The Daily Texan 1
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8 Issue Vol. 4, 9 20, 200 Nov.
lifE&ARTS PAgE 12 Kweller plays PTA fundraiser
Friday, November 20, 2009
Serving the University of Texas at Austin community since 1900
TOMORROW’S WEATHER Low
Powers reviews budget with lawmakers By Hudson Lockett Daily Texan Staff UT President William Powers met with members of the Austin delegation of the state Legislature Wednesday to address their concerns about budget cuts at the University. The meeting was held in response to a letter sent to Powers on Oct. 9 and signed by state representatives Mark Strama, DAustin, Donna Howard, D-Austin, Valinda Bolton, D-Austin, Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin, Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin and Dawn-
na Dukes, D-Austin. The letter expressed concerns about how the layoffs of staff and lecturers were being carried out. “It is our understanding that the size of the budget cutbacks varies from department to department and will affect the number of classes offered, the number of lecturers and graduate students on staff, class size, and curriculum in a variety of ways,” said the six representatives in the letter. “The process for proposing and executing these changes is unclear, and it appears that many tenured and
tenure-track faculty, lecturers and assistant instructors have not been involved in that process.” “We’ve all been approached by our constituents who have had concerns about the budget cuts,” Howard said. Powers offered to meet with the delegation in a written response to the group’s letter, she said. Howard said the meeting was put together with the idea that lawmakers “would periodically have these kinds of visits with the president, since UT is such an important part of our community.”
Nate Walker, a spokesman for Rodriguez, said the delegation wrote the letter to Powers on behalf of the Texas State Employees Union asking for more information on why the University was cutting back the number of lecturers. Powers was unavailable for comment as of press time. Gwen Grigsby, associate vice president of governmental relations for the University, was not present at the meeting, but said the response was favorable among those who attended.
Students back health benefits
Maddie Crum | Daily Texan Staff
Howard said the issue of student-to-faculty ratio, which could be affected by cuts to non-tenured staff and the hiring of new professors, was discussed at the meeting. Powers said further reducing the number was not possible due to budget constraints, but the University would make a concerted effort to maintain current levels, Grigsby said. Dorothy Brown, a spokeswoman for Naishtat, said the delegation appreciated Powers’ offer to discuss the situation. “I think it was really valuable
for the delegation to hear the particulars that he mentioned,” Brown said. Howard said the delegation still had concerns about transparency and communication about the budget cuts to UT faculty and staff. “I know that President Powers believes that they have a process in place that is getting information from administrators down to the deans and department chairs,” Howard said. “What I’m not clear about at this point is how much involvement there is below that level of management.”
10 UT labs fail to comply with safety training standards By Viviana Aldous Daily Texan Staff Ten UT Laboratories have been cited for staff failure to complete mandatory lab safety training in a timely manner. The Environmental Health and Safety office’s citations are based on a checklist of more than 30 requirements for a “safe” lab. Each of the 1,072 labs on campus are inspected annually, and those that repeatedly fail to pass inspection are placed on a semi-annual inspection cycle. The 10 laboratories that failed to meet safety requirements did not correct the citations within the allotted 30-day time period. Heads of laboratories and lab personnel, including students, must complete a general EHS training course and a more specific on-site training course if working with hazardous chemicals. Failure to complete the required
training must be resolved within 30 days of the initial citation. If the problem is not corrected within that period, EHS notifies the dean of the lab’s college, who can use his or her discretion to determine consequences. Six of the 10 laboratories were cited because of the head professor’s lack of general EHS training, two laboratories were cited because of a lack of general EHS training for the lab’s personnel and the other two were cited because professors did not administer hazardous-chemical training to their staff. The general EHS training teaches lab personnel to identify certain hazards and take safety measures. It also includes first aid information and describes what to do in the event of an emergency. The course is available online and
lab continues on page 2
Ambalika Williams speaks at a domestic partner benefits rally on the Texas Union patio. The rally highlighted the University of Arizona’s recent decision to give domestic partner benefits to faculty and staff.
Speakers rally in support of domestic partner benefits at UT By Shabab Siddiqui Daily Texan Staff More than 60 students gathered Thursday to support domestic partnership benefits for University faculty and staff. The rally, held on the Texas Union patio, was hosted by Burnt Orange Benefits and StandOut and featured a wide array of UT student speakers. “The purpose of holding this event is to show the student support for domestic partner benefits to President Bill Powers and the Board of Regents,” said Corina Cantu, co-director of Burnt Or-
ange Benefits. “We’re trying to demonstrate that there is student support behind this.” Currently, partners of UT employees in same-sex couple cannot receive the health care benefits given to those in opposite-sex marriages. Burnt Orange Benefits has been working to change this for the past five years. Cantu said Powers alone may not have the authority to bring about the change, but he can take a proactive stance toward it. Powers could not be reached for comment by press time. State law pro-
hibits the University from offering benefits to same-sex partners of faculty and staff. Michael Benbow, biology senior and StandOut director, said over 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies, all Ivy League institutions and 10 out of 12 of UT’s peer universities provide domestic partner benefits. StandOut also helped organize a rally in the fall of 2008. Benbow said GLBT UT faculty and staff members should be as proud to be
rallY continues on page 9
Maddie Crum | Daily Texan Staff
Biomedical engineering graduate student Hyunji Lim works in Thomas Milner’s optic-based therapeutics lab.
NCAA survey reveals UT football Drug cartels along border target youth players have low graduation rates By Shabab Siddiqui Daily Texan Staff The UT football program is in hot pursuit of the top ranking in the Bowl Championship Series poll, but graduation data released by the NCAA this week show the Longhorn football players are lagging behind other top programs in completion of degrees. According to the NCAA Graduation Success Rate survey, UT graduated 49 percent of football players in six years. Texas was one of only three teams in the current BCS Top 25 with a graduation rate below 50 percent. Other traditional collegiate heavyweights like Florida, Alabama, and Texas Tech universities graduated nearly 70 percent of student-athletes in their football program in six years. Texas’ football rivals, Oklahoma and Texas A&M universities, graduated 45 and 55 percent of student-athletes, respectively.
Peter Franklin | Daily Texan Staff
UT football players meet with conditioning coach Jeff Madden in the end zone tunnel of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Overall, however, the data shows student-athletes across the nation graduating at the highest rate — 79 percent — since the survey began in 2001, a 1 percent increase from 2008 data. The latest data tracked graduation rates
of students who enrolled in college between 1999 and 2002. “Be assured — the NCAA’s commitment to academics is as strong as it has ever been,”
Ncaa continues on page 2
By Bobby Longoria Daily Texan Staff Promises of money, fast cars, women and a life devoid of consequences associated with Mexican cartels and their growing appeal have lured some border-city youth down a dead-end road. In an effort to stem cartels’ influence on students, the Texas Department of Public Safety sent a notice to parents across the state Tuesday urging them to become aware of efforts by Mexican cartels to recruit students, in particular those under the age of 17. Criminal organizations like the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas have used youth in Texas cities including El Paso, Brownsville, McAllen and Laredo as drug mules and, in some cases, as assassins. Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange said the cartels use minors in place of adults to complete tasks because juveniles face lighter sentencing. The Zetas are a paramilitary group originally composed of former Mexican Army elite soldiers. They were solely an
enforcement group of the Gulf Cartel until the arrest of its leader, Osiel Cardenas Guillen, in 2003. Since then, the Zetas have expanded to oversee their own drug trafficking operations and are considered by the National Drug Intelligence Center to be the most technologically advanced, sophisticated and violent drug trafficking group. Six years ago, at the age of 13, Laredo native Rosalio Reta was recruited by the Zetas and soon committed his first murder. After he was sentenced in 2006 to 70 years in prison for the two killings, he confessed to committing 30 other murders. Reta has been interviewed by The New York Times and is a DPS poster child for the dangers of cartel recruitment. “The problem is [the cartels] don’t have [the youths’] best interest at heart — they have their interest at heart,” Mange said. “Jobs need to get done, and they don’t really care what happens to [the youth].” Mange said even though a new
recruit may be considered a juvenile, he or she can be certified and tried as an adult depending on the severity of the minor’s crimes. Texas law, however, prohibits the use of the death penalty for crimes committed by someone 17 or younger. Zack Gorbet, an Austin Independent School District Police Department detective, said the notoriety of groups like the Zetas extends throughout the state, not just in the border region. “You have to be vigilant about that kind of thing. [The cartels] are very mobile, they want to spread their influence,” Gorbet said. “If they’re engaged in illegal activity on the border, adding a couple hundred miles to that isn’t a big deal.” Gorbet works with AISD’s Joint Juvenile Gang Unit, a partnership between the Austin Police Department, the AISD Police Department and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. The unit teaches gang prevention tips and
crIMe continues on page 2
The Daily Texan
Friday, November 20, 2009
Ncaa: Data shows equal
Volume 110, Number 118 25 cents
rates for players, students
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TODAY’S WEATHER High
crime: Programs make effort to eradicate gangs
Apples, cheese and salt and vinegar chips go hard.
identifies warning signs of gang affiliation, including an sudden increase in funds, skipping class and large amounts of time spent with individuals unfamiliar to the parents. According to a DPS press release, people under 17 account for 9 percent of the population along the Texas-Mexico border, but they are responsible for 18 percent of felony drug charges and gang-related arrests. Increasing violence between cartels in Mexico has fueled a demand for new members. “We are hitting them so hard, they are hitting themselves. Their ongoing drug war is taking a toll, [and] they need new recruits,” said Border Patrol agent Jose
Trevino. “They tell [new recruits] ‘Nothing is going to happen to you,’ and we are trying to educate them otherwise.” Trevino helped begin Operation Detour, a community outreach program that educates students about the dangers that can accompany a gang lifestyle. Since the campaign began on Sept. 25, police, Border Patrol and DPS officers have made presentations to more than 42,000 students in the Rio Grande Valley. Although some students can be saved from recruitment, Trevino said others have already been recruited because of neighborhood or family member affiliation. Elsa Arce, Laredo Independent School District executive director
of student services, said preventing gang recruitment and illegal behavior in students requires parent and community involvement, as well as school action. Guidance sessions and presentations may educate parents about the warning signs of criminal activity, Arce said, but without a firm trust established between the school, parents and students, the youth may remain vulnerable to recruiters. “Reconnecting youth, we want to focus on helping students make better choices,” Arce said. “We want our schools to be safe havens. If [students] need any type of support, we can be there for them. It’s difficult, but we have to work on what we can control.”
Rate, which gives a snapshot of the previous academic year, NCAA interim president Jim in the spring for a more telling Isch said in a statement. “Hav- evaluation. “We prefer the [academic proging been on three major campuses before coming to the NCAA ress rate] because it is a much 10 years ago, I know how criti- more accurate gauge of current cal academic success is to the fu- academic progress,” Dodds said. ture of intercollegiate athletics “We are excited about our curand for the student-athletes who rent [academic progress rate] standing, and when that data is participate.” The graduation data records released later this academic year, the percentage of student-ath- it will reveal that all of our sports letes who graduate within six are exceeding the NCAA benchyears. Student-athletes who mark.” The NCAA numbers showed transfer into the school or transfer out of the school in good ac- a gap between men’s and women’s athletic proademic standgrams at UT. ing are counted Only 47 percent toward the total of men’s basketpercentage. We are excited about ball players and According to data from the UT our current [academic 37 percent of baseball players Office of Inforprogress rate] who enrolled bemation Managestanding ...” tween 1999 and ment and Analy2002 graduated sis, 81 percent of — Deloss Dodds in six years. all students who UT men’s athletic The womenrolled at the University graddirector en’s tennis team boasted the uate within six highest graduyears, only two ation rate with p e rc e n t m o re than the national average of stu- all of its players receiving diplomas. All of the female Longdent-athletes. The report did not release the horn sports programs graduatUniversity’s graduation rate for ed more than 80 percent of stuall student athletes combined. dent-athletes, while golf and tenUT men’s athletic director De- nis had graduation rates above Loss Dodds said 90 percent of 75 percent in men’s sports. Dodds said it was important student-athletes who exhaust their academic eligibility at the not to overlook those students University end up graduating. who return to school for their The NCAA data includes stu- degrees. “UT also has dozens of fordents who leave college before using all of their NCAA eligibili- mer student-athletes, who left ty, resulting in lower graduation early for professional sports opportunities, return to earn their rates than Dodds’. Dodds said the athletic depart- degrees in the offseason or afment is waiting for the NCAA to ter their pro careers end,” Dodds release the Academic Progress said.
lab: Official says safety training a universal necessity for institutions both large, small From page 1 takes about 45 minutes to complete, said EHS Assistant Director Dennis Nolan. “We teach general lab communication to make sure chemicals are properly labeled and so on,” Nolan said. “But the researcher needs to ensure that the staff knows about the chemical hazards in their work place.” The 10 laboratories are super-
vised by UT faculty members Thomas Milner, Krishnaswa RaviChandar, Arturo De Lozanne, K. Sathasivan, Michael Ryan, David Cannatella, Ron Matthews, Charlie Kerans, Noel Clemens and David Allen. Lab safety is not just an issue for large research universities like UT. Dick Bartosh, the environmental health and safety chairman for the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, said ensuring that lab
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personnel complete their required training is a universal necessity. The University has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students. “We, at this point, try to encourage as well as we can all faculty and staff to attend [the training],” Bartosh said. “But some are very independent, and we’re working on trying to encourage them more strongly.” Sathasivan, a biological sciences senior lecturer, was cited in July for
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not completing the general training. He completed it about 15 years ago, but the office told him he needed to redo it to update the office’s information system, he said. “The safety training is critical so people don’t hurt themselves or hurt others in the lab,” Sathasivan said. “We’re constantly aware that safety comes before science. That’s what I teach [my students]. A clean, safe lab is also a good lab, and that is one of the important things to learn.” Clemens, an engineering professor, was cited in August for not training his lab personnel on-site, and the office reported that he still had not completed the on-site, hazardous-chemical training as of October. Clemens
said his personnel have now completed the training. “We hadn’t developed the sitespecific plan,” Clemens said. “It’s more difficult to come up with a plan than it is to go through it. It’s more time-consuming because [you need to] really know the safety hazards and let the people be aware of them.” Other lab deficiencies can include damaged electrical cords, lack of available lab clothing and improperly labeled chemicals. “There’s a difference between being safe and documenting the safety,” Clemens said. “We were always safe in the sense that people were trained. It’s something [personnel] go through as they work with technicians and other students.”
The Daily Texan Permanent Staff
This newspaper was written, edited and designed with pride by The Daily Texan and Texas Student Media.
Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jillian Sheridan Managing Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Stephen Keller Associate Managing Editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . David R. Henry, Ana McKenzie Associate Editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Jeremy Burchard, Dan Treadway, David Muto, Lauren Winchester News Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sean Beherec Associate News Editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pierre Bertrand, Austen Sofhauser, Blair Watler Senior Reporters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Viviana Aldous, Bobby Longoria, Rachel Platis, Lena Price Enterprise Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Andrew Kreighbaum Enterprise Reporters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hudson Lockett Copy Desk Chief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Robert Green Associate Copy Desk Chiefs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cristina Herrera, Nausheen Jivani, Matt Jones Design Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Thu Vo Assistant Design Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Shatha Hussein Senior Designers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Taylor Fausak, Lynda Gonzales, Olivia Hinton Photo Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . May-Ying Lam Associate Photo Editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bryant Haertlein, Peter Franklin, Caleb Miller Senior Photographers . . . . Lauren Gerson, Mary Kang,Tamir Kalifa, Peyton McGee, Sara Young Life&Arts Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leigh Patterson Associate Life&Arts Editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brad Barry, Francisco Marin Jr. Senior Features Writers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Audrey Gale Campbell, Lisa HoLung, Ben Wermund Senior Entertainment Writers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Robert Doty, Mary Lingwall, Robert Rich Senior DT Weekend Writer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amber Genuske Sports Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Austin Talbert Senior Sports Writers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Will Anderson, Wes DeVoe, Blake Hurtik . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dan Hurwitz, Laken Litman, Michael Sherfield, Chris Tavarez Comics Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Carolyn Calabrese Web Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Annika Erdman Associate Web Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Erik Reyna Multimedia Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Juan Elizondo Associate Multimedia Editors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kara McKenzie, Rachel Schroeder Editorial Adviser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Richard Finnell
Reporters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Shabab Siddiqui, Hannah Jones, Jordan Haeger, Nihas Wagal Photographers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Bruno Morlan, Mary Kang, Maddie Crum, Jordy Wagoner Sports Writers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Ryan Bertori, Jordan Godwin, Matt Hohner Life&Arts Writer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Audrey White Copy Editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Kelsey Crow, Beth Waldman, Megan Gottlieb Sports/Life&Arts Copy Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Vicky Ho Wire Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Emily Chandler Page Designers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Mustafa Saifuddin, Veronica Rosalez Columnists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Doug Luippolo, Dave Player, Stuart Sevier Comics Artists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Katie Smith, Rachel Weiss, Miles Luna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Nam Nguyen, Ryan Hailey, Jermaine Alfonso . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amelia Giller, Gabe Alvarez Web Technician . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nikki Kim Videographer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Paul De La Cerda
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Friday, November 20, 2009
T he Daily Texan
Economic slump prevents students from going abroad By Michelle R. Smith The Associated Press PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Economic reality and money problems may be cooling the enthusiasm of U.S. college students to study abroad, just two years after students' interest in foreign study was at an all-time high. Four times as many students went abroad in the 2007-2008 academic year as 20 years ago, according to a survey of 985 schools released this week by the Institute of International Education, a nonprofit advocacy group. But nearly 60 percent of the schools and study-abroad groups surveyed in early September by The Forum on Education Abroad report decreased enrollment from a year ago, since the global economic crisis. Brown University in Providence, which typically sends onethird of its junior class abroad, saw a 10 percent drop in such enrollment this fall compared with fall 2008, said Kendall Brostuen, director of the Office of International Programs and an associate dean. "My sense is over the last year, there's probably been some very important dinner-table discussions about how to best go about using the resources that a family has," Brostuen said. At Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., which typically sends more than 60 percent of its students abroad, study abroad enrollment dropped 25 percent this fall from the same time last year, said spokeswoman Amy Phenix. Enrollment in abroad programs at the University of South Alabama fell dramatically this summer, possibly because students had to use all their financial aid for the regular fall and spring semesters, said Jim Ellis, director of South Alabama's Office of International Education. For the academic year ending in summer 2009, enrollment in abroad programs dropped 50 percent. "We're seeing an awful lot of students who are very interested in study abroad, but virtually every one of them is asking about funding," he said.
For generations of travel-hungry college students, the semester abroad has become a defining part of undergraduate life, in which students live immersed for months in a new culture and often return fluent in a second language and with an appreciation of life outside the United States. But the economic decline is causing many students to rethink their plans. Liz Weaver, 23, a law student at the University of Texas at Austin, is trying to decide whether to enroll in a London program next fall for more than $21,000 for one semester, including tuition, room and board, compared with about $18,000 for similar expenses at Texas for one semester. Then there's airfare and the higher-interest-rate loans she'd have to rely on to pay for the program, which would saddle her with even more debt. "You have to wonder, is it really worth it?" she asked. At many schools, students on abroad programs pay their usual college tuition and are responsible for additional costs, such as airfare and living expenses. At other schools, instead of paying to their college, students pay tuition, room and board directly to the program, which could range from $3,000 to as much as $20,000 for a summer or semester. A student at a public school, where in-state tuition is as low as a few thousand dollars a semester, may have to scrape up thousands more to attend a program in an expensive city such as London, for example. A student at an expensive private institution might actually save by going overseas, particularly to an inexpensive country. The Forum on Education Abroad said 69 percent of its public institutions surveyed had seen drops in abroad enrollment, compared with 49 percent of private institutions. Mark Lenhart, director of CET Academic Programs, a study abroad program, said his programs often seem like a bargain to students who attend private colleges.
Dominic Lipinski | Associated Press
Britain’s Prince Charles, center, meets with Hans Brattskar, left, Special Advisor to Norway’s International Climate and Forestry Initiative, and President of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo, right, at a meeting of the Prince’s Rainforests Project in London.
Climate meeting provides hope By John Heilprin The Associated Press UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. climate chief has a message for naysayers about the Copenhagen climate conference next month: It will succeed. Yvo De Boer, the U.N. official who is shepherding the talks, sought to assure reporters Thursday that the long-anticipated United Nations-led meeting Dec. 7 to 19 isn't a failure even before it has started. In large part, he said he was responding to news coverage that increasingly emphasized the long-shot odds for a deal, particularly given the lack of U.S. commitment to any specific targets. He vowed Copenhagen "will be the turning point" when words turn to action globally to begin reducing carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases — and a fuller treaty can be
worked out by six months after the meeting. "There is no doubt in my mind that it will yield a success," De Boer said. "Almost every day now we see new commitments and pledges from both industrialized and developing countries." But he acknowledged that prospects for a binding global climate pact among 192 nations remain elusive just 17 days before the start of the climate talks. An authoritative U.N. panel of climate experts says developed countries must cut greenhouse gas emissions between 25 percent and 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 to avoid a catastrophic rise in sea levels, harsher storms and droughts and climate disruptions. In the U.S., Congress is considering measures that would cut
emissions either 17 percent or 20 percent from 2005 levels, the equivalent of at least 3.5 percent from 1990. The U.S. and China account for about two-fifths of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. The European Union has said it will cut emissions 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 — and would increase that to 30 percent if other regions also agree to major reductions. Russia and Japan are promising a 25 percent cut below 1990 levels over the same period. Also Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for all countries to fix binding climate change targets next year. In a joint press conference at an EU leaders' summit in Brussels with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Merkel said the two leaders worried that ambitions for countries to agree on cuts to greenhouse
gas emissions at Copenhagen "seem to have shrunk." De Boer called for a similar U.S. commitment to specific targets and, citing widespread mistrust in the developing world of global financial structures, outlined three main goals for the global conference. First, industrialized nations "must record in black and white" their individual targets to reduce emissions, "and that list of targets must, of course, include the United States," De Boer said. Second, the Copenhagen deal must clarify "the scope and extent of developing country engagement," he said. Third, he said, it also must provide specifics on how rich nations will provide financial support on a short- and long-term basis for poorer countries. to prepare for and adapt to climate change.
share the same pavilion overnight, which they leave for separate open-air areas during the day. The animals are allowed to enter various areas on a rotating daily basis and the lions likely were trying to enter the place where they spent the previous day, Langr said. He said the zoo will abandon the rotating system following the killing. The pavilion was built in 1994 and the system has been in place since. No such accident has happened before. The Liberec Zoo is the only one in the Czech Republic that has white tigers. Isabella arrived as a 2-year-old in 1994 after it was bought together with her brother, Columbus, from the Eskilstuna Zoo in Sweden. There are three more white tigers at the zoo — Paris, Surya Bara and Artemis, the daughter of Isabella. White tigers are the result of
both parents having a recessive gene for white coloration. They are rare in the wild because standing out in the jungle hinders their efforts to catch prey. The zoo, established in 1919, is the oldest in the Czech Republic. It has about 1,000 animals.
told The Associated Press. State authorities applied about three years ago to have Perez declared the world’s oldest woman by the Guinness Book of World Records, but the attempt foundered when officials could not raise enough money for a Guinness judge to visit and confirm the claim, Yanez said. Yanez said her institute first learned about Perez through her granddaughter. Institute officials were visiting the granddaughter — then 77 — to offer their services. They were shocked when the elderly woman said she had a grandmother who could also use help. Although Perez never got the world title, she received a visit last year from President Felipe Calderon. Japan’s Kama Chinen, 114, now holds the title.
Two lions kill rare white tiger at Czech Republic’s Liberec Zoo
Gerry Broome | Associated Press
College students must decide whether to study abroad in the upcoming years or to save their money by studying domestically as the ongoing recession takes its toll on the once-popular programs.
PRAGUE — A rare white tiger has been killed by two lions in a zoo in northern Czech Republic, a zoo official said Thursday. The lions, 14-year-old Sultan and 11-year-old Elsa, managed unexpectedly to enter an open-air area occupied by the 17-year-old tiger, Isabella, by opening a trap door leading to it, Liberec Zoo spokesman Ivan Langr said. It happened quickly before the door to their area could be opened, Langr said. He said authorities were not able to prevent the killing, which took place Thursday morning. The two lions have been in the zoo since 2001. The lions and tigers in the zoo
World’s oldest woman dies in Mexico City at 119 years old MEXICO CITY — A Mexican once put forward for the title of world’s oldest woman has died at 119, government officials said Thursday. Ana Maria Perez died of pneumonia Tuesday at a hospital in the Pacific state of Colima, said Dora Yanez, an official with the Colima state Institute for Attention to the Elderly. Perez has a valid birth certificate stating she was born June 22, 1890, in western Michoacan state, Yanez
Compiled from Associated Press reports
4 Friday, November 20, 2009
T HE DAILY TEXAN
The case for Speedway
The songs of angry men
When UT decided to raise tuition 5 percent last year, students were upset. The University Democrats organized Tuition Relief Now! to protest the hike with rallies and lobbying campaigns. When a University of California Board of Regents finance committee endorsed a 32 percent hike in tuition Wednesday, UC students were absolutely livid. So livid, in fact, that 14 protestors were arrested when they repeatedly disrupted the committee meeting. According to the Daily Nexus, UCSanta Barbara’s student newspaper, students stood on chairs and yelled obscenities, with one student shouting, “Fucking cowards, go back to your fucking mansions!” Outside UCLA’s Covel Commons, where the meeting was held, hundreds of student and faculty protestors gathered to express their outrage. They wielded picket signs that read “Stop Yudof’s Cuts to Education and Research” and yelled “Who’s University? Our University!” A YouTube video shows a thick wall of UC police offers in riot gear blocking the entrance to the building with silver gate barricades. The video also shows the police officers thwacking students with thin black sticks — and in one case, jabbing a student with what appears to be a taser — when they got too rowdy and too close. At one point, an officer pushes a student who reaches over the barricade, and the student has to be physically restrained by other protesters as he lunges at the officer. Despite the fervent protests, the board of regents officially approved the tuition hikes Thursday with an almost unanimous vote. UC students have a right to be angry. The tuition increase is crippling and could price low-income students out the University, causing some to question UC’s status as a public institution for higher education. We’re glad the students are visibly and adamantly voicing their concerns. The protests have resulted in extensive media coverage, including top bill on the New York Times’ homepage, and highlighted student outrage over the hikes, forcing administrators to take notice. But how vehement is too vehement? Is yelling obscenities going too far? What about personal slurs? Organizers at UCStrike.com have done well to organize walkouts, sit-ins and a system-wide strike in response to the tuition hike. On their Web site, the organizers thoughtfully lay out their grievances with the UC System, which they say prioritizes “construction over instruction, buildings over people.” They even have pledges that professors can sign, which state they will not penalize students for missing class to attend protests and walkouts. While the organizers rationally lay out their objections to the tuition hike and coordinated demonstrations, some students potentially undermine the cause’s efficacy with their hysterics. It’s important to not only show outrage but also respect. Protestors should not display demure resignation toward the regents, but they should remember that ultimately they are trying to change a policy. Doing that will take a certain amount of clout that is difficult to obtain while insulting regent members. With budget cuts abounding at UT, students could take a lesson from the UC protests: Passionate demonstrations can get you attention, but outright disrespect may impede meaningful change. — Lauren Winchester for the editorial board
By Douglas Luippold Daily Texan Columnist
By Stuart Sevier Daily Texan Columnist
Everyone is on their feet, and you’re yelling so loud that your head is starting to hurt. The opposing team has to move the chains deep inside the closed end of Darrell Royal Texas Memorial Stadium. You should be yelling. Everyone else is yelling. LOUD NOISES! Every team has an advantage playing at home. It’s hard to put a finger on one thing that makes playing at home so much easier, but it’s fair to say that it’s some mix of familiarity, lack of travel, and as every screaming fan believes, crowd support. Coordinated fans can’t make a bad team good — Texas A&M tries this every week — but it is undeniable that the strategic screaming of a large number of fans can significantly affect what happens on the field. So exactly how loud are 100,000 screaming fans? What difference does fan noise make in the game and how can you make your strained voice most effective? You might be surprised to know that there’s a good deal more than sheer crowd size behind the intensity of on-field noise. Take for example Aztec stadium, home to the University of Oregon Ducks. Aztec stadium has a modest capacity of 54,000 but is widely regarded as the loudest stadium in the country. Why? Because of the way the stadium is laid out and the arrangement of the people. The on-field noise at Aztec stadium is consistently above 120 decibels. Here at DKR, with 47,000 more fans, we’re lucky to get above 100 decibels. For those of you not familiar with decibels (that’s what the dB stands for) what I’m saying is the cheering at Aztec stadium is 10 times as loud as ours at DKR, even though we have nearly twice the fans. There is actually some pretty interesting physics here. Don’t worry though, the editor won’t let me use any equations. Things as subtle as the type of concrete used in the stadium significantly change how loud the field is. You just need to know two things about sound. The first thing to know is that sound is a wave of pressure. The second thing is that
at any given point, two waves combine to form a single wave. The combined wave can has a combined amplitude equal to that of the constituent waves added. So, two waves can subtract and there can be silence like in your noise-canceling headphones. Or two waves can add and create the sound of 100,000 screaming fans. We refer to these two things respectively as negative and positive interference. With some idea of the physics involved what can we do to make our stadium louder? Well, for starters we should realize that we can’t change too much. For example, at Aztec stadium the fans are extremely close to the field and the acoustical response of the stadium helps channel the noise on field. Sadly, we aren’t going to be able to change the acoustics of DKR (though closing in the south end-zone would) so we’ll have to focus on things that the UT System Regents don’t control. The best thing we can do as fans is to yell smartly. I don’t mean knowing when to yell (I’ll leave that to the cheerleaders), but how to yell together and how to yell effectively. There are lots of things we could do, but I’ll just propose one now. When the stadium is doing a sustained yell, like while an opponent is trying to convert a third down, everyone needs to yell at the same pitch so that our voices positively interfere and we don’t create the same effect as a pair of noise canceling headphones. Through careful home reproduction, I have determined that we’re currently yelling closest to an A. So everyone should go home and practice yelling at the pitch of an A (octave doesn’t matter). Come to the stadium practiced, and the onfield noise will increase, and our harmonious voices will undoubtedly irk the Jayhawks. Maybe I should have mentioned this sooner, but our football team doesn’t seem to really need my help. Maybe before next season someone in civil engineering can step up to the plate and do some sophisticated analysis of the stadium acoustics. It would be for a good cause. At the very least, you have something interesting to think about Saturday night during those awful TV time-outs. Sevier is a physics junior
They’re off: The race for governor By Dave Player Daily Texan Columnist In case anyone has figured out exactly how college football’s Bowl Championship Series works, there’s a new challenge for puzzle fans: the 2010 Texas gubernatorial race. While the election is still almost a year away, there is speculation concerning party primaries set for March. On the Republican side, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has declared that she will challenge incumbent Gov. Rick Perry, who himself is seeking an unprecedented third term. Perry is already the longest-serving governor in Texas history. But the upcoming primary is more than a simple clash of two political titans. The predicament concerns Hutchison and her current seat in the U.S. Senate. While it was previously speculated that she might step down from her post to concentrate on the gubernatorial primary, Hutchison announced last week that she would hold on to her seat until next March to help her Republican colleagues oppose certain Democratic initiatives. Hutchison is a senior senator in a legislative body that greatly values seniority. If she were to resign, her replacement would lose that seniority, weakening the state’s influence in Washington. Should Hutchison win the primary and resign her Senate seat, a special election would be called to fill it. Candidates are already lining up for such an election, even though it is not yet certain that it will even take place. After making significant electoral gains in 2008, many Texas Democrats see a special election as an opportune moment to take back a Senate seat in a historically conservative state. Two top state Democrats have declared for the primary: former state Comptroller John Sharp and Houston Mayor Bill White. White is best known as the moderate leader of the state’s largest city, while
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Sharp is credited with creating the Texas Tomorrow Fund, among other accomplishments. On the Republican side, a slew of potential candidates have lined up, including several recognizable names like Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Of course, that election is entirely dependent on Hutchison resigning her position, triggering a game of musical chairs across state politics. The upcoming race is not lacking in characters. Perry and Hutchison are already icons of state politics with name recognition beyond Texas borders. Perry is a former Texas A&M yell leader, a position he seems to have channeled in recent months by hinting at support for Texas secession and most recently by labeling President Barack Obama’s administration as socialist. In perfect made-for-TV contrast, Hutchison is a former Longhorn cheerleader and member of Pi Beta Phi who, with her election in 1993, became the first female senator from Texas. Whoever comes out of the Democratic primary will be an underdog in a state that has kept a Republican in the Governor’s Mansion since 1995. There are plenty of hopefuls auditioning for the part, though. For comic relief there’s longtime Texan humorist Kinky Friedman, who’s back for another run after a failed 2006 attempt as an independent — this time trying for a run as a Democrat. Recently joining the already crowded primary field is businessman Farouk Shami, who has pledged $10 million of his own money to his campaign, vowed to take an annual salary of $1 and declared that he has “100 percent certainty” that he will win the election. Both are long shots to win the Democratic primary but are a welcome respite from the rest of the field, consisting of Hank Gilbert and Tom Schieffer, who promise to be about as exciting as a Baylor pep rally. The lackluster field of candidates has some Democrats calling for a drastic shift in party strategy. Austin-based Democratic trumpeter Burnt Orange Report recently questioned why the party’s two most
promising candidates, Sharp and White, are focusing on an election that might never take place. A perfect storm could would result in Republicans retaining both positions. Should Perry win the primary, he would likely go on to win a third full term, as the Democratic Party has yet to field a serious candidate. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, Perry currently leads Hutchison by 11 points. While Hutchison has stated she does not intend to seek a fourth term in the Senate in 2012, there is no guarantee she will follow through on that promise. Should Hutchison retain her seat, there would be no special election; Sharp and White will have mobilized their campaigns prematurely. The duo could still challenge the incumbent in 2012, but doing so would mean committing to a race more than two years from now while already campaigning at an election-year pace. That would put the two in a long, costly campaign for nearly the next three years. Of the two, only White is in a position to mount a legitimate campaign for the governorship. While the two have tracked evenly in polls, White has far surpassed Sharp in crucial early fundraising. If either candidate is going to make the jump, it will have to be soon. Primaries are only months away, and endorsements are starting to pile up. On Tuesday, Stephen F. Austin State’s University Democrats became the first student group to endorse when it chose to back Sharp. UT’s own University Democrats were scheduled to vote on an endorsement yesterday but delayed its decision after Hutchison announced she would not be stepping down before March. It makes sense to hold off on an endorsement for an election that might never take place. Or perhaps state Democrats will realize that their only hope for a victory in 2010 is to split the ticket. In the meantime, Texas Republicans can sit back without fear of any serious challenges to their hold on the state. Player is a plan II honors junior
The Speedway Project is a plan to completely renovate Speedway Street from Martin Luther King Boulevard to Dean Keeton. In a broad sense, the goal is to transform that area into a “student activity space” on par with the West Mall and Main Mall. Some of the changes include altering the bus circle on West 23rd St. and creating an outdoor amphitheatre, making the area more bicycle and pedestrian friendly and reducing impervious cover so it is more aesthetically and environmentally friendly. Peter Walker, the architect behind the World Trade Center Memorial and the space surrounding the Blanton Museum of Art, will design the project at a cost of $130 million. Clearly an undertaking of this magnitude will spark discussion and controversy, as it should. This should not slow it down. The Speedway Project is worthwhile and should be supported through active engagement from the student body. Many will question the merits of spending millions of dollars to beautify campus at a time when UT is undergoing major budget cuts and staff members are being laid off. While this is a natural concern, it is not entirely valid. First of all, the $130 million project, which is expected to take 10 years, will be funded by private donations. Raising such an enormous sum will take years. In fact, it is likely the recession and layoffs will have passed before enough funds are gathered to begin the project. Secondly, campus beautification is not an indulgence; it enhances the educational quality of the university. Among other things, the plan calls for an amphitheatre, more electrical outlets and increased space for tabling and demonstrations. These improvements will make UT more attractive to prospective students and better the quality of life for current ones. Another concern is that of necessity, because the Main and West Malls have historically been student-meeting areas because of their proximity to the Tower, the Drag and West Campus. While this has been true for many years, it will soon change. The Student Activity Center and new Liberal Arts building that are under construction are located off Speedway. When these two facilities become operational, there will be a shift in student activity toward Speedway, and the area should be prepared for it. My biggest complaint about this program, and the Campus Master Plan in general, is the amount of construction it entails. Simply put, it is not fair because the students who are inconvenienced by construction will never reap the benefits of it. I am forced to put up with the loud and ugly construction that makes campus look like a scene from the end of The Dark Knight, while someone who isn’t even in high school yet will get to enjoy a Student Event Center when it is complete. The Speedway Project is expected to take 10 years, so the first beneficiaries of the wonderful East Mall space are just finishing their first semester of third grade. Unfortunately, this is unavoidable. Campus needs improvements and those improvements require construction. Even though the project is recommended by The Commission of 125 and endorsed by UT administration, some may only see it as another resume-building power grab by Student Government. This accusation has no merit, though. First, the project will take 10 years. This means that the SG representatives who are working on it now will barely see it through its embryonic stages, and current SG members will not receive credit when the project is completed years from now. Accusations of SG power-grabbing are also erroneous because campus renovation would be a boring way to exert influence. If they were really self-serving, wouldn’t they do something like allocate money for an in-house SG masseuse or buy official SG Segways? To be sure, many members of SG are simply padding their resumes, but others are taking an active interest in improving the University and should be commended for that. Most current students will not attend UT when any Speedway construction begins, much less ends, but they should still take an interest in the process and support the improvements. Luippold is a government and journalism junior
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Friday, November 20, 2009
Professor chronicles theological journey in book Bob Jensen’s most recent book highlights necessity of religious exploration By Hannah Jones Daily Texan Staff UT journalism professor Bob Jensen wants people to use his personal spiritual struggles to critically examine their own religion. In his new book “All My Bones Shake,” he poses questions about the relationship between religion and society through the form of a narrative about his own religious transformation. “If someone says they are a Christian, it doesn’t tell me much,” Jensen said. “Christianity is a term that does not have much meaning. My book is lay theology trying to articulate a progressive view of Christianity and radical politics.” Jensen spoke about his book and his personal history with religion Thursday in the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Building, in a talk sponsored by the Center for Inquiry, which promotes a secular society. Jensen said for most of his life he would have described himself as an atheist, and in his twenties he worked in predominantly
secular fields such as journalism. He said he joined a Presbyterian church four or five years ago, yet still does not believe that God is a force or entity. “My history, I think, is very common,” he said. “I was born and raised in North Dakota where my parents forced me to go to church, and it wasn’t because they were particularly religious, but [they] thought it was part of being good parents.” Jill Hokanson, arts and culture coordinator of the UT Community Engagement Collaborative, said she also grew up in a family with a similar Christian background and wanted to hear Jensen speak about his ideas from his book. “I have big doubts about the concrete ways we talk about God that we take for granted in the Christian culture,” Hokanson said. “People will read creeds and everyone assumes that it is understood.” Caleb Crainer, who is studying at the Lutheran Seminary program, attended the talk to hear Jensen’s views on religion. “Jensen has a good sociological perspective,” Crainer said. “As a future clergy person, [I think] his Jordy Wagoner | Daily Texan Staff view points are really crucial in finding new methods of talking UT Journalism professor Robert Jensen gives a lecture about his new book “All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice” in the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Building on Thursday. about Christianity.”
UT law clinic exonerates prisoners, preserves justice
Bad boys, bad boys
Maddie Crum | Daily Texan Staff
David Walker and Mike Hugman enjoy an issue of The Onion outside the UT Law School.
UTB president makes Time top 10 By Lena Price Daily Texan Staff When Juliet García accepted the nomination for the presidency of Texas Southmost College in 1986, she didn’t realize she was making history. But when García took over the campus, located one block away from the Mexican border, she became the first Hispanic female in U.S. history to serve as president of a college or university. Six years later, when UT-Brownsville was created as a UT System partner for Texas Southmost College, forming one of the only combination community colleges and universities in the nation, García was chosen to head the fledgling University. Almost 23 years after she took the helm at Texas Southmost College, Time Magazine has ranked García as the ninth-best university president in the nation. She was the only UT System President to make it on the list, and ranked one slot ahead of the president of University of California and former UT System Chancellor Mark Yudof. “It honors everyone who has been part of the important work of building our University,” García said in an e-mail to the Texan. García realized the kind of impact she might have on other Hispanic women shortly after she started her term at Southmost, when a friend called to congratulate her. “She said, ‘I’m very happy for you, but I’m also very happy for all of us,’” García said. “While male bastions are still alive and well throughout the country, our community has made great strides in recognizing the contribution women can make in leadership.” Since the early 1990s, García said she is proud that the Brownsville community has elected a female mayor, superintendent, district attorney and state representative.
Mary Rose Cardenas was on the Board of Regents selection committee that nominated and appointed García. She said she had to fight to get García her position. García was 36 years old at the time and was the only local candidate for the position.
It honors everyone who has been part of the important work of building our University.” — Juliet Garcia UTB president
“The community did not succumb to politics, and it all worked out in the end,” Cardenas said. “She has been a tremendous ambassador for our community, and this recognition is very well-deserved.” G a rc í a h a d p re v i o u s l y served as a faculty member, academic dean and president of Texas Southmost College, and said the UT-Brownsville presidency was an appropriate next step for her. During her time at UTB, García said the most influential decision she made was preventing the Department of Homeland Security from surveying University land to construct the border fence. The fence would have divided the campus in half and had both an environmental and historical impact on the University. The refusal caused the federal government to sue UTB for access to the land. “Campuses develop character from such encounters,” García said. “We decided to hold true to what our mission states and to defend our
rights, even if it meant being sued by our own government.” The university is unique in that more than 90 percent of the student population is Hispanic. “Our students could be thought of as hybrids,” García said. “That can be very valuable in a global environment where fluency in more than one language and familiarity with a variety of cultural experiences can be a tremendous advantage.” Cardenas said recognition like this is not unusual for García. When García received an award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation three years ago, the organization allowed her to invite more than 200 people, but she didn’t send any of the invitations. “I’ve had to crash her parties on several occasions,” Cardenas said. “She doesn’t acknowledge when she gets this kind of recognition unless it is publicized. That’s just the kind of person she is.”
By Hannah Jones Daily Texan Staff The process of exonerating Claude Simmons Jr. and Chris Scott began in August 2005 with a letter Simmons sent to the UT School of Law Actual Innocence Clinic. Since the clinic’s first successful exoneration, letters from prisoners asking for assistance have been flooding in, said clinical instructor Tiffany Dowling, who works as an attorney for the clinic. “We have over a thousand requests for assistance,” she said. Dowling said that the success of the clinic should not be measured based on the number of exonerations. Dowling and Mike Ware, chief of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Special Fields Bureau, spoke to UT law students Thursday in Townes Hall about the collaboration between the clinic and the
district attorney’s office that led up to the exoneration of Simmons and Scott. Dowling said the clinic received a letter from Simmons asking for help in August of 2005. The following March, a UT student attorney was assigned to Simmons’ case and started investigating. In the two years that Dowling worked on the case, five different students have been assigned to lead the investigation. Ware said Alonzo Hardy, a suspect in the original trial, recently confessed under oath in front of members of the clinic and the Dallas District Attorney’s office that he and an accomplice had committed the crime, not Simmons and Scott. This was the first non-DNAbased exoneration in a Dallas murder case. Ware said his unit will continue explore the motive of Hardy’s confession and determine the validity of his story.
“My job and oath and ethical duties are to preserve justice, not just [to] advocate [for potentially innocent prisoners],” he said. “I made an assessment with my unit as to [Hardy’s] accuracy, and there was no obvious motive to fabricate this.” Dowling said that while the district attorney can compel witnesses to testify, the clinic cannot. “Had the DA not been able to do those things, we probably would not be here,” Dowling said. UT Law student Shanon Stanfield, who coordinated the event, said that he wanted to promote the talk because it was such a good story. “It is important to raise awareness that some people are in prison innocently,” he said. “People need to know, specifically law students, that they can get their hands-on work.”
Bruno Morlan | Daily Texan Staff
Attorneys Tiffany Dowling and Mike Ware, who work with the Innocence Project, hold a panel discussion on the exoneration of Claude Simmons who was convicted of murder.
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Friday, November 20, 2009
Awareness week highlights costs of homelessness Advocacy group hosts event to educate city about Austin’s homeless
Donald “Cowboy” Morris, right, shares soup, macaroni and a cigarette with Todd McDougle near Whole Foods at Sixth Street and Lamar Boulevard on Thursday night. Morris receives too little money from Social Security each month to afford rent, and cannot qualify for food stamps because of a past possession of marijuana charge.
By Jordan Haeger Daily Texan Staff A local advocacy group is using National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week to bring attention to the homeless and the cost of their plight to Austin taxpayers. Green Doors works to end homelessness by providing affordable housing to those in need. Supporters gathered in busy downtown areas, including in front of City Hall and Whole Foods Market, to educate passersby on the causes and effects of homelessness in Austin on Thursday. Many Austin residents come face-to-face with homelessness on a daily basis. “On any given night, you have about 4,400 folks struggling with homelessness in the Austin area,” said Frank Fernandez, Green Doors executive director. Of these 4,400 people, about 85 percent are situationally homeless, Fernandez said, meaning they are homeless for a short amount of time due to job loss or a serious medical crisis. Often, these people make less than $20,000 a year, he said. The remaining 15 percent are chronically homeless, meaning they have been on the streets more than four times in a three-year period, Fernandez said. Many of the chronically homeless have some sort of behavioral health challenge, he said. Hernandez said the large number of homeless individuals and families in Austin can be attributed to a lack of affordable housing. The average homeless person goes to the emergency room five times a year, costing up to $3,700 per visit, Fernandez said. Most homeless people don’t have insurance, so Austin taxpayers pay for their treatment
Jordy Wagoner Daily Texan Staff
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and hospital stays, he said. “For a frequent flyer who goes to the hospital 50 times a year, it starts to add up pretty quickly,” he said. Greg Esparza, Green Doors volunteer coordinator, said if the city provides housing and health care services to the homeless, the number of homeless people entering the hospital will drop by 60 percent in the first year. Esparza stood outside Whole Foods holding a sign with the group’s Web site on it. “One of the most common images people associate with homelessness is a person on the street holding a sign,” Esparza said. “So we are trying to... use that situation as a method of communicating with the public.” Esparza said Thursday’s campaign focused on the health care issue. “People get kicked in and out of prisons and hospitals — those services aren’t free,” he said. John Hill, 49, said he has been homeless for almost a year, and in that time he has visited the hospital once for an asthma attack. Hill said he is homeless because he cannot find work and prefers not to sleep in the shelter. “[Austin Resource Center for the Homeless] is a joke,” he said. “We need a program that helps to get people jobs. People want to work in this town, and if you can help them find a job, then do it.” Hill said finding food is not a problem, but dealing with APD is. “You got cops down here that all they do is hassle the homeless,” he said. Esparza said every member of the community is connected, and the community has a responsibility to help those in need. “If you ignore your responsibility to people around you, you’re going to end up paying for it,” he said.
By Nihas Wagal Daily Texan Staff A city of Austin rebate program to conserve water has nearly run dry. The Austin Water Utility began a high-efficiency toilet rebate program in 2006 to encourage Austinites to make the switch to more efficient technology. Due to popular demand, the initial funding of $2.3 million has already been exhausted one month into the 2009-2010 fiscal year. Requests for an additional $3 million for the program and $500,000 for promotion have been submitted. City Council is currently debating whether t h e p ro g r a m w i l l re c e i v e the funding. “We feel that this has been a very successful program since its creation,” said Kevin Buchman, spokesman for the utility company. “From 2006-2007 we issued $284,000 worth of rebates and in the 2008-2009 year, we issued $1.3 million worth of rebates, which is more than triple [the amount] since 2006.” Through the program, the city pays for all or part of the cost of purchasing and installing the high-efficiency toilets in residential homes. The city recently began looking into
promoting these high-efficiency toilets in large residential and commercial properties. The high-efficiency toilets use between 60 to 65 percent less water than standard models, and if all the requests are met, the city will reduce its water use by 1 percent. There have been more than 4,000 requests for new toilets since 2008, costing $792,800. “We think it’s a great program, given our water shortage,” said Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas. “We think this is very important to conserve our natural resource. There are other options, but certainly these highefficiency toilets are a good way to start.” Matt Curtis, spokesman for Mayor Lee Leffingwell, said even with budget approvals, the program will be reviewed again by City Council in the future due to the high demand for this type of technology and the monetary burden it places on the city. “We’re working hard at every angle to pursue water conservation including high-efficiency toilets. However, it is important to work within our city budget,” Curtis said. “Currently we have a water conservation task force that is there to find the best ways to conserve water.”
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Mary Kang | Daily Texan Staff
This high-efficiency toilet, currently installed at the AT&T Executive Conference Center, conserves water with its dual function flush.
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Friday, November 20, 2009
T he Daily Texan
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SATURDAY: No. 2 Texas (21-1) at No. 24 Baylor (21-8)
WHERE: Waco WHEN: 7 p.m.
TODAY: North Texas (0-2) at
No. 10 Texas (1-1) WHERE: Frank Erwin Center WHEN: 7 p.m.
MeN’s Cross CouNtry
MONDAY: NCAA Nationals WHERE: Terre Haute, Ind. WHEN: All day
WoMeN’s Cross CouNtry
MONDAY: NCAA Nationals WHERE: Terre Haute, Ind.
Lauren Gerson | Daily Texan file photo
No. 18 Amber Roberson, No. 5 Rachael Adams, No. 21 Destinee Hooker and No. 10 Ashley Engle await a serve from Kansas State in the Longhorns’ most recent victory.
Horns plan for another block party
NFL Miami 24 Carolina 17
By Jordan Godwin Daily Texan Staff Saturday is the last chance to see Texas’ national championship-hopeful team play at home as they take on Kansas. Next Saturday, that is. Texas’ football and volleyball squads have so many parallels, it’d make your
NBA Utah 90 San Antonio 83
NCAA Football Colorado 28 No. 12 Oklahoma State 31
Kat Nash remains hot from the field for Texas By Dan Hurwitz Dailly Texan Staff There was a gym across the street from Kathleen Nash’s residence in Paris this summer, but the advisers of her five-week marketing program abroad would not let her go. “I was really scared that my game would be affected and that I would just brick every shot,” said Nash. Being away from her family, team and game has yet to result in any problems for Nash, who was the lone star for the Longhorns, scoring 22 points and adding nine rebounds in Tuesday’s loss to No. 1 Connecticut. “I think that [being away] helped her to come back hungry,” said head coach Gail Goestenkors. “When she came back, she realized that she had lost some of her strength. So she had to fight to get back into basketball shape and get the strength back.” Spending time in France allowed Nash to get away from the game and get a different perspective of the world. Nash’s time in Europe was spent seeing the sights, enjoying the culture and, of course, trying to get a little studying done. Kathleen Nash goes for a layup in the Longhorns’ season opener against UTSA on Friday. Nash scored six points and added six rebounds in the 71-60 win.
Lauren Gerson Daily Texan file photo
Sisterly Love With her little sister out of the country, Kristen Nash, who spent the summer working with News 8 Austin, was reminded of her freshman year, when Kathleen had yet to arrive to the 40 Acres. “It was sad,” said Kristen Nash. “I was used to always having her around and playing together and going to class together, and this summer she wasn’t here to do it with us.” Goestenkors believed it was beneficial for Kathleen and Kristen to be separated. “It was probably good for [Kathleen] and her sister to be apart because they always do everything together,” Goestenkors said. “I think that it was hard on them but good for them as well.” Coming off a loss With North Texas up next, the Longhorns are still trying to recover from the crushing defeat against top-ranked Connecticut on Tuesday. “I just have to look ahead and focus on what we can learn from the game,” Kathleen Nash said. “During the game, our team played hard in spurts, and we
SISTERS continues on page 8
head spin. The fact that they’ll play their last regular season home game against the Jayhawks is just one more in a long list of similarities. But one thing football always has that volleyball didn’t have Wednesday night is a packed house. Whether fans watched the men’s basketball team
take on the ferocious Catamounts of Western Carolina, pretended to study for upcoming tests or stayed home to watch “Glee,” they missed out on a game that epitomized Texas’ season of sheer dominance. The Longhorns played with the least amount of support all season, but they
beat Kansas State like it owed them something. Maybe they had something to prove after the Wildcats hit .300 in early October, the best an opponent had performed against them all season. Texas hosted a Dikembe Mutombo-esque
VOLLEYBALL continues on page 8
WoMEN’S CRoSS CoUNTRy
Jimenez takes one last business trip
By Ryan Betori Daily Texan Staff Most athletes would be ecstatic to qualify for the NCAA Nationals, but for senior Betzy Jimenez, qualifying for the 2009 CrossCountry Championships is just part of her job. As a full-scholarship athlete on the cross-country team, Jimenez views herself as an employee. Now, with the most important cross-country meet of her career approaching, it’s time for Jimenez to go to work. “At the end of the day, I need to make sure I go out there and take care of business,” said Jimenez. Lately, that’s exactly what Jimenez has been doing. Clocking a personal best of 20:54.5, Jimenez led the Longhorns with her second-place finish at last weekend’s 6k NCAA South Central Regional. The performance secured her spot at this year’s national meet in Terre Haute, Ind. on Monday, and it also earned her a place on the All-Region team alongside teammates Allison Mendez and Mia Behm. Although Jimenez qualified for Nationals as a junior, torn cartilage in her knee kept her from competing. This year, at her Na-
Jacqueline Gilles | Daily Texan file photo
Senior Betzy Jimenez is the lone Longhorn who will be representing Texas the the NCAA Nationals Monday at Terre Haute, Ind. after clinching the spot last weekend’s 5k NCAA South Central Regional. tionals debut, Jimenez is setting which is top 40,” Jimenez said. the Terre Haute course has put the bar high with the hopes of “But I’m looking to place in the her in a position to meet such making up for lost time. top 25 or 30.” “I want to be an All-American, Jimenez’s understanding of JIMENEZ continues on page 8
New chapter set to begin in historic California rivalry Pac-10 Championship on the line as Stanford, California renew rivalry By Matt Hohner Daily Texan Staff It’s simply known as “The Play,” which some of you may remember by the famous call, “The band is out on the field! The band is out on the field!” You know the rest. Four seconds left, Stanford kicks off to California, the Bears lateral five times and finally cross the end zone by trucking over a Stanford band member to win the game. The No. 25 California Golden Bears will take on their in-state rival, the No. 17 Stanford Cardinal, on Saturday in what is now known as “The Big Game.” Stanford destroyed Southern California at the Coliseum last week, and the Cardinal didn’t
tive has been solid in his first year of play for Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. However, it was running back Toby Gerhart who stole the show and fueled the Cardinal’s big win. The senior racked up three touchdowns for 178 yards, earning himself the title of Pac10 Player of the Week. Gerhart is third in the nation in total rushing yards, surpassing one of the Heisman frontrunners, Alabama running back Mark Ingram. Stanford has shown tremendous improvement over the past three years in the Harbaugh era, and the Cardinal is in a position to possibly become the Pac-10 Matt Sayles | Associated Press champion if Oregon drops another game. Harbaugh has his Stanford running back Toby Gerhart scores a touchdown in the offense clicking on all cylinders Cardinal’s upset over in-state rival USC last weekend. The win keeps the Cardinal alive for a chance at the Pac-10 Championship. and boasts an offense that averages 36.1 points per game. Cal will still be without its need the help of Lady Luck. to manage a Trojan defense by Well, sort of. Freshman quar- throwing for two touchdowns RIVALRY continues on page 8 terback Andrew Luck was able and 144 yards. The Houston na-
Friday, November 20, 2009
Men’S CroSS Country
Longhorns look to regain national reputation
By Jim Pagels Daily Texan Staff “The Longhorns are far too inexperienced.” “They’ve had too many injuries.” “It will be a long time before Texas gets back to competing at the national level.” These were the comments made following UT’s disappointing fourth-place finish at Regionals last year. Someone forgot to send them to the cross-country team, though. “Most people just don’t really view us as a good distance school anymore,” said junior Bradley Lowry. “We’re a group of guys that a lot of people don’t recognize because we’ve never really been on
the national scene.” “A lot of teams don’t give us respect,” said sophomore Rory Tunningley. “We’re just trying to go out there and show them that we’re still Texas.” Following UT’s second-place finish at the NCAA South Central Regional last Saturday in Waco, the team clinched one of the region’s two automatic bids to advance to the NCAA National Championships this Monday in Terre Haute, Ind. “It’s been one of our goals since the beginning of the season,” Lowry said. “We all basically just sat down together and said, ‘We’re going to make nationals this year.’”
Starting with a strong finish at the Tulsa Invitational and a victory at the Princeton Invitational, the team has significantly improved throughout the season. They accomplished their goal of beating Texas A&M at the Big 12 Championship on Oct. 31 and went on to defeat them again at Regionals last week before moving on to Indiana. The team’s success in Waco was slightly overshadowed by their classmates’. While the Longhorns were qualifying for Nationals, the UT football team was busy dominating Baylor across town. “The whole team was so focused on what we had to do, honestly, it
didn’t even cross my mind,” said sophomore Brock Simmons. The runners credit their success this year to the growing unity of the team. Last year, because of a major age divide and the loss of their coach at midseason, the Longhorns struggled to band together as a team. “There was a group of fifth-year seniors, and then the freshman,” Tunningley said. “This year everyone has the same coach, everyone has the same workouts. The camaraderie is on another level.” The team unity has extended off the track as well. “We play video games, cook together, go laser tagging,” Tunnin-
gley said. “Basically, we hang out a lot.” UT faces some stiff competition in the 10k race Monday. Stanford is the unanimous top-ranked team in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Poll, and they are the heavy favorite to win their fifth title in the past 14 years. Texas, who has never won the national championship, is currently ranked 29th. The Longhorns do not plan on running with the Cardinals stride for stride, however. “In cross-country, if you try to [keep pace] with the best, you usually end up finishing last,” said assistant coach John Hayes. “Our goal
isn’t to be in the top four or five. We have to be realistic.” The runners echoed Hayes’ thoughts. “We’re not going to go out there and try to run with Stanford because most likely, it would end terribly for most of us,” Lowry said. “We have to be patient and build off our success this year and then try to look at moving into the top 10 next year.” Although a national championship is highly unlikely, the Horns aren’t ready to forfeit the race. “If we get the whole team clicking all day, we could definitely surprise a lot of people,” said Brock Simmons.
has upset on its mind against Horns From page 7 block party without the fingerwagging. Now they turn their attention to No. 24 Baylor. The Longhorns have traditionally been as dominant in Waco as Dr. Pepper, winning 26 of 28. They’ve won 15 straight over the Bears, but head coach Jerritt Elliott isn’t taking the competition lightly. “It’s a huge challenge,” said Elliott. “Baylor’s got one of the best teams they’ve had. They play with four seniors on the floor, and they’re very good.” Baylor got off to a hot start, losing only one match to Texas against their first 18 opponents, but since then they’ve lost seven of their last 11. After losing to Texas earlier in the season, Baylor head coach Jim Barnes expressed the challenge of taking on the Longhorns. “There’s no doubt, they are the most athletic team in the country,” said Barnes. “But we’re playing volleyball, not the high jump contest, so what you have to do is
play the game better than them.” Three-time NCAA high jump champion and current outside hitter Destinee Hooker had 15 kills in that match, and she’ll look to make quick work of the Bears on Saturday. At 21-1, Texas has plenty on the line in Waco. A victory would pull the Longhorns within one win of earning their third consecutive Big 12 Championship. First serve is at the same time as kickoff in Austin, so even the most loyal of fans couldn’t be expected to be in Waco for the match. But next Saturday is a different story. This Saturday is the last chance to see Colt McCoy connect with Jordan Shipley for a touchdown at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, and next Saturday could be the last time to see Ashley Engle set up Hooker for the kill in Gregory Gym. But first, they’ll give the Bears one last taste of the venom. “They’re a big in-state rival for us,” Elliott said. “There are a lot of emotions that go into these games, and this one is huge.”
RiValRy: Golden Bears still
without their Jahvid Best From page 7 best player, running back Jahvid Best, who is out with a concussion. Best, one of the most dynamic running backs in the country and a preseason Heisman Trophy contender, has 16 touchdowns and 867 yards rushing this season. Sophomore Bears running back Shane Vereen is trying to do the “best” he can to replace the injured running back. Vereen ran for a career-high 159 yards and scored a touchdown against the Wildcats. “Everyone had No. 4 in their heads all game,” said Vereen of Best. “He was riding with us,
and we needed to pick him up.” Cal quarterback Kevin Riley continued with another steady performance, throwing for 181 yards and a touchdown against Arizona. The Golden Bears’ defense played huge against the Wildcats, limiting them to 274 yards of total offense. Arizona came into the game averaging 450 yards of offense per game. The Bears have picked things up recently, winning four of their last five games after getting trounced in back-to-back blowouts by Oregon and USC. Cal versus Stanford is the first of many great rivalry games to follow in the next week.
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Ireland coach Giovanni trapattoni, right, and with player Glenn Whelan during their World Cup qualifying playoff second-leg match against France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis outside Paris on Wednesday. France drew the match 1-1 with a controversial goal in extra time, to qualify for a place in the World Cup finals in South Africa.
Irish run out of luck after missed call By Shawn Pogatchnik The Associated Press DUBLIN — Soccer-mad Ireland is fighting mad and demanding justice for a disputed goal that had fans here crying, “Oui were robbed.” A blown call by referees cost the luckless Irish a spot in the World Cup in a loss to star-studded France. Ireland played the game of its life Wednesday night in a Paris stadium rocking to the cheers of visiting Irish fans. But with momentum on their side and facing a penalty shootout within minutes, the Irish saw the ball fall near their goal — and into the outstretched palm of celebrated French striker Thierry Henry. He slapped it not once but twice, guiding it to his foot and passing to teammate William Gallas for the winning overtime
From page 7 expectations. Earlier this year, Jimenez placed 21st at the ISU Pre-Nationals Invite, which is the same course the Nationals will use. “I really like this course,” Jimenez said. “It’s nice and flat, and it has a good rhythm.” Jimenez is also confident because of her preparation. Over the summer, Jimenez ran between 75 and 80 miles every week. Even as the season kicks into full gear, Jimenez’s pace has hardly slowed down. She now balances 60 miles a week with speed and weight training in addition to her weekly trips to
Giants’ Lincecum wins second consecutive Cy Young Award
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Jimenez: Senior adopts role as team leader
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goal. Ireland’s squad slapped christened it the “Hand of Frog” their hands, and some screamed, — wordplay using slang for a “Handball, ref!” Frenchman and comparing the Keeping your hands off the ball event to another handball, the is the most bagoal by Argentisic rule in socna’s Diego Maracer, and endless dona against Engreplays demonland in the 1986 strated beyond World Cup quardoubt to bilterfinal. Asked afI will be honest. lions worldwide terward if he had It was a handball, that the goal touched the ball, should not have Maradona said it but I’m not the ref. counted. But the had been guided I played it. The ref Swedish referby “the hand of allowed it.” ee, Martin HanGod.” sson, and his asHenry quickly — Thierry Henry, came clean about sistants claimed to see nothing French striker his sleight of hand, wrong, inspirwell aware that no ing fury and video review can conspiracy thekeep him from socories on the wintry, rain-sodden cer’s grandest stage in June. streets of Dublin. “I will be honest. It was a handMore than one Dublin tabloid ball,” Henry said. “But I’m not
NEW YORK — Talk about a freak. Tim Lincecum needed just 15 wins to bag another NL Cy Young Award. Yup, throw out those old baseball cards. Wins and losses don’t mean much anymore when it comes time for voters to pick baseball’s best pitchers. It’s all about WHIP, FIP, BABIP and oth-
the chiropractor and masseuse. “It’s all about staying healthy,” Jimenez said. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve definitely become more aware of my body.” As Jimenez has grown, she’s also become more aware of her role as a team leader. Though she admits that she is not very vocal, Jimenez feels that she leads best by example. Head coach Steve Sisson seemed to echo these sentiments. “Betzy’s a leader, and when she’s a low-stick our team performs well,” Sisson said. Despite Jimenez’s low-stick performance last weekend, the team was unable to follow her lead. The Longhorns finished fourth
at Regionals and failed to secure a bid for Nationals. Although Jimenez views the Regionals finish as a “missed opportunity,” she is proud of her role on a team that is just now turning into a national contender. “I’m glad I’ve been able to help develop what is soon to be a great program,” Jimenez said. “But I’m sad we didn’t get it done in the four years I was there.” Although her teammates won’t be joining her, Jimenez will have a chance to get it done for the Longhorns this Monday. She just has to do what she’s always done: go out there and take care of business.
er lines of alphabet soup. “It’s turned into a game of complete numbers and statistics and what people do with that,” Lincecum said. Lincecum won the Cy Young Award on Thursday for the second straight year, emerging from one of the tightest votes in the history of the honor to become the first repeat winner since Randy Johnson. Only 10 points separated the top three vote-getters. Chris Carpenter was second, and St. Louis teammate Adam Wainwright
finished third, despite getting the most first-place votes. Lincecum, nicknamed “The Freak” for his giant stride, led the NL with 261 strikeouts and tied for the league lead with four complete games and two shutouts. The wiry right-hander attracts plenty of attention on the mound with his shoulder-length brown hair and twisting delivery. But it was his 15 victories — the fewest for a Cy Young starter over a nonshortened season — that were really noticeable for the award winner. — The Associated Press
the ref. I played it. The ref allowed it.” Some accused the Swiss-based world governing body of soccer, FIFA, of bending its rules to suit the sport’s big guns such as France because of the money and markets involved. France, a country of 65 million, won the world championship in 1998 and was runner-up in 2006. Ireland, population 4.4 million, chronically struggles even to qualify. “They do video replays in rugby, American football, tennis, you name it — but not the biggest of them all, the World Cup. You tell me why,” said Robbie Nolan, a 40-year-old cabbie nursing a pint after work in a sports-themed Dublin pub bedecked in Irish soccer memorabilia. His cheeks still bore traces of the green, white and orange face paint from the night before.
try to keep huge loss behind them From page 7 didn’t play [at] the right intensity level the whole time.” Goestenkors, who admitted that the Huskies had more talent than her squad, was not satisfied with the loss but understands that her team will have to use the game as a building block. “We wanted to find out early what our strengths were and what our weaknesses are, and great teams expose the weaknesses,” Goestenkors said. The coaching staff agreed that the Longhorns did not do the basics, such as rebounding, execution and staying out of foul trouble. “We can’t dwell on the loss and can’t continue to pout,” said senior Brittainey Raven. ”You just have to learn the lesson and move on and get in the gym the next day to work on the mistakes.” As a captain, Raven has taken responsibility of keeping up her teammates’ spirits. “We told them that no team is going to have a perfect season,” Raven said. “Except for UConn,” she later joked.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Blades of Glory Ove Fiskaaen used to be a video editor at a TV station. Also known as Clem Hoot, he is a member of rockabilly band Johnny Hootrock. Along with his job as an ice-skate sharpener, Fiskaaen is currently working toward earning a professional commercial pilot license. — Mary Kang
Above, Ove Fiskaaen sharpens an ice skate with a sharpening stone. Sharpening helps the blades grip the ice. Below, Ove Fiskaaen prepares ice skates at the Chaparral Ice Center, an ice skating rink inside of Northcross Mall on Anderson Lane.
Ove Fiskaaen checks to make sure that the two edges under an ice skate are level. Perfectly even edges allow a skater to slide more easily, but uneven edges can cause a skater to fall.
Study finds community colleges shouldC utilize the Web Rally: Inequity mars UT’3Bs Weekly Rates: Campus relative academic $100 – Large prestige RTISE LASSIFIEDS
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By Jordan Haeger Daily Texan Staff Community colleges have not fully tapped T reaching ENfor ADVEresources Dsocial U T students through S ! R ATIONnetworkYOUaccording ing sites, to a report by Z I N GA for Community the UT ORCenter College Student Engagement. Of the more than 400,000 students from more than 660 community colleges in the United States and Canada, 64 percent said they use sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace multiple times a day. However, only 18 percent of those students use those sites for academic purposes. Only 5 percent of college-age students said they never use social networking sites. Kay McClenney, director of UT’s Community College Leadership Program, which includes the student engagement center, said the
center aims to inform community colleges of the best ways to capture the attention of their students. “Our main focus is helping community colleges use data about effective educational practices in order to help larger numbers of students succeed in college,” she said. McClenney said community colleges have an unfulfilled opportunity to engage their students through the Internet. “You have to think about who your students are and reach out and meet them where they are,” she said. Austin Community College participated in the survey in 2007 but did not participate this year, McClenney said. The 2009 survey was the first to focus on issues regarding students’ use of the Internet for aca-
demic purposes, she said. ACC biology professor Margaret Flemming said she sees no need to communicate with her students via social networking sites because she is able to effectively communicate with them through Blackboard. She also gives her students her cell phone number. “I have concerns about social networks sort of running like wild fire, in that when you get connected to one person, potentially you end up with more spam and more security issues,” Flemming said. She said she has no future plans to connect with her students on social networking sites. “I must admit I’m probably on the edge of being a dinosaur,” she said. “I find myself resisting the tendency to communicate electronically instead of face-to-face or voice-to-voice.”
The report states that community colleges face different challenges than four-year universities in educating students. Sixty-two percent of community college students are part-time and 56 percent of them work more than 20 hours a week, according to the report. According to the report, the most academically engaged students are female, black, international and financially independent students. Students who are male, non-black and 24 years old or younger are the least engaged. One of the most important things to community college students is academic engagement, she said. “When we do focus groups with community college students, they are really looking for personal connections with faculty, advisers, counselors [and] other students,” she said.
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– Medium ic ladder, especially if we’re trying to be the best.” Small Longhorns as they$25 are to be–memGovernment senior Anna bers of the GLBT community. “Here’s to hoping we don’t have another rally — that this will be fixed by this time next year,” he said. Marketing senior Brendan Chan said investing in providing domestic partnership benefits would contribute to the academic experience for all students. “It’s hard knowing that some top faculty don’t even consider UT because we don’t offer the benefits,” Chan said. “By not providing them, it makes it harder to climb up the academ-
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Russo, a columnist for The Daily Texan, said the issue applies to gender equity as well. She said the Gender Equity Task Force Report, made public last October and which outlined disparities in female employment at the University, provided a glimmer of hope for the future, but much more needed to be done. “Discrimination is discrimination,” Russo said. “If we put our voices out there together, they will listen. But we have to be loud, and we have to be proud.”
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Friday, November 20, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
The Blind Side
Story fails to fully explore characters’ primary issues Lack of tangible conflict overshadows otherwise inspirational narrative
Courtesy of Roadside Attractions
Comedian Chris Rock explored the implications of what American hair-care norms in this documentary “Good Hair.” The film opened last weekend in Austin.
Film falters with narrow attitude By Mary Lingwall Daily Texan Staff “Good hair” is a term that women know well. And for those of us who aren’t born with “good hair,” there is an almost daily struggle to find ways to make our tresses look more like those of the women we see posing on red carpets, flashing across our television screens and dominating our magazine covers. Famed comedian Chris Rock has taken note of this phenomenon in his most recent film, “Good Hair.” “Good Hair” is primarily composed of three documentary-style vignettes: a series of indepth interviews with AfricanAmerican men and women discussing what “good hair” means to them, an undercover exposé on the chemical components of hair relaxers and a chronicle of the Bronner Bros. International Hair Show in Atlanta.
The real meat of the movie is in the interviews, which feature well-known names such as Nia Long, Maya Angelou, the Rev. Al Sharpton, KRS-One, Ice-T and Raven-Symoné. Additionally, some of the film’s most interesting points come from Rock’s discovery of the cost and the political ramifications of the quest for “good hair.” In filming, Rock talked to women in hair salons across the country, and found that the amount of money that women will pay to make their hair look a certain way is astonishing. These prices range from the modest cost of affordable (and potentially dangerous) hair-relaxer treatments to thousands of dollars for high-quality hair extensions that are woven into a woman’s existing hair. The political ramifications that “Good Hair” explores are twofold. First, Rock asks an important question about where these
“good hair” extensions come from. Second, Sharpton makes a point about the symbolic meaning of conforming to standards of beauty dominated by white mainstream culture. However, in doing so, “Good Hair” in many ways comes off as not only an indictment of our social constructs of what “good hair” is but also a censuring of African-American women for their desire to make their hair “good.” But by adopting this approach, Rock and his creative team forget that African-American women aren’t the only women wearing extensions or treating their hair with harsh chemicals in order to look “good.” In essence, Rock took something that he saw as unhealthy, unproductive and, ultimately, anti-woman and turned it into a “black problem.” And in this case, I think Rock is wrong. It may be ridiculous that
women spend so much money to alter themselves, but at the same time, this phenomenon is not specific to one race or one gender, because all of us contribute to the creation of these standards — by praising or lusting after the women who have the “good hair.” Furthermore, the ideological assumption that a woman’s choice to style her hair in a certain way must also connote a form of repression, oppression or self-hatred is not always correct. Despite Rock’s failure to address the entirety of the haircare economy, “Good Hair” is still a work of intellectual importance that asks important questions for important reasons. The tapestry of voices captured in the interviews makes the film worthwhile to watch, despite the holes in the film’s overall project.
dEvinE: Artist encourages students to ‘be passionate’ From page 12 out and a bit more stylistically diverse. I really like playing songs acoustically as well. On [Brother’s Blood], I really trusted the band I was playing with in New York at the time. I showed them the skeletal songs, and then they wrote the parts rather than me writing all the parts and then teaching them to the band to play live, like I had done before. DT: As a rare artist who can speak of both the personal and political in the same breath, what gives you lyrical inspiration? KD: I’m not writing about social issues from an intellectual perspective but rather from an emotional perspective. They’re one person’s filtration of a pretty broad experience that you’re trying to make hummable for three minutes. I write about politics the same way I write about women or family or drugs. I’m not a political scientist or a revolutionary. I’m living in the framework of writing songs. DT: What is your favorite song you’ve ever written? KD: Maybe “Brother’s Blood.” That would probably be the song I might show somebody if they asked what I do. DT: If you could pick any song ever written to have written yourself, what would it be? KD: “The Biggest Lie” by El-
By Robert Doty Daily Texan Staff Based on the true story of nowBaltimore Raven blocker Michael Oher, “The Blind Side” tells the story of a homeless, black high school student on a sports scholarship to an all-white, upper-class Christian school in Memphis, Tenn. He sleeps in the gymnasium, scavenging for food in discarded popcorn bags, and has only two sets of clothes that he washes by slipping them into other people’s loads at the laundromat. It’s not until Leigh Anne Tuohy, ably played by Sandra Bullock, takes him into her home that Michael’s story takes an inspirational turn, and he becomes the talented, well-respected NFL athlete he is today. A Southern pit bull with a heart, Leigh Anne nearly forces Michael, a gentle, quiet giant, to stay with her family. They buy him clothes, give him a room, encourage him in both scholastic and athletic affairs and eventually adopt him. However, the film fails to convey the very real difficulties involved in raising an underprivileged black man in an affluent Southern community. Director/screenwriter John Lee Hancock seems content to show Michael and Leigh Anne triumph over perceived obstacles rather than present ones. He knows the audience will assume that there’s a struggle — whether with racism, lack of early education or peer abuse — but he never allows these struggles to become a reality in the film. For instance, while Leigh Anne eats lunch with her Southern belle
friends, one asks her if she ever worries about leaving her daughter with Michael in the house. Here is the possibility for some gripping, complex drama. It hearkens back to centuries of racism and spotlights one of the most prevalent racist attitudes of today: the fear of interracial dating, marriage and, of course, sex. But instead of allowing this difficulty to develop complexity and potency, the next scene shows Leigh Anne asking her daughter if having Michael in the house has been hard for her, to which the daughter replies, “Of course people say things, but they’re just stupid.” That’s it. The question never arises again. Disaster averted. But the bizarre thing is that the film never even shows these stupid things people say. We’re just supposed to assume it happens. And I don’t doubt that it did, but without living through it with the daughter, without watching their faces contort with disgust, I can’t truly empathize with her plight. The film has such respect for Leigh Anne and her family that it refuses to portray them as anything other than saints. And maybe they are. It is a true story, after all. But saints marching around doing miracles with nothing in their way does not make for a good story. What the filmmakers of “The Blind Side” fail to grasp is that without a great struggle, there can be no great achievement and, therefore, no great inspiration. I keep wondering what Michael’s true struggles may have been: abusive teammates, debilitating fear of losing it all, exploitation of his talent. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever know.
show: Local musicians band
together for school fundraiser From page 12 “Kindergarten through second grade, I went to a school that had this great music teacher from Mexico, and she had a classical guitar and would always play ‘La Bamba’ and a song about the presidents,” Kweller said . “I loved that class and watching her play guitar. Music was always one of my favorite classes, and art class was a lot of fun.” Since moving to Austin two years ago, Kweller has frequently played local shows outside of his tours, making stage appearances with friends such as Guster and Conor Oberst. He said he imparts a special importance to playing benefit concerts. Kweller learned about the concert last year when his friend, local musician Jimmy LaFave,
performed at the school, which is located near Kweller’s home. After attending the event and learning more about its purpose, he approached Davis about playing as a way to support the school, where his 3-year-old son Dorian will eventually enroll. “I live right here, and we love our neighborhood,” Kweller said. “We heard there was a concert, and I know Jimmy LaFave, and he was playing, so I went. Then I contacted the [PTA] people and told them I would love to play next year. I’m excited to play for the kids and all my neighbors.” Tickets for the show cost $15 and will be available at the school tonight. The concert begins at 7 p.m. and will feature both LaFave and Kweller. The forecast calls for rain tonight, but the concert will go on, rain or shine.
Peyton McGee | Daily Texan Staff
Kevin Devine waits outside of Emo’s before his show with The Get Up Kids on Wednesday night. Although Devine works with a large group of musicians, he is the stylistic and lyrical brain of the operation.
liott Smith. It’s pretty perfect, and he gets where it takes me five minutes to get to in about two and a half minutes. DT: What do you like about Austin? KD: I’ve probably been here 15 times, and it’s one of the few places I think I could live in. I like the food, I like Zilker Park, I like Barton Springs, I like Juan
In A Million, I like the music, I like the people, I like the “Keep Austin Weird” struggle. Just like New York, there’s always more to find, but it also feels like a small town. DT: What is your advice to the Austin college student who might be reading The Daily Texan? KD: It’s a really scary time to be a person, let alone a college
student. Be passionate and be diligent about what you’re doing. There are reasons things happen the way they happen, but it doesn’t have to be the way it is. The people your age are going to inherit a lot of the bullshit and bad decisions. Speak up. The job’s not done. Now [Obama] is the person we have to point our finger at.
The Daily Texan: What have you been listening to lately? Ben Kweller: I’m listening to Triple Cobra; I’m producing their new album. They’re an amazing rock band from San Francisco. Also, I’m listening to the first John Prine album. It’s been a life-changing album for me. DT: What are your favorite places in Austin? BK: The Horseshoe Lounge has got good shuffleboard and a good jukebox. Of course, we go to Barton Springs and Zilker Park. South Congress Cafe is one of my favorite lunchtime spots. They have this seared-scallop salad that’s mindblowing. DT: Are The Bens, a collaboration between you, Ben Lee and Ben Folds, ever going to record another album? BK: Man, we want to. Every time we see each other, we’re like, “We’re going to do it again!” But we never get around to it. I’m in a really creative zone right now, and I’d love to add that to my plate. It will happen at some point. DT: Is there a song you listen to when you’re stuck in the songwriting process? BK: That’s the worst thing to do for me. When I’m working on music, I don’t ever listen to other people’s music. I don’t want to get influenced by other music, I want to get influenced by things in the world and make music out of it.
moviE: ‘Precious’ achieves harmony between despair, hope From page 12 of the harshest I’ve ever seen. But the film manages to balance the viciousness of Precious’ home life with the quiet happiness of her life in the alternative school. Though she’s initially resistant to Ms. Rain (Paula Patton) and her classmates, their genuine levity and caring quickly win over both Precious and the audience. The contrast between the
sweetness of the classroom and the terror of her home life gives “Precious” a reality that many overtly depressing films never attain: a balance that imbues it with vitality and tragedy in equal measure, allowing the viewers to make Precious’ triumphs and defeats their own. In addition to this balance imparted by screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher and director/producer Lee Daniels, the outstanding
performance by each actor in the film’s almost entirely female cast only intensifies the impact of the film. But Mo’Nique, who plays Precious’ mother, Mary, with ferocity and wit but also a sense of understanding, gives the most impressive and complex performance in the film. Mary is the embodiment of conscious evil, but Mo’Nique, who deserves an Oscar nomination for this performance, under-
stands her as not only an actor in a corrupt environment but also a victim of it. It’s one of the best films of the year and, easily, the most human. It whipped me through nearly every emotion I have, and I came out on the other side knowing I’d seen something great. This is a recommendation without reservation: Go see it.
Bruno Morlan | Daily Texan Staff
Singer Ben Kweller stands in the backyard of his Austin home. Since his arrival, Kweller has been heavily involved with the community.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Life&Arts Editor: Leigh Patterson E-mail: email@example.com Phone: (512) 232-2209 www.dailytexanonline.com
T he Daily Texan
Ohio transplant applauds Austin’s comic book scene By Robert Rich It may come as a shock to some people, but comics are still around and thriving. While the talk shifts to the Internet and how the digital age is killing print publications, the realm of comic books continues to expand. Just ask Brandon Zuern, store manager of Austin Books & Comics, a cozy home for all things comic on Lamar Boulevard. For Zuern, comics defined his childhood, and getting out of Ohio and landing in Austin was just what he needed to fuel his passion. There was nothing to do in Tiffin, Ohio. It’s one of those towns where the thing to do is go to Wal-Mart and hang out. Naturally, I got out as soon as I thought I could sustain myself. I moved to Austin on a lark because I heard it was cool. I’ve lived here for 10 years now, and I feel like this city is much more my style. I was quick to look for some form of escape. I picked up random issues of “[The] Amazing Spider-Man,” “Batman” and MAD Magazine. Eventually, I was begging to wash cars and mow lawns so I could afford my monthly favorites, which kept increasing in number. Austin Books & Comics is the best store I’ve ever been to, hands down. I say that not as the store manager but as the guy who stumbled in the doors in 2000 looking for the first collection of a series called “Powers.” When I got here, I knew this was the shop I would make my home away from home. Comics are way better than TV. Yes, even “Mad Men.” My goal since starting here has been to take that experience I had and make sure everyone who comes in has it, whether they’re really into comics or just looking into them for the first time. Comics are really, really good right now. There was a time in the mid- to late-‘90s where they
weren’t so hot, which is probably why some people aren’t aware that comics are still a big thing. Superheroes are still a big part of the industry, but there are books that appeal to fans of shows like “The Sopranos” and “True Blood.” Just like any other medium, there is a comic book for everyone. Some people just don’t know it yet. Batman would win in a fight against Superman because he’s willing to cheat. To someone who hasn’t explored comics, I would describe them as the perfect blend of words and illustrations. That seems simplified, but having a writer and artist create a seamless story without stepping on each other’s toes is an amazing thing. You can slip into that world and let it take you to some crazy places. As far as what I would recommend to people looking to get into comics, it’s going to depend on the audience. A great all-ages book is “Bone.” It’s fun but has a very epic journey. Fans of personal stories should check out “Persepolis,” “Blankets” and “Fun Home.” You can’t go wrong with “Preacher,” “Criminal” or “100 Bullets” if you love Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez or any violence with intelligence behind it. The Austin comic scene never ceases to amaze me. Being one of a handful of typical prepubescent male comic fans in a small town, it was a major shock to find so many different kinds of people in Austin are regular comic readers. We ring up everyone from kids to UT professors. Austin loves comics, and that’s a big reason why I love Austin. Comics are just fine. They’ll be in print for a long while because people like having something tangible to hold and read. Plus, there’s the collector factor. I would never be happy with the digital comics they’re experimenting with right now. And even when the use of paper is banned after the Great Venusian Plantman Wars of 2046, comics will exist in some form or another. If outraged parents couldn’t get rid of them in the ‘50s, nothing ever will.
Shelley Neuman | Daily Texan Staff
Brandon Zuern, comic book enthusiast and manager of Austin Books & Comics, flips through a copy of “The Amazing Spider-Man.”
Poignant film captures complex environment By Robert Doty Daily Texan Staff “Precious” has received nearuniversal praise since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where it reportedly received a 20-minute standing ovation. And with Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry as executive producers, it will certainly have the publicity needed to march to the forefront of the Oscar contenders. But is it any good? In a word: Yes. The brutal story of an obese 16-year-old black girl who is pregnant with her second child, “Precious” offers a sweeping picture of poverty-stricken African-American life. The film begins as Precious, played with quiet complexity by Gabourey Sidibe, is sent to an alternative school. She is shy but prone to violence, caring but reluctant to love. What the film portrays so fully is the environment of which Pre-
cious is a product. Desiring personal affection and love, she looks to those close to her and has no one, forcing her to seek solace in extravagant daydreams that revolve around her naive concep-
...”Precious” provides a sweeping picture of poverty-stricken African-American life.
tions of love and acceptance. She wants a light-skinned boyfriend. She wants to be in a BET dance video. The film has disturbing plot twists and harsh scenes — some
MOVIE continues on page 11
Bruno Morlan | Daily Texan Staff
Singer Ben Kweller plays his song “On My Way” in the backyard of his Austin studio.
Kweller to play benefit concert By Audrey White Daily Texan Staff Texas native Ben Kweller will play at Zilker Elementary School tonight for the 10th annual Zilker Backyard Concert supporting the school’s music and arts education programs. Zilker ’s PTA organizes the fundraiser to supplement the school’s art and music classes by
bringing in speakers and organizing field trips and programs. “The Zilker philosophy is that being exposed to the arts is a way to expose children to different types of learning,” said Helen Davis, the school’s PTA president. “For some children, it’s art and music that keep them engaged in school.” This year’s concert is espe-
cially timely with looming budget cuts and curriculum requirements that may limit elementary and middle schools’ abilities to offer comprehensive finearts programs. Zilker art teacher Jamie Pettit said the concert shows the importance of fine arts to students. “Drill-and-kill math is great, but it doesn’t build rounded
thinkers,” Pettit said. “The kids see the musicians playing and see that arts are a valuable part of their lives. It’s not an extra. It should be core curriculum, not something to be cut.” Kweller credits his elementary school music teachers as part of what led him to his career.
SHOW continues on page 11
Photographer views Austin through new lens By Sarah Pressley Daily Texan Staff Austinites often pass by the same buildings and landmarks every day without giving them a second thought or considering what they might mean for the rest of society. “The Small Corners of Existence,” a collection of 18 prints by photographer Robert Shults, aims to change this. The collection features images depicting aspects of architecture and design found on the streets of the Austin area shown from a new perspective. After spending a few months living on the streets in 2001, Shults was forced to learn that refuge is often found in unexpected places. Inspiration for the collection came from these experiences. “This body of work is my attempt to create a personal inventory, almost a sort of catalog, of the spaces one might use for temporary physical and spiritual shelter in the event of social or economic cataclysm,” Shults said. “For instance, the undersides of bridges, awnings and doorways, plazas of public buildings, alleyways and abandoned structures of our city.”
Mary Kang | Daily Texan Staff
Robert Shults, a photographer based in Austin, stands in his art exhibit, “The Small Corners of Existence.” The images of these buildings and structures are presented in unconventional ways. Buildings are shown turned sideways and parallel to the skyline, and slivers of fire escapes mix with their shadows to create a menagerie of lines and lights, reflecting off the edge of a building and creating intricate patterns. However, most of the pictures in the collection depict only a piece of the structure being shown, which allows the
viewer to look at the building as they would if they were very close to or, perhaps, living under it. “The images in ‘The Small Corners of Existence’ were created with a sense of discord and dichotomy in mind,” Shults said. “They are often composed to appear fractured, and the frames are frequently split down the middle by a graphic element. This helps create a somewhat unbalanced feeling in the viewer, hopefully evoking within
that person the same subjective state I felt while occupying these temporary shelters.” The images featured in the exhibit derive their beauty not only from the subject matter and emotion behind them but also from the minimalism that was used in their production. The collection consists of black-andwhite photography, and the images themselves are mostly composed of simple shapes and elegant lines. The detail is derived from the contrast and lighting used, which produces such enthralling photographs. Shults believes this use of black and white comes from “the fact that I perceive the world around me in terms of edge and form first rather than color and tone.” While “The Small Corners of Existence” may have its roots in his personal experiences, Shults also hopes that his work helps viewers to understand and empathize with the people who view Austin architecture in this unique way every day. The exhibit is located at the L. Nowlin Gallery at 1202-A W. Sixth St., open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Journalist-turned-musician maintains his modesty By Audrey White Daily Texan Staff Kevin Devine is an artist who truly does it himself. Although Devine works with a large group of musicians known as the Goddamn Band, he is the stylistic and lyrical brain of the operation. Despite several national tours and relative success, he still runs his own merchandise and sound tech because he says it appeals to the part of him that enjoyed school. His fifth album, Brother ’s Blood, was released in April. Devine sat down with The Daily Texan before his concert at Emo’s Austin with The Get Up Kids on Wednesday to talk about music, Austin and the world in which we live. The Daily Texan: How did you go from graduating with a journalism degree from Fordham University to being a musician? Kevin Devine: I was always doing music, since I was in high school. I pursued a journalism career to some extent, but I was never super serious about it. The decision was whether to get paid very little to do something I liked or get paid very little to
Peyton McGee | Daily Texan Staff
Kevin Devine inventories merchandise in his van before his show outside of Emo’s on Thursday night. His fifth album, Brother’s Blood, was released in April. do something I loved. It’s been DT: Most people know you me on an acoustic guitar. When like rungs on a ladder, but the as Kevin Devine. How does the the band is playing, it’s fleshed fact that there are still rungs on Goddamn Band fit in? DEVINE continues on page 11 which to step is really cool. KD: All the songs start with