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Cat’s Back

Thursday, January 16

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Issue 16, Volume 85

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BROKEN PROMISE Star quarterback D’Eriq King announced he has entered the transfer portal after assuring he would stay. Where will he go next? | PG. 9

NEWS The Law Center hopes to offer a new dual degree with UH’s medical school. | PG. 5

opinion Nontraditional students need more support from the University to succeed. | PG. 10

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2 | Wednesday, January 15, 2020

NEWS ian everett, EDITOR





CAPS kickstarts new system ‘to reduce waiting time’ lillian Hoang

contributer @lillian_hoang

If you or someone you know are in a crisis and need to speak to someone, please call 911 or contact CAPS at 713.743.5454 to speak with the after-hours counselor. You can also walk into CAPS to learn what services are available and most applicable. Aidan Potts, a political science sophomore, went to CAPS last summer after struggling to fit in with his co-workers. Potts said his counselor helped him feel less like an outcast at work. He still remembers the first time he cried to his counselor. “I was talking about the time my dad passed away… and (my counselor said), ‘Aidan, your feelings are completely valid,’ ” said Potts, a former SGA College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences senator. “No one had ever told me that before.” One-on-one counseling helped Potts realize how he often bottled up his emotions and avoided talking about upsetting topics. After his CAPS experience, he

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understood that it is OK to be sad. Individual counseling proved to be effective, healing even, for Potts. But it soon became a waiting game when he tried to use CAPS again the following school year. “I had wanted individual counseling, but it would have meant every two weeks or a month, which would have been weird because over the summer I went weekly,” Potts said. “That’s why I did group. Group is weekly, but individual would have been weekly or monthly.” Many students like Potts are faced with a long waiting list. But CAPS director Norma Ngo said CAPS is working to navigate the waiting list. Other college counseling centers in Texas are trying to shrink the waiting period and improve turnover rates with programs like online counseling and referrals to outside counseling services, according to The Texas Tribune. In the same way, CAPS has developed a new and creative clinical service model known as the Stepped Care. “Stepped care is a best practice model, which prioritizes the most effective but least intensive treatment option,” Ngo said. “It assumes that not every student is comfortable, needs or benefits from traditional individual counseling. Therefore, treatment can be either stepped up or down depending on a client distress, goals, motivation.” To participate and benefit from the new system, based on the CAPS’ website, students must first walk into CAPS for an unscheduled triage appointment. The free first visit triage appointments are open to students from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The appointments take upwards of 30 minutes. This initial screening evaluation helps organizations like CAPS classify whether the student’s case is urgent, according to the American College Counseling Association. During the triage appointment, students will work with CAPS staff to determine what services are most relevant and beneficial. CAPS participants can access many services, ranging from workshops, group therapy and single sessions to more traditional one-on-one counseling services. The CAPS three-week essential skills workshop was created to help students manage anxiety

Many students are faced with a long waiting list at CAPS, which can disrupt their mental health. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

and depression, which are the main mental health concerns students face, according to CAPS, or, based on the CCMH 2018 annual report, “continue to be the most common concerns of students.” CAPS single session therapy is intended for students who are aware of what issues they are facing but are unsure of how they can resolve it. Similarly, group counseling is a free weekly service that offers students consistent therapy sessions that address common concerns ranging from social isolation to eating disorders. The waiting list is the result of growing enrollment rates, more students seeking services at counseling centers and lack of funding, which prevents UH counseling services from meeting every student’s needs. The International Association of Counseling Services recommends a staff-to-student ratio of one professional staff member to every 1,000 to 1,500 students. But, according to a 2019 CAPS presentation to the Student Fees Advisory Committee and based on Fall 2019 enrollment figures, UH CAPS has a staff-tostudent ratio of one staff member to every 2,304 students. Based on UH International Student and Scholar Services Enrollment reports, from Fall 2007 to Fall 2017, the student population jumped from 34,663 to 43,779, marking an upward trend.

Unbalanced staff-to-student ratios will result in an increased waiting list and trouble helping students with severe mental health issues manage symptoms or progress, according to IACS. It also said high staff-to-student ratios will lead to decreased “support for academic success of students” since many students depend on counseling to help their academic performance. College campuses that do not meet IACS recommendations will miss opportunities to educate faculty members or administrators on how to detect and handle at-risk students, according to IACS. UH-Clear Lake Executive Director of Counseling, Health and Career Services Dr. Cindy Cook said the UHCL counseling program, like other college campus counseling services in Texas and beyond, struggles with waiting lists due to lack of manpower. “We have tried very hard not to have a waiting list, but (2018) was the first time in a really long time we had to implement a short waiting list just because we couldn’t get people in,” said Cook, a licensed psychologist and vice-chair of the IACS Board of Accreditation. UHCL’s counseling program has taken steps to work around the waiting list, lack of funding and personnel. While the program had to consider limiting some services, UHCL expanded the repertoires it offers to efficiently

meet the student needs, which Cook said is a “common trend in counseling centers nationally.” UHCL has implemented a collaborative care model, which provides students with a variety of services from online self-help therapy to skills groups that help students develop meaningful mental health and coping skills outside of therapy. Counseling services at UHCL also had to consider enforcing session limits, which, based on the Center for Collegiate Mental Health 2018 annual report, “can prematurely terminate treatment for students who would have improved with more treatment” or hurt students in the long run. But this is not a thought Cook takes lightly. “Even if enrollment doesn’t increase…our demands keep increasing,” said Cook, who has been on UHCL staff since 1999. “Each year the percentage student body we see in our office increases, we may have to set strong session limits…We really hate saying no, and if we had the resources, we wouldn’t.” Potts took part in CAPS group therapy. He said better funding, for example, from organizations like SFAC, could help CAPS get more counselors who could then help more students in a personalized way. SFAC plays a role in unit fund allocation or how much funding


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Wednesday, January 15, 2020 | 3

ian everett, EDITOR


Continued from page 2 each UH organization receives. Seven students, two faculty members and one non-voting adviser make up SFAC. This group recommends how much funding each unit or organization receives for the year to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services and President Renu Khator who determine the final distributions. This recommendation by SFAC comes after intense meetings, group deliberations and reviewing the units’ written requests and presentations to SFAC for the year. SFAC presidential faculty representative Nouhad Rizk, a department of computer science faculty member, agrees that CAPS is understaffed and an important UH organization. She added SFAC works hard to make wise decisions based on unit requests. “We give the same importance to every unit; we do our best to fulfill every request,” said Rizk, an instructional associate professor. “We don’t come up with (the) budget. We get it. (We) did a good job (concerning funding allocations for CAPS) and


spend a lot of time studying and fulfilling requests.” SFAC increased CAPS 2021 funding from $2.16 million to $2.35 million and provided CAPS aditional one-time funding, which is given to organizations to fulfill a specific demand, of $183,533 to help CAPS recruit two psychological counseling positions and two psychologists. Like SFAC, SGA President Allison Lawrence said she and all of SGA work to ensure that every department is represented adequately and receives what is best for UH. Lawrence said SFAC has worked with CAPS to try and improve their resources by hiring new psychologists to better help serve students. But, in the end, it comes down to the funding structure, Lawrence said. Like SFAC, Lawrence said SGA has done its fair share to help support CAPS. “Something that SGA has done has been advocating for CAPS, get better funding to ensure that their budget is utilized as effectively as possible so that resources are provided to students accordingly within the best time frame as possible,” Lawrence said. Last fall semester, SGA


demonstrated its support for CAPS and mental health with its annual #EndtheStigma event where SGA members laid out shirts around the fountain in front of the UH M.D. Anderson Library to represent the lives of college students who died by suicide. The SGA event was created to bring awareness to the mental health of college students and to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. “The University has a lot of priorities, and CAPS is obviously a priority, but there are competing resources, departments,” Lawrence said. “CAPS has to just ration out their resources appropriately. So, going forward, that is the goal of the University to make sure there is an adequate amount of counselors at CAPS. But that is a goal that will take a little bit of time.” Lawrence said because the University has expanded so much that it will take time before the department is fully supported or able to meet the IASC recommended staff-to-student ratio. She adds that CAPS’ staffto-student ratio is recognized as a problem people in and out of SGA are actively working on.

But, ultimately, Lawrence said CAPS’ ratio will remain a challenge and one that will not be fixed in the immediate future. In the meantime, students can take advantage of Stepped Care and learn how CAPS can help them. Potts remembers going to weekly group meetings where, with ten other students and two counselors, he talked about his feelings and the progress he and others made since the last therapy session. Although group therapy to Potts is “a lot slower” than individual counseling, he said group therapy has helped him personally. He strongly recommends CAPS to other students in need of counseling services. “It’s better to do it, (to try CAPS) and end up you get something out of it than to never try it,” Potts said. If you or someone you know are in a crisis and need to speak to someone, please call 911 or contact CAPS at 713.743.5454 to speak with the after-hours counselor. You can also walk into CAPS to learn what services are available and most applicable.`


Report: First-generation students at UH graduate later, have lower GPAs Donna keeya

assistant news editor @donnakeeya_

“I feel like having more first-gen students helps to see me in every other face,” said hospitality administration junior Alexandria Martinez. | Donna Keeya/The Cougar

The process of earning a college degree can feel tedious, with added pressure of knowing a small mistake can delay graduation. For first-generation college students, the weight can feel even greater, with family members not always able to help. At UH, first-generation students and their needs are prominent, with approximately 49 percent of undergraduate students being first-generation college students, continuing to fall behind their peers in terms of graduation rates. With additional years of enrollment, first generation students are more at risk to continue spending money on additional semesters of education. “I feel like having more firstgen students on campus helps to see me in every other face,” said hospitality administration junior Alexandria Martinez. Throughout the U.S. during

a six year period, 89 percent of low-income first-generation students leave college without their degree, according to the First Generation Foundation. Their data also indicates the dropout rate of these students is four times higher than their higher-income second generation peers. UH’s first-generation six-year graduation rate of 58.8 slightly surpasses the national average of 56 percent. However, nonfirst-generation UH students still show a more promising graduation rate of 63.8 percent. A potential struggle that first-generation students can face is financial aid and FAFSA. Out of students receiving federal aid, there are 17.3 percent more of first-generation students than students whose parents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, as indicated by a Profile of Undergraduate Students released by the U.S. Department of Education. “The biggest struggle I’ve faced as a first-generation student is navigating financially,” Martinez said. “No one ever told me about student loans,


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UH researchers receive near $1.6M grant to benefit dyslexic students

Five to 20 percent of students can be identified as struggling to learn to read, according to a researcher from the University. | Jiselle Santos/The Cougar


neWS eDITOr @aUTUMnrenDaLL

University researchers have received a near $1.6 million grant from the Department of Education to help improve the early-on identification of students at risk for having dyslexia. The grant began in November 2019 for the researchers to work with schools, starting with one campus each in the Houston ISD, Harlingen ISD in the Rio Grande Valley, and the Harmony charter school network to help educators develop the best practices for early-on screenings to identify dyslexia. Dyslexia affects 20 percent of


Continued from page 3

told me about student loans, scholarship disbursements or how the entire financial aid process works. Personally, UH hasn’t given me the greatest experience.” First-generation students can find difficulty in the FAFSA process by not having other family members who are familiar in the process. Firstgeneration college students often make mistakes and miss out on opportunities while filling for financial aid, according to U.S. News & World Report.

the population and represents 80 to 90 percent of all those with learning disabilities, according to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. In a large metropolitan area like Houston, the researchers said making early intervention a standard in schools will make a significant impact. “And our model demonstration grant is hoping to instill systems approach change to make the early intervention approach to helping students who are at risk for dyslexia become a common practice of education of all students,” said Kristi Santi, an associate professor of special populations at the College of Education and the principal

investigator on the grant. Co-principal investigator Jacqueline Hawkins, an associate professor of special populations, said 5 to 20 percent of students can be identified at some point with having challenges with learning to read. Hawkins said in a proximal zone covering 75 miles from the University, there are 1.2 to 1.3 million school children, which Hawkins said means there are a quarter of a million children in the region who these strategies can benefit. “And this grant, since it’s a model demonstration project, it’s a model demonstration project for the nation,” Hawkins said.

“But the impact that it can have in Houston, the surrounding area is pretty substantial.” The researchers said there is over 20 years of evidence that supports early dyslexia intervention. However, Hawkins said when implementing strategies that support reading advancement, each one is not a “one size fits all.” The team is using an improvement science approach, which Hawkins said is a sequence of planning based on evidencebased strategies, studying their results and acting upon necessary changes to make sure all students’ needs are being met and assessed.

“I believe the ultimate struggle I’ve faced as a first-gen student was having to figure everything out by myself,” said public relations junior Alberto Huichapa. “From applying to colleges to filling out my FAFSA application, it took some work to make sure that I was doing everything right. It was an added stress that many non-first-gen students don’t commonly deal with.” UH received a $200,000 grant in 2017 from the Coca-Cola Foundation to go toward the Coca-Cola First-Generation Scholarship Program. The intention of this program was to improve the graduation

rate of first-generation college students. The Carole and Jim Hegenbarth Scholarship Endowment scholarship is also available to financially assist first-generation students. Academically, the gap between first and non-firstgeneration students is smaller than the graduation rate difference. The average firstgeneration UH student GPA is 2.99, while the average non-firstgeneration GPA is 3.06. Despite receiving similar test scores to their peers, some firstgeneration students can feel academically insecure without knowing others in their family have gone through the higher

education system before. “I don’t feel that I was ever at an academic disadvantage, but rather a social, mental, and

“You have to ask yourself, with individual children, what is going to work for them, what works, for whom and under what circumstances,” Hawkins said. One of the long term goals the researchers’ hope comes of the grant is that schools districtwide can have these processes for identifying students early on, said Shawn Kent, an assistant professor of special populations and co-principal investigator. Kent said although it is a possibility to have life-long dyslexia, if a child struggles with reading now, that doesn’t mean they’ll struggle forever. The earlier their dyslexia is identified, the better. “What we know from research is that when it comes to working with students who are at risk for dyslexia, that early intervention is the key,” Santi said. “And we can reduce the reduction of risk from 20 percent to under 5 percent, which is dependent upon the quality and intensity of the intervention.” The team partnered with the UH research group Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation and Statistics to co-write the grant and said they have a strong partnership with the institute. After a summerlong application process, the team received the notification that they had earned the grant in September 2019. “It’s about educating and helping identify what the schools and the districts are doing and can be doing and processes that they can be setting up to better support the students by using the evidence-based practices that are already available,” Kent said.

describing the social stigma against first-generation students that she believes to have overcome.

“Growing up first-gen means not having an educational confidence instilled in you.” alexandria Martinez, Hospitality Administration Junior financial one,” Martinez said. “Growing up first-gen means not having an educational confidence instilled in you.” Martinez has used the adversity she’s faced as a source of motivation to lead her in the path to academic success,

“Personally, this allowed me to prosper,” Martinez said. “I graduated Valedictorian with an associate’s degree and a 4.0 at 17 years old. It gives you motivation to beat the odds.”


Wednesday, January 15, 2020 | 5




UH hopes to offer dual M.D./J.D. program with new College of Medicine

With the introduction of the new medical school, the University of Houston will offer a dual degree six year program to its students. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar



aSSISTanT neWS eDITOr @SYDneYrOSe1029

The Law Center hopes to offer a dual M.D./J.D. program once the new College of Medicine’s school is established. Baylor College of Medicine and the Law Center already have a joint M.D./J.D. program, which takes about six years to complete. “There are no plans to discontinue the program with Baylor College of Medicine,” said Assistant Dean of Admissions Pilar Mensah. “We are hopeful that we will be able to establish a similar program with the UH College of Medicine.” The Law Center’s website describes the degree as an educational program that highlights the relationship between law and medicine and provides students an important enrichment in their interdisciplinary studies. “The students are in a unique position to address the societal need for training physicians who are well versed in the law,” Mensah said. “The career options for these students are endless, as they can opt to practice law with an emphasis in health law, as their medical degree would make them


uniquely equipped for this type of position.” The dual degree plan was offered as early as 2004 to UH students. Currently, there are two students pursuing this path, Mensah said. Back in May, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill to create a medical school at the University.

The program permits students to complete their degrees in six years rather than the minimum of seven years, Mensah said. It does go through a provision of summer programs, careful course sequencing and limited dual crediting of courses relevant to both medicine and law.

“The students are in a unique position to address the societal need for training physicians who are well versed in the law.” Pilar Mensah, Assistant Dean of Admissions The incoming College of Medicine will be the University’s 15th academic college and is projected to admit 30 students in its inaugural class. “We intend to accomplish this bold undertaking by establishing a medical school that will produce a diverse group of graduates with a deep understanding of the social determinants of health and a commitment to providing compassionate, high-value care to underserved populations,” said founding dean Stephen Spann in a message on the College of Medicine’s webpage.

Students in this program attend their first, second and fifth years of study at the Baylor College of Medicine, begin their law school curriculum during their third and fourth years and complete both degrees in their sixth year. The Law Center has a few other dual degree options listed as well, one for public health and another in public administration. “The students can enter into the medical field and use their legal expertise as an asset in their practice,” Mensah said.


UNDENIABLY EXCEPTIONAL. Prepare for your journey and get ready to change the world! Navigate your way successfully through your first year in the College of Technology.



• Attend first-year experience workshops offered by the College • Meet with your first-year experience advisor about your degree plan • Get to know your professors • Join student organizations to build leadership skills • Talk to our career specialists about internships and your future


January 24, February 14, March 20, April 17, May 1

Professional Development Week January 21 – 23

Kevin Nguyen, first-year experience undergraduate academic advisor for the College of Technology. Voted “Best Academic Advisor” at UH in 2019. Contact us at 713.743.5200,,

Career Fair February 4

Check for details about locations and schedule.



Wednesday, January 15, 2020 | 7

jhair romero, EDITOR






Rehr: Houston’s turnaround season just a start andy yanez

assistant sports editor @ayanez_5

For the Cougars, the 2019 season was a strong and quick turnaround for a program that had been underachieving for years. Houston made it the American Athletic Conference tournament and also qualified for the National Invitational Volleyball Championship, which was the first postseason tournament the Cougars had qualified for since 2000.

Season achievements These accomplishments are the reason first-year head coach David Rehr was named the AAC Coach of the Year. “I’m honored, the biggest part of being honored is the fact that it came as a vote from the other coaches, so that means the respect of the league’s there,” Rehr said on the award, however, he is not satisfied with an individual award. “I would trade it in for a conference tournament win.” Houston finished 2019 with a 10-6 record against the American Athletic Conference, which was six more wins and eight fewer losses than 2018’s 4-14 conference record, and Rehr believes that the success this team reached is only the beginning. “This coaching staff hates to lose,” Rehr said on the mentality he preached to the team. “We hate to lose. Even losing to, at the time No. 5 Baylor, we lost to them in four sets… but it was something that we didn’t enjoy — losing.”

Struggles early on For a season that saw a lot of success under Rehr in his first year as head coach, the team faced a great deal of adversity in the beginning. “Definitely an adventure for sure,” Rehr said on summarizing the year. “Beginning the season 0-4 kind of grounded the team

Head coach David Rehr transformed a program down in the dumps into an American Athletic Conference contender in his just first season at the helms, but he and the revived Cougars are still aiming higher ­— an NCAA Tournament appearance and their spot in the national conversation. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

and grounded me a little bit. We knew it was going to be a tough start just coming into our opening tournament at home.” Houston started the season with a tournament at Fertitta Center, which saw the team face off against tough competition in Arizona State, LSU and UT-Arlington all within a span of two days. Houston lost every game. Much like the team did the entire season, the Cougars bounced back from a rocky start by winning five games in a row, which included sweeping the UTSA Invitational. However, the team ran into another wall when they traveled to Baylor to play in yet another tournament. Houston lost every game in Waco that weekend, but they had no time to reflect as they hit the road the next weekend for another tournament, this time in Lubbock. “Going to Texas Tech, it was the last straw for us as far as a

coaching staff,” Rehr said. “We weren’t doing the little things that we felt we needed to do right, and we weren’t playing up to our potential.” For Rehr, the struggles at the beginning of the year were due to a lack of practice time. “On Monday we had to get ready for Tuesday’s game, so you’re not really practicing,” Rehr said. “It was more like prepping routine for Tuesday and then on Wednesday, you practice to get ready for Friday’s game because Thursday you’re traveling, so you’re always just (trying to) stay ahead of the curve versus trying to work on yourself.”

Turnaround Once the weekend tournaments that occasionally sandwiched a standalone weekday game ended, the team was able to practice, and they began to see a turnaround. “The remarkable part that happened to us was, and you’ll

see the run that happened was right after conference play started, there were no more midweek games.” Rehr said. “I think that started to make us better.” The run that Rehr alluded to was the seven-game winning streak the Cougars opened conference play with, which helped boost the team into the conference tournament. “We excelled expectations,” Rehr said. “We exceeded expectations, but it was something that was a goal for the coaching staff before we came into it.” The Tampa, Florida native believes that setting goals before the start of conference play played a huge role in the success the team achieved. “If you don’t put your goals down to be high then you’re just settling and we wanted to teach this group not to settle,” Rehr said.

Going forward Despite the new coaching staff,

the players themselves were the biggest part of the program’s turnaround. “I can’t even quantify how much this team did not like to quit,” Rehr said. “They (did not quit) at all because how many times were we down, how many times did we play sets to five, how many times were we down 0-2 and still came back and won.” With his first season in the rearview mirror, Rehr has new and more ambitious goals for the program going forward. “It’s not about getting back to the conference tournament,” Rehr said. “If you don’t start talking about winning the whole thing, if you don’t talk about the NCAA Tournament, then what are you playing for? “It’s about trying to win championships because that’s what Houston is supposed to be about.”

men’s basketball

Roundtable: Grading the Cougars’ promising yet up-and-down 2019-20 so far The Cougar sports staff @thecougarsports

Two months of 2019-20 have come and gone for Houston, and, while not all of it has been pretty, the 12-4 Cougars have kept themselves in contention in the American Athletic Conference and for another run in this year’s

NCAA Tournament. The Cougar’s sports staff took it upon themselves to grade Houston’s 2019-20 efforts so far:

Assistant sports editor Andy Yanez: B+ The Cougars have found their identity, which revolves around

rebounding and defense, 16 games into the season. They are a gritty team that will fight for both halves and will out-hustle opponents more often than not. The team also has its limits. The Cougars are not an offensive juggernaut that will shoot lights out for all 40 minutes of a game and will

often go on cold streaks where they cannot buy a basket and can get sloppy taking care of the ball. In Saturday’s game against Tulsa, Houston’s offensive struggles were exposed as the team shot only 39.3 percent from the field and had 52 of its 61 points come from only three players in redshirt freshman Caleb

Mills, sophomore DeJon Jarreau and freshman Marcus Sasser. Houston has a 12-4 record overall and is 2-1 against the AAC. Sophomore guard Nate Hinton has been the epitome of the


Continues on page 8

8 | Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Sports jhair romero, EDITOR




Men’s basketball

From Kansas to Houston, Grimes finds his fit with Sampson

Quentin Grimes is Houston’s leading scorer, averaging 13.5 per game through 14 games. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

james mueller

staff writer @jdm2186

After losing their top three scorers from the 2018-19 season, questions arose on how the Cougars were going to follow up their Sweet Sixteen run. Last June, an answer was given when a 6-foot-5-inch sophomore from The Woodlands announced


Continued from page 7 team’s identity. The 6-foot-5-inch Gastonia, North Carolina, native is averaging 11.9 points, and he leads the fourth-best rebounding team in the nation with 9.9 per contest. Three of Houston’s four losses have come down to the wire, including a buzzer-beating loss to BYU in the second game of the regular season. Houston had excelled in crunch time the past three contests before the loss to Tulsa. Against then-No. 21 Washington, Houston trailed by one point at the five-minute mark when the team went on a 7-0 run that helped them upset the Huskies. Against UCF, Houston held only a three-point lead in the second half and outscored the Knights 16-5 to seal that win, and against Temple, Houston trailed by one point at 59-60 when they outscored the Owls 11-2 to close out that win.

Sports editor Jhair Romero: BIf you had posed the task of grading Houston’s 2019-20 so far

he was transferring to Houston from Kansas — Quentin Grimes. Grimes has made a quick impact since joining the Cougars, leading the team in scoring through the non-conference portion of the regular season schedule and increasing his fieldgoal shooting percentage from a year ago despite averaging more minutes per game with Houston.

only two weeks ago, the Cougars are an A- team on the come up after winning the Diamond Head Classic over a tough Washington team in Hawaii. After an ugly 63-61 defeat at Tulsa on Saturday that, like their losses to BYU, Oregon and Oklahoma State, highlighted the Cougars’ biggest weaknesses, UH drops a letter grade. A sometimes shaky offense mixed with the inexperience of many of the young players on the team, made up of eight underclassmen, can equal a world of headaches for Houston. As it stands, outside of their win over the Huskies and South Carolina, the Cougars came up short in some of its biggest games of the season, which isn’t ideal when trying to build a resume for a deep March Madness run. But that can change completely starting this weekend. Six of the Cougars’ 15 remaining American Athletic Conference games are against heavyweights and perennial conference contenders, beginning with No. 23 Wichita State on Saturday on the road.

After his first season, the guard went through the pre-draft process where he was told he was projected to be a second-round pick, so he decided to pull his name out of the NBA draft pool and return to college, just not to the Jayhawks. Grimes, a five-star recruit and the No. 8 overall player in ESPN’s Top 100 recruits in 2018, was not even recruited by Houston, but a year later the Cougars had a real shot at landing him. When going through his predraft workouts, Grimes worked out with NBA superstar James Harden, who head coach Kelvin Sampson coached during his time as a Rockets assistant. The former NBA MVP and seven-time All-Star played a role in convincing Grimes to choose Houston. “Just knowing coach Sampson and all the great guards he’s coached, like James Harden and Eric Gordon, and just seeing how he lets his guards play with freedom really stood out to me,” Grimes said. Grimes also loved the culture that Sampson has built, centered around playing hard and creating tight bonds between everyone in the program, and felt accepted

from the moment he set foot on campus. “Right when I started talking to coach Sampson I understood how hard you have to play for him,” he said. “He loves you to death like you’re one of his sons and I felt a family bond right when I stepped on campus.” His prior relationships with many players already with the Cougars contributed to Grimes’ decision of coming to UH. “I knew most of the guys already on the team and so it made it pretty easy to come here,” he said. Once Grimes chose to transfer to Houston, another roadblock arose — obtaining an NCAA waiver to grant him immediate eligibility for the 2019-20 season. Kansas head coach Bill Self supported Grimes’ request for immediate eligibility and made it clear that there was not a scholarship roster spot for Grimes in 2019-20. Lauren Dubois, UH athletic’s chief compliance offer, also wrote letters to the NCAA to push for Grimes’ immediate eligibility. After a long and hard fight, it was granted for Grimes on Oct. 22. Through the Cougars’ first 16 games of the season, Grimes is Houston’s leading scorer

Guard Caleb Mills has been a saving grace for the Cougars, averaging 12.9 points per game as one of the hottest freshman in the country. | Ahmed Gul/The Cougar

Houston’s gauntlet continues with another meeting with the Shockers, this time at home on Feb. 9, and four games against Cincinnati (Feb.1 away, March 1 at home) and No. 21 Memphis (Feb. 22 away, March 8 at home). The Cougars’ have the tools to be a Top 25 team like Memphis and Wichita State in Hinton, Mills and sophomore guard Quentin Grimes, but they must shake off jitters that have overcome them in their losses to get there.

Staff writer James Mueller: B The first two months of this year’s basketball season has been a period of learning and growth for a young Houston team. Early in the season, the Cougars struggled to put together a full 40 minutes of solid basketball, resulting in close losses to BYU and Oklahoma State and a blown eightpoint first-half lead in their defeat at the hands of Oregon.

averaging 13.5 points per game, nearly doubling what he averaged at Kansas last season. He has also nearly doubled his rebound average from last season, averaging 4.1 rebounds per game. Grimes attributes the jump in his game to the emphasis Sampson and his staff puts on playing hard no matter the circumstances. “Playing extremely hard at all times during the game no matter if we’re up 20 or down 20,” Grimes said when asked what his biggest improvement this season. “Playing hard and learning from your mistakes is Cougar basketball.” As for the Cougars, they are only three games into conference play, and Grimes hopes to lead the Cougars to their second-straight American Athletic Conference title but knows it will be a tough challenge because of the target the Cougars have on their back from a successful last season. “Every team is coming to beat us for what happened last year and the overall culture and standard that was set by the team last year,” Grimes said. “We got to treat every game like it’s our last because no game is promised.”

But UH has shown improvement as the season has progressed, earning wins like the one over then-No. 21 Washington, in a large part due to Hinton’s emergence as the Cougars’ emotional leader. Hinton brings incredible energy when he is on the court and the team feeds off this. Hinton is also always flying to the ball and as a result has doubled his rebounds per game from last season, averaging nearly 10 rebounds per game. Another big story has been Mills’ emergence as a force for UH. Mills, Houston’s third-leading scorer averaging 12.9 points per game, has proven his ability to create his own shot which is something the Cougars desperately needed. The one thing Houston has consistently been great at all season is rebounding. The Cougars are the fourth-best rebounding team in the country, averaging 43 rebounds per game. If the Cougars continue to show growth and improvement, there is no limit to how high the ceiling can be for this team.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 | 9







King reverses course, enters transfer portal JHaIR ROMERO aNDy yaNEz


Senior quarterback D’Eriq King, months after reassuring Houston and its fanbase that he’d return to the Cougars in 2020, announced in a Twitter post Monday night he’s entered the transfer portal. King, who tossed for 663 yards and six touchdowns in four games in 2019, announced his decision to redshirt along with senior wide receiver Keith Corbin in late September after UH started the season 1-3 and suffered a lastsecond loss to Tulane on the road. “It was the hardest decision of my life,” King told KRIV (Fox 26) after posting his decision to enter the transfer portal. “I love the

University of Houston. I love the city. I thought it was best thing for me.” Although King’s destination isn’t known, he is expected to “garner interest from top programs like LSU, Georgia and Florida State,” according to a Yahoo Sports report. A move to the SEC for Arkansas is also likely to interest King after the Razorbacks hired former Houston offensive coordinator Kendal Briles at the same position under newly hired head coach Sam Pittman. The 5-foot-11-inch dual-threat quarterback also told Fox 26 Houston that a big factor in his decision was the health of his mother, who King recently discovered a couple of months ago has breast cancer. “It’s been tremendously hard,”

King said. “My mom is the most important person in my life. Seeing her go through this took a toll on me.” For King, he hopes that the decision to leave the University can provide him with a fresh start. “I think it will be very important for me to get away, refocus and take my shot,” King said. Although King is ready to move on, the impact that the University has left on him will not be forgotten, according to the Manvel native. “They mean the world to me,” King said. “Just graduated from the University of Houston. It was one of the the best decisions I made, coming here. I thank the University for everything.”

D’Eriq King’s decision to transfer shocked many before sparking immediate speculation as to where in the nation he’ll end up. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar








10 | Wednesday, January 15, 2020






UH isn’t doing enough to aid nontraditional students


Michael Slaten MaNaGING EDITOR

Katrina Martinez CREaTIVE DIRECTOR

Jiselle Santos NEWS EDITOR

autumn rendall fEaTURES EDITOR

Ian everett


Mason Vasquez


Jhair romero PHOTO EDITOR

Kathryn Lenihan OPINION EDITOR

Santiago Gaughan aSSISTaNT EDITORS

Juana Garcia Donna Keeya Sydney rose Lino Sandil andy Yanez

STaff EDITORIaL 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.


It would be nice if the University offered more classes in the evening for first and second year students, as it will help out students who need to balance school with work and family. The University would encourage more nontraditional students to earn their degree. | Jiselle Santos/The Cougar



In the town I grew up in, success was measured by how sweaty your clothes were when you got home from work. If you worked a full eight to 12-hour day and your clothes were still dry, you could consider yourself a self-made millionaire. As I got older, that measure of success turned to living situation and vehicle choice. If your clothes were drenched by the time you got home, but you had a good size home and an even bigger truck, you made it out of the slums and into somebody. My brother was the first person I ever knew that went to college. My parents and all my relatives barely made it out of high school, so to see him graduate and then wear a tie to work was like something out of a movie. Alas, he had changed the paradigm within my family and now going to college was the measure of success. With all this being said, it paints a picture of how important college education is to some people. My family still sees a college

degree as a major milestone and a golden ticket in today’s society. Not all routes and methods to that milestone are the same and paved in gold. I am a 37-year-old retired Marine Veteran and single dad, and I can tell you that this journey has been just as, or even harder, than my 15 years in the Marine Corps. After working 40 hours a week and the full schedule required by the GI bill, I sometimes wish I was still dodging bullets in Iraq. I haven’t even brought up the trials of raising a son and all the activities and attention he requires and deserves. Struggles The University of Houston has plenty of programs to aid traditional students, but in my particular case, it isn’t enough. Granted, I am a special case, but the university falls short in catering to the nontraditional students who must walk the tightrope between family, work and school. One way UH aids its students is through offering a reliable daycare program on campus for students with children.

I have interviewed with staff from the daycare, and I’ve seen how they interact with the children. It is great. But my son is eight and goes to school. Therefore, daycare is no help to me because I must drop him off and pick him up from school. As a full time employee, student and parent, it is difficult to juggle my responsibilities and ensure my son is taken care of. A way the University could improve their services would be to partner with local schools or have a shuttle system to help students who stress about picking up their children on time. Another issue I think should be considered when it comes to students in my unique situation would be class availability. While signing up for one of my classes, the only time slot available was at 4 p.m. Most 40 hour a week jobs don’t get off until 4 p.m., so that is problem No. 1. I live about an hour away, so not only do I have to get off work early, but I have to fight traffic in order to get here on time. I think it would be worth it to have a program or have some stipulations to offer more

classes in the evening for firstand second-year students. The college assumes that these classes are for 18 and 19-year-old kids, when in fact, students like myself are the ones that need to take these classes as requirements. Luckily, I was blessed with a professor who took my very unique situation into account and I was able to still graduate on time since this was my only required class. But not everyone is so lucky. I think it is worth the time to try to line up classes and resources to help students who share my struggles. UH prides itself on being diverse and accommodating the “commuter,” but I think it is time to take a deeper look into some of the more unique students, such as myself. The University should look to aid students who have to balance family, school and their livelihood with the hopes of easing their struggle and encouraging more nontraditional students to earn their degree. Adrian Moreno is a liberal arts senior who can be reached at opinion@the

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

GUEST COMMENTaRy 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@; or fax them to (713) 743-5384. all submissions are subject to editing.

aDVERTISEMENTS 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.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 | 11

opinion santiago gaughan,EDITOR





Technical skill is necessary for students now in their careers Zachary Habab


Today, most careers require some type of technical skill due to the increasing reliance on technology to increase efficiency in the workplace. This isn’t limited to careers revolved around technology. Accountants use technology to organize a company’s spending, doctors track their patients’ health with the use of technology, online marketers create websites to advertise a company’s product and so on. With this in mind, you may think the University of Houston is taking action to prepare students for their desired careers by encouraging tech-related courses in every major. Nope. Not only do most non-tech degree plans at the University of Houston exclude any tech relevant courses, but majors that require an advanced understanding of technology don’t contain enough tech courses needed to aid the desired careers of students. Tech-relevant courses should be a requirement in every major at UH and should be offered more in majors that aren’t necessarily tech jobs but have high importance in technology. Core courses and other required electives are implemented with the intention to provide knowledge students can use in their desired career field. According to a 2017 analysis done by Burning Glass and Oracle Academy, about half of the best paid jobs use advanced computer skills. Learning more about technology will only help benefit the success of a student’s career. Another reason universities implement general education courses is to help students discover a hidden passion for many popular fields; technology courses should be viewed the same way if not more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and technology jobs have the highest growth within any occupation. There are many more tech jobs than graduates, so why can’t the university help students reveal interest in these jobs over the others? Understanding technology will also help students with their day-to-day college life. Like many universities, the UH is implementing more opportunities for digital learning for students and slowly removing the traditional learning they have always used. Understanding more about technology can benefit the student in the digital lifestyles they encounter. Some students may not find technology to be important for their career or day-to-day college life, but most do.

It is strange that the University does not place a greater emphasis on technology education in programs like engineering and computer and management information systems. This gap in the curriculum could prevent people from having a lucrative carrer. | Lino Sandi/The Cougar

Technology majors have almost doubled from 2010 to 2016, which can indicate there is a popular preference many students have towards technology. Most students also favor technology to be their primary aid in college. According to a 2016 McGraw-Hill study, roughly 80 percent of students feel technology has improved their education, saved time and boosted their grades. It’s time for UH to realize the importance of requiring students to take tech relevant courses. Having a lack of understanding of technology will not only affect graduates but will have a higher impact in the future. Students need to begin viewing technology courses like English or Math courses, and this can only be done through the university integrating more tech courses into their education system. Zachary Habab is a management information systems freshman who can be reached at

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Universal Crossword Edited by David Steinberg January 30, 2019

ACROSS 1 Passport mark 6 Soccer legend Mia 10 “Dear old” relative 13 Avid 14 Pago Pago’s place 15 “Now I get it!” 16 Box office bomb about primatology? 19 Like -2, vis-a-vis -1 20 Bend (over) 21 Andean animal 22 Little 23 Excursion 24 Box office bomb about a work-shy guy? 31 Country singer LeAnn 32 “Cool!” 33 Coke’s partner 35 Sandler of “Big Daddy” 36 Runs, as a river 38 Plumbing snake’s place 39 Architect I.M. 40 Atoll protector 41 Discussion group 42 Box office bomb about God’s annoying insects? 46 Intensifies, with “up” 1/30

47 Like cookie dough 48 Word with “energy” or “flare” 50 Dining hall offering 52 Old woman’s home of rhyme 56 Box office bomb about Stephen’s scary stand-up? 59 Hot-___ balloon 60 Desert relief 61 “Saturday Night Fever” music 62 “Baloney!” 63 Froshrushing group 64 Beasts of burden DOWN 1 Close tightly 2 Duct-___ wallet 3 Long, long time 4 Hoarder’s house, e.g. 5 Positive aspect 6 “Funny” 7 Cry to a pastor 8 Floor cleaner 9 Food court regular 10 Bush’s press secretary 11 “Beg pardon ...” 12 Modern miner’s matter

14 Animal in a roundup 17 Dog biter 18 Sacha Baron Cohen title role 22 “Scream” director Craven 23 “___ the night before ...” 24 Mouse’s hazard 25 Like some TVs 26 Certain ding from a phone 27 Not masc. or neut. 28 Switch words 29 Handful 30 Just swell 34 Blend 36 Come clean, with “up” 37 DiCaprio, to fans 38 Amigo 40 “Tsk-tsk” or “tut-tut”

41 Church bench 43 Desktop with a 27-inch model 44 Cafeteria carriers 45 Angel’s headwear 48 Twinkle source 49 Birth state of seven presidents 50 Tableland 51 Make shorter, say 52 Follows a snowy trail 53 Blow off steam? 54 Enough, for some 55 Freudian topics 57 Fold, spindle or mutilate 58 Org. that may say no to drugs



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January 15, 2020  

January 15, 2020