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Volume 67, No. 30


Difficult Decisions

July 14, 2011

Special session brings layoffs, early retirement, elimination of services By Belinda Munoz The Pan American The results are in from the special session held by the Texas Legislature, which focused on how the state budget will affect public school funding. In a memo addressed to students, faculty and staff on May 30, UTPA President Robert Nelsen explained that because of a $4 billion cut to public education, the University has been forced to create a “balanced budget,” which ultimately meant some layoffs, a voluntary separation program and the elimination of services. Along with making tough budget decisions based on the outcome in Austin, Nelsen was also forced to do something no one wanted to see, as nearly 30 employees were laid off from the University. “ W e have a balanced

Francisco Rodriguez/THE PAN AMERICAN

budget—but that balance has come at a price. We are fully funding instruction, and the students will not see a reduction in the classes offered. But they will see fewer office staff; they will also see the grass grow longer,” Nelsen wrote. Many of the cutbacks in funding for UTPA will result from legislative adjustments, like those that already lessened the amount of incentive funding and general revenue UTPA received for this past year. Due to the shrinkage of available legislative funds, proportional benefits employees will no longer be paid for by the state. Instead, UTPA will need to set aside money within the balanced budget to continue paying for employee benefits, as well as any increases to employee insurance rates. For the upcoming year, the Legislature decided that UTPA’s operating funds (typically bound for ongoing services or programs provided by the state) will be cut by $17.3 million. Nelsen knows the decreased funds will have negative effects on services UTPA is able to provide. But there has been no way around the cuts. Miguel Gutierrez, a junior who is pursuing a music degree, thinks the cuts to UTPA’s budget, while unfortunate, are somewhat understandable given that communities across the country seem to be affected by such legislative decisions. “I believe that the state made a decision based on our current economic situation,” he said. “Even though the cuts look like a bad choice for the public eye, it was a measure that had to be taken to ensure our stability of financial future. The only thing that the University can do is work with what’s available. It’s not logical to want to spend more than

what the university can already afford. Like any American household does with its income, that is the same route the university should take in dealing with financial affairs.” In order to operate within the means of the balanced budget, it is no surprise that there will need to be further adjustments to current services offered, in addition to already reduced hours of operation for entities such as the 20-20 Help Desk, Computer Lab and Writing Center. Over the last few weeks the President’s Cabinet has met to review contingency budget reductions. It was ultimately decided that the University will reduce funding for services offered to the community by $739,000 this year. New academic programs are also expected to see a $173,500 reduction. EFFECT ON EMPLOYMENT In an effort to help cut costs, UTPA implemented a Voluntary Separation Incentive Program for faculty who wished to voluntarily resign. The University also evaluated the necessity of various employment positions, looking for ways to combine similar jobs and save money. In a memo sent out to faculty, students and staff June 28, Nelsen reported that 26 employees were to be laid off, six reassigned within their division, and 43 employees had decided to participate in the separation program. Nelsen said as difficult as the result was, the situation could have been worse, especially in such trying economic times. “I’m devastated. It’s incredibly hard to make these decisions and watch it as it’s done,” the president admitted. “We started out looking at 154 positions that we thought we were going to have to eliminate and then got it down to the 26, but those were 26 people with real names. You look directly at the position. Do we need this position or can we survive without the position? And then you look at who’s in that position and then you look at the name. It’s really hard.” Among other decisions: merit raises for faculty will not be offered, for the second year in a row. However, even though there will be reductions in employee benefits and

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July 14, 2011 Vol. 67, No. 30



The new News

Roxann Garcia Co-Editor in Chief Big news, everyone. Jon Stewart is set to replace Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News. Now, how many of you truly wished that statement could become reality? Interesting enough, I’m sure more than half of the readers who happened to pick up this week’s paper and began by reading this opinion piece would love to see “The Daily Show” host take a seat with the prominent news source. College students are no longer

tuning into the usual news sources for information but rather turning to newer and unconventional sources such as Facebook and Twitter. As a journalism student, I find myself surrounded by news sources continuously throughout my day. I tend to pick up a local and a national newspaper whenever I’m on the run. The homepage on my computer is CNN along with another informational site, Reddit. In a survey administered by the International Center for Media and Public Agenda in 2010, results showed that college students are not loyal to a particular news program, personality or platform. Results also indicated another interesting find that I’m sure most of us knew but didn’t quite recognize. College students are mostly gathering their news from “unconventional” outlets such as text messages, email accounts,

Facebook and Twitter. This also included personal interactions or word-of-mouth from Mom, Dad, Sister or Friend with annoying Twitter habits. Off the top of your head which news sources are the most popular? I would say CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CBS and even ABC News. But ICMPA has found that college students are simply not interested in any of the traditional news outlets. How many of you know who Bill O’Reilly is? I hope not too many. Or even Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews or Rush Limbaugh? Keith Olbermann? And these are some of the more popular news personalities. According to a Pew study, a research organization that provides information on trending issues and attitudes, the average age of a Fox News viewer is 65, while CBS has a demographic of age 55. Apparently young adults aren’t necessarily tuning into their nightly news programs. It turns out a lot of students and young adults are mainly gathering their news from online

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sources. I’m guilty of this to some degree. Unfortunately and predictably I don’t make a lot of money in this field and at the moment I may not have cable, therefore I usually watch whatever news programs I can via the “Interwebs”. The site I mentioned earlier, Reddit, is similar to another site, Digg, where users post various news links, videos or images. It seems that people our age are not necessarily ignoring the news or shunning away from current events. The ICMPA study concluded “students care deeply about what is going on among their friends and families and even in the world at large.” We’ve just got our own way of doing so. There’s a human component scholars call the “awareness instinct,” where we are naturally compelled to know what’s going on around us. We may not be doing so as conventionally as some of our peers and/or elders might like but at least we’re not as stupid and unaware as some make us out to be.

The Pan American is the official student newspaper of The University of Texas-Pan American. Views presented are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of the paper or university.

CO-EDITORS IN CHIEF: Alma E. Hernandez Roxann Garcia NEWS EDITOR: Karen Antonacci SPANISH EDITOR: Saira Trevino ARTS & LIFE EDITOR: Benny Salinas SPORTS EDITOR: Michael Saenz PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR: Reynaldo Leal INTERIM MULTIMEDIA EDITOR: Veronique Medrano DESIGN EDITOR: Erick Gonzalez SENIOR DESIGNER: Jennifer Tate ADVISER: Dr. Greg Selber ADMINISTRATIVE ASSOCIATE: Anita Reyes ADVERTISING MANAGER: Mariel Cantu WEBMASTERS: Jose Villarreal Selvino Padilla


Thursday at noon Letters to the Editor


The Pan American accepts letters of 300 words or less from students, staff and faculty regarding recent newspaper content, campus concerns or current events. We reserves the right to edit submissions for grammar and length. We cannot publish anonymous letters or submissions containing hate speech or gratuitous personal attacks. Please send all story ideas to Individuals with disabilities wishing to acquire this publication in an alternative format or needing assistance to attend any event listed can contact The Pan American for more details.

July 14, 2011

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continued from Page 1 increases to employee insurance plans, with UTPA having to set aside funds in the budget in order to make up for the reductions, salaries have remained untouched for now. “I’m not taking a salary cut. I didn’t take a raise last year, and I was offered a raise,” Nelsen said. “Just like anybody else, I’m not taking a salary cut right now. No one is taking a salary cut at the University. That was a very conscious decision we made.” The voluntary separation incentive program that 43 employees accepted offered the opportunity to retire with half a year’s salary. “It freed up $500,000 to use for the upcoming year. Those people have left early and now we have money, and then we have to pay it back to them because we gave them a half a year’s salary to (retire),” Nelsen said. “We have to pay it back over two years, but immediately we have the cash on hand of $500,000 and that’s how we were able to fund the classes this year.” For positions deemed essential to the University, replacement employees would be rehired at 80 percent of the original salary. Nelsen admits that some of the shoes left empty by the voluntary separation program will be hard to fill. “We are losing some very important people at the University who have given their lives to the University. Some are going to be very hard to replace, but we can do it,” he said. Ana Maria Rodriguez is one of

those who opted for the voluntary separation program. “My separation from the University is bittersweet,” said Rodriguez, senior vice provost for undergraduate studies. “I had a wonderful experience but I am excited for what I can do with the rest of my life.” Rodriguez joined UTPA as an assistant professor in 1975. She was a faculty member teaching graduate level classes for 26 years and eventually became the senior vice provost for undergraduate studies. For the last 10 years Rodriguez has been in administration where she focused on all matters concerning UTPA students and undergraduate studies at the University. “When I received the award for being with the institution for 35 years it suddenly hit me. That’s all I have done for 35 years. Work,” Rodriguez said. “This is an opportunity for new people to take the leadership role at the University and take what I had worked hard to build or to create to a new level, or a different level.” Nelsen said that while the voluntary separation program was a one-time thing and he doesn’t expect layoffs for this year, UTPA is not out of the woods yet. “I don’t see any of (the layoffs) for this coming year but what worries me most is the $8.5 billion structural deficit in the state budget. We could be facing the same thing two years from now.” Despite the difficult circumstances for the university, Nelsen said there are bright spots.

a cap of $5000. With this money UTPA will be able to fund over 1,500 students, an increase from the 1,200 it served last year. For this summer, it was also decided that summer monies like the Pell Grant would not be reduced, although this will be the last summer that the Pell will be available for UTPA summer students. In this respect, Nelsen assures that the budget cut’s effect on financial aid for students has been less destructive to class numbers and student graduation plans FINANCIAL AID, ENROLLMENT than previously feared. For every bit of bad news, there has & TUITION been an accompaAmid the nying positive sign. tough times on “When we campus as of late, “ These are tough times, started this legthere was some islative session, good news out of and I would be lying if I we thought that the legislative sesno new students sion as well. The didnʼt say that it isnʼt easy would have Texstate of Texas has ofto sleep when you know as Grants. We fered $23 million to thought that we UTPA for TEXAS that there will be layoffs. would have 382 (Toward Excellence, fewer courses next Access and SucI care very deeply about year,” Nelsen said. cess) Grants for the this University and its “Everyone has upcoming school rallied together. year, making UTPA employees. As I often say, The Legislature the recipient of the funded our stulargest allocation somos familia. ” dents better than of TEXAS Grant we ever dreamed. money in the state. We will have the This decision came classes that our after the Legislature students need decided in April not Robert Nelsen so that they can to do away with the President graduate.” grants all together, Nelsen also as was originally explained that suggested. The poliUTPA will make ticians instead compromised by allocating TEXAS Grants sure students can continue to go to for about 33,000 students statewide with school despite an expected 4.8 percent “I have never dealt with anything like what we are facing, and no Pan Am president has done so either. But we have great faculty and staff, and their support has been wonderful. I also have a great cabinet,” Nelsen said. “That said, these are tough times, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that it isn’t easy to sleep when you know that there will be layoffs. I care very deeply about this University and its employees. As I often say, somos familia.”

increase to tuition that will be used to offset reductions in funding for UTPA. Nelsen said he doesn’t see a considerable jump in tuition likely. “I don’t foresee us increasing tuition more than it has increased in the past. Last year it increased 3.95 percent,” he said. “I could foresee it perhaps that much, not like Tennessee: they increased it 11 percent or California: they increased it 16 percent. We are not going to do that and our students couldn’t afford for us to do something like that.” In an effort to continue to serve students, UTPA has decided to implement new grants while continuing to appropriate funds for other scholarships and financial aid programs. “The cabinet agreed to allocate funds for a new program, UT Pan Am Success Grants, for those students who do not receive TEXAS grants. The Top 10 Percent Scholarship program will be fully funded and will serve over 550 students,” Nelsen said. “We will also be fully funding new transfer students at the same level as last year. Overall, the difference between last year and this year’s financial assistance awards will affect fewer than 500 students.” While Nelsen said these victories; the TEXAS Grant monies, the decrease in the overall cut in higher education, and the lower than expected layoff numbers were to be celebrated, trying times are ahead for the University. “We’re going to have to struggle to maintain the level of higher education,” he said. “I believe we can, I don’t know if I believe we’re going to do it, but it’s going to be difficult.” The Pan American staff contributed to this article.

Experimental lab shows beauty in math through hyperbolic crocheting By Benny Salinas The Pan American


YARDS OF FUN - Sean Lawton, assistant professor in the Mathematics Department, explains the theory behind his crochet hyperbolic creations.

Along the walls of the Experimental Algebra and Geometry Lab, the colorful waves of mathematical planes make for an eye-catching entrance into what is generally considered one of the most misunderstood subjects in academia. On those colorful waves, the sum of a triangle’s angles doesn’t add up to 180 degrees. The hyperbolic, or inwardly curved, planes create a whole new realm of mathematics, one with new rules for approaching geometry in a consistently “floppy” environment. In the lab in the Mathematics and General Class Rooms Building, those hyperbolic planes are made of yarn. “Mathematicians are the physicists of the human imagination,” said Sean Lawton, assistant professor in the Mathematics Department, from a converted storage closet that houses the lab. “This is the science of human thought.” Behind him the coral-shaped pieces made of yarn fill a bookshelf, each of a different color, shape, and tightness. They look like they’re growing. On the other side of the room, bags of yarn and crocheting equipment fill another bookshelf.

The lab, an offshoot of the Experimental Geometry Lab at the University of Maryland, where Lawton was a graduate student prior to his move to UTPA in 2009, has taken after its parent: as a place for student research and as an opprotunity to conduct outreach activities to promote mathematics to the general public. “We were trying to share some of the wonder that mathematicians experience,” Lawton said. “So when I got here I decided that I wanted to create my own lab, but I also wanted to focus more on the outreach component.” As part of that outreach, Lawton wanted to go out into the community and inspire students to learn that mathematics is more than what they think. His goal was to share with them the beauty that minimum math requirements wouldn’t allow them to see. The first major outreach program the lab took on was hyperbolic crocheting; a method developed by Latvian mathematician Daina Taimina in the late 1990s to create more durable models of hyperbolic planes. “I thought it would be really fun to have something tactile and visual, something that people could hold and touch and see,” Lawton said. “I knew about Daina’s work and I thought this would be a fun thing to replicate here.”

Taimina’s crocheted models are used to examine hyperbolic space, that is, a geometric plane with constant negative curvature. Negative curvature is found in many places in nature, such as in the shape of coral reefs, sea slugs and cancer cells. “Response has been slow but we’ve definitely had some interest,” Lawton said. “But we’re still at the beginning so we still need some more, well, free advertising.” Aside from providing the community with a more creative view of math, the project organizer hopes, in time, to create enough crocheted hyperbolic planes to put together an installation at the International Museum of Art and Science. “It’s one thing to appreciate these creations aesthetically,” Lawton commented. “It’s another thing to recognize that the ideas behind these things are aesthetic as well.” The idea of math as art permeates the entire project. Many mathematicians, Lawton says, consider themselves as artists. “Math is the only subject, that I know of at least, where there is simultaneous discovery and creation,” he explained. “The only word I can liken it to is divine.” The project is currently at rest for the summer, but will pick up again in the fall.

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July 14, 2011

La novela de la Revolución Una literatura Latinoamericana: “El gran movimiento mexicano”

By Ale Román

The Pan American

En otoño de este año, nuestra universidad Texas-Pan Americana se complace en presentar “La Novela de la Revolución Mexicana,” una clase emprendida por la profesora María Consuelo Guerrero. Esta nueva clase es implementada para aquellos estudiantes de bachillerato que desean saber un poco más sobre lo que significó la Revolución Mexicana en términos literarios. Según la profesora Guerrero, la literatura es un medio dirigido a un público selecto, donde estudiantes en el departamento Bilingüe, o aquellos quienes desearían estudiar una Literatura Latinoamericana podrán deleitarse junto a lo que fue un gran suceso mexicano. Al estudiar más de cerca la novela mexicana, los alumnos aprenderán y conocerán un poco más sobre

lo que fue este suceso social a nivel histórico, cultural y político. “La Novela de la Revolución Mexicana” abarca más de 100 años y es uno de los temas más importantes y controversiales en el país mexicano, de los cuales se siguen fomentando en el siglo XX. La literatura es la clave en la que se ilustra lo que representó y lo que sigue representando este gran movimiento social mexicano, es así como lo señaló la profesora Guerrero. La Revolución Mexicana, dio inicio el 20 de Noviembre de 1910 cuyo fue encabezada por Francisco I. Madero. Una serie de luchas y conflictos transformó el sistema social y político creado por Porfirio Díaz, cual sigue teniendo un importante lugar en la historia de México. Desafortunadamente, con el paso de los años la historia es propensa a cambiar de rumbo cuyo destino se puede alejar de los verdaderos hechos que contribuyeron

con este gran acontecimiento. Es por eso que la literatura tiene el poder de analizar más de cerca y con mayor claridad lo que fue este acontecimiento. La profesora Guerrero, quien forma parte del departamento de las Lenguas Modernas y de la Literatura, invita a estudiantes a vivir de esta experiencia ya que ganarán un gran aprendizaje sobre el país mexicano a través de la literatura. Para todos aquellos estudiantes interesados en saber un poco más sobre la literatura mexicana pueden gozar de esta nueva clase junto con la profesora Guerrero este otoño del 2011. “La Novela de la Revolución Mexicana,” SPAN 4392.01, tendrá lugar todos los miércoles de 4:30 a 7:00 p.m. Para más información acudan al departamento de Literatura y de las Lenguas Modernas en el COAS 345C, o pueden llamar al (956) 318-3441.


July 14, 2011


REMEMBERING MARSHALL By Michael Saenz The Pan American

Former Bronc basketball star passes away

Throughout the existence of UTPA basketball from 1927 to now, there have been many great players. But perhaps the greatest player to ever put on a Bronc uniform was Marshall Rogers, who died recently in St. Louis. As former UTPA Sports Information Director Jim McKone points out, Rogers was one of the most unique and hard-working players ever. McKone, who worked at the University from 1969 to 1999, explained one instance that happened during a game in 1976, the year Rogers led the nation in scoring with a 36.8 average. Pan American head coach Abe Lemons asked Rogers to stop playing defense so he could rest. If one knows anything about the concept of the game of basketball, well, that is just unheard of. With the fun-loving Lemons, however, anything was possible. “During a game I distinctly remember Coach Lemons yelled out to Marshall and just told him to stop playing defense. At first we thought it was a joke, but coach was serious…he wanted him to stand at half court and

stop playing defense so he could rest,” McKone said. “This was very weird if you ask me, Marshall was always known for playing hard at both ends of the court, so to ask him to stop playing at one end was surprising to me.” Rogers didn’t have the biggest body, as he stood 6-foot-1 and weighed 190 pounds. But the combo guard was well respected on and off the court by his teammates and his coaches. Most of the respect came from his professional work ethic and a never-say-die attitude, not to mention his unreal range on the jump shot. “Marshall was fearless, and even though bigger teams would try to knock him around and take him out of the game, he never backed down,” McKone explained about the high-scorer who was an NBA draft pick after leaving Pan Am. “In one particular game I remember he got knocked out cold. He was carried to the locker room and recovered enough to shake it off and return for the second half. He won us the game.” Rogers started off at the University of Kansas, but didn’t always see eye to eye with his coach. Later that year he transferred to Pan American University,

Height - 6’1” Weight - 190 lbs. Position - Guard Born - St. Louis, MO August 27, 1953

Marshall Rogers Single-season scoring

919, 1975-76 season

Single-season points per game

36.8, 1975-76 season

Single-season field goals made

361, 1975-76 season

Top five on scoring list

1,507 points

Most points scored (58) in a game vs. Texas Lutheran Fifth all time for a single season.

Averaged 26.7 points

NCAA scoring title

36.8 PPG (1975-76 season)

but had to sit out his sophomore season to gain eligibility for junior and senior year. Right off the bat Rogers became the face of Bronc basketball with his fearless offensive attack, hitting for 26.7 ppg in 1974-75, and then leading the country as a senior, punctuating the run with a school-record 58 points against Texas Lutheran. He only played a total of 47 games in two years for the Broncs and still managed to finish with 1,507 points, averaging 32.1 points per game. Former teammate and Bronc star himself Jesus “Chuy” Guerra put into words just how great Rogers was. “Marshall was the most talented player on our team and was also the hardest worker. When you’re the hardest worker and the most talented player, I mean, that’s a deadly combination,” Guerra said. “He was well-respected among his teammates due to his top-notch work ethic, which was appreciated especially because he was such a great player. He finished his college work and went on to be successful. He went on to get drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 1976, if I’m not mistaken.” Rogers still holds several UTPA records including single-season scoring (919, 1975-76 season), single-season points per game (36.8, 1975-76 season), and single-season field goals made (361, 1975-76 season). He also finished his career in the top five for scoring and is one of only two Broncs to finish No. 1 in scoring for a season, Greg Guy (1992-93) being the other. And it wasn’t all about just the points. Led by Lemons and Rogers, and four-year starter Guerra, the two-year record during Rogers’ career was a fantastic 42-7. Rogers still remains one of two locals to ever win a national scoring title. Even with that amazing two-year record, the Broncs failed to meet their team goal of an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. The first year they were on probation, and the second, the strength of schedule worked against chances of making the tourney. Pan Am has been disciplined by the NCAA five times along with Minnesota, Kansas, and Cincinnati The Broncs were put on probation in 1968, 1973, 1992, 1996, and most recently 2010.

Read it at

1976 Courtesy of UTPA Sports Information

SHOOTIN’ STAR - Marshall Rogers scores a basket for Pan American University in his senior year. After Rogers’ collegiate career at PAU, he was drafted in the second round (pick No. 34) of the 1976 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors. He enjoyed a very brief NBA career in which he scored 100 points in 26 games during the 1976-77 season, drifted off the radar for many years, and weathered mental illness and

other health obstacles later in life. He lost his long time battle with diabetes on June 15. “It really hurts to hear of the loss of not only a great former Bronc, but also a great person,” McKone said. “It really brought me to tears hearing about the loss. He was so young too. He will be missed by many.”

42-7 record in two years at PAU

•Dr. Robert Nelsen is taking a more active role in the athletic department.

Drafted in the second round (34th overall) by the NBA’s Golden State Warriors in 1976.

•Manny Mantrana hosts his baseball academy.


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Volume 67 Number 30