Andrew Taylor

Well written editorials from a UH student

Archive for February 2009

Town Hall Hails Triumphs, Goodwill, and Productivity

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A joint town hall style meeting was held last night for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and the Bauer School of Business.
The meeting’s general purpose was to address student issues in regards to both schools and to talk about success after graduation. The tone of the meeting was encouraging, and motivational.
“I think that’s the useful message of the whole night, don’t be so timid! This is your university, make it work for you!” Joseph Pratt Interim Dean of the College of Liberal arts and Social Sciences said.
Along with Dean Pratt, other administrators were eager to send motivational messages to energize and gear the Cougar body to prod the administration into working for change towards a better university.
“Students get a lot better response out of administrators than I can get out of Joe, and that he can get out of me.” Carl Carlucci Vice President for Administration and Finance, said.
“We do respond to students as best as we can, if there’s anything we can do right away, we try to do it right away and I think those senators who have sat in my office and talked about things, I hope have seen that to be the case.”
Carlucci expounded on Dean Pratt’s message, putting the onus back on the students. It is our duty to help solve campus problems and suggest ways to improve our campus by voicing our ideas and perspective.
Gene Locke, 2009 Mayoral candidate and UH alumni, reached out to the crowd at the meeting. He shared his incredible story of how UH has transformed for the better, and how we need to keep fighting to make UH a better place.
Locke, a graduate of the Cougar class of ’69, became an activist the moment he decided to attend the University of Houston. As a Political Science major, Locke started transforming UH from the bottom up, starting with student politics as his vehicle.
One of his proudest achievements was getting the first African American studies program on our campus. When asked by the University of Houston Magazine why he became so immensely involved in UH, he responded “There was a presumption that African American students were incompetent. I had a very personal reaction to the low expectations that people had of me. It was a blow to my pride that people thought I couldn’t do the very things that I knew I could do,” he said.
“Eventually that led me to look around campus and see that the only people who looked like me were not in positions of power, responsibility, or authority. My only encounters with people of color at the university were with the custodial staff.”
“For me, it became a sense of obligation.” –Gene Locke, a quote from the University of Houston Magazine.
Locke continued his desire to transform UH last night at the meeting, by asking students to continue the same fight he did.
“The biggest thing we had to do was a fight that I hope you and generations coming into this institution will always take up and fight for, make the university a part of this community,” he said.
The mayoral candidate and fellow Cougar along with the deans and administrators could not have been more right. Changing UH and making it the place we want it to be, a place desired and envied by many, starts with us.

* an excerpt to The Daily Cougar

Written by aktaylor

February 19, 2009 at 6:21 am

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Pertinent Photograph Pierces Students Safety Bubble

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A photograph of the crime scene on Saturday, February 7, 2009 ran in The Daily Cougar yesterday to a substantial amount of uproar. The photo, which provoked mixed, galvanizing emotions to all that laid eyes on it, was run by the editorial department. As a result, it was inundated by a record amount of responses throughout the UH community. As more students see the photo, the image will undoubtedly be branded into memory. The manner in which it will be reflected upon is up to the viewer, and as the opinion staff stated, “The Daily Cougar realizes the photograph of a man lying dead on the campus is disturbing, but it’s truth. A tragic event occurred at UH, and students have a right to know about it.”

The visual depiction adds a dimension of intensity that would have otherwise been unimagined. Furthermore, a lack of urgency on behalf of the law enforcement involved is once again on display. A comment to the vexing visual entitled “Doesn’t Matter”,  written by what appears to be a livid student, bluntly conveys their dissatisfaction. The writer asserts that,”Having the body covered up would have been just as effective”. This excerpt from his rant possess some validity–why was the corpse not covered? Why were students, faculty and the general public subject to this gross display of violence? This seems to be a direct fault of HPD. Which, since occurring on a college campus, is made even more significantly erroneous. Some students might have been less disturbed by a tamer colored account of a more properly tended crime scene. From what I ascertained, the duration of time from when the incident occurred to when the police were notified exceeded a couple of hours. This appears to me inexcusably excessive and especially disturbing, considering a school campus is somewhere you should be able to have a clear mind in order to focus on academics.

The circulated snapshot should be a reminder of the significant loss of life, as well as the pressing need for campus safety. A student, not a campus police officer, discovered the slain homeless man. This is a clear message sent out, or better yet, lack thereof, by the campus police force. This will be a moment in UH history that will never be forgotten. Not because a shockingly authentic photograph was broadcast for tens of thousands to stumble upon, but because of the meaning it will have for the future of our city and university.

According to The World Association of Newspapers, the first photograph in a newspaper appeared in 1880. True photos of grave matters and upsetting times most likely followed soon afterward. Although images can be disconcerting, highly emotional and traumatic, the lasting effects are necessary. The following links below are stunning and extremely powerful. Some may be events you have heard of, others possibly not. Either way, the photographic representation has an immensely powerful affect on journalism whether readers agree in favor or against.

deceased girl in rubble, Man frozen in Ice, dead journalist, World Trade Center jumpers,

Some of the above photos I found are exponentially worse than what ran in The Daily Cougar. Some have brought up the opinion that running the crime scene photo was inappropriate for our college paper. Our maturity levels differ on campus by person, but the photo that was run in the paper serves more purpose than it does disrespect.

Written by aktaylor

February 12, 2009 at 6:53 am

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Horrendous Homeless Homicide, Horrific Happenings at University of Houston

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Oddly enough(thick sarcasm), The University of Houston is yet atop the headlines of news everywhere for it’s campus homicide. Last Wednesday when I was writing about the campus security problem of The university of Houston, I had no idea that I would be writing about this almost a week later. The utterly depressing and despicable death of a homeless man on campus is not only a wake up call, but more so, evidence that we have a serious issue in need of addressing. The joint effort by Houston’s finest (relative to opinion), H. P. D. and U. H. D. P. S.,  is not working as effectively as it should be. As a student, I am supposed to be comforted by the actions of Renu Khator, Carl Carlucci, and the chief of police, Malcolm Davis.

As my fellow writer and scholar Shiasta Mohammed astutely and eloquently stated, “Quantifying a homicide on one of the most heavily-trafficked thoroughfares through campus as “unsettling” is surely a masterpiece of understatement.”  Shiasta, I could not agree with you more! I struggle in finding comfort from the university’s administration in traumatic, terrorizing times like this past weekend. The 490 video cameras around campus that “monitor” activity are excellent, but are they being viewed by a live person? William P. Hobby Airport and The Texas Medical Center, places that are also the size of small cities, have around the clock security officials who monitor operations at all times. As depressing as it sounds, maybe The University of Houston would benefit from a similar set up. The solutions to our university’s security problems are not neccessarily in this blog, and will not come easy.

Abdul Khan, writer for The Daily Cougar, asked the question “Even if we could put a cop on every corner, is that what we want?” Abdul then continues to elaborate on relative scenarios that have been answered with “tried-and-failed”  methods. He concludes his reletive idea by touching on the potential and likely loss of freedom and character due to measures like the aforementioned. His article accurately and astutely captured that aspect. The desired “happy medium” of security and freedom, character and plesantness of campus atmosphere should, and I believe, currently is our target. I hope we can all work pertinaciously towards our safety goals to achieve substantial results without compromising Cougar character.

Written by aktaylor

February 11, 2009 at 2:11 am

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BONGgers to BLOGgers: Superfluous Smoking of a Swimmer

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As of recently something great has started happening,  America has been riding a wave of pertinent passionate patriotism. Starting with astounding amounts of support and fanaticism over the 2008 summer olympics in Bejing, this American spirit continued in a peripatetic fashion with record involvement in the 2008 presidential elections. If the results from the aforementioned were not substantial enough to be called historic, and record setting, please correct me. On Tuesday while jogging with my friend Anthony, I brought up the recent news of Michael Phelps apologizing for a picture that surfaced. This photograph which captured “regrettable behavior”, and “bad judgment” has inspired some to banish support for him, and even calling for his barring from further Olympic games. Some even wanted the seizing of his eight medals, which can not actually be done legally. I said to Anthony, “I do not know why some people can not drop their criticism, and keep their minds pertaining to their own lives. It is just ridiculous that people think they can rule other peoples lives of  whom they do not even know!” Anthony agreed, ” I know! My god, some people just do not know when to stop. I mean if he can smoke pot and be the worlds fastest swimmer, then great!” Although everybody has their own opinion on drug use and irresponsibility, I think the international “smoking” of Phelps is superfluous, and ridiculous. One thing Americans hate but are often so frequently guilty of is hypocracy.  I would imagine that the average person (which is what Michael Phelps is aside from his swimming ability) would not enjoy the level of criticism for their own irresponsible behavior or poor judgment that he is endearing! We have all made mistakes in our lives and will continue to do so, however the criticism that follows should come from our friends and family at the most, not the entire world.

Written by aktaylor

February 10, 2009 at 7:50 pm

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common crimes climb, Guns get graded—

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One of the only things I enjoy about my job is that I get to talk to people about news, their life, coffee, and anything that comes up. Although the company I work for recommends or maybe even prohibits the subjects of politics and religion, I still discuss them if they come up. If you asked any of my colleagues, they would tell you that I really do not hold back, especially if the other person happens to be one of my more favorite regulars, or especially if it has to do with politics. This past Friday I was making my friend Gary’s coffee when he picked up The Houston Chronicle, and read aloud the title of an article that caught his interest. “Plans would let Texans brandish arms, carry on campus” his initial reaction followed “That is exactly what we need!” Judging by his reaction to the article title, and his following sarcasm, I  told him that it may not be as bad as it sounds. As scary as the phrase “student on campus with a gun” sounds it may not sound as harmful to a student who goes to school where his campus had a total of fifteen robberies in the year of 2007. I mentioned to my friend Gary that ever since I have attended The University of Houston I have received emails almost daily, positively once a week on campus incidents such as robbery, sexual assault, death threats etc. My friend Gary shocked and with a stunned grin said “How come you never hear about any of this?” My reply was that it’s probably not on the nightly news or in the chronicle because it’s not the news people want to hear.

Since that short conversation Gary and I had on Friday, I had been thinking of blogging about this very subject. Also very interested in possibly writing a piece in the UH newspaper (the Cougar) about this very issue. The Chronicle article which my friend Gary noticed, touches on the fact that in recent months legislation has been birthed to consider students being able to carry fire arms on campus. I’m not sure if my peers and fellow scholars having on campus gun rights would be the right solution to campus crime. However the idea was definitely not as crazy to me as it was to my friend Gary.

I have never considered guns the answer, I do however like them. One thing I do not like is the thought of them on MY CAMPUS. The problem with these rigid great equalizing weapons is that they are in fact scary, extremely harmful, and extremely effective. As someone who does not even consider himself a fervent supporter of the death penalty, I definitely do not see my self desiring my fellow scholars to tote Glocks or killer Smith and Wessons.

Perhaps more security in the form of more officers on foot, could help to solve this campus security problem. I guess the Campus cops could burn some calories and get on bikes in larger numbers too. A larger deal and my main question is whether the chief of campus police is being held accountable for  job performance in a fair manner. The rate of campus crime is not what I would like it to be, and I hope that by the time I finish my stay at The University of Houston I have helped in a positive manner to lower that rate and crime in general. Unlike some, I hope to do it with words and positive reform, not bullets.

Written by aktaylor

February 4, 2009 at 2:35 am

Posted in Uncategorized