely graduation,” said Short. According to Short, graduation rates are calculated through cohorts several years after enrollment, so it would be too early to tell if it affected students that first enrolled at the beginning of the pandemic. A record number of over 11,000 degrees were issued in the past year, about 1,000 more than the previous two years.
ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
James Mueller OPINION EDITOR
ASSISTANT CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Gerald Sastra COPY CHIEF
STAFF EDITORIAL UH residential life director Antonio Pee did not immediately respond to requests for comment. | Sydney Rose/The Cougar
school’s staff policy, adding that it “can damage the educational atmosphere for the entire University community.” As one of Student Housing and Residential Life‘s highest-ranking officials, Pee oversees “the daily operations of Residential Life in support of the educational goals and objectives of the University
of Houston,” said a news release announcing his December 2019 hiring. He has worked in housing and residential life for nearly 14 years at schools like Texas Christian University, Texas A&M University and Coastal Carolina University. email@example.com
Graduation rates haven’t been impacted by pandemic plights AMINAH TANNIR
EDITOR IN CHIEF
NEWS EDITOR @AMOUNAJT
The Staff Editorial reflects the opinions of The Cougar Editorial Board (the members of which are listed above the editorial). All other opinions, commentaries and cartoons reflect only the opinion of the author. Opinions expressed in The Cougar do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Houston or the students as a whole.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Cougar welcomes letters to the editor from any member of the UH community. Letters should be no more than 250 words and signed, including the author’s full name, phone number or e-mail address and affiliation with the University, including classification and major. Anonymous letters will not be published. Deliver letters to N221, University Center; e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org; send them via campus mail to STP 4015; or fax to (713) 743-5384. Letters are subject to editing.
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“Our students have showed remarkable resilience during this difficult time, overcoming obstacles to stay on track to graduation,” said Short. The pandemic hasn’t affected enrollment rates either, as there was another record breaking number of over 47,000 students enrolled for the Fall 2020 semester. Graduate student enrollment increased by 16 percent, and new master’s degree programs increased by 25 percent, compared to Fall 2019. Students expressed their concerns about academic pressure from the ongoing pandemic, starting petitions and
formally requesting to bring back the Interim Grading Policy that first rolled out last spring. Last week, Short announced that the policy would be reinstated in light of the winter storm that devastated the area, alongside the continued difficulties of the pandemic. “We recognize the unique struggles our students — and students around the country — may be facing,” said Short. “University leadership has pledged to remain flexible and compassionate as we navigate this difficult time together.” email@example.com
Submissions are accepted from any member of the UH community and must be signed with the author’s name, phone number or e-mail address and affiliation with the University, including classification and major. Commentary should be limited to 500 words. Guest commentaries should not be written as replies, but rather should present independent points of view. Deliver submissions to N221, University Center; e-mail them to letters@ thedailycougar.com; or fax them to (713) 743-5384. All submissions are subject to editing.
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4 | Wednesday, March 3, 2021
SYDNEY ROSE & EDITORS AMINAH TANNIR,
UH’s new Centennial Plan aims to make campus ‘more walkable, collaborative and sustainable’
The Centennial Plan proposes the University have six entrances for students and visitors to know when they are on campus. | Christopher Charleston/The Cougar
UH System Board of Regents were presented with the Centennial Master Plan proposal that focuses on imporving the campus by making it more walkable, collaborative and sustainable. The board met on Thursday to discuss and approve policies that ensure the University runs in a fiscally responsible manner. UH’s upcoming centennial in 2027 will have this master plan promoted by President Renu Khator. Responsible for presenting the proposal is College of Architecture Dean Patricia Oliver. In her presentation, Oliver shows potential projects that reflect the University in a new light and promote a long-lasting impression for campus visitors and students. “We spent a year and a half
thinking of what makes a campus memorable,” Oliver said. “And I think we came with five conclusions or five goals.” The first goal is to build a memorable first impression. To achieve this, Oliver wants to establish specific entries and boundaries defining where the campus begins and ends. With the current boundaries established by oak trees, planting more will fill in the gaps and further define them. Additionally, Oliver proposes the implementation of markers at the primary entrances for the University and its College of Medicine. “We want to make people know when they are coming into the University of Houston,” Oliver said. “The markers allow us to celebrate the transition from a commuter campus, which we’ve been for the majority of
our existence, to the pedestrian campus we have now become and celebrates student life and student success.” For the second and third goals, Oliver describes plans on celebrating the heart of the University and making the campus walkable. With these goals, Oliver said making the campus more pedestrian-friendly requires removing car traffic and elevating the place to encourage mingling outside through social activities such as eating, contemplating and just creating memorable memories. This goal is achieved with a centennial plaza for student gatherings and walkways that connect to the campus’ center. Oliver also proposes the Scholars’ Walk, a pathway where students will observe faculty’s achievement through electronic
kiosks as they walk. “We plan to celebrate the achievements of faculty through these electronic kiosks,” she said. “They celebrate our scientists, our artists that have made significant contributions to the culture.” With the fourth goal of connecting people, places and disciplines, Oliver introduces the concept of outdoor rooms. These rooms will be along the walkways and are for multipurpose use. An example is Wilhelma Grove, an outdoor room that will provide space for events and community building. “The whole idea is that we’re trying to make the whole campus wider with a centerpiece, as well as walkable,” Khator said. “We also want to reduce the entrances of the University to five or six very prominent ones. So that as soon as you enter the University
it feels like, ‘OK, I’ve entered the University.’” The presentation ends with the fifth goal of designing a sustainable and resilient campus. Oliver said there is importance in the need to preserve the remaining woodlands surrounding the campus. Slowly weathering away by drought and new development, preservation of the woodlands will help increase biodiversity and the population of its native species. “While it seems ambitious, this entire plan, everything that we proposed, is the equivalent of creating one building. It can be done,” Oliver said. “President Khator wants us to be in the top 50 research universities in the United States by 2027, and we would like to have a campus that celebrates that accomplishment.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 | 5 SYDNEY ROSE & EDITORS AMINAH TANNIR,
LIFE ANDNEWS ARTS
Sydney Books reviews ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ SYDNEY ROSE
NEWS EDITOR @SYDNEY_ROSEY
Sold as a historical fiction novel set in the time of old Hollywood, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is a must-read not just for those in a reading slump, but for anyone needing a new book to become attached to. It is hard not to fall in love with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s multi-dimensional characters, even Evelyn Hugo herself, who acknowledges her flaws before anyone else can. Upon opening the book, the first few chapters are from the point of view of Monique Grant, a journalist who we learn is in an ongoing divorce with her husband. It is in these chapters that we learn about movie star and film legend Evelyn Hugo, who Monique is allowed to write a story about. As Monique is getting the story straight from Evelyn
Hugo herself, the reader gets thrown into Hugo’s life in a timeline based around the seven husbands she had in her lifetime. As the book is dissected into parts, each part being named after a husband, the reader can start to see that the plot is not focused on the husbands at all, but on the experiences Evelyn Hugo faces coming into the Hollywood scene. And then the reader is introduced to Celia St. James. Going into this book with the idea of an old, traditional time period and a title that involves ‘husbands,’ one may not expect the twist Celia has on Evelyn’s life. That she is, in fact, the love of her life. “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” gives a beautifully written love story between two women who had to overcome troublesome Hollywood issues, as well as hiding their relationship from the public eye. As the relationship holds
Santiago Gaughan/The Cougar
against time skips and obstacles, we learn so much about each character Reid writes about so clearly. Besides the main character being a bisexual woman, other representations are presented in characters like Harry Cameron, a Hollywood director and Evelyn’s best friend.
Though the beginning of the book reveals in a snippet of an article that Harry is one of Evelyn’s husbands, reading further, we learn of the platonic nature between the characters and the importance of their friendship. One thing Reid does well is striking emotion in scenes that
require it. One moment the reader can be reading about a scene set happily at a wedding, then the last paragraph before the chapter ends will give you whiplash as the tone shifts to something more depressive. Besides the number of emotional turn arounds thrown at the reader, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” has a multitude of scenes to hang on to and quote in everyday life. Coming from a reading slump and hopping right into the pages of this novel, I was able to read the entire thing in one sitting. The chapters really do begin to flow as you read and get lost in each scene, seeming as though you really are there in that time period with those characters. A book like “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is one that anyone can fall in love with if given the chance. email@example.com
‘Capping’ school’s end, students decorate graduation cap ASHLEY GWANANJI
For UH students, many look forward to the day they celebrate their hard work through graduation. Students partake in various traditions in preparation for the event, including decorating their grad caps. Typically covered with funny or inspirational quotes and other visual mediums, each cap tells a story. UH alumna and graduate student Selenah Cartier is one of many students who decorated their cap during undergrad. “I wanted to decorate my cap in a way that would draw attention,” Cartier said. “The quote ‘17 with two degrees’ seemed like something that would raise a few questions and start a conversation.” Bedazzled with gems of the Juana Garcia/The Cougar University’s colors, on her cap she has “17 with two degrees.” University at the time. which is symbolic of her triumph Even with a virtual graduation in acquiring two degrees at the ceremony, Cartier’s plans were age of 17. This brought massive still in the making to celebrate media attention to Cartier, her achievements. accomplishing her purpose of “I was somewhat discouraged the cap. purchasing the cap and gown Cartier’s message readily package due to the pandemic. sparked conversation as Our graduation was virtual, media outlets highlighted her so no one would actually see accomplishments, such as being the cap and gown,” Cartier the youngest graduate at the said. “However, it was a major
accomplishment for me, so I purchased and decorated it.” Like Cartier, psychology senior CaLeigha Callahan is also making strides to celebrate her big day this spring despite her graduation being virtual. With the lack of an in-person celebration, many students shied away from partaking in decorating their caps and taking pictures. Unlike her peers,
Callahan is determined to move forward with participating in such activities. “The pandemic will not affect how I do things,” Callahan said. “Even though we won’t have an in-person ceremony, I will still take pictures.” For her cap design, Callahan is still deciding. But as she continues to tie up her last few months at UH, she is thankful for
all of the memories, including those on the soccer field. As for Cartier, her favorite moments revolve around the student events. Describing it as an eye-opening experience, she appreciates how each event showcases UH’s diverse community of students. To those about to start their journey at UH, Callahan and Cartier use their experience to share some advice. “My advice would be to get out of your comfort zone and try new things,” Callahan said. “Meet new people, soak up every moment of the college experience because before you know it, it’ll be over.” As for students like Callahan who are soon graduating, Cartier also sheds enlightening words for them. “For Coogs graduating this year, congratulations! I hope regardless of the circumstances surrounding graduation, you feel a sense of accomplishment and can celebrate,” Cartier said. “Take your time figuring out the next step in life, and know that your experience entering the workforce and following graduation will differ from the graduating class prior. Be kind and patient with yourself.” firstname.lastname@example.org
6 | Wednesday, March 3, 2021
LIFE AND ARTS NEWS
SYDNEY ROSE & EDITORS AMINAH TANNIR,
‘All The President’s Men:’ A young journalists fantasy in action
Juana Garcia/The Cougar
ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR @HAYAPANJW
“All the President’s Men” is a movie most journalism teachers tell their students to watch. It’s timeless — like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” for romance movie lovers. And its classification as “a classic” is not unwarranted. The movie kicks off with the renowned Watergate break-in. Five burglars are arrested at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate complex, and a new reporter, Bob Woodward, is assigned to cover the break-in for The Washington Post. Woodward attends the court hearing for the case, which does not seem like a big deal at first, but his realistically executed
questioning of the people he sits next to leads him to discover the five men arrested had connections to the federal government. This puts the audience on the edge of their seat, since human appeal seems to always be heightened when a president or large government agency is involved. But the writers keep you on edge because they don’t follow up on this immediately. Instead, we’re introduced to Carl Bernstein, who is a co-reporter in this investigation. Their editor believes this story leads nowhere, so he believes he is sending these two reporters on a wild goose chase. This is where things get rather frustrating for the audience, since the viewer knows the importance the case holds in American history, but at this moment in time, their
boss, or editor, has no clue of the scoop. Woodward and Bernstein, aware of the lack of trust their editor may have in them, are eager to follow any lead they can find in uncovering this story, so Woodward calls on an anonymous source. This source, referred to as “Deep Throat” throughout the movie, was a senior level government official, and remains a critical source of information for the two reporters. The lighting in these scenes with Deep Throat is crucial. They set him up in a dark, closed garage, with one light above his head out and the rest on. All the audience can see is his lips move and his eyes blink. It’s simple, yet so complicated to imagine or execute. With Deep Throat’s advice, Woodward and Bernstein are
urged to “follow the money,” now a famous technique many journalists put to use. They manage to connect the five burglars to the committee to re-elect the president, with the president being Richard Nixon. At this point, if the viewer is unaware of the president’s staffs’ involvement with the break-in to the Democratic committee’s headquarters, then I would suggest rewinding the entire movie and watching once more. After this discovery, it’s fair to say the movie is a little slow. As Woodward and Bernstein chase sources, they uncover some wins and losses. It’s important to note that if the viewer is not fascinated with the journalistic process, then this part could get a little boring. The plateau of the movie arrives close to the end, where the
reporters return to Deep Throat asking him to be less limited with the information he gave. They uncover that the Watergate break-in connects to the entire intelligence system of the country. The movie then ends rather abruptly with Woodward and Bernstein simply typing up and publishing the story, which ultimately leads to the resignation of Nixon. This was the first movie of its kind to tell a story from inside a newsroom. Information comes and goes to journalists, but the process of tracking down sources is often less romanticized in the media. “All The President’s Men” set the precedent for newsroom dramas, and it set the standard high. email@example.com
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 | 7 ANDY YANEZ, EDITOR
‘Am I ever going to be the same’: An inside look at Fabian White’s recovery from his ACL injury ANDY YANEZ
“It tangibly helped J’Wan come a long way in a short period of time to where he was able to be a contributor for the team. Fabe was so instrumental in helping those guys along the way. Helping them emotionally. I call him Uncle Fabe. Just being a big brother and uncle to those guys,” Kellen added.
SPORTS EDITOR @AYANEZ_5
When forward Fabian White Jr. walked off the court of the Fertitta Center on March 8, 2020, his confidence was at an all-time high. He had tallied 18 points and 14 rebounds against one of the premier players in the American Athletic Conference, forward Precious Achiuwa, and he was thrilled to see what the conference and NCAA Tournaments had in store for both him and Houston. That excitement, however, never got to see a payoff. Just four days later, the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the AAC Tournament and the NCAA soon followed. With the entire world seemingly coming to a screeching halt, the 6-foot-8-inch forward quietly continued to work out by himself. He found private gyms to use, and for the rest of March and all of April, he continued to attack his exercises and basketball drills. On one spring day, however, White felt a tweak in his knee. It didn’t feel good, but he didn’t think too much of it. He took a few days off to rest and then went back to working out. This time, though, he began to see swelling. By the time Mother’s Day had rolled around, White knew he had suffered an ACL tear. “Am I ever going to be the same,” White said. “Am I ever going to come back?”
Road to recovery White’s first emotions were anger and frustration. He was just a little over two months removed from arguably the best performance in his collegiate career, and now he was looking at potentially not playing again for another 18 months. To White’s credit, those thoughts of frustration didn’t last long. By the end of May, he had gotten his surgery done by Dr. Walter Lowe, a specialist in orthopedic surgery. Dr. Lowe, along with a team of doctors from Memorial Hermann at the Texas Medical Center, head UH men’s basketball trainer John Houston and the team’s director of sports performance Alan Bishop, led the charge with White’s rehab. The most
Ramp up By the time Dec. 1, 2020 rolled around, White’s team of doctors tested him on his functional skills to see where he stood, and what he could and could not do. Around New Year’s Eve, Kellen and White had a private conversation. “Hey look, what do you want to do here?” Kellen asked White. One thing he wanted to make sure was that there was no added pressure from UH’s side for White to play. The decision had to ultimately fall on the Atascocita native. Once he decided that he was going to make an effort to play this season, the staff began to map out a plan to return. “This was a six-week ramp up for Fabe,” Kellen said. “At any point in time, he could have pulled the plug on it. This was always going to be on Fabe.” UH senior forward Fabian White Jr. during his home debut for Houston on Feb. 21 against Cincinnati at Fertitta Center after returning from an ACL injury. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar
important piece, of course, was White himself. “Fabian had a phenomenal mindset from the beginning,” Bishop said. “The thing about Fabian is that he is a mature individual … He was ready to train coming out of surgery.” White had goals as soon as he got out from under the knife. He wanted to be ahead of every checkpoint the doctors and UH staff had for him. If he couldn’t train his lower body, he would focus on his upper body. “The guys that do the best with (injuries) get the anger out of them ASAP, and get the hunger and the dog, the eye of the tiger in them ASAP,” lead assistant coach Kellen Sampson said. “He got that hunger about the rehab process in him (quickly).” White worked out with Bishop, Houston and the rest of the UH training staff every day. In the first weeks post-surgery, White began working on the strength of his knee. Houston’s
main focus was to make sure White could limit the pain and swelling, so he could control his knee’s range of motion. “He was doing so well early that he was going to be one of those (players) you could tell we were going to have to hold back, or he was going to go too fast,” Houston said.
A ray of hope Throughout the entire process, White focused on being ahead of where he was expected to be, but playing in the 2020-21 season wasn’t completely in the picture until October. During that month, the NCAA agreed to extend eligibility for winter sport student-athletes. In other words, White, a senior, could now play this season and still have full eligibility to play again in 2021-22. That is when Kellen began to see White’s optimism grow. By then, the Cougars had begun training for the start of the season, which tipped off on
Thanksgiving week. While White was still entrenched in the midst of his rehab, he didn’t allow that to hinder him from being heavily involved with the team’s practices. Particularly with the forwards, or as UH calls them — the fours. “He never missed a four workout at the expense of his own workouts,” Kellen said. “Fabe was mentally, emotionally, invested in Justin (Gorham), J’Wan (Roberts) and Reggie (Chaney), those three, in their workouts every single day. He was physically present every single day for their workouts. I thought that was so huge from a leadership perspective,” Kellen added. White did not just observe either. The coaching staff had him actively involved in drills. He was the passer sometimes or got to hold the pad to hit the bigs during their on-court workouts. “It tangibly helped Justin have a great year,” Kellen said.
Locked in By the latter end of January, White had gone through the last of the doctors’ checkpoints and functional tests to get clearance to practice. He began to play in simulation games as UH calls them, which involved players Jamal Shead, Ryan Elvin, Caleb Broodo and Kiyron Powell. “Fabe was mentally locked into those days,” Kellen said. “They weren’t (lazy) days to him. He was really locked in and focused. Competitive. (What) was a mental day for the team, was a game day for Fabian and he took it as a game day.” As the calendar turned to February, White was finally able to rejoin the team as a fulltime player. His first practice came after the team’s loss to East Carolina. The first days were rough for White, as was to be expected, but he slowly and surely continued to make improvements. During one practice as UH
Continues on page 9
8 | Wednesday, March 3, 2021
ANDY YANEZ, EDITOR
Abbie Jackson: the heartbeat of the UH program
ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR @JDM2186
Volleyball has always been in Abbie Jackson’s DNA. It was a passion she knew she wanted to pursue from a young age. At just five years old, the Gig Harbor, Washington, native was already bumping the ball around, and by eight years old she was competing at the club level. “(Playing volleyball collegiately has) been my goal since I can remember,” Jackson said during a Zoom call with The Cougar. “In middle school, I figured out I could potentially play at a college level. So ever since then, it’s been my dream and goal.” Fast forward to 2019 and the 6-foot outside hitter was living out her dream, helping lead Houston volleyball to its first postseason appearance since 2000. Despite earning various honors as a freshman, including being named the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week in early Sept. 2019, and earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team at the UTSA classic, Jackson was not satisfied with her season and specifically strove to improve in the mental aspect of the game. Both Jackson and her head coach, David Rehr, understood that Jackson’s emotions often got the best of her throughout her freshman season, and she would have to improve her mentality in order to take the next step as a volleyball player.
Continued from page 7 prepared for its upcoming game at South Florida, White was simulating forward Alexis Yetna. That is when the coaching staff had a sense that White was close to making his return. “He was a beast,” Kellen said. On Feb. 18, he finally made his season debut in a road game against Wichita State. White had finally gotten back to the hardwood. It had been 347 days since he last played against Memphis.
Eyes on March White has played in all three of the Cougars’ games after the matchup against the Shockers. In those three games, he has scored 10 points twice and fell just a reboundshort of a double-double in one.
Sophomore outside Abbie Jackson rises up for the kill during a 2021 UH volleyball match. | Courtesy of UH athletics
“One of my main focuses was improving my mental game. I’m super hard on myself, so just learning how to fix that and be more outwardly so I can help my team rather than crumble into myself,” Jackson said. “So that was a huge goal for me coming into my sophomore season: to be a leader. I just worked a ton on
my mental aspect of volleyball.” As in everything she does, Jackson worked extremely hard on improving her mindset and controlling her emotions during UH volleyball’s elongated offseason due to the coronavirus pandemic. When the Cougars returned to campus and and in-person, Rehr
While the UH training staff is still in constant communication to make sure that White’s knee doesn’t experience any discomfort or swelling, he continues to improve and find a groove. The best thing for White is that UH doesn’t need him to do anything from a statistical standpoint to be successful. Everything from this point forward is gravy on the Cougars’ steak. “His presence alone creates confidence,” Kellen said. “His presence alone creates belief. He knows how to make our offense work, whether he is on the receiving end or not.” That doesn’t mean, however, that “Uncle Fabe” will be content with just being a spark. “I’m 100 percent confident in my knee now,” White said. “I’m just trying to get better and
better, and trying to get my wind back. Just help my team win.” His fellow frontcourt teammate senior forward Justin Gorham believes both he and White can be a nightmare for opposing teams with their physicality and their ability to space the floor. Regardless of what White’s role ends up being, one goal is certain, and that is making a run at the national championship. The Cougars believe with his addition, they are at a prime spot to do so. “If you look back at the last three NCAA Tournaments, it started with him,” Kellen said. “And so, emotionally, maturitywise, he’s Uncle Fabe. Him being out there is an immediate shot to our team, and to be quite honest, him being out there is an immediate shot for our program.” firstname.lastname@example.org
immediately noticed a difference and began to put a bigger workload on Jackson as a way of pushing her, knowing how special of a player she is capable of becoming. “The biggest thing that ( Jackson’s) gotten really well at is she’s able to take the load of work we’re trying to give her
and the stress that comes with it,” Rehr said. “We put a lot of workload on that kid and love how she just keeps succeeding every day.” As Jackson proved she could handle an intense workload, she gained more and more trust from her coach and teammates. Jackson emerged as someone the Cougars give the ball to more than almost any other player on the team. And Jackson has delivered, totaling 171 kills, averaging 4.89 per set and improving her hitting percentage by over 100 points, going from a .152 hitting percentage as a freshman to .257 in the early stages of her sophomore season. With Jackson’s success, the entire team follows and has succeeded as a unit, as the Cougars have started off the 2021 season 8-2, including a seven-match winning streak. “She’s a ‘follow me and I’ll lead the way’ kind of kid versus a vocal kid,” Rehr said. “She’s going to be vocal to make sure the team’s in line and doing good things. But as a player, she’s an action kid and she won’t let us down. No matter what you, do she won’t let you down.” What started out as a dream has quickly turned into a reality for Jackson, as she has not only become a starter for a Division I NCAA volleyball team, but the glue that holds UH together. “What does ( Jackson) mean to the team? Everything,” Rehr said. “She’s our heartbeat.” email@example.com
Senior forward Fabian White (35) offers senior center Brison Gresham (55) encouragement on Feb. 25 at Fertitta Center. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 | 9 ANDY YANEZ, EDITOR
Moving the needle: UH believes win over No. 18 USF signals it belongs with AAC’s best
Members of the UH women’s basketball team freshman guard Laila Blair (14), sophomore forward Bria Patterson (1) and others celebrate as they walk of the court of Feritta Center after capping their upset win over No. 13 South Florida on Feb. 27. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar
ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR @ JDM2186
In October 2020, the Houston women’s basketball team found itself in a familiar situation: being picked to finish towards the bottom of the American Athletic Conference in the preseason poll. The Cougars, who came into the 2020-21 season with only one winning record in six years under head coach Ronald Hughey, felt disrespected by their seventh-place prediction and took it personally. “Coach Hughey was really upset about (being picked seventh) and that fire oozed out onto us,” freshman guard Laila Blair told reporters on a Zoom conference. “That was the main reason why we work so hard. Just to prove people wrong.” This fire was on display early in the season as UH got off to its best start in years, going 5-1 which included two wins over major-conference opponents.
But on Jan. 20, the UH women’s basketball team suffered a major blow, losing senior guard Julia BlackshellFair to a torn ACL she suffered against Temple. Not only were the Cougars losing a capable scorer, rebounder and defender, but more importantly, they were losing one of their most experienced players and biggest leaders. Hughey understood how big a loss this was because of all Blackshell-Fair did for the team. He was not as worried about the loss of Blackshell-Fair’s scoring because of all the shooters on the roster, but focused on the loss of her hustle plays and little things she did that often went unnoticed. Hughey knew his team would have to step up and make the effort in plays if they were to step up and fill in BlackshellFair’s shoes. “It didn’t require points. It required you doing everything
else besides points,” Hughey said. “Rebounding, getting on the floor, high-fiving your teammate, picking people up, calming us down when we got rattled. When they started to buy into that, that’s when we started to see a different team.” The team responded to this challenge and took it upon themselves to buy into this mindset, and brought so much intensity and effort every single practice that it even caught the attention of UH volleyball head coach David Rehr, who could hear the Cougars practicing all the way from the volleyball locker room in Fertitta Center. “(Rehr) came running out and just started watching practice,” Hughey said. “He called me over and said, ‘I just couldn’t believe how much energy you guys have on the floor. It’s so infectious.’” As a result, all the work the team put in behind the scenes in practice started to translate to their product on the court in games. The Cougars began
to string together win after win, which culminated in a dominating victory over No. 13 USF on Feb. 27, marking UH’s seventh straight win, and its first victory over a ranked team since Dec. 18, 2010. The first against a top 13 team since the 2003-04 season. This win over USF not only validated everything Hughey and his staff believed in and spent years building the UH women’s basketball program around, but it also strengthened the Cougars’ case to make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2010-11 season. “We’ve got a significant win (over USF). We’ve got some Power Five wins,” Hughey said. “We’ve got a winning streak because it’s all about the team that’s hot in February. We went undefeated in February. It’s time for the (AAC) to give us a little more respect because at the end of the day we’re coming to play.” Blair echoed Hughey’s
point, emphasizing that UH is definitely deserving of a ticket to the big dance in San Antonio, and how proud she is to see all the work she and her teammates put in on a daily basis finally start to get recognized. “There’s definitely no greater feeling than to see our labor coming to fruition. (We’re) reaping what we sow,” Blair said. “We work for this. We work day in and day out in practice going hard.” While the Cougars have proven that they should not be overlooked and are capable of competing against some of the nation’s top teams, Hughey and his team believe that there is still much more work to be done in order to climb up to the next rung on the ladder. “I think we’re good right now and now we just trying to move it to elite,” Hughey said. “That was our theme all year. We wanted to move the needle.” firstname.lastname@example.org
10 | Wednesday, March 3, 2021
JORDAN HART, EDITOR
Americans should stop romanticizing Canada
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Many Americans on the left joke about how much they would want to live in Canada. Free healthcare, a bigger safety net, an attractive president. What could be better? However, despite its socialized healthcare, Canada has a lot of big issues that even make the U.S. look good at times. Canada’s Indigenous rights and religious freedom issues need to be talked about before romanticizing Canada. Just like the United States, Canada was colonized and Indigenous people there still have to fight for many rights. Many Americans criticize how some U.S. curriculums for public school downplay slavery and colonization. The same goes for Canada. A lot of curriculums in Canada don’t acknowledge how the Indigenous peoples were colonized by Europeans. This results in the general public not having much understanding of the oppression that Indigenous people face in Canada, and have faced for a very long time. Indigenous communities struggle with poverty, food insecurity, mental and physical health and access to healthcare. Even with universal healthcare, marginalized communities still
get the short end of the stick. Indigenous people in Canada have similar situations to Indigenous people in the U.S., so the argument that Canada is so much better, isn’t conclusive. Canadian state governments have often put the profits of the oil industry over Indigenous communities who don’t want a pipeline going through their land. Indigenous people from the Wet’suwet’en First Nation protested against a natural gas pipeline going through their territory. Police showed up and used excessive force showing that police brutality is not just an American problem. Pipelines hurt Indigenous communities in a lot of ways, damaging the natural ecosystem, hurting natural resources and causing the death and disappearances of Indigenous women. When a pipeline is built, man camps – temporary housing for male pipeline workers – are set up, causing a lot of violence for the Indigenous community. Many of the men fetishize Indigenous women resulting in the kidnap, rape and murder of many Indigenous women. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police found that in 30 years, over 1,000 Indigenous women in Canada were murdered.
Canada also has a lot of Islamophobia problems. Québec has a ban on religious symbols for public workers. This includes head coverings and face coverings, mostly affecting Muslim women. This is outright discrimination. A teacher is not allowed to wear a hijab for fear that it would mean the state is influencing children to become Muslim. This makes no sense and is downright Islamophobia. There is a lot of racism in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has worn blackface many times before. While he has apologized for it, it gives the impression that Canada is not some progressive haven where America’s problems don’t exist. Canada has just as much racism as America. In fact, the amount of white supremacist groups in Canada is growing, as well as hate crimes. Hate crimes have increased 50 percent in the last two years in Canada. The victims are usually Muslims, Jews and Indigenous people. Canada is not some haven of social progressivism and it’s easy to understand why. It was founded by white colonizers and has a racist past just like the U.S. does. While Canada did classify the Proud Boys as a hate group – which is a lot more than the U.S. has done to combat white
supremacy – it still has a lot of problems. As said, Trudeau has done blackface. He has also had multiple scandals, including taking bribes from lobbyists, which is a really big deal. However, Americans only discuss how he marched with climate change activists. They hold Canada to a different standard than the U.S. simply because it has universal healthcare. The bar for politicians in the U.S. is low, it’s not surprising that Americans continue to love Trudeau just because he’s not as bad as some of our politicians here. That said, he’s still a politician, making him a part of a corrupt system and we can see that he’s been an active player in that corruption. It’s fine to want universal healthcare. It’s even fine to want to someday live in Canada. However, it shouldn’t be romanticized. Like America, it has a lot of problems and it’s insensitive to romanticize it without seeing the whole picture. Think again before praising Canada for being a perfect country, especially in the presence of people who may still face a lot of oppression there. email@example.com
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Wednesday, March 3, 2021 | 11 JORDAN HART, EDITOR
Black women pioneered the latest fashion trends
Juana Garcia/The Cougar
OPINION EDITOR @JORDANHART99
Black women have long carried the burden of society’s judgement of them as mothers, professionals and regular people. Now, the same style choices Black women were ostracized for are the latest fashion trends. The kinky and curly hair types of Black women have birthed a plethora of creative styles that are meant to protect their hair from damage while still appearing neat. As African Americans became more comfortable expressing themselves through their appearance, systemic racism was used as a tool to curve this. The Tignon Laws of 1786 emerged in Louisiana to stop women of African descent from decorating their hair and head wraps with jewels. Their exotic appearance made them stand out from white women and attracted the attention of white men. Today, this type of discrimination is still allowed to exist in schools and
workplaces across the U.S. Just last year, then 18-yearold DeAndre Arnold was threatened with not being able to walk in his high school graduation if he didn’t cut his dreadlocks. Although his school’s rule prohibiting males from having hair past their earlobes wasn’t directed at Black boys, Arnold’s dreadlocks were not an example of messy or neglected hair. In fact, dreadlocks require hours of hair care. With stories like Arnold’s happening all over the U.S., it’s no surprise that Black people have become even more deeply connected and protective of their culture. Unlike non-Black people who wear cornrows, box braids or long acrylic nails, Black people can’t just decide to take off the labels that society tends to associate them with. Beauty standards from the ‘90s and early 2000s were based on tall and thin supermodels and low-rise-jeans-wearing pop stars. There wasn’t room on magazine covers for Black women who weren’t Naomi Campbell or Tyra Banks.
In more recent years, the standards have shifted. Now, social media influencers and celebrities are paying to look more exotic with fuller lips, a bigger butt and curly hair. Sound familiar? When one of the KardashianJenner sisters braids their hair back in rows or over lines their lips to make them appear fuller, it’s hailed as the newest fashion trend that everyone must try. In contrast, Black men with the same style are labeled as thugs. Black women have spent centuries learning to tame their nappy hair with chemical perms, hot combs and fake hair in an effort to fit the Eurocentric image of the professional world, but now the same styles they’d never dare wear to work are on a runway for Marc Jacobs. When Miley Cyrus decided to trade in her guitar for a gold grill and Air Jordan’s, she was praised for her new edgy look. Her twerking antics stirred up a lot of conversation, but she didn’t invent the dance nor did she popularize it. She just introduced it to her majority white audience.
There are ways to appreciate Black culture. It’s possible to explore and learn about interesting cultures without completely hijacking something that many people hold dear. However, there are just some things that should be left alone. In Cyrus’ case, instead of changing her image and actively trying to achieve a “Black sound” in her music, she could’ve lent her voice to Black hip-hop artists who would’ve benefitted from a feature with such a big name. She could’ve used her access and privilege to help the Black community since she admired it so much, but instead she used the good girl gone Black schtick until it no longer benefitted her. Cyrus isn’t the first or last person to slip in and out of the Black community at their own discretion, but as cancel culture grows more popular, more celebrities are being called out for their actions. Danielle Bregoli, also known as Bhad Bhabie, saw her interview with “Dr. Phil” go viral in 2016 for her loud and disrespectful antics. She
threatened her mother and the audience with violence, and used African American Vernacular English throughout the show. Bregoli managed to launch her rap career from the popularity of her video and still maintains the same “hood” persona she had on “Dr. Phil.” In 2020, however, Bregoli’s look shifted from pale skin and red hair to a dark tan and black hair. To some people, it’s just hair and a tan, but when Bregoli decides she no longer wants to be seen as Black, she can take out her extensions and scrub away her fake tan. The Black women she’s imitating will always have their dark skin and the disadvantages that come with it. Generations of Black women have suffered for the little progress made in the fight to not be seen as uneducated, unprofessional or ghetto. Black women of today should not have to fight against culture vultures stealing their styles and taking all the glory. firstname.lastname@example.org
12 | Wednesday, March 3, 2021