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T h e S t u d e n t N e w s p a p e r o f T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f Te x a s - P a n A m e r i c a n

November 30, 2006

Students distraught over canceled classes By JAVIER CAVAZOS The Pan American Every semester the administration at The University of Texas-Pan American is faced with the difficult decision of whether to cancel certain classes, for various reasons. For many students, a canceled class is more than

just a schedule change. It can have serious ramifications. “As international students we have to take 12 hours in order to remain in the U.S. validly,” said Benjamin Nowak, a senior computer science major who is an exchange student from Lüneburg, Germany. Nowak and Felix Eckhardt, anoth-

er German exchange student, had their computer networking classes canceled this fall. For them, the problem was not so much the cancellation, but how they were notified about it. “We needed letters from the international office for each of our professors letting them know they have international students in their class,” said Nowak.

When Nowak arrived at the university’s international office they gave him four letters, but he had registered for five classes. “I asked about where the fifth letter was and they said the networking class had been canceled,” Nowak said. To verify the notice, Nowak and Eckhardt went to the office so Eckhardt

could receive his letters as well. “They only gave me three letters,” said Eckhardt, who was enrolled in four classes. The office informed them that their networking class had been canceled and at least Eckhardt would have to replace it in order to fulfill the full-time course-

See CANCELED page 12

Nursing program aims to end shortage trend By EDWARD ELGUEZABEL The Pan American

Rafael Navarro Roux/The Pan American COLORFUL - An enthusiastic Rigoberta Menchu-Tum, a Nobel Peace Prize winner from Guatemala, spoke to a packed Student Union Theater Tuesday night.

Nobel laureate proves crowd-pleaser By CLAUDETTE GONZALEZ The Pan American As the lights dimmed at the Student Union Theater Tuesday night, students, faculty, staff and community members filled every corner of the room. Every seat was taken and students stood along the walls, sat on the floor,

even perched on the steps leading up to the stage. The attraction? The controversial indigenous rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta MenchuTum. “We have studied her works. We have read her story. Now, we’ll hear her speak,” said Iracema Silva, the president

of the University Program Board, who introduced Menchu-Tum, the second speaker in the 2006-2007 Distinguished Speaker series. To thunderous applause, MenchuTum walked on stage waving the colorful fringed Guatemalan shawl that lay around her shoulders. Opening her

See MENCHU page 12

For Gracie Mellen, working in an environment where the adrenaline runs through your body on a daily basis is an exciting experience. However, doing this while setting someone else’s needs before your own is a sacrifice few people actually make. Mellen, a former registered nurse and now clinical instructor for The University of Texas-Pan American’s nursing program took on this “life of sacrifice” for many years. She worked at McAllen Medical Center starting in 1966, where she helped save hundreds of lives. “Being a nurse has made my life rewarding,” Mellen, who left nursing in 2004, said. “Seeing how my skills made a difference between life and death on a patient is what makes all that sacrifice be worth it, and I don’t regret a single day I did not attend a social gathering to attend an emergency at the hospital.” However, despite the field’s rewards, the American Hospital Association reported in April that approximately 118,000 registered nurses are needed to fill vacant positions nationwide. In addition, the Health Resources and Services Administration projects that the nursing shortage could grow to more than one million by 2020.

At UTPA, the nursing program is exploring ways to combat the growing problem. LACK OF SERVICE To Mellen, this shortage may even call for desperate measures, as baccalaureate programs are turning applicants away because of a shortage of faculty and clinical training opportunities. “I turned to teaching because I found it time to give back to people that are working to become nurses, and hope to prepare the nurses we need to avoid having to take in nurses from different countries to cover the manpower – or womanpower for that matter – that can be covered by our people,” Mellen said. Efforts to recruit foreign nurses to fill job vacancies have resulted in 95,000 of the 2.7 million nurses in the United States coming from outside the States. According to the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospital Organizations, they come primarily from the Philippines, China and India. This opens up an opportunity for American candidates. Every year, UTPA works to have more opportunities that will help nursing students find the field more compelling while they are in school, to help ensure that they are in it for the passion, Mellen said. “I think that it is important to show

See NURSES page 12




Guest speaker explains reasons behind Oaxaca teachers’ strike

Holiday Entertainment Guide makes winter fun easy

Home court advantage expands with addition of band

See page 3

See page 7

See page 16


November 30, 2006 THE

PAN AMERICAN 1201 West University, CAS 170 Edinburg, Texas 78539 (956) 381-2541 Fax: (956) 316-7122 56th Year – No. 14 Editor Claudette Gonzalez News Editor

A&E Editor

Design Editor

Sandra Gonzalez

Frank Calvillo

Erika Lopez



Sports Editor

Photo Editor

Luke Koong

Onydia Garza


north14star Designers Laura C. Gomez

Roy Bazan


Gregorio Garza



R EADER FORUM Letter to the editor To the editor: My name is Robert Sanchez, currently a graduating M.B.A. student. I came across the Oct. 26 issue of The Pan American, article, '”Students gather to hunt ghosts, spirits” by Luke Koong. The article contained references to the Alton bus crash site and alleged paranormal activity according to the co-founder of a new ghost hunters club. With Halloween still fresh in our systems, the writers of The Pan American deemed it appropriate to run this article. As a former Mission

resident, I can still vividly recall the incidents of that day. In fact, passengers in the bus were siblings of my friends. It was an extremely tragic day for the entire community and neighboring cities. It is my right as an individual to voice my opinions against the publication of the said article. I believe the editors of the paper committed an unethical crime that rendered on extremely disrespectful and even tasteless. Those unselfish acts committed by the editors may have directly affected and even mocked the entire incident that caused

tragedy to so many lives. Allowing such an article to be released for “entertainment purposes” reflects a cold, heartless and unprofessional business. The Alton bus crash site is a memorial site in place for those who tragically lost their lives and not for entertainment purposes. It is not there for equipment, nor to be studied by educated professionals or even uneducated non-professionals for that matter. The corner of 5 mile and Bryan is for paying respects to those who lost their lives, for those who sur-

vived, and for their grieving families. It is not to be exploited by the paper or any other club in order to disrespect the dead in any way shape or form. Articles such as those published in your “respectable” paper contribute to ignorance and unethical practices exercised in most communities that I refuse to be a part of. The community of Mission deserves a sincere apology from your “professional” publication, as do the families involved. Robert Sanchez M.B.A. graduate student

Photo Submissions By: Daniel Flores, a senior communication major

Reporters and Photographers Brian Carr Javier Cavazos Leslie Estrada Patrick Kennedy Ana Ley

Kristyna Mancias Maria Mazariegos Angela Salazar Trey Serna

Adviser Dr. Greg Selber Secretary Anita Casares Ad Manager Carolina Sanchez

Asst. Ad Manager Lillian Villarreal

Advertising information Delivery Thursday at Noon

The Pan American gladly accepts letters from students, staff and faculty regarding newspaper content or current issues. The Pan American reserves the right to edit submissions for grammar and length. Please limit submission length to 300 words. The Pan American cannot publish anonymous letters, or submissions containing hate speech or gratuitous personal attacks. Letters are printed at the discretion of the editor and must include the writer’s name, classification/title and phone number.

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 university.

BOSTON - “Where the bay meets the city, Boston Harbor Hotel boasts a number of impressive structures such as this one.”

TIME OF GIVING The Pan American will be collecting new coats and toys to give to needy children in the Valley. Please bring all donations to COAS170 before Dec. 14 and take advantage of your chance to play Santa for a child this holiday season

SUBWAY TALES - “Like most big cities, Boston is lined with tunnels, trains and singing crazy people.”


News in brief: UTPA Radio will be airing its first newsmagazine broadcast Dec. 1 at 12:05 p.m. on KMBH FM 88.1.

Student needs funds for handicap-accessible van By ANA LEY The Pan American

Sidney Meadows/ The Pan American NEED A LIFT? - Victor Alvarez, a freshman history major who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, is raising funds to buy a new handicap-equipped van because the one he has, a 1992 Ford Econoline, is no longer in working order.

Three months ago, Victor Alvarez was on his way to Houston when his van’s engine began to overheat, a constant problem during longer trips. Obtaining funds for a new vehicle can be a daunting process for any student. However, for Alvarez the difficulty is compounded, as he has to raise $35,000 for a handicap-accessible van. Alvarez, a freshman history major at The University of Texas-Pan American, has suffered from spinal muscular atrophy, a disease that weakens the muscles due to atrophy of nerve cells in the spinal cord, since birth. As a result, he needs a vehicle equipped to accommodate his disability To get him a new one, a network of people and organizations are working together to raise the funds. Elvira Sanchez, manager of the youth award program for the Hispanic

Heritage Foundation, says the organization has decided to assist Alvarez because despite his disability, his ambition has made him an outstanding scholar. HHF has been helping Alvarez, who is a recipient of the HHF Youth Awards Gold honor, by forwarding his petition for funds via e-mail to the donors the organization works with. “Out of more than 13,000 applications, he was selected by our committee to receive the award,” Sanchez said. “We have kept in touch with him since then, and since we know we can contact donors for him, why not help guarantee the future of such a dedicated student?” In his spare time, Alvarez, originally from San Luis Potosí, Mexico, volunteers, creates art and attends community events such as Relay for Life, all while maintaining an A/B average at UTPA. In addition, the student has a regular column in The Monitor called “Victor’s Voice.”

See VAN page 13

Activist speaks to students on Oaxaca teachers’ strike By KRISTEN VILLEGAS The Pan American As students sat waiting in the Library Media Theater Nov. 17 for guest Telesforo Santiago, a teacher from the state of Oaxaca scheduled to speak at The University of Texas-Pan American, they received some unexpected news. The guest they awaited, who was going to inform them about the status of the strike taking place in that Mexican locale, was told at the last minute he

would not be allowed to travel to the university. According to Pete Farruggio, a UTPA assistant professor of the department of curriculum and instruction in the College of Education, Santiago was denied his right of freedom of speech. Santiago is temporarily in Los Angeles on a student visa, saying he is here to learn about the U.S. government and political situation, as well as education. Farruggio informed the people that attended the “Granito de Arena” event

that one day before his flight, Santiago was told by his program director that he would not be allowed to leave Los Angeles to come speak to students and faculty at UTPA. Santiago was chosen as representative of the political movement group APPO (Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca). This movement is the result of the strike by teachers in Oaxaca who are demanding the resignation of Gov. Ulises Ruiz. The protestors are fighting for higher salaries, against privatization of

schools, for medicine for hospitals, better school construction and repairs, and respect for people’s rights as workers. The unrest in Mexico has gone on for the past five months and has virtually shut down that city’s business and tourism industry. Strikers are calling for the removal of the governor of the state and there have been violent outbreaks recently. One, which took place on Saturday, left 43 people injured and government buildings and several vehicles destroyed by fires set by protestors.

According to Farruggio, Santiago did not come to UTPA because some people feared for his safety, acknowledging the fact that UTPA is close to the border and they thought he could be in danger of getting kidnapped. Supporters also said they were not informed of this visit with enough time to plan for it. However, Santiago sent in a prepared statement to be read to the audience that attended this event, including his thoughts in regard to the difficult situa-

See OAXACA page 13

Personnel changes to benefit IT UTPA joins initative to By LUKE KOONG The Pan American Anne Toal has always been passionate about technology. It is one of the things she likes to explore in her free time. Now, her innate love for all things tech is part of a new job. Toal, a native of Edinburg, will not oversee the computer labs or Help Desk anymore, as she did under her previous title. Instead, The University of TexasPan American’s new technology assessment officer will be in charge of advancing technology offered on campus. She will thus be able to focus full-

time on what she loves. “I work with it all day at work and the idea of being able to be free enough to just focus on this area that I feel so passionately about is a dream,” Toal said. According to Bob Lim, who took over the role of executive vice president of information systems in November, the creation of the new position is a big step toward reaching the goals set for the IT division. “I want Information Technology to be leaders in the delivery of technology solutions resulting in the customer’s ability to do things they couldn’t do

before,” said Lim. The university has never had a position solely based on looking at technology and how to improve it. Toal, who has been at her new post since Nov. 1, said her job will allow the university to react to hazardous technology situations before they begin. “We spent a lot of time reacting to situations that were thrust on us like viruses that attacked campus,” Toal said. “This is more of a proactive position, trying to get in front of technology and bringing things to the campus.” One of Toal’s main responsibilities

See POSITIONS page 13

recognize volunteers

By SIDNEY MEADOWS The Pan American The University of Texas-Pan American is honoring students who participate in volunteer activity with the President’s Volunteer Service Award. The award is given to those that complete the necessary hours within 12 months, from April 1 to March 31. The awards ceremony is held in April for all participants. Recipients can qualify for new awards each year. The recognition is part of the UT

Service and Civic Participation initiative, launched by System Chancellor Mark Yudof in early November, which aims to highlight volunteering activities by students, faculty and staff within the UT System. Awards are based on individual or group volunteering hours, which determines whether the recognized party receives the Bronze, Silver or Gold award. There is also a special award called the President’s Call to Service Award, given to an individual who has complet-

See INITATIVE page 13

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Book asks: Does hard work really pay off? By ANGELA SALAZAR The Pan American Studying hard, working hard and dedicating time to becoming a professional are everyday parts of a student’s life. Every failed midterm or research paper covered in red ink can encourage or discourage students to work harder. The big question, however, is, does hard work pay off in the end? While conventional wisdom says that it does, “Bonjour Laziness: Why Hard Work Doesn’t Pay,” a book by Corinne Maier, explores just this question from the opposite point of view. The book focuses on how businesses are run and whether or not it is in a young person’s interest to put full effort into work. According to Maier, when trying to get a job it is important to not only know what the business is marketing or selling, but also how to market and sell yourself to the company. “To keep from being unemployed, you have to cultivate your ‘employability,’ Maier writes. “The wage earner needs this ill-defined yet indispensable quality these days, at a time when even a product as ordinary as sliced bread vaunts its ‘toastability’, its ‘butterability’ and why not? - even its ‘marmaladability,’ in order to seduce consumers

who never knew that this is what they wanted.” This theory not only holds true in the business world, but in any aspect of professional life. In order to succeed in a highly competitive job market, one must know how to self-promote in order to convince employers that you are what they have been waiting for. It is Maier’s theory that “new is always right,” so young, new workers can liven up and refresh businesses because they can appeal to their own demographic who “live life to the max.” For this young group of up and comers, Maier has another piece of advice in her book: “Never under any circumstances accept a position of responsibility.” It is her belief that the less responsibility someone has with their job, the more they can gain an advantage over the company. The phrase she uses to describe this is “active disengagement.” While Maier’s strategies may work for someone trying to remain at the level they are already at, those looking for advancement, challenge and progress may do better by not applying these concepts. “That is ridiculous,” said Erica Mendiola, a finance graduate of The University of Texas-Pan American, “If you do not give 100 percent, then your supervisors will notice. In the world of

business there are deadlines to meet and goals to accomplish. If you do not accomplish these things, then I think you are as good as gone.” Another main point in the book is that an employee is not being judged on how well he or she can perform in the workplace, but on their ability to conform to the business’ environment. At the university, students in the College of Business Administration are learning skills to help them adapt and stand out in the business world, according to Jane LeMaster, the associate dean for the college. “What we offer is a broad-based degree in business administration,” LeMaster said. “Every student in the College of Business gets a foundation in business – accounting, marketing, finance, economics, So, the students who get their degrees have a good understanding about a business and that can be any kind of business.” In addition, Sheetal Stolani, an MBA student, says unlike Maier, she sees the benefits of hard work. “Business opens the door to many possibilities,” Stolani said. “Business teaches you hard work, organization, communication skills and persistence.” Moreoever, learning every aspect of a business is an advantage for students, according to LeMaster. Instead of

concentrating specifically on one facet, students can gain an all-around knowledge that can help them once they leave the halls of the university. In addition, UTPA students have a slight benefit in that many have learned to manage time better in order to balance both work and school. Balancing both can be hard work, but Stolani says, despite what Maier

may say, it will pay off. “Learning from books is one thing and working hands-on is something totally different,” said Stolani. “No matter what educational background you have, you need to have work experience to be efficient. In my situation I have worked prior to finishing college and I think I was well prepared to work in the real world.”

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November 30, 2006

UTPA Christmas play shows true holiday spirit By FRANK CALVILLO The Pan American There used to be a time when Christmas meant getting together with loved ones and appreciating everything and everyone a person had in their lives. Somewhere down the road, it is unclear where, Christmas became an item, a product with a barcode that people bought and sold without a thought. No one is certain who is to blame for the commercialization of the Christian world’s most beloved holiday, but for some, such as Brian Warren, a theater lecturer at The University of Texas-PanAmerican, the true meaning of Christmas is still clear. Tonight, Warren will invite the public to UTPA’s Jeffers Theatre to see “The Golden Cobwebs,” a new Christmas children’s play he has cowritten and will co-direct. The play tells the story of a young boy named Billy who, through various incidents, has somehow lost the meaning of Christmas and seeks to regain his holiday spirit through magical ways involving fairies and evil spiders. Warren said that more than anything, he hopes children will identify

with the play. “What possessed me with this project was that I really wanted to relate the Christmas message to kids in hopes that they would see themselves in Billy,” he said. Although “Cobwebs” possesses similarities to beloved Christmas classics such as “A Christmas Carol,” or

“The Nutcracker,” Warren feels his play is different. “It’s an old theme in a new message and we are presenting it in a new and interesting way I think,” he said. The process of creating the Christmas tale began this past summer when Marleen Galvan, a student in one of Warren’s classes, came up with the

idea and went to the seasoned writer/director for some input. “I co-wrote the play with Brian. He really liked my idea and wanted to contribute more to it and make it a little more farcical,” said the English major. Warren says that although seeped with fun and laughter, the show will resonate with both younger and older audi-

Marion Monta THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS - Brian Warren and Marleen Galvan’s new children’s play “The Golden Cobwebs” shows its audience what Christmas once was and should be.

ence members. “Many of my students have told me of the time they found out that Santa Claus wasn’t real,” he said. “For many, hopefully this play will help them recapture what Christmas once was for them and should be still.” Cast member Leya Hernandez, who plays “Gizmo” in the production, feels the story’s message is indeed an important one. “This play is about showing people that there is more to this holiday than just presents. It’s actually about cherishing Christmas,” said the theater performance major. Despite the play’s message, Warren insists that “The Golden Cobwebs” is not meant to influence people’s minds. “We are not trying to renew a belief in Santa Claus or anything like that, but instead renew a lost faith in whatever you used to believe in,” said Warren. “It will be paralleled by the magical effect Christmas has on people.” “The Golden Cobwebs” will run through Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. with an additional performance Sunday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. For more information, contact the University Box Office at (956) 3813583.

VSO performs annual holiday concert at local shrine By LESLIE ESTRADA The Pan American The Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorale (VSO) is preparing for its annual holiday concert taking place at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine tonight. Having the holiday concert at this location has become a tradition for the orchestra. “Several years ago we were looking for a location for our concert and the McAllen Civic Center was not available,” said Monica Folk, administrator for the orchestra. “The Basilica opened its doors for us and it has become a tradition to have our holiday concert there.” Alicia Estrada, a sophomore business major at The University of Texas-Pan American, has had the chance to attend past concerts at the Basilica and has enjoyed the experience. “The location is great for a con-

cert of this type,” Estrada said. “It gives you a feeling of warmth and you really feel that Christmas is just around the corner.” The concert will last roughly two hours and the VSO will perform pieces including Honegger’s “Une Cantate de Noel,” Caccini/Mercurio’s “Ave Maria,” Bass’ “A Feast of Carols,” Vivaldi’s “Gloria in D Major” and Bass’ “Glad Things.” “We are preparing pieces that are familiar to mostly everybody,” said Folk. “They may not know them by reading the title, but when they hear them, they’ll recognize the pieces immediately.” As usual, The Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorale will have two special guests at this concert, lending a special touch to the performance. Mazias de Oliveira, a Brazilian tenor, will sing the “Ave Maria” as the orchestra plays. Joe A. Morales, the vice president/general manager for Univision Radio, will be in charge of

narrating the Christmas story. According to Folk, people should not miss this concert since it is one of a kind and marks the beginning of the holiday season. “The orchestra will be performing contemporary holiday music,” she said. “Anybody who is familiar with Christmas music will recognize it.” She added that people should be looking forward to it, since it is an opportunity for a fun night out. “It is a great opportunity for people to dress up a little bit and go out to enjoy themselves,” said Folk. People like Valley native Jorge Garza agree with her. “I already purchased my ticket for the concert,” said Garza. “I’ve never had the chance to attend one of the symphony’s concerts, and I think I chose just the right one to watch them perform.” Even though there will not be a dress rehearsal for students, Folk would like to invite everyone to come

and watch the orchestra perform. “Music is the language of our souls,” Folk said. “Even though not everyone is used to listening to symphonic music, a lot of people are familiar with it more than they think

about.” Reserved seats are $25 to $40. For tickets call the VSO office at (956) 393-2293, visit the Basilica Gift Shop or log on to

Genesis Moreno/The Pan American SEASONAL MUSIC - The Valley Symphony Orchestra will perform its annual holiday concert tonight at 8 p.m.

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Story By: Trey Serna Designed By: Roy Bazan

November 30, 2006

November 30, 2006


he holiday season is about more than cooler temperatures and chaotic shopping malls. It’s also a

time for holiday classics, which are making their way into McAllen. “The Nutcracker” has become the most popular ballet performed around the year-end season. Its story has been reproduced in many forms with a plot revolving around a blonde German girl named Clara Stahlbaum. The names change slightly throughout different versions, but the premise remains the same. According to, the ballet is based on the story of “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice,” written by E.T.A. Hoffman, a young German girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King with seven heads. Gary Mounce, a political science professor at The University of Texas-Pan American, is heavily involved in a local production of “The Nutcracker” and has made it a family affair. Malena Mounce, his wife and a sociology professor at UTPA, is also featured in the ballet. “We love the arts but neither one of us imagined we’d add performance art to our resumes,” the Mounces said. Their children, Joey Mounce, 19, and Nena Mounce, 18, both freshmen at UTPA, will be performing in the ballet as well. “On the first night, Joey will be the Prince and Nena will be the Sugar Plum Fairy,” Gary Mounce said. “At least for fifteen minutes the siblings will pretend they love one another,” he joked. On other nights, the brother and sister duo will share roles with other cast members. The ballet will be performed Dec. 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 3 at 1:30 p.m. a t

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT the McAllen Civic Center. It is presented by the McAllen Association of Performing Arts and tickets are $10. “Where else can one see live world-class ballet for only $10?” asked Malena Mounce. They have been working hard since August and Malena Mounce admitted that the classes and discipline are demanding, but maintains the rewards of artistic development and stronger bodies are great. If some are not able to make it out to the earlier dates of “The Nutcracker,” another version of the ballet will be showing at the McAllen Civic Center, done by a different company. The Deborah Case Dance Academy is the home of the Rio Grande Valley Ballet, which will be performing “ T h e Nutcracker” Dec. 9 and 10. “This is the 34th year and it’s t h e longest running

Page 9 show at the McAllen Civic Center,” said Case. Maggie Lowery, 17, a Nikki Rowe High School senior, has been dancing ballet since she was two years old and performing “The Nutcracker” since she was five. She looks forward to this year’s performance for a special reason. “This will be my last performance of ‘The Nutcracker,’ as I am a senior in high school and will not be in the Valley next year,” said Lowery. “I have performed in ‘The Nutcracker’ since first grade. After this year’s show, I will have performed every female part in the ballet, including Clara, the Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy. This year, I am a parent, a snowflake, and my soloist parts are Arabian and Dew Drop.” Case encourages everyone to come out and enjoy a holiday tradition. Tickets for the ballet are $10-$15 for reserved seating, depending on seating area. “It’s the most famous ballet in America,” Case said. “‘The Nutcracker’ is a family affair and a holiday classic so people should c o m e out.”

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Story By: Trey Serna Designed By: Roy Bazan

November 30, 2006

November 30, 2006


he holiday season is about more than cooler temperatures and chaotic shopping malls. It’s also a

time for holiday classics, which are making their way into McAllen. “The Nutcracker” has become the most popular ballet performed around the year-end season. Its story has been reproduced in many forms with a plot revolving around a blonde German girl named Clara Stahlbaum. The names change slightly throughout different versions, but the premise remains the same. According to, the ballet is based on the story of “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice,” written by E.T.A. Hoffman, a young German girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King with seven heads. Gary Mounce, a political science professor at The University of Texas-Pan American, is heavily involved in a local production of “The Nutcracker” and has made it a family affair. Malena Mounce, his wife and a sociology professor at UTPA, is also featured in the ballet. “We love the arts but neither one of us imagined we’d add performance art to our resumes,” the Mounces said. Their children, Joey Mounce, 19, and Nena Mounce, 18, both freshmen at UTPA, will be performing in the ballet as well. “On the first night, Joey will be the Prince and Nena will be the Sugar Plum Fairy,” Gary Mounce said. “At least for fifteen minutes the siblings will pretend they love one another,” he joked. On other nights, the brother and sister duo will share roles with other cast members. The ballet will be performed Dec. 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 3 at 1:30 p.m. a t

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT the McAllen Civic Center. It is presented by the McAllen Association of Performing Arts and tickets are $10. “Where else can one see live world-class ballet for only $10?” asked Malena Mounce. They have been working hard since August and Malena Mounce admitted that the classes and discipline are demanding, but maintains the rewards of artistic development and stronger bodies are great. If some are not able to make it out to the earlier dates of “The Nutcracker,” another version of the ballet will be showing at the McAllen Civic Center, done by a different company. The Deborah Case Dance Academy is the home of the Rio Grande Valley Ballet, which will be performing “ T h e Nutcracker” Dec. 9 and 10. “This is the 34th year and it’s t h e longest running

Page 9 show at the McAllen Civic Center,” said Case. Maggie Lowery, 17, a Nikki Rowe High School senior, has been dancing ballet since she was two years old and performing “The Nutcracker” since she was five. She looks forward to this year’s performance for a special reason. “This will be my last performance of ‘The Nutcracker,’ as I am a senior in high school and will not be in the Valley next year,” said Lowery. “I have performed in ‘The Nutcracker’ since first grade. After this year’s show, I will have performed every female part in the ballet, including Clara, the Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy. This year, I am a parent, a snowflake, and my soloist parts are Arabian and Dew Drop.” Case encourages everyone to come out and enjoy a holiday tradition. Tickets for the ballet are $10-$15 for reserved seating, depending on seating area. “It’s the most famous ballet in America,” Case said. “‘The Nutcracker’ is a family affair and a holiday classic so people should c o m e out.”


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November 30, 2006

New holiday comedy lacks cheer, laughs By FRANK CALVILLO The Pan American

NEW ORLEANS THEME - Christmas parade aims to blend Mardi Gras flair with Christmas traditions.

Mardi gras-themed parade hits Harlingen By CLAUDETTE GONZALEZ

The Pan American Now in its 60th year, the Harlingen Jaycees’ annual Christmas parade will hit the pavement promptly at 7 pm tomorrow, come rain or shine, and will last roughly three to four hours. However, the Jaycees have been planning since the minute last year’s parade ended. “At the end of every parade, that same day the Harlingen Jaycees all gather at someone’s house for a celebration dinner for a job well done,” said Harlingen native Andres Gonzalez, who was a member of the organization for four years. “We then each come up with a theme for next year and we vote.” Themes for previous parades include cartoon Christmas, Christmas at the movies and Christmas around the world. This year’s theme is Mardi Gras Christmas. While parade organizer Patricia Avila doesn’t know exactly how participants will execute the theme, she does know it’ll be a great show. “The folks are pretty creative and I am excited to see how they incorporate the theme into their parade entry,” Avila said. Avila feels that all the hard work

that goes into the parade on the part of the organizers and the participants is worth it. “We strive to put out a good parade and we get positive feedback,” Avila said. “This is a family oriented event and we know that the community, especially the kids, look forward to seeing the parade…I mean, Santa.” Avila is still accepting entries for the parade but she estimates that there will be about 90 to 100 entries participating in Friday’s parade. In addition to many floats, both Harlingen high school bands and several middle school bands will march and play music. For the bands, the parade is a chance to play some fun music. This year, the Harlingen High School Cardinal Band will play “Frosty the Snowman.” While the details are still in the works, Cardinal head band director Ronnie Rios said the band’s attire and choreography will go along with the Mardi Gras Christmas theme. Other participants will include local businesses and organizations such as The Salvation Army, Fun & Sun and several church groups. According to Avila and Gonzalez, people of all ages from Harlingen and neighboring cities such as San Benito,

Rio Hondo, Combes and La Feria come out to see the parade. “Everyone is invited to our parade,” Avila said. “I know that we have winter Texans participate in the parade and are also spectators. As I mentioned, this is geared toward family and I hope that our Christmas parade brings fond memories for families.” The parade will take place on Jackson Street, starting at 4th Street and continuing past A Street. Participants will be judged, with trophies and cash prizes going to 1st and 2nd place winners. In addition to the annual Christmas parade, the Jaycees organize several other Harlingen events including the 4th of July parade, Blues on the Hill, Rio Fest and the Easter Egg hunt. However, the Christmas parade is the biggest fundraiser for the community service organization composed solely of 21- to 41-year-olds. For information about participating in the parade as a vendor or for information about joining the Jaycees, contact Avila at (956) 245-5005 or by email at To volunteer at the parade, stop by the registration table tomorrow for an assignment.

It’s a good thing that “Deck the Halls” was released during the Thanksgiving holiday since that’s the time for turkeys. One of a handful of holiday-themed films for the winter season, “Deck the Halls” is a film that boasts well-known actors, physical comedy and a soundtrack that’s bursting with Christmas songs. The plot is simple. Local optometrist Steve Finch (Matthew Broderick) is a family man so obsessed with Christmas that he has his loved ones on a Christmas schedule. Steve is so in love with the holiday, he even goes as far as telling his kids to submit all Christmas caroling requests in writing. Meanwhile Buddy Hall (Danny DeVito) is a car salesman who has recently moved himself and his family into town, becoming the Finches’ new neighbors. Buddy is disappointed with the way his life has turned out and wants to do something that people will remember him for. As a result, he decorates the outside of his house to the hilt with tons of Christmas lights in the hopes they will be seen from space. This doesn’t bode well with Steve, the self-proclaimed “Christmas guy” who makes it his mission to thwart Buddy’s plan. It isn’t long before the two men are battling it out in an effort to outChristmas each other. It’s pretty much a sure-fire bet that every year around this time there will be a few movies full of holiday cheer and sentimentality for families to choose from. However the problem with films such as these is that they only fall into one of two categories: naughty or nice. Very few films have earned the right to be on the naughty list quite like “Deck the Halls.” To begin with, the story is sketchy at best. If you ask any person on the street what the film was about simply from seeing the trailers, they would more than likely be unable to provide you with any

type of clear answer. This is a comedy, but without any solid or novel jokes to support it. Instead, the film relies too heavily on tired sight gags and an overabundance of physical comedy to force laughs from its generous audience. Perhaps what hurts the film the most are the two main characters. Steve is upset because he must endure his new neighbor’s many annoying actions at the expense of his property and family so he sets out to literally wreck Buddy’s Christmas. Buddy wants to feel special for once by doing something he will always be remembered for which means sabotaging Steve’s Christmas. Who is the hero? Who is the villain? Who should be applauded and who should be booed off the screen? In the end, who really cares? Both characters are so petty, childish and mean-spirited that neither one really deserves any sympathy from the audience, let alone a merry Christmas. Star power is about the only thing this lame holiday comedy has going for it. As the two neighbors, Devito and Broderick bring as much as they can to their underwritten roles (especially Devito, who supplies plenty of that trademark humor movie audiences love him for.) However the chemistry between the two leads is all but non-existent. In fact their scenes are so bad, you feel as if they received the script a mere five minutes prior to shooting. These are both very gifted and wellloved actors. Surely there must be some film vehicles out there that are more deserving of their talents. Films of this genre can be tricky. Some are excruciatingly awful like Ben Affleck’s 2004 fiasco “Surviving Christmas,” and some are heart-tugging like last year’s hit “The Family Stone.” If there’s anything to be said for “Deck the Halls,” it’s that at least it’s nowhere near as horrendous as “The Santa Clause 3.” However, if this film fails to satisfy, I suggest you wait for the upcoming release of the horror-film remake “Black Christmas.” At least it can offer more cheer. BATTLING FOR CHRISTMAS - Steve Finch (Matthew Broderick, left) and Buddy Hall (Danny Devito, right) play dueling neighbors in the “Deck the Halls.”


Editor’s Pick: Must-read book “The Homecoming,” the new book from best-selling sci-fi author Ray Bradbury

Music department to perform 1940s opera

By ANGELA SALAZAR The Pan American Students from the opera workshop at The University of Texas-Pan American’s music department will perform the folk opera “Down in the Valley” Dec. 3 at 7:30 pm in the Studio Theater. Like all operas and musicals, “Down in the Valley” tells a story, primarily through song and dance, using music to describe some of the characters’ most private thoughts or feelings. “‘Down in the Valley’ is the tragic love story of Jennie Parsons and Brack Weaver, set in rural Alabama around the beginning of the 20th century”, said Ruth Crews, an assistant professor in the music department. “The opera uses a narrator and dramatic flash black as its major techniques to explain the circumstances that have led to the conviction and hanging of Brack for the death of Thomas Bouche,” she added. In the past few decades the line between musicals and operas has been blurred, leaving some to question what genre “Valley” falls into. “Since it has spoken dialogue, it could possibly be considered a musical,” said Crews. “Yet all of the spoken dia-

Anglea Salazar/The Pan American TRAGIC LOVE - Anastacia Ortiz (left) and Geronimo Ruedas (right) star in “Down in the Valley,” an old-time opera being performed by UTPA’s music department for only the second time in its history.

logue is delivered over music and the singing style required is more classical than just belting or popular.” Dancing also plays a key role in telling the story. There are scenes that require a little bit of square dancing, which brings out the setting and time period. This is the second time this opera

will be performed at UTPA. The last was in 1975, and bringing it back is something that has been in the wings for quite some time. This piece is normally performed by workshops such as the opera workshop or community workshops. The atmosphere that will be set by the scenery is simple. By using lighting changes and a few subtle props the tran-

sitions from Jennie’s house to Brack’s jail cell is simple and dramatic. Students are also becoming acquainted with this new style. “All of the students in this production are new to this style of music and performance,” Crews said. “Much of the music is difficult harmonically and rhythmically and they have risen to the

challenge.” Even the performers within the show see the progress that has been made through the show. “I think we’ve come a long way. A lot of our students are first year students who don’t read music and I think it will be a good show,” said Geronimo J.C. Ruedas. “Down in the Valley” was written by Kurt Weill and its first performance was actually for radio in August 1948. The real break for this production came in 1950 when it became one of the first musical theater works to be broadcast on television. The characters of Jennie Parsons and Brack Weaver are being played by Anastacia Ortiz and Ruedas. “My character is named Brack Weaver,” said Ruedas, “he is a poor country boy who lives in the rural valley, like an Oklahoma setting, but on a smaller scale.” Brack is one of the main leads of the opera. “I fall in love with the character Jennie Parsons,” said Ruedas about his character Brack, “and I plan on telling her I love her.” It is the classic tale of a love that can never be.

Video poker craze sweeps nation, raises concerns By BRIAN CARR The Pan American Gambling has come a long way since the days of riverboat casinos and Old West saloons. The popularity of the World Series of Poker has led to an ESPN contract and a befuddling misconception that the game is a sport and a pastime, its legitimacy nearly unchecked by puritanical condemnation. At the turn of the 20th century, games of chance for the sake of monetary gain were widely condemned, though widely pursued. But 21st-century technology has alleviated ridicule, and lent accessibility to the pursuit through virtual gaming sites and simulated poker videogames. Long gone is the notion that gambling requires a trip to Las Vegas. The nearly unregulated world of online casinos allows Sin City to come to you. Of course, in the virtual world, the

risk is still the same. But thankfully the videogame industry has created primer games to teach skills while also providing endless hours of entertainment. Herschel Greenberg of Whittier, Ca., is a top reviewer for In his review of “Poker Academy V2,” Amazon’s highest selling poker video game, he sums up the aim of the simulation. “The best thing I can say about this poker training tool (I think of it more of a tool than a game),” Greenberg wrote, “is how well I have done at a real Texas Hold ‘Em table…with the knowledge I have gained.” However, for Keith White, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, the acceptance of games like “Poker Academy V2” as a training ground for actual gambling is a big concern. “What we have found is that many sites and games don’t have true odds,” White said. “They tend to favor the

player.” White argues that these skewed odds lead to over-confidence in gamblers. And while quick to acknowledge that most games will not lead to gambling addictions, he feels it is necessary for would-be gamblers to understand the real-world risks of wagering. “We see the games as a neutral,” White said. “But we definitely feel that gambling should be addressed in the same way that parents have the sex, drugs and rock and roll talk with their kids.” Other games, such as “World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions,” take less educational approaches to the world of sport gambling. In that particular title players assume an avatar and work through a career mode that brings about encounters with real-life poker greats such as 2005 World Series winner Joseph Hachem. The gripe most players have with this game is that the computer comes out CAN YOU BLUFF ONLINE? - Online video poker has taken the place of traditional pastimes for many Americans.

with a lot of big hands on the flop, and gets a ridiculous number of flushes and straights. In that regard it is a great tool

for gamblers as it teaches the cardinal rule of the casino industry: The house always wins.


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MENCHU continued from page 1 speech in her native language, Maya Quiche, Menchu-Tum welcomed the “multicultural, multi-ethnic” audience that sat wide-eyed, staring up at her. The rest of her speech was in Spanish, with subtitles in English appearing on a large screen at the other end of the stage. Menchu-Tum is the author of several books, including four children’s books, but she has received the most attention for her first book, the autobiography titled “I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala,” which she co-wrote with Elisabeth Burgos. The autobiography tells of the struggles and tragedies she encountered growing up in Guatemala during the country’s long civil war, and is taught in many schools nationwide. “We are co-authors of a book that went on to be a history of Guatemala, that went on to be a jewel for me and for Guatemala, that reveals what I felt, what I thought, my suffering and my pain,” Menchu-Tum said. After writing this book, MenchuTum was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. However, soon after, anthropologist David Stoll and New York Times reporter Larry Rohter revealed that certain details in the book were not true, including the death by malnutrition of a brother whom the reporters found to be

alive and well on a farm in Guatemala with his family. While the book may be more accurately called a portrayal of the plight of Guatemala’s indigenous population than an autobiography, it is clear that Menchu-Tum’s life has not been easy. Menchu-Tum was only two years old when the 36-year-long civil war began in Guatemala. At the core of the conflict was a struggle between the indigenous population and the European governing class. “We were constantly hearing about kidnappings, torturings, disappearances, and it also touched my family,” MenchuTum said. During this conflict, Menchu says that her father was burned alive at the Spanish embassy in Guatemala in 1980, and her mother was kidnapped and tortured soon after. Although Menchu-Tum says there has been much progress in the integration of the indigenous people into the local and national governments, she still sees room for improvement. “I think there are more indigenous people who are involved in public administration, but that doesn’t change the fact that the system is racist,” Menchu-Tum said. “We’re going to have a lot of work over the next few years to

eradicate racism and discrimination, and Guatemala can be a model for intercultural, multicultural, multilingual living in Latin America.” Rosalina Ruiz, who works in the GEAR UP office on campus, says she identifies with Menchu-Tum’s stories because she sees similar struggles in her native Mexico. She also admires the humility that Menchu-Tum shows despite her success. “Her stories are amazing,” Ruiz said. “Given the popularity she has received, she still keeps herself so humble. She continues to be one of them. She’s still very involved with her own people.” And Menchu-Tum agreed that it is important to support la gente, or the people. “If I can help, I have to help. There’s no better way than to hear the person, hear their problems, be on the side of the people,” Menchu-Tum said. “I’m always on the side of the people.” But Menchu-Tum knows that she isn’t the only one working for Guatemalans’ civil rights. “I’m not the only fighter in Guatemala, nor the most important one,” Menchu-Tum said. “I’m just one more person.” Roberto Rivera, a senior anthropol-

Sidney Meadows/The Pan American Q&A - Daisy Perez, a business administration graduate student, asks Rigoberta Menchu-Tum a question during the open forum part of her speech.

ogy major from Honduras, spent the summer of 2005 in Guatemala doing ethnographic studies. Because of his experience in the country and his own Latin American heritage, Rivera was

excited to be able to get to know the Nobel laureate. “I’m honored to get to hear her speak because she’s from Guatemala,” Rivera said. “Our countries are neighbors.”

number of students in a class can be waived if it is a class the university hasn’t previously offered. The search for new faculty and other circumstances are also factored into a decision for cancellation. “If there is low enrollment or we can’t find an instructor, we try to switch the class or let students know of other options they can enroll in,” said Lokenath Debnath, chair of the mathematics department. Classes are only canceled under extenuating circumstances, and this fall only two or three classes were canceled,

according to Debnath. “Many times we just combine classes if the enrollment numbers in one or both are too low, but we don’t want students suffering so we make sure to take care of all this within the first week of classes, if not sooner,” he added. The university does have some restrictions on class size, with undergraduate classes requiring at the very least between 10 and 15 students and graduate classes needing a minimum of five students. “If our classes look like they won’t be big enough, we try to make a predic-

tion of whether to cancel or not,” said Guang-Zhen Wang, sociology department chair. “Sometimes it’s a risky prediction, but we can usually judge which classes will not be able to make and which will.” Since students register at different times, many of them at the last minute, Wang said officials often have to wait until right before the semester starts to make a decision “Regardless of what the decision is we always try to make sure that students are helped and not harmed by the department’s choice,” Wang added.

lenges associated with becoming a nurse can be daunting. “Studying to be a nurse is not like getting a degree in accounting or history where you have to complete the 48-hour deal, then certain hours in your field,” Medina said. “We have to take more hours that help us know things here and there; everything that we might run into at the work place.” Prospective nursing students are required to take more than just the 48 hours core curriculum, which in normal cases includes the two semesters of science and math among other classes.

Before applying to the program, students must have at least 45 hours of the BSN’s core classes complete, which includes nutrition, clinical microbiology, psychology and chemistry. If accepted, the student must have a total of 70 hours of the nursing program’s core classes in order to officially begin. According to Carolina Huerta, nursing department chair, getting into the program is the first checkpoint that decides if students are meant for the vocation or not. “Students are well aware that the nursing program is highly competitive,”

Huerta explained. “Acceptance to this program is based on academic performance so students must show that dedication they are expected to have in the field since the beginning of their college education.” Overall, Mellen says the selective process is done in the name of the patient care. “What matters in this field is the patients’ safety and needs,” Mellen said. “I would rather have a limited number of nurses on the floor, as long as they are competent to take on the potential situations that can occur on that floor.”

CANCELED continued from page 1 load required of international students. “What angered us most was that they acted like it was no big deal,” said Eckhardt. “They know we have to take twelve hours, but they didn’t contact us as fast as they should have.” While the experience Eckhardt and Nowak had is rare, sometimes students are caught completely unaware of canceled classes until the semester is about to begin or has already begun. The decision of whether to cancel a class or not is mainly left to department heads. A variety of factors go into the decision-making process but the goal is

generally to try and salvage the class in question. “We don’t like to cancel a class. Usually it comes down to whether or not the teaching position can be filled,” said Mohammed Farooqui, biology department chair. “We try to help the students. As soon as we’re sure a class is going to be canceled we notify the admissions office so they can contact students.” He also added that the department generally knows about a month before classes start whether they’ll be canceled or not - usually based on low enrollment - and that sometimes the rules about the

NURSES continued from page 1 students what they will get into,” Mellen said. “I understand the need of more nurses, but we also need to consider that as educators, we have the obligation of producing the competent nurses, no matter the number that amounts to. WHY A SHORTAGE? The JCAHO produced a study showing that many nurses left their jobs because of poor administrative support and tension due to lack of autonomy, inflexible work schedules, indifferent and inadequate personnel, and uncompetitive salaries and benefits.

To Carlos Grajeda, a licensed vocational nurse in Rio Grande City, leaving a nursing job for such reasons can also illustrate a lack of vocational passion. “I am a nurse to draw attention to the full range of human experiences and responses to health and illness,” Grajeda explained. “The fact that my actions can make a difference is what drives my love for the profession. Yes there are long days, and yes there are times where you feel that you have no life, but the life you give each patient just feeds on to my own.” In addition, Melissa Medina, a UTPA nursing student, says the chal-


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VAN continued from page 3 Students like Chris Ramirez, a sophomore art major, are doing their part to help Alvarez by asking local merchants and donors for contributions, in addition to e-mailing other students to do the same. “I met Victor in my honors class and had read his columns in The Monitor,” he said. “I respected him greatly and felt that his vitality for life deserved attention from others, and I always enjoy helping others.” Irazema Reyes, a sophomore inter-

POSITIONS continued from page 3 is to converse with the student body for ideas. She said the more input she receives, the more she can tailor the university’s technology to serve their needs. “[Receiving input] is a sign of pent-up demands that students may have for something that may or may not have gotten on our radar yet,” she said. The former director of academic computing has worked at the university 22 years and has passed down her previous duty of maintaining computer support to Janie Palacios, the director of academic services. Palacios said the Computer Support department has made a smooth transition and is continuing to make improvements to better their services to the university. The job of maintaining the Help Desk has been given to Jon Pena, computer user services specialist. Currently, Toal is working on improving the Oracle system for new employees, streamlining processes to get them assimilated into the university faster. She is exploring the possibility of adding a Web-based financial aid calculator, giving students the ability to create Web pages, and starting a MySpacetype service. Additionally, Toal is working with the Center for Learning, Teaching and Technology to get iTunes U ready for launch.

disciplinary studies major, followed Ramirez’s lead after receiving e-mails sent to the Student Leadership Program. “When Chris e-mailed me about Victor, it really touched me,” said Reyes, a member of SLP. “I do not know Victor and have never seen him, but I know he is going through a tough situation and I want to help him.” Elizabeth Gearhart, Alvarez’s caregiver, says two of the main reasons the student needs a new vehicle is because their current van, a 1992 Ford

Econoline, has an engine that overheats and a ramp that often gets stuck as Alvarez is moved in and out of it. “I have learned a lot by being around Victor,” she said. “One of the things I’ve learned is that we all have areas that we are strong in and areas that we are weak in. Nobody is completely independent, and we all have to make up for each others’ weaknesses.” Spinal Muscular Atrophy Support, a non-profit organization that provides support and information to family,

friends and caregivers of individuals with the disability, is receiving and holding donations and will eventually purchase the van. “We’re helping Victor because we know how difficult it is to travel with this disability,” said Laura Stantz, founder of SMAS. “While we do have a close relationship with Victor, the reason we are helping him is because he asked for help, and that’s what we do.” The vehicle Alvarez currently owns was donated to him by the Texas

Elks Children Services, a nonprofit organization sponsored by the Elks Club. The Elks Club is a 138-year-old fraternal organization commonly associated with charitable works. “I think people should consider donating for this cause because they are making an investment in helping me have this basic necessity,” said Alvarez. “I have always tried to return the generosity of organizations that help me, and if they help me, their money will be put to very good use.”

OAXACA continued from page 3 tion with the strike in Oaxaca. “They call us violent for defending our public education,” Santiago said in the statement. “What we want is a real government to represent the population of Oaxaca in all its diversity,” he added. As part of his American experience, Santiago was charged by his group with coming to see how education in America is and how the government stands. Their main concern is to get the word out about the situation in Mexico and get as much help as possible to fight for better education there; they are after better benefits for educators as well. Those assembled expressed their disappointment at the cancellation. “I would have been glad and honored to meet him,” said Efrain Barron, a junior Spanish major from Lyford. The word is that his visit has been postponed until April. Even though the students were not able to talk to Santiago on a one-on-one basis, he was allowed to have a teleconference in which students and professors were able to participate and ask questions. During that address, Santiago further explained the group’s grievances with the authorities. “The state government attacks our traditions, commercializes our culture in a way that mocks and insults the people, and intervenes openly in the towns and communities that haven't conceded to its demands,” he said. A film was also shown to demon-

strate the political movement in Oaxaca, illustrating the struggle the members of the protest have undertaken to illustrate the refusal of the government to hear the people and satisfy their human rights. They say the government has taken no action other than violence to help their cause against privatization of schools and better education for the students. “They have no respect for human rights and dignity,” said Farruggio, who also criticized the U.S. education plan, “No Child Left Behind,” which he said is “a worldwide attack against quality education for poor and minority children.”


Sidney Meadows/ The Pan American PROJECTED - Telesforo Santiago speaks via satellite about the Oaxaca teachers’ struggle Nov. 17 in the Library Media Theater.

The film showed how materials in schools are extremely scarce and, as a result, teachers have to buy most school supplies. Salaries are extremely low for teachers in Oaxaca so they have trouble meeting living expenses; some have up to three jobs and even then, it is still not enough. Though education is the focus of the fight, the overarching problem in Oaxaca,

say the strikers, is the governor, a man whom they describe as very “old school.” “Ulises Ruiz was elected governor because of electoral fraud,” Santiago claimed. The film also attempted to demonstrate the cruelty and violence in Oaxaca, which strikers say is perpetrated by police against people fighting for their human rights. The people are also afraid that Ruiz will misuse taxpayer money he has been given. “People are dying because of police violence, curable disease and malnutrition,” Santiago said. “He (Ruiz) refuses to do anything about this concern toward the demand for better education so therefore the people of Oaxaca want his immediate resignation of which he

clearly does not want to do; he continues to promote violence rather than to come up with solutions.” Santiago has asked for student participation to help resolve this difficult situation, encouraging people to write letters to President Vicente Fox before he steps down from the presidency Dec. 1, and to Felipe Calderon, who will replace Fox. Santiago said the letters should inform the high-level politicians of concerns that U.S. students have about the fiasco in Oaxaca, and express interest in the resignation of Ruiz. Those interested in taking part in the protest are encouraged to get more information from Virginia Gause, UTPA systems librarian, who will handle petitions and send the letters.

said she is glad that students who volunteer will get the acclaim they deserve. “We are honored to kick off this new tradition,” Cardenas said. “They deserve to be recognized for the generous giving of their time and service to help improve life for the people here and across the border.” The program was started several years ago by the president of the United States to motivate people toward community service and has been adopted by UTPA this year; 176 participants are currently registered for the program with 110 students.

“This is a win-win for everybody,” Broshears said. “The places we volunteer receive some much-needed works that they otherwise might not be able to afford, and the participants learn to focus on others, and you learn about yourself.” Large scheduled events are not the only available choices for helping with community service. Events like a park or highway cleanup also count for community service hours. The most common ways are to volunteer at hospitals, community agencies and churches. “This award is really to recognize the students who are already committed

to the community, and to influence others,” Broshears said. Yudof believes the rising popularity of volunteering among young people is a good sign for the country. “The increase in civic engagement on college campuses bodes well for America’s ability to overcome a wide variety of social challenges,” Yudof said. Cardenas added that she is pleased with the active role the UTPA community plays in local advancement. “I’m proud of the many students and employees doing extraordinary work for this community,” said Cardenas.

“They call us violent for defending our public education. What we want is a real government to represent the population of Oaxaca in all its diversity.” - Telesforo Santiago, teacher from Oaxaca

INITATIVE continued from page 3 ed more than 4,000 volunteer service hours. Recipients receive an official President’s Volunteer Service Award pin, a personalized certificate of achievement, a note of congratulations from the president of the United States, and a letter from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. However, for all levels of recognition, no scholarships or cash prizes are awarded. According to Jeanette Broshears, director of student life, this decision was made with good reason. “We don’t want people to join because they are getting anything. We

want them to understand that they are doing something great on their own,” Broshears said. For groups who organize events for service projects, such as Kappa Sigma which has taken part in events like Bike to the Coast and the basketball tournament Boarded in the past - the recognition just adds to the already present satisfaction of giving back. “These things are our duty to our university, our responsibility,” said Travis Butler, a kinesiology major and Kappa Sigma member. UTPA President Blandina Cardenas

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November 30, 2006

Tampa Bay Devil Rays sign major league pitching coach Former Bronc, Houston Astro Hickey joins new club Former Houston Astros pitching coach Jim Hickey signed on with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as their new pitching coach Nov. 18. “Jim helped build a tradition of pitching excellence in Houston at both the minor and major league level and we are excited to add him to the major league coaching staff,” said Andrew Friedman, Tampa Bay’s executive vice president of baseball operations. Hickey was part of the coaching staff that guided Houston to the World Series in 2005. The pitching staff was among the best in the league, with three players in the top seven for earned run average, fewest runs and fewest walks. Hickey is a former pitcher with The University of Texas-Pan American. During his collegiate tenure, he was selected as a first team All-American in 1983. He helped the team set a record for wins (64) and advance to the NCAA Central Regional Tournament. The Pan American

Women’s Basketball Sat. Nov. 25 Texas-Pan American vs Louisiana-Monroe (Strahan Coliseum, San Marcos) Texas-Pan American (3-3) Daniel 5-8 0-0 0-3 10, Grigsby 6-15 2-3 3-6 17, Jones 2-3 0-0 0-2 4, Vaughn 4-10 1-2 2-2 11, Jean 0-4 0-0 0-0 0, Wilson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0, Gray 1-2 0-0 0-0 2, Freeman 0-3 0-2 0-0 0, Winfrey 0-2 0-1 0-2 0, Garrett 1-4 0-0 1-2 3, Woodard 2-6 0-0 0-0 4. Louisiana-Monroe (5-1) Winston 2-7 0-0 0-0 4, Lloyd 3-5 0-0 1-2 7, O'Neal 4-8 2-5 3-3 13, Howard 1-10 0-6 2-2 4, Aldredge 1-3 0-2 0-0 2, Jackson 0-2 0-0 5-6 5, Williams 5-9 1-3 1-1 12, Carrier 0-2 0-2 0-0 0, Wallis 0-10-0 1-2 1, Davis 0-0 0-0 0-0 0, Hogg 0-2 0-10-0 0, Adriaansz 1-2 0-0 1-2 3, Williams 2-5 0-0 0-0 4.

Dec. 1 Dec. 2 Dec. 6

Upcoming Schedule @ Western Michigan (Air Force Academy Tournament) TBA (Air Force Academy Tournament) @ Texas

7:30 p.m. TBA 7:00 p.m.

Men’s Basketball Tues. Nov. 21 Texas-Pan American vs Texas-Arlington (Texas Hall, Arlington) Texas-Pan American (4-1) Allgood 5-9 0-1 2-2 12, Lien 3-7 0-0 3-3 9, Stoll 1-3 0-2 1-1 3, Burrell 6-16 5-12 4-4 21, Shankle 4-6 3-4 0-0 11, Edwards 0-0 0-0 0-0 0, Chatman 0-2 0-2 0-0 0, Sheppard 0-2 0-0 0-0 0, Robinson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0, Trader 5-7 0-0 3-4 13. Texas-Arlington (3-3) Vereen 6-8 0-0 4-4 16, Posey 4-7 0-0 1-2 9, Griffin 9-11 0-0 3-5 21, Guignard 2-6 0-3 0-0 4, Epps 2-9 0-5 6-8 10, Henry 1-1 0-0 1-3 3, Hunter 4-4 0-0 0-0 8, Read 0-0 0-0 0-0 0, Long 2-6 1-3 0-0 5, Moffitt 0-3 0-0 0-0 0.

Dec. 1 Dec. 2 Dec. 6

Upcoming Schedule @ Iowa (Hawkeye Classic Tournament) @ LaSalle or Coppin State (Hawkeye Classic Tournament) @ Air Force Academy

8:00 p.m. TBA 7:00 p.m.


November 30, 2006

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Broncs come up with victory at end By ERICK QUINTERO The Pan American The University of Texas-Pan American men’s basketball team is off to its best start in recent years. On Nov. 18 the Broncs improved to 4-0 on the year at the expense of Southland Conference foe Texas State University at Sam William’s Court. The Bobcat’s full court press and aggressive inside play gave them an early 12-6 lead over UTPA with just over 15 minutes left to play. “Any time you play a pressing team they are going to speed you up and

try to take you out of the things you want to do,” head coach Tom Schuberth said. With 13:55 showing on the clock Brian Burrell drove to the baseline and made good on a pull-up jumper. Burrell’s hot hand netted him a cool 31 points on 12-of-21 shooting, including 6-of-12 from downtown. “Just shooting, I don’t really think about it. I just concentrate on the back of the rim,” Burrell said. The Broncs were up 38-33 at the half after Burrell got loose and connected from the field. The second half saw the Green and Orange attack the Bobcat full court press

Onydia Garza/The Pan American WALKING THE LINE - Foward Zach Trader won the game Tuesday night against Univ. of Texas-Arlington with the score of 73-74. Zach made the deciding point with a free throw. His stats for free throws for the game was 4-5.

by sending players to the middle for outlet passes. After breaking the Bobcat press the Bronc’s passing found Zach Trader alone in the low block for an easy two leaving the score at 45-42 with 14:02 remaining. The Broncs went to Trader for a good portion of the second half. Trader’s aggressiveness was rewarded with 18 trips to the free throw line where he connected 14 attempts. The hard-nosed forward added four rebounds to go along with 16 points. Texas State would not go down without a fight. The Bobcats cut the Bronc lead to three, 61-58, with 4:05 left to play. The next Bronc possessions saw Trader sink four free throws and Lien add two on a fast break for a 67-58 lead. “Our guys focused. We said let’s do what we can do well and that’s half court defense. We focused on their shooters...we just made them earn everything. It was a good team defensive win,” Schuberth said. The Broncs never looked back after taking the lead and finished off the Bobcats with a final score of 77-64. On Nov. 22 the men tasted defeat with a 76-69 road loss to The University of Texas-Arlington Mavericks. Against the Mavericks UTPA held a 32-31 halftime lead but were unable to finish off the Mavericks in the second half. The Broncs, who boast the top ranked offense among Division I Independents, had four players reach double-digits in scoring. Burrell led the Bronc attack with 21 points, Trader tallied 13, Julius Allgood scored 12 and Dexter Shankle chipped in with 11. The Mavericks shot 54 percent from the field connecting on 30-of-55 attempts while UTPA made 46 percent of it’s field goal attempts on 24-of-54 shots.

Jermaine Griffin led UTA with 21 points while Anthony Vereen added 16. The Broncs pulled off a victory in their re-match over UTA, 74-73, on Monday at home and improved to 5-1. The Broncs trailed all game and were down by as many as 11 points with 10:16 remaining in the game. However the Broncs stuck to their defensive plan and continued to run their offense which was led by Burrell’s 26 points. “To be honest I don’t really know how many points I’m scoring. I don’t keep track,” Burrell said of his hot hand. With 2:03 left to play in the game Lien recorded his ninth defensive rebound of the night. The rebound led to a quick bucket on the other end when Trader kept the game open as he nailed a sweet bank shot to tie the game at 73-73. Lien ended the game with 10 points and nine rebounds, one rebound shy of his third double-double of the season. Shankle took a charge with 42 seconds left giving the Broncs momentum and the ball with a chance to win, but Trader got called for traveling when he lifted his pivot foot under the hoop. With 13 seconds left and time winding down the Mavericks had a chance to win the game but Jermain Griffin missed for the Mavericks and after a mad scramble Trader pulled the rebound but a Maverick player reached over his back with 0.1 seconds left. Trader shot two for a chance to win the game. “Everybody just boxed out and we didn’t let them get a second shot in,” Trader said of the game’s last seconds. The 1,116 people in attendance were brought to their feet as Trader made his way to the line. He calmly sank the first, missed the second on purpose and gave the Bronc basketball band reason to play even louder.

Lady Broncs hit rough waters over break Design By DA XIE

By KRISTYNA MANCIAS The Pan American The Thanksgiving break was no gravy for The University of Texas-Pan American Lady Broncs as they dropped two straight games Friday and Saturday at the CenturyTel Bobcat Classic in San Marcos. The Lady Broncs matched up against the Bobcats from Texas State in the first round of tournament play, falling short 6259. UTPA had several chances to take the lead after a three-pointer by Hadley Freeman put the Lady Broncs within one but that was the closest they would get. With 10 seconds left in regulation,

free throws were what edged the Bobcats over UTPA. Texas State shot a dismal 26.1 percent from the field but free throws were the determining factor in the loss, as the Bobcats went 15 for 26 from the charity stripe versus the Lady Broncs’ 6-of-13. UTPA was led by newcomer LeKeisha Gray, who finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Sophomore Robin Garrett added seven points on 3-of-3 shooting. Saturday the Lady Broncs were unable to pull out a close victory against Louisiana-Monroe, dropping the second tournament game to the Warhawks, 55-51. UTPA started off strong taking the lead 7-5 in the opening minutes but

Louisiana-Monroe’s high-powered offense put the Warhawks up 30-19 heading into the locker room. The Lady Broncs fought their way back in the second half but ULM took advantage in the final minutes of regulation. The Lady Broncs were sparked by freshman Aleeya Grigsby but her efforts would not be enough; she finished with a game-high 17 points. The six-foot forward was selected to the CenturyTel Bobcat Classic All-Tournament Team. Senior forward MaHogany Daniel notched her second double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. On a side note, Grigsby became the second player selected as the

Independent Newcomer of the Week on Wednesday. Against Texas State, she connected on nine of 23 shot attempts, including two of three from behind the arc and made five of nine free throws. Grigsby is averaging 9.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in seven starts. Guard Tamara Vaughn became the first player in UTPA women’s basketball history to be selected as Independent Player of the Week earlier in the year. The Lady Broncs now 3-4 on the season will try to break their three-game skid on the road at the Air Force Academy Tournament (Dec. 1-2). UTPA will be back at the Field House on Dec. 10 for a rematch against Texas State at 2 p.m.


Editor’s Pick: Game to Watch When: Dec. 3 Time: Noon Where: Giants Stadium Cowboys

Game will be aired on FOX


Pep band brings spirit to home games

Onydia Garza/The Pan American

By SAVANNAH MARTINEZ The Pan American The gym is filled with electricity but it’s not all coming from the court. Instead, the stands are alive with the sound of music. The University of Texas-Pan American’s Bronc Basketball Band sits at the center of the source. “The purpose of the group is to support the basketball teams, encourage the students and crowd to be involved in the game, and play music,” said Pedro Martinez, professor of music who is in charge of the band. Currently armed with 25 students, Martinez hopes to expand the band ensemble to 45-50 students, including a drum line. More players would mean more noise. And noise is something the opposition does not want to hear during the game. In the team’s recent one-point win over UT-Arlington the band harassed the Maverick bench constantly and entertained the home crowd in the process. “They’re our sixth man,” said men’s basketball head coach Tom Schuberth of the band members. “They give us an

opportunity to have an advantage when we play in the arena and our guys have adopted them as our sixth man.” Senior center Colin Lien said the band helps fuel the tempo and atmosphere in the Field House. “The band gives us a lot of motivation. They’re real loud and obnoxious to the other team. It brings out a better atmosphere and makes more people want to come,” said the 6-foot-11 Lien. Schuberth and his players have been very grateful toward the band. “After each game, we go up and acknowledge them and thank them for spending their time and effort. They’re very entertaining and the crowd really gets into them,” he said. The UTPA band plays the standard yet popular tunes that can be heard at football games, such as the school fight song or alma mater. However, anyone is invited to write or arrange any piece of music for performance, as long as it is approved by Martinez. “I think it’s a great opportunity for music students,” said junior psychology Tom Cagle. Cagle, who minors in music, said

being able to provide pieces for the band helps to showcase the university’s music department. “This can give them a chance to show off their skills and show what they have learned in class,” Cagle said. “Not only is this a great opportunity, but it is a way to get fresh new talent into the community, as well as boost your university lifestyle and status in ways that matter.” Martinez and the band want their efforts to make home games more enjoyable and encourage the basketball teams in their play. The next women’s game at the Field House is Dec. 10 while the next men’s home game is Dec. 18. “We would like to impact the campus, student body, and the community by providing a more exciting atmosphere in which to attend the games all while supporting our basketball teams,” Martinez said. Anyone with questions, comments or interest in joining the UTPA Bronc Basketball Band can contact Pedro Martinez at the music department at (956) 316-7134 or by e-mail at Experience with an instrument is preferred.

Layout by: Rick Gamez

November 30, 2006  

Home court advantage expands with addition of band Rafael Navarro Roux/The Pan American COLORFUL - An enthusiastic Rigoberta Menchu-Tum, a N...