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@thedailycougar www.thedailycougar.com Thursday, November 5 , 2020

Est. 1934

Issue 6, Volume 86

Hanging in the Balance. Joe Biden is knocking on the door of the White House, but the election isn’t over just yet. | PG. 2


2 | Thursday, November 5, 2020

NEWS

DONNA KEEYA EDITORS & SYDNEY ROSE,

THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM/NEWS

@THEDAILYCOUGAR

ELECTION

Biden leading Trump in heated election

CRITOSBELLA DURRETTE

ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR @CRIST0BELLA

With the nation heading into day two of election week, the presidential election teeters on a razor’s edge. As of 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, six states remain uncalled in the presidential election, in addition to several Senate races. For the presidential race, as of 5:10 p.m. on Wednesday, seven states remain uncalled in the presidential election. Results are still pending from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nevada, Georgia, Arizona and Alaska. Biden rests at 264 electoral votes, while Trump has 214, according to the Associated Press. Biden won Wisconsin Wednesday afternoon, flipping the

formerly red state and claiming 10 electoral votes. President Donald Trump promised to “immediately” request a recount in the state, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Biden also won Michigan late Wednesday afternoon. The pivotal swing state garnered 16 electoral votes for the Democratic candidate. The Trump campaign had said it would file a lawsuit to stop the vote count in Michigan as the incumbent’s reelection road narrowed. While ballots are still being counted and important states have yet to be called, President Trump falsely declared victory Tuesday evening. However, it could be days or weeks before election results are finalized due to a high early voter turnout and an

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

increase in mail-in ballots. For the U.S. senate, five races have yet to be called across North Carolina, Michigan, Alaska and Georgia. Both parties are inches away from the majority of 51, with

Democrats at 45 and Republicans at 48. In Georgia, two races in which Democratic hopefuls seek to unseat their Republican incumbents are awaiting results.

One, between incumbent Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock, will necessitate a run-off in January. news@thedailycougar.com

ELECTION

Kamala Harris talks COVID-19, economy at UH campaign stop CRISTOBELLA DURETTE

ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR @CRIST0BELLA

Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris spoke about Joe Biden’s platform on COVID-19, the economy and racial injustice among others during her visit to UH as the last stop on her Texas campaign trip Friday evening. With just three days until Election Day, Harris focused her 20-minute address on issues facing working people and families. She emphasized the interconnectedness of what she refers to as the “four crises that are impacting us as a country.” Harris kicked off with a topic likely not too far from the minds of the mask-clad, socially-distanced audience: the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are in the midst of a public health crisis,” Harris said. “Over 220,000 people have lost their lives in just the last several months, many of whom, tragically, couldn’t even be with relatives and friends, holding their hand, speaking to them in person in their last hours on earth.” With cases on the rise in Harris County, the coronavirus

Kamala Harris emphasized the voter’s power at the UH stop on her Texas campaign trip. | Donna Keeya/The Cougar

continues to have far-reaching effects on the economy and the job market. “If you want to know how I think the economy is doing, then tell me how working

people are doing, how working families are doing,” Harris said. “We are in the midst of many crises.” Another such crisis? The racial injustice in America,

Harris said. “Joe has the ability to understand that there is a longoverdue reckoning taking place,” Harris said. “Biden says we need to deal with this, we need to

deal with racial disparities in terms of the healthcare system, knowing that African Americans and Latinos are three times more likely to contract COVID and twice as likely to die from it.” Harris also underscored the importance of police reform to combat racial injustice, addressing the members of George Floyd’s family who were among the crowd. “Joe Biden says we need to reform policing to the point that we all agree everyone should face accountability and consequences if they break the law,” Harris said. To conclude, Harris emphasized the urgency of voters utilizing what she referred to as their “power” by casting their ballot on Nov. 3. “Why are so many powerful people trying to make it so difficult and confusing for us to vote? … The answer is because they know our power,” Harris said. “They know our power to stand up and exercise our voice to vote … Let’s not let anyone, not this election or ever, take our power from us.” news@thedailycougar.com


Thursday, November 5, 2020 | 3 DONNA KEEYA EDITORS & SYDNEY ROSE,

THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM/NEWS

NEWS

@THEDAILYCOUGAR

ELECTION

Students explore how election outcome will affect their lives SYDNEY ROSE

NEWS EDITOR @SYDNEY_ROSEY

As early voting closes and Election Day is prolonged to election week, students do not know what is to come as the results come in for who will be the next president of the United States. The close race of former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump creates different outcomes for the state of the country, as well as each UH student’s individual personal lives. Some students are nervous about who will win. “If Trump wins, we will undoubtedly see civil unrest,” said political science sophomore Tamon Hamlett. “If Biden wins, I don’t expect anything to happen.” Hamlett, recruitment officer for the UH College Republicans, said growing up in Delaware made him familiar with Biden’s policies. One policy noted was the cause of mass incarceration of African Americans on behalf of Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, Hamlett said.

“If Biden wins, we will lose the progress made on delivering police reform as we saw under the Trump administration,” Hamlett said. Students such as journalism senior Ivan Duran have an opposite stance on how the outcome of another Trump presidency or a Biden win will affect their lives and the state of the nation. “Personally, I will benefit from many of the policies from a Biden/Harris administration,” Duran said. “I am very concerned with LGBTQ+ and women’s rights. The LGBTQ community has been the center of suppression for decades, and once again, we see the rights of the community being questioned when it comes to overturning same-sex marriage in a now overwhelmingly conservative Supreme Court.” Duran is personally affected by seeing the women in his life influencing him to be the man he is, and it is devestating to him, he said, seeing their reproductive and health rights challenged. Duran, acting as the social

EDITORIAL BOARD EDITOR IN CHIEF MANAGING EDITOR

ASST. SPORTS EDITOR

WEB EDITOR

Mason Vasquez

NEWS EDITORS

Donna Keeya Sydney Rose ASST. NEWS EDITORS

Aminah Tannir Cristobella Durrette

media director for the UH Democrats, said he will benefit from a Biden administration in regards to student loan forgiveness. He and others will see financial relief with Biden’s proposed student, health and tax plans, he said. “Our nation is politically frustrated, polarized and exhausted. I would personally feel defeated if there is another four years of a Trump administration,” Duran said. “However, I will not give up fighting.” Hamlett sees a different outcome for himself as Trump has promised economic developments for minority communities, he said.

James Mueller OPINION EDITOR

Gina Medina CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Juana Garcia ASST. CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Gerald Sastra COPY CHIEF

Zai Davis

STAFF EDITORIAL “Biden has a disastrous record with his history of harming the Black community and promoting economic growth,” Hamlett said. As more college-aged students turn out to vote, there are more opinions on what life will be like even after the votes are in and the final decision is made. Duran said there are clear choices that must be made in this election and it is everyone’s job to continue to be engaged long after Nov. 3. “There is no longer a race to ensure the election of a candidate,” Duran said. “It is a race to ensure democracy.” news@thedailycougar.com

ELECTION

How voting at TDECU Stadium went for students SYDNEY ROSE

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 letters@thedailycougar.com; send them via campus mail to STP 4015; or fax to (713) 743-5384. Letters are subject to editing.

GUEST COMMENTARY

NEWS EDITOR @SYDNEY_ROSEY

On Nov. 3, the day of the 2020 election, TDECU Stadium stands as a Harris County voting location on campus for the first time. Through a partnership between UH students, UH and Harris County, the stadium was the on-campus polling location where anyone registered in the county could vote. For students like finance sophomore Elliot Carter, the new voting center location was quick and easy. “I liked (voting here) a lot,” Carter said. “I voted at other places before and this was super fast.” Carter voted before, but this was the first time voting on campus. He said he knew there was a voting place at UH, but it was hard to figure out exactly where it was. Marketing senior Azeem Sajh said he found out about the

Andy Yanez

Jiselle Santos

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

SPORTS EDITOR

Jhair Romero

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.

ADVERTISEMENTS Through a partnership between UH students, UH and Harris County, TDECU Stadium was the on-campus polling location where UH students could access to vote. | Donna Keeya/The Cougar

polling location through word of mouth as other students were posting that it was at the stadium. “It was nice and it was quick and efficient,” Sajh said. “This was

my first time voting on campus and it was fast. All they needed was ID.” The amount of people that came to vote in this precinct was

589 on Election Day. “I would say just to keep the voting here,” Carter said. news@thedailycougar.com

Advertisements in The Cougar do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the University or the students as a whole.

The Cougar is a member of the Associated Collegiate Press.

studentpress.org/acp


4 | Thursday, November 5, 2020

NEWS

DONNA KEEYA EDITORS & SYDNEY ROSE,

THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM/NEWS

@THEDAILYCOUGAR

NATION

Election interference reports start discussions on the legitimacy of our democratic processes

Santiago Gaughan/The Cougar

AMINAH TANNIR

ASSISTANT NEWS WRITER @AMOUNAJT

Over the past few weeks, there have been reports of Russia and Iran attempting to interfere with the elections by intimidating voters and accessing voter information. Along with the reports, President Donald Trump and other elected officials have called into question the legitimacy of the voting process and election security. “Interference in elections generally is not all that new,” said Ryan Kennedy, a UH political science professor. Kennedy said attempting to influence election outcomes has been practiced whether through funding parties in a foreign election directly or through informative campaigns. Now there are multiple factors that can contribute to more convenient interference methods. Social media, according to Kennedy, is one of these factors as it allows information,

regardless of credibility, to be spread quickly. The other two factors are the increased electronic use in the voting process and political polarization in recent years. Kennedy said the form of interference that gets the most attention is false information that’s passed around on social media, such as conspiracy theories. “Now it’s a hyper-partisan climate where people tend to be in these kinds of media bubbles,” said Kennedy. “Some of these things are able to gain credibility among particular subgroups in ways that they ordinarily wouldn’t.” Kennedy said that although social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter have gotten better at censoring false information, it’s not as simple to remove all of these accounts that pass around these kinds of messages. “It’s really tough to basically play whack-a-mole with all of these different groups and organizations,” said Kennedy.

“One of the most powerful things the government can do in terms of dealing with this kind of effort is simply not to amplify it.” Kennedy mentioned that one of the major failures of elected officials is when they adopt false information and undermine the legitimacy of federal institutions. If users are uncertain whether information found on social media is true, Kennedy offered ways for voters to check the information they come across. “Rely on trusted news sources, don’t post these things that are from glorified blog sites,” said Kennedy. “Look to make sure whether or not it’s actually being reported by a group that abides by journalistic ethics standards.” Kennedy also recommended the use of fact-checking sites when information doesn’t seem to add up. He said that these fact-checking websites sometimes have accounts on social media that post updates about new false information that’s going around. With the false information about elections being the easier

way to influence voter opinion, there are still other avenues to delegitimize the election process. However, these alternatives are not simple to achieve. “The current election interference that we see, a lot of it is relatively cheap election interference,” said Kennedy. “In terms of directly hacking the elections, it’s not outside of the realm of possibility but that kind of election interference is much more difficult.”

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Kennedy assured that there are many overseers of the election process and if there were to be any tampering with the vote count, it would be almost impossible to do so. “Our democratic electoral systems are still fundamentally sound,” Kennedy said. “In terms of the actual count and following the rules as they stand, there’s no doubting that is the results.” news@thedailycougar.com


Thursday, November 5, 2020 | 5 DONNA KEEYA EDITORS & SYDNEY ROSE,

THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM/NEWS

@THEDAILYCOUGAR

LIFE ANDNEWS ARTS

ADVICE

Dear Donna Advice on politics, music, more

DONNA KEEYA

NEWS EDITOR @DONNAKEEYA_

We’re back for The Cougar’s second edition of our anonymous column, this week touching on politics, love and campus involvement. To submit your question for future issues, click the “Dear Donna’” button on our home page.

How do you handle friendships with different political views? As we go through such a politically charged time in our lives, I really understand how this can be a difficult topic to cope with. I really challenge you to take time and reflect on some of your boundaries and things that you will tolerate in friendships and what you won’t. For some, as long as their friends are respectful of their opinions, their political ideologies don’t matter. For others, these issues go beyond politics and cuts into their morals, making it difficult to be friends with differing opinions. Look within yourself to see which category you fall in and listen to it. No matter what, if you’re being

respectful, prioritize yourself and your own needs.

DONNA, DO YOU HAVE ANY MUSIC RECOMMENDATIONS? SORRY FOR THE CAPSLOCK, I AM ON A CHROMEBOOK AND I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TURN IT OFF YET. Hi, this was so cute I really enjoyed reading it. But to answer your question, I can share what I’m listening to, but I think I’m going to hold back from the word “recommendation” just because music is so personal and really up to your taste. As far as softer more relaxed music goes, I’ve been listening to a lot of Soccer Mommy and Hozier. It’s nice background music for studying or something easy to fall asleep to. I also have been going through a big phase of listening to The Weeknd. His discography is long and I’m sure you’ll find some songs you’ll like.

How should I get this person to fall in love with me? Hey there, it sounds like you’re

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

going through something right now. Before I really dive in, I hope everything is alright, or at least on the path to becoming alright. I genuinely mean it when I say is that you have so much to offer this world and you don’t need to convince anyone to love you. As people, I think we tend to romanticize people that we have crushes on, thinking that they’re the coolest person you’ll ever interact with. While that is super cute and such a nice feeling to have, don’t lose your worth in the process. You’re capable of such beautiful and great things, and if someone doesn’t see that in you, that’s their loss. You should never feel the need to convince someone to love

you. One day you’ll meet someone and things will pan out how they’re meant to be. Until then, be kind to yourself.

How can I get involved on campus? Getting involved is one of my biggest recommendations to students and I’m so proud of you to want to push yourself to do it. It can be a very scary thing to do and wanting to put yourself out there is very admirable itself. I would start by going on Get Involved and looking for an organization that somewhat aligns with your major, career goals or long term aspirations. Not only will it look professional and good on

resumes, but it’ll help you meet like-minded people who are similar to you. I’ve met most of my best friends because of The Cougar and am very grateful. I also think that you can try going to a bunch of different organization meetings and finding what resonates with you the most. Don’t feel bad about investing time in something outside your career if it sparks joy, that’s all that really matters. At the end of the day, I would just shoot your shot and try. DM the organization on Instagram, email their account, do anything to actively pursue your interests. You won’t regret it. arts@thedailycougar.com

HOLIDAYS

How to prevent political arguments this Thanksgiving CRISTOBELLA DURRETTE

ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR @CRIST0BELLA

Thanksgiving is meant to be a time for gratitude and family gathering. But for some, the holiday devolves into fights over politics before dessert can be served. While it’s yet unclear whether you’ll clash with that one disagreeable relative this year, one thing’s for sure: celebrations in a pandemic are bound to look different than Thanksgivings past. Many traditions are placed on hold as people forego traveling and spend the holiday socially distanced from family and friends. One thing that won’t change? The potential for political disagreements, whether it be across the dinner table or over Zoom. The pandemic, election and unrest over racial injustice of the past year create what psychology professor John Vincent refers to

as “a perfect storm” for emotions around political topics to run high. “The emotions, after a certain point, completely take over,” Vincent said. “I think when that happens, the likelihood of meaningful discourse immediately approaches zero,” Vincent continued. Thanksgiving get-togethers place relatives that don’t see each other often in close proximity, which can lead to some tense conversations, said associate professor of political science Scott Clifford. “During the holidays, we’re typically getting together with a big group of people who we don’t often see or talk to on a regular basis,” Clifford said. “So we may not be aware of where each other stands on various issues and might accidentally wander into an argument. And I’m sure alcohol doesn’t help!” The fact that we’re in the midst of a presidential election doesn’t

Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

help either, Clifford said. “The holidays happen close to elections, so politics is in the news and more likely to be on our minds,” Clifford said. “The stakes feel higher and we have stronger and more partisan opinions about politics.” To avoid raised-voice

conversations about this year’s election results, Vincent advises setting boundaries at a gathering’s outset and stopping political discussions before they can start going south. “I think it’s a really good idea to start off by saying something like, ‘we all have different opinions,

we have different perspectives on things,’” Vincent said. ‘”And what I would strongly appreciate is ... if we could put all that aside for the moment and not spend our time debating differing points of view and try to focus on the places where we have commonality,’” Vincent added. If you don’t want to put a moratorium on political talk at the Thanksgiving table, Vincent says conversations on politics need to be grounded in a mutual respect for one another and the relationship’s value to prevent things from getting out of hand. “It depends on how strong the opinions are,” Vincent said. “I think some of us can debate a differing point of view, we can be respectful of the fact that even though I disagree with you, I have to respect that you have your own opinions and you have your reasons for having those opinions.” arts@thedailycougar.com


6 | Thursday, November 5, 2020

LIFE AND ARTS NEWS

DONNA KEEYA EDITORS & SYDNEY ROSE,

THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM/LIFE-ARTS

@THEDAILYCOUGAR

FILM

The Cougar Reviews: ‘The Invisible Man’

CHIRAG MANGNAIK

STAFF WRITER

”The Invisible Man” begins as a horror-drama and eventually becomes a horrorthriller, with each part being uniquely competent and the connective thread between them surprisingly strong, but the last sixth of the movie feels tacked-on as the movie throws one too many curveballs, leaving what could’ve been a satisfying ending into something contrived that undermines the movie we’ve just seen with a dumb moral quandary. The movie follows Cecilia (Elizabeth Moss) who escapes her abusive partner, Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and hides out with a friend of hers, Detective James Lanier (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter, Sydney (Storm Reid). Two weeks later, Cecilia finds out that Adrian has killed himself and that she is receiving $5 million in staggered installments. Soon after, seemingly paranormal events start occurring to Cecilia, eventually leading her to believe that Adrian is still alive and that his research in the field of optics had allowed him to become invisible in order to torment her. She takes her evidence to Tom (Michael Dorman), Adrian’s brother and lawyer, and tells him to stop Adrian’s torment. This idea is rebuffed. The invisible figure continues to torment her, at one point hitting Sydney, who assumes Cecilia did it and escapes from her along with James. Cecilia goes to Adrian’s house to investigate his laboratory and finds some kind of invisibility suit. She contacts her sister, Emily (Harriet Dyer), and is informing her when the invisible figure slits Emily’s throat and pins the murder on Cecilia. Cecilia gets sent to a mental hospital, awaiting trial, where she is informed that she is pregnant. Tom visits her in the mental hospital and tells her that if she agrees to have the baby and returned to Adrian, Tom would clear her of her charges. Cecilia refuses the offer and steals a pen from Tom’s

briefcase. That night, she attempts suicide using the pen and the invisible figure tries to stop her. Cecilia stabs the invisible figure repeatedly, resulting in the suit malfunctioning and occasionally revealing the invisible figure’s suit. The invisible figure escapes with Cecilia in pursuit, but not before the invisible figure informs her that they will hurt the people she loves. Cecilia makes it to Sydney’s house, where the invisible figure is attacking Sydney and James. Cecilia shoots the figure to death and, upon unmasking the figure, finds Tom. Adrian is found later at his house, alive and tied up, claiming Tom had kidnapped him. Cecilia insists that the two were working together and that Adrian had faked his kidnapping as well. In order to get a confession, she goes to Adrian’s house and agrees to mend their relationship if he confesses to being the figure. Adrian, however, claims that the kidnapping experience changed him and his abusive ways, but his monologue uses similar phrasing as the figure. Cecilia is now certain it was Adrian and excuses herself to use the restroom. Then, the security camera captures Adrian seemingly slitting his own throat. When Cecilia comes back out of the bathroom, she expresses shock and calls the police, but upon exiting the view of the camera, she taunts Adrian, informing him that she’d taken the second invisibility suit and had outsmarted him once and for all. The first half of the movie is consistently strong, with the horror-drama elements mapping neatly onto the emotional turmoil of an abuse victim. The “you have to believe me!” trope where someone experiences something paranormal, but no one else is there to see it and the person experiencing it is unable to convince anyone of the occurrence maps neatly onto the

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

gaslighting form of emotional abuse, forcing the protagonist to question their thoughts and memories. The tired imagery of comforter-pulling, floating knives, mysterious fires are reinvigorated by imbuing them with a new thematic purpose, making the movie feel like both an instant classic and an original concept. The camera is skillfully utilized with the presence of the invisible figure being felt far before any of the invisible figure’s actions are seen. The negative space around Cecilia, seemingly unmotivated camera moves or the camera moving deliberately with no one in the frame seems to imply that the camera is aware of a presence the audience that the audience cannot perceive. It’s a simple, but effective way to unsettle the audience. There are criticisms of the science-fiction twist that occurred in the middle of the movie, though I would have to defend the movie in that regard. The mystery offered by paranormal horror movies is certainly unparalleled because the rules are simply impossible to establish. But the movie is not about the paranormal, it’s about gaslighting. If the movie had gone the paranormal route with its explanation, redemption for Cecilia would’ve been impossible because the phenomenon would remain unexplained and unprovable, almost as if the movie itself were gaslighting its main character. The science-fiction twist

reinforces that sense of reality to the movie by explaining the phenomenon in a manner that’s rooted inconsistent and explainable rules. However, the movie’s final twist and the subsequent ten minutes fall flat. It seemingly wants to set up a moral quandary that does not have much depth and the quandary itself relies on an informational vacuum. The moral quandary is when Cecilia kills Adrian at the end of the movie. Presumably, this is meant to possibly mean she did not kill her tormenter, since Tom had been revealed to be the person in the invisibility suit. However, even if Adrian had genuinely not been involved in Tom’s scheme, Adrian had still tormented Cecilia while they were in a relationship. Regardless of whether or not an abuse victim is morally in the right to kill their abuser, the crime committed is mild at best given that Cecilia was tormented by Adrian. Even if Adrian was not engaged in all of the torment, Cecilia killing Adrian would be its’ own satisfying ending since he did torment her. Instead, the film alienates the audience from Cecilia in this crucial moment, expecting the audience to see this as possibly the killing of an innocent man even though Adrian is far from that. Cecilia is depicted as manipulative subsequent to her moment of strength. It’s a poor decision that stems directly from the unnecessary overinvolvement of Tom.

Considering that the moral quandary does not have stakes, there’s also the matter that the quandary relies on the fact that the audience knows nothing about Tom. Now, nothing from during the relationship between Cecilia and Adrian is shown during the movie, but the lack of information about Tom and his motives make the quandary function. If the audience knew why Tom wanted to do what he did, the dilemma would’ve been answered. So instead, the movie keeps Tom’s motives hidden from the audience, and during the scene where Cecilia is telling James that Adrian is in on it, the audience is, for the first time in the movie, not on the same page as Cecilia. Cecilia either knows something the audience doesn’t or is making a snap-judgment. Her motives in the final moments are unknown to the audience. And a moral dilemma that’s based on the lack of information does not make sense. All in all, “The Invisible Man” is a competent movie that mostly succeeds in conveying that spiral of gaslighting and abuse. But it suffers because it tries to outsmart itself. It does not need a twist. If the invisible figure had been definitely Adrian, it would’ve made for a much cleaner ending that does not keep the audience in the dark in order for its twist to work. arts@thedailycougar.com


Thursday, November 5, 2020 | 7 ANDY YANEZ, EDITOR

FOOTBALL

THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM/SPORTS

SPORTS NEWS

@THECOUGARSPORTS

Dana Holgorsen knows Houston must address ground game struggles

Senior running back Kyle Porter carries the football and tries to power through the grip of a BYU defender during a game at TDECU Stadium in the 2020 season. The Katy native leads the Cougars in rushing this season with 255 yards and three touchdowns. | Courtesy of UH athletics

ANDY YANEZ

SPORTS EDITOR @AYANEZ_5

Through the first four games of 2020, Houston’s offense has been a streaky unit, but one thing that it has been consistent at, and it is not a good thing, has been the lack of production from the ground game. Houston has the No. 10 rushing offense, or second-to-last, in the American Athletic Conference as it has averaged 134 rushing yards per contest. Only the Temple Owls are averaging less yardage on the ground per game in the AAC. “We got to work hard on that,” UH head coach Dana Holgorsen told reporters via Zoom on Tuesday. “Cincinnati is really good against the run game, but with that being said, I don’t care who we play. We got to get the run game going.” As the head coach said, UH will face a big challenge when it travels to Cincinnati, who is the No. 1 rush defense team in the AAC, holding opponents to only 97 yards a game. While the Bearcats will make things difficult for the Cougars in getting production from the ground game, UH has struggled to garner much yardage in the facet of the game all season long. On the season, Houston has

not had a 100-yard rusher in any contest. Senior running back Kyle Porter leads the team in rushing at just over 63 per game, which is not bad, but also not eye-popping by any stretch. “I’m just trying to do my part,” Porter told reporters before the UCF game. “Whatever coach tells me, I’m just trying to do my best at it.” The big problem for Houston on the rushing stats, however, is noticeable after Porter. The Cougars’ second-leading rusher for the team is junior quarterback Clayton Tune, who is only averaging 28 running yards a contest. Senior Mulbah Car, who was supposed to be Houston’s secondleading back, has been dealing with injuries since the first game of the season when he suffered a sprained ankle against Tulane and has been limited since. Car missed Houston’s game against Navy and has only carried the ball 18 times for a total of 70 yards, which has been a big reason behind the Cougars’ lack of variance in the running attack. In the only four games he played during 2019, Car rushed for 374 yards and three touchdowns.

“He hasn’t looked like (he did in 2019) yet this year, but we have confidence in him to be able to get there,” Holgorsen said. Another facet of Houston’s offense that ties in with the slow production on the ground game is the offensive line. UH has had movement across that unit multiple times in 2020 due to various reasons including injuries and just flat-out bad play. “If guys produce, they play. If they don’t, they don’t,” Holgorsen said when asked about a specific substitution on the offensive line. Against the Knights, there were various movements on the line, particularly at left guard where senior Keenan Murphy was replaced by senior Gio Pancotti and sophomore Max Banes also had a run. The O-line for Houston has been a revolving door to begin the year and with redshirt freshman Patrick Paul now out for the rest of the season, the movement will continue, which hampers the team from getting a number of group of players to consistently build chemistry and familiarity. For Holgorsen, that is just another obstacle that Houston has to overcome.

“We’re still searching for depth up front. I thought Max Banes went in and did a really good job,” Holgorsen said. “I thought we played OK … We’re continuing to progress upfront. I thought Braylon Jones and Dennis Barwell had their best games. Jack (Freeman) was OK. We got to continue to develop depth. There’s no way you’re ever going to go into a year and play (just) five O-lineman,” Holgorsen added. While UH continues to look for its O-line to gain experience on the job, they will also hope that Car is able to get back to the explosiveness he showed last

season, which will make the job of the line a bit easier and provide aid to the entire offense as a whole. Holgorsen told reporters that Car has shown flashes of it in practice, which is good news for Houston as it tries to climb out of the bottom half of the AAC in rushing, but only time will tell if he is able to produce during games. “He practiced better last week, but we just had a hard time getting things going in the run game,” the head coach said. “We got to get the run game going (and) Mulbah is a big part of it.” sports@thedailycougar.com

Senior running back Mulbah Car rushes through a sea of Tulane defenders. He scored the firs touchdown of the season for UH. | Courtesy of UH athletics


8 | Thursday, November 5, 2020

SPORTS NEWS TENNIS

ANDY YANEZ, EDITOR

@THECOUGARSPORTS

THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM/SPORTS

Manasi Reddy’s journey as only UH student-athlete of Indian descent

ROBERTO ORTUÑO

STAFF WRITER @ROBORTUNO

In a notably diverse and a culturally-infused campus, tennis sophomore Manasi Reddy is the lone student-athlete in all of UH athletics with an Indian lineage, which she is prideful of and hopes she can set a standard for more people of her descent to join the University down the road. “I feel proud because I am able to represent my background and my culture,” Reddy told The Cougar in an interview via Zoom. “People associate people of Indian descent with academics and being academically oriented, but being able to represent it in a different way, through sports, makes me feel very proud.” Reddy began her tennis career at nine years old. She was inspired by her father, a UH alumnus, who played nationals in India, and her grandfather, who played the sport as well. “It’s sort of a family thing … I picked it up and enjoyed it a lot, so it stuck with me until now,” Reddy said. After a few things didn’t pan out the way Reddy expected, she decided to commit to UH last minute and play tennis for coach Helena Besovic and leave North Brunswick, New Jersey, which is where she grew up. “Coming to Houston was definitely different,” Reddy said, “but it is such a diverse community that I felt welcomed here, I never felt out of place.” Coach Besovic played a key role in recruiting Reddy to the UH. “(Reddy) was very professional,” Besovic told The Cougar. “We could tell that she really wanted to continue her tennis career. We connected with her, with her parents and really liked that tennis runs in her family. We

were very excited to give her the opportunity to be on the team.” Besovic gave high praise to Reddy and how much she means to the team. The head coach has also enjoyed watching her grow since becoming a tennis player at UH. “It means a lot (to have her on the team). She wanted to come and fit in on the team,” Besovic said. “What I liked with her is that slowly, with time, she was able to relax and show us her personality be herself … I am happy to see her improve.” As for Reddy, she too had praise and gratitude for Besovic. “I have a great relationship with my coach,” she said. “I am very grateful that she did give me the opportunity … she is always there for us. She’s also helped make this transition so much easier to come to Houston.” Being the only athlete on campus with an Indian background, Reddy has been more in touch with her roots even through the pandemic. “It’s tough during (COVID-19),” Reddy said. “I’ve been listening to a lot more Indian music and watching a lot more Indian movies. I’m trying to do the little things I can to further connect me with my culture and background.” President Renu Khator, like Reddy, also has an Indian background, which is something that has not gone unnoticed by the student-athlete. “Considering I’m the only Indian athlete … it is very inspiring and motivating,” Reddy said. “(For) a woman and person of color to become the president of such a big university, it’s such a big accomplishment. Not only for me but also for other minorities and women… it encourages them to strive for the best and strive for

Sophomore Manasi Reddy went 2-2 in doubles play during the 2020 season before it was abruptly canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. | Courtesy of UH athletics

better positions.” After going 2-2 in doubles play, Reddy’s spring season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the uncertainty of how an upcoming season will look like, Reddy has “grown in her own ways” during this pandemic, and

she has used this time off as an advantage to further improve. As for Reddy’s lineage, she believes that there should be a different perspective towards the Indian culture and the general ideas behind it. “I hope eventually, as the years go on, we’re going to see

more Indian student-athletes coming up,” Reddy said. “It is very important for us to not only be academically successful but also athletically successful because that’ll bring a lot more value (to the culture).” sports@thedailycougar.com

ELECTION

UH student-athletes ‘encouraged’ to vote ANDY YANEZ

SPORTS EDITOR @AYANEZ_5

UH football head coach Dana Holgorsen on the field pregame before his team battled against Tulane in the 2020 season opener. | Courtesy of UH athletics

UH student-athletes did not have to worry about attending a practice or missing a workout on Election Day as they took the time to vote instead. Back in August, the American Athletic Conference announced Election Day was going to be a day free of athletic activities for

student-athletes in an effort to encourage them to go out and vote amidst ongoing frustration in the country. A few weeks later, the UH athletes marched across campus to let their voices be heard on issues like racial tensions and police brutality in the United States, which also set forth many of the plans that have been put in action by the University the

past few weeks. These plans have included making TDECU Stadium a voting location and a series of videos on social media by UH student-athletes that serve as reminders for people to vote and also providing information on things like how the country’s

VOTE

Continues on page 9


Thursday, November 5, 2020 | 9 ANDY YANEZ, EDITOR

THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM/SPORTS

SPORTS NEWS

@THECOUGARSPORTS

MEN’S BASKETBALL

The Third Lap Marcus Sasser’s growth from freshman to key piece of UH’s game

JAMES MUELLER

ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR @ JDM2186

Throughout the 2019-20 season, the Cougars relied on their pair of dynamic freshman guards, and one of those guys was Marcus Sasser. Sasser, a Red Oak native, began the season coming off the bench and provided the Cougars with instant offense whenever he entered the game. Because of his production off the bench, Sasser was moved into the starting lineup midway through the season and ended up starting in each of the Cougars’ final 15 games of the season. Despite a successful freshman year, in which the 6-foot-1-inch guard averaged 8.1 points and shot 35.2 percent from 3-point range, things started off rough for Sasser in his first few months with the program as he was met with a rude awakening of what it took to be a Division I basketball player. “Just the speed of the game was a big difference coming out of high school and learning how to play the Cougar way, playing hard with intensity the whole game,” said Sasser on his biggest challenges adapting to playing on the next level. But learning to adjust to the speed of the college game starts with being ready physically, which is why the Cougars focus on conditioning and getting the team in shape before they do anything basketball related. For newcomers to the UH basketball program, conditioning proves to be one of the challenges they face as they are pushed to levels of pain and discomfort that

VOTE

Continued from page 8 government bodies work, among other things. “(There were a) lot of heart-toheart conversations we had with individuals (in late August),” UH football head coach Dana Holgorsen told reporters via Zoom on Tuesday. “One of the

they did not get to experienced in high school, Sampson said. This proved to be the case for Sasser. “September and October (of 2019) were difficult for Marcus,” head coach Kelvin Sampson told reporters during a Zoom news conference. “He really struggled.” “We talk to our guys about the three different pain levels. We describe what each one’s going to feel like. Well, Marcus got to the first one and ran home and got under the bed.” One of the ways the Cougars get in shape for the season is by running a mile every Friday. Sampson uses the mile run as an indicator to see what his players are made of, specifically focusing on how guys handle the third lap because he believes that lap is the most difficult to get through. “There are four laps in the mile,” Sampson said. “That third lap is an attitude and effort lap. I can tell about a kid’s attitude by the third lap.” For Sasser, that third lap was a huge barrier and something he struggled to push through during his first semester as a Cougar. “Marcus didn’t handle that third lap very well,” Sampson said. “The first time he ran it I don’t think he realized the mile was four laps. He got to lap two and said, ‘we got two more?’” But despite experiencing pain on a whole different spectrum and struggling to push through all the conditioning, Sasser stuck with it and developed a new mentality that allowed him to conquer his biggest barrier, pushing through the third lap,

during the beginning of 2020. This change in mindset was evident to all the coaches as they started to see a difference in Sasser. “I could see a difference in Marcus second semester once he conquered the third lap,” Sampson said sternly. “He’s got a different mentality.” Conquering that third lap changed everything for Sasser as he not only became a better player but began to emerge as a leader on the team. One way Sasser exhibits his leadership is by always being the first guy on the floor diving after loose balls in practice and not because he’s afraid of getting yelled at, but because he is going all out to get the ball, which is something Sampson adores because he is a strong believer

in actions speaking louder than words. “There’s a lot of guys who get on the floor, but they get on the floor cause they don’t want me hollering at them,” Sampson said. “Marcus gets on the floor to get the ball and that’s leadership. He doesn’t have to say anything.” Sasser’s leadership will be key to the Cougars success since he will serve as one of Houston’s primary point guards since they lost their starting point guard Nate Hinton, who is currently preparing for the upcoming NBA Draft. As he takes on more responsibility and a larger role within the team as the point guard, Sasser has been focusing on becoming a consistent player who can run the offense and create opportunities for others on

the court. “Being more consistent,” Sasser said when talking about what he needs improve upon with being a point guard. “Being a better point of attack (player) and just getting my teammates involved more this year.” But Sasser knows that being successful on the court starts with the work he puts in when no one’s watching, which is why he attacks each day with the same mindset he used to conquer his early struggles freshman year and sees every day opportunity to get better and grow. “Working hard every day in practice. Proving myself,” said Sasser on his goals for the upcoming season. “That’s just what I’m trying to do this year.”

bigger things that came of it was this huge initiative to vote.” Holgorsen said the students had been able to get UH to commit to giving them Election Day off before the conference or the NCAA made any official announcement. The University’s athletic department helped out the student-athletes in various ways

to get their voices heard, one of which was helping organize the march on campus that was all student-led, several coaches told reporters the day the event. UH also brought individuals and organizations to campus that helped register athletes to vote, Holgorsen said. “We encouraged them to do it,” the head coach said. “There is

nothing going on in the building (except for coaches) continuing to game prep ( for Cincinnati).” Holgorsen said he even gave his assistant coaches a couple of hours off on Tuesday to be able to go vote. While the University utilized many resources to educate, inform and coordinate with the athletes, one thing that UH did

not do was push for anyone to vote for a specific candidate or part the head coach said. “Each and every one of our players is their own person with their own opinions,” Holgorsen said. “This is their way of being able to express it with the ability to be able to vote.”

Marcus Sasser sets up to shoot a 3-pointer against Angelo State during the 2019-20 season at Fertitta Center. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

sports@thedailycougar.com

sports@thedailycougar.com


10 | Thursday, November 5, 2020


Thursday, November 5, 2020 | 11 GINA MEDINA, EDITOR

THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM/OPINION

OPINION NEWS

@THEDAILYCOUGAR

POLITICS

Political division isn’t the issue. It’s what we’re divided on.

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ABOUT THE COUGAR The Cougar is published every Wednesday during the fall and spring semesters, and Wednesdays during the summer and online at thedailycougar.com. The Cougar is supported in part by Student Service Fees. The first copy is free. Additional copies cost 25 cents.

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ANNA BAKER

STAFF COLUMNIST @ANNA2POINT0

Many people talk about how the issue with our country is that we’re so politically divided. I don’t think that’s the problem. It’s not surprising that a country with a two-party system is politically divided. It’s not OK for progressives to compromise on issues that put people’s lives at risk. The problem isn’t that we’re divided, the problem is what we’re divided on. Instead of trying to compromise all the time, we should fight for what’s right. In political discourse, you will often hear people talk about how divided America is today and how we need to bring our country together. They talk about how in the past, the right and the left were not so far from each other to the point of hatred. And this is right, in a way. Throughout history we’ve had a lot of bipartisanship in America. Examples include The Great Compromise in 1787 where two houses of Congress, one with equal representation

and one with proportional representation, were created to please small and large states alike. NASA was created thanks to bipartisanship. So was the Welfare Reform Act, one with policies that Republicans favored but a Democratic president signed it. There are many more examples throughout the course of American history. Many people also believe that in the past, politics wasn’t as polarizing as it is now. You and someone else could be voting for opposite candidates and still be friends without any problems. With exceptions, that isn’t always the case now. That isn’t always a bad thing. Joe Biden has been a proponent of unity and bipartisanship in this election. He even bragged recently about having worked with segregationists in the 1970s to show that he could “bring people together.” He may have said this to make it look like he could unite the country, but it backfired. Some people may have heard Biden say that and think “wow

he can really unite our country,” but most Democrats didn’t. Kamala Harris criticized his statement and general past relationships with segregationists in one of the early debates. When we’re compromising with the right in a country where our left-wing party is conservative on many issues, we keep moving right. We’ve seen this with Donald Trump who validates a lot of extremist ideas. Trump has recently implied that COVID19 will end on Election Day, a conspiracy theory a lot of “altright” people believe. He also refused to tell racists off in one of the debates, telling the Proud Boys to “stand by.” Most progressives today don’t necessarily want division, but they care more about healthcare, police reform and climate change. How can we compromise on climate change with a party that largely doesn’t believe it exists? This is why people were so upset at Biden bragging about working with segregationists. When he did work with them, he wasn’t pulling them left.

He joined them in opposing integration of schools. There’s also the fact that it’s honestly just wrong to compromise on certain things. Our healthcare system kills people every year because they can’t afford treatment. Our current system of immigration tears families apart and kills migrants struggling to cross the border. Our police in this country kill without consequence. These are things we shouldn’t compromise on. If this country is divided on issues that determine whether we should help people, then so be it. Better divide the country than let people suffer as a gesture to appease others. Maybe Democrats and Republicans were more united in the past, but it wasn’t always a good thing. We have to stop caring about division and start caring about the issues we’re divided on. It’s up to us to fight for what is right, even if it causes Republicans to be upset. Anna Baker is an English junior who can be reached at opinion @thedailycougar.com

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Issue 6, Volume 86 (11.5.2020)  

Issue 6, Volume 86 (11.5.2020)  

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