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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Issue 9, Volume 84

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Why are students bad at math? A UH professor received a grant to research factors that contribute to low student performance in collegiate courses. | PG. 4

OPINION Kavanaugh confirmation raises objections

Despite national outcry following sexual assault allegations, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was narrowly confirmed. | PG. 10

SPORTS

Coach Sampson seeks offseason growth

The Cougars may be coming off a great season, but head coach Kelvin Sampson emphasizes values of humility and improvement. | PG. 6


2 | Wednesday, October 10, 2018

NEWS

MICHAEL SLATEN, EDITOR

THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM/NEWS

NEWS@THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM

CAMPUS

Social Media Spotlight: #YaWooCougarFootball starts as joke, leads to rise in school spirit convenient location.”

Freedom from meme-dom

Students wore #YWCF shirts to Oct.. 4 football game | Courtesy of Michael Olle

SARAH WHITELEY

FEATURES EDITOR

@SARAHKATEWHIT

What began last week as a rant about parking reallocation on game day has since sparked “#YaWooCougarFootball.” Starting on the r/UniversityOfHouston subreddit, “YWCF” was a meme pulled from a comment made by a student upset by the impacts the Thursday football game would have on parking. They argued that UH lacks school spirit in comparison to other major universities in Texas, and therefore, there was no need to close off so many parking spots for the game. The user continued, stating “no one is like ‘YA WOO COUGAR FOOTBALL’ anyways,” later citing permit and tuition costs as enough reason to negate the need to block off certain lots for the game. Users took to refuting the claim that the Cougar football team lacked a fan base, saying that they do have enthusiasm about the games.

Claim to fame Within a few days of the original post, the University’s official Instagram and Twitter accounts picked up on the phrase. The UH Instagram posted a photo to its story with the hashtag “YWCF,” and the UH Twitter tweeted an edit of the meme “it’s Wednesday, my dudes,” replacing this with the text “Ya Woo Cougar Football.” Kimberly Davis, the senior manager for UH social media, said that a fan account frequently makes edits and tweets them at the official UH twitter. Davis created the edit after a student replied with questions regarding the meme and the origins of “Ya Woo Cougar Football.” The UH social media staff noticed “YWCF” was circulating on the internet, which lead to the creation of a “YWCF” Instagram sticker for fans

to use, Davis said. “We don’t really take part in creating the memes, but we like to endorse fun things like the Shasta toad,” Davis said. “We saw that there was a t-shirt someone gave to the President (Renu Khator) at the game. It escalated really quickly.”

Surpassing expectations Fans of the meme and of Cougar football were quick to print out shirts to wear to Thursday's game. Pre-business freshman Michael Olle sported a “YWCF” t-shirt to the game, posting a picture of himself in the shirt to Instagram. “I never expected #YWCF to make it any further than the r/UniversityOfHouston subreddit,” Olle said. “Once I saw that the hashtag had been picked up by the official UH Instagram page, I knew it would become something big.” Many people, Olle included, found themselves surprised by how fast “YWCF” has grown. However, avid football fans find themselves appreciating the momentum this movement has created for UH football, he said. “I believe that it has had a very positive impact on school spirit, considering that people who might not have cared about Cougar football before might now feel the energy and support the team more,” Olle said. With a reputation as a commuter school, many believe UH struggles in the realm of school spirit as compared to other Texas universities. Olle said he frequently sees students wearing shirts from other universities, and he hopes the “YWCF” movement can show students that they should be proud of UH. “Its improbable rise is what draws people to the movement,” Olle said. “I believe that something like YWCF could positively contribute to a shift in thinking among our students to realize this is not just a school with a

Almost overnight, “YA WOO COUGAR FOOTBALL” has transcended from a meme into a channel for increasing school spirit. Arturo Torres, an alum who majored in psychology at UH, thinks YWCF may die out like many memes do, but the impacts of the phrase will be long-lasting. In addition to t-shirts, the phrase has been put on signs and photoshopped onto a variety of things, like the UH website and the first presidential alert. “YWCF has become so much more than what its original poster meant,” Torres said. “Originally used in a way to express sarcasm and belittle the sport, YWCF has sort of become a battle cry for us fans of Cougar football.” Atypical of the average meme, YWCF has attained a status similar to that of the classic UH greeting, “go Coogs,” Torres said. In this way, it has managed to shed some of the meme origin while also using the origin as a way of bringing students together and

raising school spirit. YWCF was noticed by the official reddit college football twitter after crossing over to the CFB subreddit. Fans of other college football teams joined in the chant, amused by the origin story as described by another UH fan. “YWCF will be our student’s new rallying cry on days leading up to and on game day,” Torres said. “I’d like to think of how the Astros’ have their ‘WOO’ yell, that we now have ‘YA WOO’ yell at games.” “Ya Woo Cougar Football” is becoming a special chant for many as it continues to grow in magnitude. He said the most unique aspect of the phrase is the fact that YWCF was created and spread by students, unlike most other spirit chants. “I do think YWCF has lost its origins as a meme,” Torres said. “To me, it signifies something special created by our people, our Coogs. It signifies more than a meme, and it represents a new way to express our school spirit.” news@thedailycougar.com

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ABOUT THE COUGAR The Cougar is published every Wednesday during the fall and spring semesters and online everyday 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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Wednesday, October 10, 2018 | 3

MICHAEL SLATEN, EDITOR

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4 | Wednesday, October 10, 2018

NEWS

MICHAEL SLATEN, EDITOR

IN FOCUS

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ACADEMICS

Professor researches age-old question: Why do students struggle in math? C. MCRARE PEAVY

CONTRIBUTING WRITER @MCRAEPV1

College math courses are notorious for being incredibly difficult for the unprepared, and many students did not learn the necessary material in high school. They may even suffer from a math disability for a variety of reasons. UH associate professor of psychology Paul Cirino was awarded a $2.5 million grant by the National Science Foundation to research college-level remedial math students in an attempt to understand where this math disability could come from. “There’s a bunch of different things that go into how you do in math,” Cirino said. “Some of these are based on your history — how many math courses have you taken? Which math courses have you taken? How was your educational experience? Did you have good teachers?” Most of the data that has been collected about math disabilities comes from elementary school students, Cirino said. There has been a push to study older students over the last decade or so, but there is still little known about math difficulties in college students, he said. In addition to a student’s educational history, their cognitive ability is also a factor of their ability to do well in math, Cirino said. Recollection, concentration and language aptitude are all parts of general cognitive ability, he said. “The third group of things that go into math are the way we feel about it,” Cirino said. “‘I don’t like math,’ or ‘I’m afraid of math,’ or ‘I’m anxious about math’ or ‘I don’t care.’ Those kinds of things make a big difference.” Cirino and his research partners are going to measure each of these categories in their sample group. They will measure which of them make the most difference or find out if they are of equal importance to math success, he said. “Once we know the kinds of things that go into what accounts for math performance,” Cirino said, “then we’ll be in a better position to try and do something about it, whether it's increasing your motivation or building your basic skills — whatever it is.” Cirino is working with UH professor of computer science Ioannis Pavlidis, among others, to perform this study. Cirino will use Pavlidis’ lab to test students and measure things like their

Students at a math lecture. A UH psychology professor received a $2.5 million grant to research why college students struggle with math. | Corbin Ayres/The Cougar

heart rates, perspiration and other indicators of how a person is feeling while solving math problems. The study will include about 1,000 Houston Community College students and 100-150 UH students, Cirino said. Recruitment for the study will begin around January. Cirino is partnering with HCC for the study due to its high number of students who require a remedial math class before they can begin working on their major requirements. “Because you have to take developmental coursework, it means you don’t have skills that you were supposed to learn in high school, and yet you’ve graduated from high school. It’s kind of difficult to wrap your head around,” Cirino said. Cirino also pointed out that many math adequacy tests are similar across age groups, so it doesn’t provide a good indicator of where more advanced students actually are in their education. “Most of our tasks by which we say ‘You have good math skills,’ or ‘You have not so good math skills’ are designed much more generally,” Cirino said. “The same tests that we use to assess a third grader are the same thing that we use for high school and are the same thing we use for an adult.” One would expect upper-

level math courses to be more strenuous. However, a significant number of students struggle with lower-level math courses. Computer information systems freshman Alice Ho said she struggles in her 1330 pre-calculus course, which proves problematic since math is one of the building blocks necessary for her to succeed in her career field, she said. Ho entered college with a good background in math due to exceptional high school math teachers. This goes to show that students may still struggle with math despite having the basic skills required to succeed. "There is a lot of information to memorize, and it's difficult for me to recognize when I need to use a specific identity or formula," Ho said. "The class is mostly difficult because of the memorization factor and how it seems to be more concept-based than anything." Although students with a welldeveloped background in math may struggle with these lowerlevel courses, Ho firmly believes it is these foundations that have the biggest impact on one's ability to succeed. Without having taken algebra in previous years, it would be extremely difficult to excel in a pre-calculus course, Ho said. Andrew Hamilton, the UH

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics associate dean of student success, runs a class for students who are on academic warning, usually freshmen who had a bad first semester. He said almost all of his students either didn’t take calculus or took the class and failed. “It’s the combination of an inability to focus on the course, either because of mental illness or because it takes more time than they anticipated, and then partly it’s that they didn’t know that they weren’t prepared,” Hamilton said. “And then they all cheated on the placement test.” Hamilton and NSM recently instituted a new placement test to combat the problem of cheating since success in calculus, especially early on, has been statistically indicated to predict whether a student will receive a degree that requires it. “What has happened for years is that students take an online, unproctored test that they cheat on. We know this because we can see what they’ve done,” Hamilton said. “They can increase their score by 30 percentage points in an hour, which means they didn’t go learn all of pre-cal in an hour, did they?” Now students take a pre-test before orientation that gives them a topical breakdown of where

they’re struggling and then take a proctored test during orientation, Hamilton said. There are modules offered that students can use to study up on subjects they’re having trouble with in addition to math boot camps on campus and online. “Students are given multiple attempts at the proctored test, so if you came and took the proctored test and failed it, we said ‘Look, go do the modules and get ready,’” Hamilton said. “We want you in Cal I. I’m not trying to keep you out of that class, but I don’t want you to be in there if you’re not ready, 'cause then you’re going to drop it or fail it.” Since it is the first year this program has been instituted, there aren’t yet any data on student grades in calculus. Hamilton said they do have enrollment patterns that show many more students are taking pre-cal this year compared to previous years. “Once we understand the combinations of factors that create a math learning disability, we can identify who may be more likely to struggle and by uncovering the nature of that difficulty,” said Cirino in a UH press release, "we can begin to make inroads into how we can meet that need.” news@thedailycougar.com


Wednesday, October 10, 2018 | 5

MICHAEL SLATEN, EDITOR

THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM/NEWS

NEWS@THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM

NEWS 713-743-5314

ADMINISTRATION

Live like a student now, or later, says financial aid director MICHAEL SLATEN

CAMPUS EDITOR

@ MICHAELSLATEN

One week after the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FASFA, became available for the 2019-2020 term, the director of financial aid at UH said students need to be aware that the deadline for Texas aid has moved up, along with the dangers of not living frugally now. Half of graduates in 2016 Health sophomore Ashley Shaji getting help from Carla Martinez with took out student loans, and 71 Financial Aid Tuesday afternoon. | McKenzie Misiaszek/The Cougar percent of undergraduates applied for financial aid, according to Jans said students need students may have some leeway, College Data. Extra financial aid to minimize the amount of Jans said. is disbursed to students if there is extraneous spending funded by Sports administration junior any extra money after payments their refund, because unnecessary Sloan Moyle said his parents pay his for the semester are made, and money spent today will cost much tuition, but he works three jobs to UH financial aid administrators more in 10 years — the standard cover other expenses like textbooks caution students about the cost of load repayment period — due to and car bills. Moyle said he doesn’t spending that money. interest. apply for financial aid anymore, “My advice is, and I’ve been in The deadline for getting the partly because he didn’t receive any financial aid getting close to 40 FASFA turned in to be eligible for funding when he did. years — live like a student now aid from Texas has moved up this “I think it should be saved for or live like a student later,” said year to Jan. 15 from March 15 in people who can’t afford (college),” Executive Director ofCougar Scholarships years,1according College Moyle said. “My parents are 10-11569 News Octoberprevious 1_print.pdf 9/14/18 to 11:21 AM and Financial Aid Bridget Jans. For All Texans. But continuing fortunate enough to be able to

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do it. If I have to bite the bullet on some books, then I’m willing to do that and someone else can get ( financial aid).” UH Financial Literacy counselor Jacqueline Walker recommends students know the expected out-of-college for the job they desire. When students with loans graduate, the Department of Education makes them take exit counseling for all the loans they took out. Food tends to be a big expense for students, Walker said, but those with a meal plan should be minimizing the times they eat out and using the meal plan as much as possible. Minimizing food and other expenses can get students into the habit of paying themselves first, Walker said. Saving money now can make it easier once students are in the professional world and want to buy houses or cars, or retire. “It can get overwhelming, especially when you are getting a lot more money than you were in

college,” Walker said. “It’s definitely good to get started early on that.” The State of Texas, after passing a bill in 2017, will start sending students a letter every year stating how much debt they have and an estimate of future payments, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. “I suspect we will have some juniors and seniors who are going ‘I borrowed how much?’,” Jans said. UH also provides opportunities for students to obtain funding outside student loans, such as through donations. Last year, the Cougar Emergency Fund was created just before Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area. The University reached out to donors and $1.2 million was donated to help students affected by Harvey, Jans said. “If we were to have another major crisis, I would like to think our donors would step up again and assist us,” Jans said. news@thedailycougar.com


6 | Wednesday, October 10, 2018

SPORTS ANDRES CHIO, EDITOR

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BASKETBALL

Coach Sampson challenges expectations with humility during offseason TRENTON WHITING

ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR @TRENTONWHITING

The offseason is a time to rest, recover and improve. Every athlete on the planet has experienced an offseason or a break from organized play. Players need time to take care of themselves heading into competitive seasons, but their coaches also take the time to prepare. Men’s basketball head coach Kelvin Sampson knows the offseason well, as he has experienced almost 30 summer breaks as a collegiate head coach. Sampson approaches every offseason with the same mindset. He is focused on the team, his players and improving daily. After his best season yet as head coach for UH, he is ready to help lead the Cougars to another great year. Even after the Cougars were removed from postseason play in

heartbreaking fashion, the team is not allowing any suffering to follow them into this season. “I don’t feel any anger,” Sampson said. “But there’s always hunger.” This hunger for success is the foundation of Sampson’s drive to be a great coach. It pushed him to always take big steps forward and become successful in his own eyes. At this point, other eyes cannot help but notice his success, too. Sampson has established himself as one of the most accomplished college coaches in recent history. His presence improves teams dramatically and helps them reach their potential. He became the head coach of Montana Tech directly after the school had won only 17 total games in the three years prior. After a rough first year, Sampson led that team to three consecutive 22-win seasons. Sampson ended his tenure at

The 2018-19 season will be head coach Kelvin Sampson's fifth year at UH and he is coming off of his best campaign yet. The Cougars made it to the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 2009-10 season. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

Montana Tech in 1985. He won the coach of the year award in four different conferences and even won the AP National Coach of the Year award in 1995 for being the best coach in college basketball. More recently, Sampson led a UH team from near the bottom of

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the conference to the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament in just five years. The players benefited from buying into Sampson’s philosophies. His beliefs are predicated on hard work and effort at all stages, whether it’s on the court, in the classroom or in their personal lives. Sampson has been able to see generations of his players grow into men as they move on to their next stage of life. He can also see his players grow into the best competitors they can possibly be. He understands the offseason’s importance to a players’ growth. “There’s no reason not to become a better player over the offseason,” Sampson said. “Basketball teams are made from October to March, but basketball players are made March to October.” His effect is undeniable, as three of his players have signed to NBA teams recently. New York Knicks guard Damyean Dotson, Houston Rockets guard Rob Gray and Orlando Magic forward Devin Davis are a few beneficiaries of Sampson’s coaching. Despite Sampson’s greatness, his humility always persists. Even with the many accomplishments of his team, he goes into every season with a new slate. He pushes out the noise from outside sources about expectations for the team. “Everybody worries about destination and storylines and all that stuff,” Sampson said. “But there is no storyline with us.” From his perspective, the Cougars do not have any outside expectations to worry about, and the team can focus on getting better. From the outside, there are several storylines to follow.

Last year, the Cougars made the tournament for the first time since 2010. Junior guard Armoni Brooks won the AAC’s Sixth Man of the Year award, and senior guard Corey Davis Jr. was one of the best shooters in college basketball. However, the team has a lot to replace in order to repeat the success it had in 2017. Sampson understands the Cougars are different and therefore will have to play differently. “There’s no committee that is going to replace what (Gray) does at the end of games,” Sampson said. “We don’t have anybody that can do what Rob did. That doesn’t mean somebody can’t develop into that.” Whether or not the team is able to replace the production from their graduated players, UH is sure to draw more attention this season than it has in several years. Sampson will also be able to add another year under his belt as one of the best coaches in college basketball. He is entering his 30th season as a head coach, and he knows he still has more to offer. “When I was the head coach at Washington State when I was 31 years old, they did an article about me being the youngest coach in D1 basketball,” Sampson said. “I remember saying this, ‘My goal is not to be the youngest coach, my goal is to be the oldest coach.’ Well I’m gaining on it.” The Cougars hope he will be in Houston when he reaches his goal. sports@thedailycougar.com


Wednesday, October 10, 2018 | 7

ANDRES CHIO, EDITOR

THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM/SPORTS

SPORTS

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COMMENTARY

Fans are the most important players off the field JACKSON GATLIN

SENIOR STAFF WRITER @JTGATLIN

Sports fanatics, or fans for short, come in all shapes and sizes. Some appear as grizzled veterans, having been there for their squad at its best and its worst, ready to represent and defend their team, city or school against anyone. Others are innocent and blissfully unaware of the mountainous highs and the frustrating lows of being a sports fan. Fans and athletes share a unique relationship. When athletes are in the zone and performing their best, the fans are there, ready to erupt in the stands for the next display of skill or athleticism. Likewise, when the going gets tough, true fans are still there. Down one bucket, one run, one goal, one touchdown or trailing by a fraction of a second, the fans are there to help. They will aid their team and its players to victory by cheering, screaming, shouting, cursing, praying and sometimes even dancing. Fans bring an energy with them that can turn the tides in favor of the host team during a losing situation, a reason home-court advantage is often sought after. Whether they are current students or alumni, people come out in droves to support UH. “I find the football games a lot of fun because it’s a lot of school spirit and energy,” said chemical engineering freshman Nikki Hammond. “I’m not usually a very spirited person, so coming out and being able to scream and shout and get all that energy out around other fans is great.” Hammond is a member of the Bleacher Creatures, the official spirit group of the Honors College, which offers students the chance to “paint themselves up and get rowdy” at

Cougar home games. While not a member of the Bleacher Creatures, history junior Patrick Garza still took it upon himself to wear face paint, a red onesie and a Texas flag as a cape to support the Cougars “I like getting crazy with all the other fans around me. I love embracing the school spirit and getting everyone else around me to do the same,” Garza said. “Sometimes it’s hard to get others involved, but I always try and invite a bunch of people to come with me to the home games.” There are often specific memories that stand out to fans, and '93 UH alum Andrew Monzon has enjoyed many moments since the beginning of his fandom in the 1980's and as a season ticker holder since 1995. “My favorite thing is being there for victories and sharing that with other fans. The Peach Bowl and defeating the Oklahoma Sooners in 2016 were great moments I am glad I got to see in person,” Monzon said. Houston is a city rich with sports history, and there are countless moments fans and athletes have shared with each other over the years. Witnessing Phi Slama Jama here at UH and believing in the Rockets as the team went from Choke City to Clutch City. Celebrating Cougar alumni like decorated Olympians Carl Lewis and Shannon Miller. Cheering for the “Killer B’s” to watching the Astros' first World Series victory just a year ago. While not every game is a win and not every season ends with a title, for a sports fan, it is not about the destination. It is about the journey.

Freshman Nikki Hammond (center) said she gets to show a different side of herself at football games. The Bleacher Creatures have three more chances to get painted up before football season ends. | Corbin Ayres/The Cougar

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Visit TexasCentral.com to learn more. Text TRAIN to 52886 for updates. The Bleacher Creatures get painted up for every football game and can be seen in the front row cheering all game. | Corbin Ayres/The Cougar


8 | Wednesday, October 10, 2018

SPORTS ANDRES CHIO, EDITOR

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SOCCER

Q&A: Junior transfer happy to be back home

Junior Amy Nguyen transferred to Houston from Oklahoma State during the offseason and she has played in all 16 games of the season. The Cougars are second in the American Athletic Conference with a 3-2-1 conference record for 10 points. The AAC holds a six-team playoff to determine its champion at the end of October and early November. | Corbin Ayres/The Cougar

TAYLOR HAWTHORNE

STAFF WRITER

has a strong connection with the Texas Medical Center.

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Houston added 11 freshmen and two transfers at the beginning of the season, including junior forward Amy Nguyen, who played at Oklahoma State University for her first two years. The mathematical biology major has already made a huge impact on the team with her dynamic offensive drives and relentless pace on the field. The Cougar spoke with Nguyen to discuss her adjustment to the University of Houston and what she expects from this season. The Cougar: Why did you transfer from Oklahoma State? Nguyen: There were a couple of reasons I transferred, and a lot of it had to do with coming back home to Houston, being back in a big city and being close to my family. The University of Houston also offers the major that I was interested in and

TC: What about The University of Houston drew you in to transferring here? Nguyen: I knew I wanted to come back to Houston. There are so many more opportunities for my future. I loved the campus and they had the major I had been looking for, so I knew it was going to be a good fit for me. Not only that, but when I saw the changes the new coaching staff was making, I was super excited to be a part of a growing program, as well as being a part of the University of Houston and representing the city I am from.

TC: Does your family come to a lot of the games? How does it feel to have family come out? What is the attendance of your family like compared to when you played at OSU? Nguyen: My parents have been able to come to every home game

this season, and my siblings have come to a handful of them. It is a lot different than the last two years at OSU, now that the home games are 20 minutes away opposed to eight hours away. Having their support at the games has really influenced how I have adjusted to being back home after two years. I now get to see them almost every weekend, sometimes during the week and not just during school breaks.

TC: What is something you have learned this season, either on the field or about yourself? Nguyen: This season has definitely been a trying one. I’ve really had to learn how to adjust on the fly on and off the field. On the field, it was adjusting to a different formation, different personnel on the teams and different coaching styles. Off the field, I’ve had to adjust to a whole new routine, a new campus, new friends and teammates.

TC: What have been your biggest challenges since

transferring? Nguyen: The biggest challenge since transferring has definitely been adjusting to a new team while also leaving some of my best friends and memories. It’s almost like reliving your freshman year, where you’re just trying to fit in with the culture of the team and get to know 30 new people, while also trying to find all your classes on a new campus.

TC: What were your goals at the beginning of the season? Nguyen: This season, I was really wanting to make an impact on the team on and off the field, wherever my role was.

I’ve been here, I have tried to take advantage of every opportunity I have been given, and it’s an amazing feeling to be home playing in front of my family.

TC: What is the biggest difference between UH and OSU? Nguyen: The biggest difference between UH and OSU is the atmosphere of the school. OSU was a very small college town and the biggest event every weekend was the football games, whereas UH is located in the fourth largest city and one of the most diverse in the nation. There is so much to experience outside of school and soccer.

TC: What were you looking forward to this season, and has it met your expectations?

TC: What do you think you bring to this team?

Nguyen: I was really looking for-

bring a new energy to the team. I am very competitive, and I try to push teammates to get better every day in training while still having fun at the same time.

ward to playing at the University of Houston and being back in my hometown. I love playing, and I’m a very competitive person. I knew coming in UH was a very good team, and I was so excited to be a part of it. Since

Nguyen: I would like to think that I

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018 | 9


10 | Wednesday, October 10, 2018

OPINION WAFA KAZMI, EDITOR

THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM/OPINION

OPINION@THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM

713-743-5304

CULTURE

We must distinguish between racial preferences and racism SARAH TAWASHY OPINION COLUMNIST

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he line between preference and racism is often blurred. Many self-proclaimed activists today dedicate their time to lip service and vilifying individuals for personal preferences that are not inherently racist. It is easy to get lost in the grey area between the two, but making a distinction is important. When we give more attention to smaller-scale social issues, we trivialize the larger struggle against systematic social and economic oppression of minorities. This is not to say that we should ignore microaggressions and unpleasant interactions with individuals who choose to remain ignorant, but we should not direct all our energy toward these things. Preferences in the professional world, within the realms of business, academia, etc., are racist. Unless a position is strictly reserved for an individual of a particular background, such as hiring an Arab professor specifically to teach in a Middle Eastern studies department at a university, preferences are dangerous as they are often based on stereotypes and

POLITICS

Racial preferences often get grouped in with acts of racism. The distinction lies in that preferences do not result in the systematic oppression of one group. | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/ user: Fae

anecdotal evidence. When minorities are discriminated against at school or work, this is systematic and unacceptable. One such example is the case of schools in South Africa telling black students to "fix" their hair and even warning students that they will not be able sit down for exams because of their hairstyles. But what if we focus more on personal preferences in individual everyday interactions? Is it racism if

someone says they prefer certain features in a romantic partner or only choose to befriend people of a particular background? Stereotypes and anecdotal evidence are also applicable to preferences in personal relationships, romantic and platonic. But whether or not they are racist becomes more complex, particularly because racism by definition relates to overarching systems of oppression. Systematic oppression does

not explicitly happen through personal relationships. One can most certainly say these preferences are shallow or evidence of ignorance, but not racist. While it is also possible to make the argument that preferences are rooted in the obsession with Eurocentric beauty standards, and therefore racist, this entails that an individual is of corrupt moral character. Research shows that this is not the case. This is a dangerous leap that results in misguided anger and

emotional responses with less than desirable outcomes. If an individual refrains from association with certain races and cultures based on beliefs that others are inferior to themselves, this can be considered prejudiced. Their preferences, however, cannot be equated with the oppression associated with racism as they do not deprive minorities of livelihood or progression. In general circumstances, people do not control who they are attracted to because this often happens subconsciously. We are naturally attracted to those similar to us, and many times this entails similarities in culture. Many of us can feel offended by other's preferences, but this does not justify labeling them racist. We do not live in a world where we will all be interested in one another to the same extent. The sooner we stop giving as much attention to the smaller details, the more energy and time we will have to direct to dismantling largescale oppressive systems. Opinion columnist Sarah Tawashy is a human nutrition and foods junior and can be reached at opinion@ thedailycougar.com.

worship

Kavanaugh's confirmation disregards objections by the people JANET MIRANDA OPINION COLUMNIST

S

upreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s enraged partisan fury was on full display in last week’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Despite a reaction that demonstrated his lack of judicial temperament, Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court by one of the slimmest

DIRECTORY

margins in American history. affair that disregards morality in school and college. But according Kavanaugh was confirmed favor of a political win. to former Yale classmates, he has Saturday to the Supreme Court Kavanaugh was always going not told the truth. He claimed in a vote of 50-48, ending the to be confirmed, whether we that the term “Devil’s Triangle” CATHOLIC ON CAMPUS acrimonious battle that tackled liked it or not. His sexual assault used in hisMASS yearbook was a SUNDAYS: 10:45 AM Religion Center sexual assault allegations allegations were a small flaw that drinking game, when it is better 6:00 PM - Catholic Center WEEKDAYS: and challenged the #MeToo didn’t matter in the big picture of known as slang for a reference to Tuesday—Friday 12:00 Noon CATHOLIC NEWMAN CENTER movement in a nationwide Republican ambitions. sex between three people. SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE Confession: Before or After Masses Officethis # (713) 748-2529 reckoning. Kavanaugh demonstrated While does not prove he First Service: 7:15 am A majority of Americans his true self in his testimony: committed the acts of which Second Service: 9:00 am Third Service: 11:00 am disapproved of Kavanaugh’s a man who has grown up with he is accused, this apparent Fourth Service: 1:00 pm nomination. The Republican privilege, a member of the most lie hurts his credibility and Sunday School:practically 9:00 am groomed Party’s insistence on forcing him elite schools, makes him unsuitable for into the Supreme Court, despite WEDNESDAY for the Supreme Court. When the Supreme Court. The BIBLE STUDY multiple accounts of sexual allegations of7:00 sexual truth of his statements was 12 noon & pm assault assault, is a display of American stood in his way of getting questionable, and yet he faced no Sunday Bible Class politics at its worst. what he wanted, he sneered in consequences. The Republican Party has made contempt at the Committee’s Whatever flaws he exposed, it a goal to fill the courts with its probing questions and seemed it didn’t matter. He was all but members instead of listening to desperate to come off as the real destined to get this Supreme the voice of the people. From the victim. Court seat. Majority Leader Sen. day of Kavanaugh’s nomination, Throughout the hearing,IN WORSHIP Mitch McConnell IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ADVERTISING DIRECTORY , made it his America has been involvedCin downplayed his purpose to fill this seat before the ONTACT AKavanaugh SALES REPRESENTATIVE AT 713-743-5356 another toxic, hyper-partisan drinking habits during high midterms.

It is likely that Kavanaugh committed perjury, but has been rewarded with a Supreme Court seat. Some senators in the Committee agreed with his claims of victimhood. Sen. Lindsey Graham defended him, accusing Democrats of attempting to “destroy” Kavanaugh’s life. But what about the life he destroyed? Ford put herself in an uncomfortable and embarrassing position in front of the whole nation as she detailed her attack. She assured the Committee she was “100 percent” certain it was Kavanaugh who assaulted her. Her worst fears are coming

KAVANAUGH

Continues on next page


Wednesday, October 10, 2018 | 11

WAFA KAZMI, EDITOR

THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM/OPINION

OPINION

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KAVANAUGH

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true. She spoke up, but the verdict with the procedural vote is “we believe you, but we don’t care.” In order to carry out the Republican agenda, the party has minimized and belittled an accomplished woman who has had to carry the trauma and pain of her sexual assault for 36 years. Launching into a tirade at a Mississippi rally, President Donald Trump mocked Ford’s testimony, calling her evil and emphasizing that “a man’s life is in tatters.” It’s unfair for Ford to be treated this way, and the speech was disrespectful to all sexual assault survivors. The brutal nomination fight left a huge portion of Americans feeling dispirited, as the protests and the frantic calls to the senators fell on deaf ears. As a result of the nomination's escalation into a party issue, Kavanaugh’s confirmation has hurt the reputation of the Supreme Court, which is supposed to be above politics and partisan ideology. Even so, this was a predictable affair. Twenty-seven years ago, another woman accused another Supreme Court nominee of inappropriate sexual behavior with the same result. Anita Hill recounted Clarence Thomas’ sexual misconduct toward her in eight uninterrupted hours as she was questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee, composed of 14 white men. The verdict then, according to TIME, was “her word against his.” Kavanaugh's confirmation has taught the American people that political ideology, not their desires, is the only thing that matters. There is no going back now. America's political system has crossed a line by disregarding the voices of the majority in favor of its own goals and motivations. This will be a sore point in history that will be either forgotten by historians or revered as a factor that changed America for the better. It’s up to us to decide with our vote in these upcoming midterm elections. Opinion columnist Janet Miranda is a human nutrition and foods junior and can be reached at opinion@ thedailycougar.com.

Despite national outcry following allegations of sexual assault, the Senate voted 50 -48 in favor of confirming Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice. | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/ user: RandomUserGuy1738

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12 | Wednesday, October 10, 2018

OPINION WAFA KAZMI, EDITOR

THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM/OPINION

OPINION@THEDAILYCOUGAR.COM

713-743-5304

CIVIL RIGHTS

Freed criminals deserve the right to suffrage RYAN NOWROUZI OPINION COLUMNIST

The ability to vote is an important step in the integration of released felons back into society from incarcertation

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ranting formerly incarcerated individuals the right to vote should be common sense. However, several states have different degrees of restrictions that bar these individuals from voting. In Florida, all people with a felony conviction are permanently banned from voting. By contrast, those in Nevada are allowed to vote if they meet specific criteria. These restrictions on the voting rights of former prison inmates has resulted in approximately 6.1 million Americans being deemed legally ineligible to cast their ballot at the polls. In the United States, there is a cognitive dissonance regarding the treatment of incarcerated individuals. For the majority of people, it goes without question that individuals who commit crimes, especially ones that place other people in danger, should serve time in a rehabilitative prison setting. However, when the time comes to release these inmates, the public often fails to fully recognize the freedom of the recently released. Instead, society places negative labels on former convicts, creating a period of "extended sentencing", where previously incarcerated individuals continue to be confined and defined by their sentences in the free world. This extended sentencing created by negative labels is antithetical to what it means to issue a rehabilitative prison sentence because it prevents a reformed individual from continuing to grow and progress in society. Providing former inmates with the right to vote does not forgive them for their actions, but rather recognizes their humanity, makes it clear that their prison time is over and allows them to continue to prosper in the world outside of prison.

Released criminals have endured the incarceration system and have earned their freedom. They deserve the right to suffrage. | Fiona Legesse/The Cougar

Suffrage a benefit for exconvicts and society Restoring the right of formerly incarcerated citizens to vote could mean a safer, more rehabilitated America. Stripping convicts of suffrage limits the representation of their voice in politics and governmental decisions, further alienating them from our democratic society. In being overlooked by society due to their status as a former convict, it is no wonder that recidivism rates among federal offenders in the United States is hovering around 49.3 %. States could contribute to ending this cycle of imprisonment by implementing

social programs to help former inmates readjust to life in society and restoring liberties given to all U.S. citizens, which includes the right to vote. Proponents of restrictions on suffrage for felons argue that these individuals cannot be trusted with the right to vote, as they’ve demonstrated impaired judgement in the past. Others worry that this would mean giving the right to vote to murderers, rapists and burglars. These arguments, based largely in fear, are short-sighted and fail to understand the purpose of a criminal justice system. Many of these fear-inciting felony crimes are capital crimes, which means that the penalty

will result in decades, if not life, in prison. This means that individuals who are ultimately set free have either exercised exceptional behavior, served a long sentence under due process of the law, or both. Giving freed felons the right to vote is not granting suffrage to murderers, rapists and burglars who are ready to commit crime again, but rather to rehabilitated individuals looking to once again participate in a free world. As of right now, 2.3 million people are incarcerated in the United States- a number no other country comes close to. Many of these prisoners have already been out of prison and are now back serving their second or even

third sentence. This problem is exacerbated by the civil death, or removal of civil liberties, that our country assigns to those who are released from prison. Other countries have much more reasonable standards or no restriction at all on former felons voting. Examples include Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, and South Africa. So while granting suffrage to released criminals certainly won’t solve the problem, it will mean a step in the right direction toward reintegrating former inmates into society. Ryan Nowrouzi is a biomedical sciences junior and can be reached at opinion@thedailycougar.com.

Volume 84 Issue 9  
Volume 84 Issue 9  
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