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BREAKING: Student defrauded, UHPD reports

Thursday, 10 September 2015 by
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A student was defrauded out of $300 Wednesday night, according to an email by the UH Police Department.

A possibly Hispanic male and Hispanic female approached two students in parking lot 12B at approximately 8 p.m. and insisted on repairing the dented vehicle of the complaint for $90.

The student felt threatened and agreed to drive to a nearby ATM at Scott and Elgin to withdraw the money.

It was then that the male suspect “put his arm around” the student and requested $300 instead of the initial $90.

The student withdrew the money, gave it to the suspects and they left walking northbound on Scott from Elgin.

UHPD described the Hispanic male as 5 feet 8 inches tall, 160 pounds with short black hair, blue eyes and a black goatee. He had full sleeve tattoos on both arms and was wearing a black Cadillac baseball cap, light blue stripped shirt covered with “mechanic” style logos, blue jeans, tennis shoes and a rainbow colored backpack.

The female is described as 5 feet 10 inches and heavyset, with a star tattoo on the left side of her neck. She was wearing an orange tank top, blue jeans and tennis shoes.

No weapon was used.

Anyone with additional information or any leads on the unidentified suspects is encouraged to call UHPD at 713-743-3333.

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BREAKING: Student defrauded, UHPD reports” was originally posted on The Daily Cougar

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Roberts has served as the dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences since July 2010. | File Photo/The Cougar

College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Dean John Roberts has turned in a letter of resignation to Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Paula Myrick Short. Short has accepted his resignation and Roberts’ last day is scheduled for Jan. 30.

Short will conduct a nationwide search throughout the spring semester for Roberts’ successor. Short mentioned at a Faculty senate meeting that they are not publicly considering anybody for the position as of Tuesday. An interim dean has not been named yet.

Roberts was named dean of CLASS in July 2010. Before that, Roberts was an English professor and Dean of Arts and Humanities at Ohio State University. Throughout his nearly four-year tenure, Roberts started initiatives to integrate the Houston art community with UH, including leading the UH Arts initiative and forming collaborations with the Houston Arts Alliance and the Alley Theatre.

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This second annual MLK Day of Service is trying to become the largest event in campus history. | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This year, UH will host its second annual Martin Luther King Day Day of Service on Jan. 24. Looking to emulate the teachings of service to all that King dedicated his life to, the University is looking to make this year’s event the largest in campus history.

“The combined efforts of multiple departments and student organizations will help to achieve the goal of making this years’ Day of Service the largest and most successful service event in campus history,” said Kaitlyn Palividas, broadcast journalism sophomore and student co-chair of the Bonner Leader Program.

“Sponsoring organizations include the Bonner Leader Program, the Honors College, Baptist Student Ministries, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Center for Student Involvement, Metropolitan Volunteer Program (and the) Office of Governmental and Community Relations.”

With a much larger pool of community organizations partnering with UH and the use of social media – there’s even a Facebook page for information about the Day of Service – the University’s goal may very well be achieved. On the event’s Facebook page, about 1,300 people have been invited, and the number of those saying yes to participating has grown daily.

“The community is vital to the University, and this is a simple way for students to give back,” Palividas said.

When Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was first observed in 1986, three years after former president President Ronald Reagan signed it in law, citizens around the country searched for ways to commemorate King’s dedication to service. Former Pa. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis started the National Martin Luther King Day of Service, federal legislation that is meant to push Americans to turn the holiday into a day of action. Others followed the challenge, and college students were a part of a large population of those spending a day to help others.

“Volunteers can look forward to packaging food for the elderly, beautifying empty lots, painting community meeting spaces and making valentine’s cards for veterans among other things,” said fellow co-chair of the Bonner leader program and biotechnology sophomore Grace Schwarz.

“Volunteers will get a different perspective on, and become more aware of, the disparities in our community. My hope is that volunteers come back understanding how much need there is just a block from the university and be excited to help those who need it.”

The volunteer day offers a morning and afternoon shift, though participants are encouraged to participate in both. The day begins at 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast and welcome remarks. Volunteers will then be shuttled to various organizations to assist in community-led projects. A lunch will follow for the volunteers at the Student Center ballroom at noon, and the afternoon shift will begin at 1 p.m. While the event is being hosted at UH, family, friends and anyone in the Houston community willing to serve is encouraged to participate.

Volunteers are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing for the various tasks, and meals and T-shirts will be provided. Students will receive a certificate at the end of their shift noting their participation.

For more information including registering with the Food Bank, visit uh.edu/mlk.

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MLK Day of Service planned to become largest service event in UH history” was originally posted on The Daily Cougar

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It’s 1981 — one of the most violent years in the history of New York. Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) is attempting to buy a new piece of land that will expand his oil heating business. Scrambling to get the money together, Abel is in a tough position because his trucks are being stolen and he’s losing business.

His best-friend and gangster buddy Andrew Walsh (Albert Brooks) suggests that he take action, but Abel doesn’t want to resort to violence. His wife, Anna (Jessica Chastain), is even more inclined to take action because her family’s safety is being put at risk. Her father owned the company before Abel bought it, but he left many things to be investigated by the district attorney (David Oyelowo). The shady world around Abel makes running an honest, clean business difficult.


“A Most Violent Year” is a slow-build that yields incredible rewards in terms of acting, storytelling and film-making. The film depicts the intricacies of running and maintaining a business in crime-ridden New York City, and emphasizes the dangers of business when you have something everyone else wants. Focusing on morals and the drive that compels men to act, “A Most Violent Year” highlights the immense struggle of trying to take care of matters in a clean and efficient method.

Director J.C. Chandor clearly and effectively transmits his thoughts to the screen. In “A Most Violent Year,” Chandor gives us what feels like an inside look into the gasoline business in a time where crime is running rampant. His use of dialogue immediately piques the audience’s interest, and his ability to tell a story without having to be eccentric is admirable. He turns what would be a dreary story for other filmmakers into a compelling film.

In terms of direction, Chandor stylistically employs many techniques which help clue the audience in to what’s going on, while retaining some mystery about what will happen next. The scenic backgrounds are rightfully used as props, which these characters effectively use. There’s a lot of focus and buildup surrounding the deal and everything that it means.

Chandor doesn’t focus only on his lead characters. He provides input from the workers, the bankers, the District Attorney and even the competition. This inclusion gives us a sense of all the factors going into Isaac’s decisions and how he moves forward, hoping to secure the deal.

Oscar Isaac should change his name to Oscar-worthy Isaac, because he yet again provides us with a phenomenal performance that stands out in an already competitive year. His performance takes time to appreciate; he’s the golden boy in a group of gangsters. He offers up many great speeches, and his calm, controlled interactions with most of the business men are electric. When he erupts with rage, he becomes frightening and intimidating, commanding the screen and chewing up all his lines. More than anything, his non-violent demeanor and attempts to stay peaceful contrast the world he inhabits.

Jessica Chastain isn’t as involved as you’d think or like, but she uses her screen time well. She may seem like a subjugated housewife, but Chastain makes it clear that she’s holding all the cards in the family with the looks she gives, the plays she makes and the few words she needs to make things clear to Isaac. She’s ruthlessly graceful, and her New York accent makes her all the more appealing.

“A Most Violent Year” is perhaps the most quietly brilliant films of this year. More of Chastain’s character and more about her character’s past would be helpful, but neither of those make this film worse. J.C. Chandor offers up his most accessible film here, and it’s not crazy to imagine it ending up on many “Best Of” lists. This is the perfect film for someone seeking something a bit different.

“A Most Violent Year” is now playing in Houston.

arts@thedailycougar.com


‘A Most Violent Year’ offers up more intrigue than actual violence” was originally posted on The Daily Cougar

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Claire Bennett (Jennifer Aniston) is a woman who’s dependent on her hired help Silvana (Adriana Barraza) and her medication. She raids her own house, searching everywhere to find just one pain pill that she can take.

She’s part of a women’s support group, and at her latest meeting, the discussion is about their fellow group member Nina (Anna Kendrick), who recently committed suicide. Claire latches on to Nina’s death and allows it to take a major toll on her life. Things get odd when Claire shows up at Nina’s house, converses with her husband Roy (Sam Worthington) and spends time with their child.

Soon after, Claire sees Nina beside her bed and has a conversation with her. Nina’s imagined presence holds significance for Claire, prompting her to spend more time around Roy and stray somewhat away from her drug use.


“Cake” is a small film that has garnered large attention because of the film’s lead actress, Jennifer Aniston. Most widely known for her role as Rachel from “Friends”, Aniston has been steadily redefining herself by starring in more comedies like the “Horrible Bosses” films and the smash hit “We’re The Millers.” Now, she’s getting back into drama and is making some waves in Hollywood with this performance. She’s pretty good, but the film isn’t on the same level.

Contrasting her bubbly image from the 90s, Aniston ditches her makeup, achieves a painful level of desperation and yearning for help and fully displays her range of emotions. It’s tough to watch the pain on Aniston’s face as she struggles to move around, and it’s even worse when she frantically searches for her pills. Her sassy and rude attitude is a barrier she puts up to shield herself. She’s attached to her old life, but she’s also trying to move on — and into someone else’s, which only complicates things more.

Sam Worthington and Anna Kendrick play smaller roles in this film, but that doesn’t account for their significance. Worthington and Aniston form a bond through their sorrow over Kendrick’s death, and their relationship is one of emotional comfort between two people who understand each other. Kendrick pops up as a figment of Aniston’s imagination, seeming to taunt her at first, but later serves as a way for Aniston to express how she feels and how her suicide affected her.

Director Daniel Barnz and screenwriter Patrick Tobin put a lot into Aniston’s character, but they do leave a lot to be desired with the other characters and the progression of the story. Aniston’s performance is great, whereas everything else is only OK. There are moments when this film crosses into the Lifetime zone and becomes frustratingly simple. You’re never surprised at what happens in the story, but if you’re ever caught off-guard, it’s when the film decides to justify its title. The “Cake” tie-in makes you question why they didn’t go with any other title.

“Cake” is a strong showcase for a dramatic Jennifer Aniston that many people haven’t experienced. It also has some good supporting performances, but falls a bit short when it comes to the story and how it progresses. The attention Aniston has drawn is certainly warranted, and it’s great to see her succeed in a strong female leading role. The film’s take on drug abuse and dependency is also well-done. It’s not an outstanding film, but it’s definitely worth watching.

“Cake” is now playing in Houston.

arts@thedailycougar.com


‘Cake’ has some sweetness, but isn’t wholly delicious” was originally posted on The Daily Cougar

The Cougars returned to Hofheinz Wednesday night to fall to the South Florida Bulls 71-55 in the first game of the new semester.

Led by junior guard Alecia Smith’s 22 points off the bench, the Cougars fought hard from start to finish, trimming the lead to seven points at half and finishing the game on an 11-2 run.

“But we did bring it to them tonight; great effort on our end,” head coach Ronald Hughey said. “(If we) make a few more shots, we are right there.”

The Cougar defense did a solid job of holding the Bulls to 2-10 from the 3-point line, but couldn’t stop the powerful offense as they shot 52.6 percent from the field.

Smith provided a spark off the bench, going 6-7 in three-point attempts and had her first 20-point game of the season.

“I’m just trying to do whatever my team needs,” Smith said. “It’s been a rollercoaster, up and down, up and down, and (Hughey has) been saying to be consistent. Team first, so I just think about my team and it just clicked when I came on the floor.”

Junior guard Jessieka Palmer and junior forward Marche’ Amerson each scored 10 points, joining Smith as the three Cougars to finish in double-digit scoring.

The Cougars look to keep improving in AAC play Saturday at 2 p.m. as they travel to Memphis in their first contest between the two since the AAC tournament last season.

“I really think that with that energy and effort and that heart starting to be more exposed now, they’ll really come around and we’ll start to straighten those things out,” Hughey said.

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Smith ignites from bench as Cougars fall to USF” was originally posted on The Daily Cougar

UH will charter a new subsea engineering national research center to help improve the sustainability and development of energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico. The center will focus on reducing the amount of offshore accidents and deep water disasters.

“We are grateful for this grant, which is the culmination of years of work to establish the University of Houston as the Energy University and a vibrant and comprehensive partner with the energy industry,” President Renu Khator said in a release.

“We envision our Subsea Systems Institute as serving to ensure that technologies, policies, regulations and standards needed for safe and environmentally responsible operations in the energy industry are developed and shared.”

UH will lead the institute, collaborating with the Johnson Space Center, Texas Southern University, Houston Community College, Lone Star College and Rice University.

“A center focused on prevention is the right thing to do,” UH Chief Energy Officer Ramanan Krishnamoorti said in a press release. “A center in Houston is the right place to do it, and (this) is the right team.”

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ribbon cutting

Members of the UH Board of Regents, student representatives and alumni cut a ribbon marking the grand opening of the new Student Center. | Corina Carrizales/The Cougar

Alumni, students and members of the UH Board of Regents emitted warm, positive energy as they gathered outside for an intimate ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the Student Center’s Grand Opening, voicing appreciation to all who made the vision of the Student Center a reality.

From Student Transformation Project chair Erica Tat to President Renu Khator, all emphasized that none of the SC would have been possible without the students.

The student body has been a part of the process from the beginning, voting with 77 percent approval of a new center, a tuition increase and decisions on details as small as the lounge chairs. Less than three years after the ceremonial ground-breaking, the University was able to present a finished product.

In spite of gloomy weather, the SC was buzzing with activities, prizes, food and drink. Generous giveaways and discounts also attracted students to the SC, with much of the excitement focusing on the abundance of new spaces for hanging out.

“It opened up more of a relaxed study space,” said communications freshman Ninrah Baig, who was enjoying lunch with her friends.

The modern look of polished glass, steel and beige wasn’t wanting for attention either.

“It just looks so classy,” said biology freshman Sebrin Abdu of the SC’s appearance.

The Open House had students wandering to the SC North, a chance to familiarize themselves with many of the student organizations it houses. By getting a form stamped at several of the major organizations and learning what they do, students were able to obtain a free T-shirt.

Now that the SC is complete, it seems that one semester spent in a building still enduring finishing touches was worth it. After seeing the volume of students crowding the halls, chairs and dining areas, it’s clear the SC has definitely made itself the place to be.

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Cutting crimson: Kicking off the Student Center’s Grand Opening” was originally posted on The Daily Cougar

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President and Chancellor Renu Khator addressed the Faculty Senate, touching on the subsidized community college that President Barack Obama has proposed. | Cara Smith/The Cougar

When Wynne Chin was appointed as president of the Faculty Senate on Wednesday, it was a familiar feeling — seven years ago, Chin was in the middle of his first term as Faculty Senate president. It’s not common for presidents to return for another term, but Chin spoke to the senate with goals for enhanced communication and student success.

He began his second presidential tenure during the Faculty Senate meeting held Jan. 21 in the Rockwell Pavilion at the M.D. Anderson Library. Chin replaced Maria Elena Soliño as president; Soliño is a professor of spanish literature and film at the University.

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Paula Short touched on the senate’s priorities of student success. | Cara Smith/The Cougar

“I have a good understanding of how the University works, and I’m just looking forward to more continued success,” Chin said. Among other things, Chin hopes to integrate technology into the senate’s communication to better connect the senators to the faculty.

President and Chancellor Renu Khator and Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Paula Short addressed the senate. Short updated the senate on the search for a new College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences dean, following the resignation of Dean John W. Roberts. According to Short, there are no prospective candidates being publicly considered for the position.

Khator also touched on President Barack Obama’s proposal for free community college, encouraging the senate to remember that “nothing is free.” She said that regarding rising national tuition rates, the President focused less on assigning blame to universities and more on the broader goal of giving institutional access to all, a topic she also spoke on during her time in at the Texas Tribune Festival last October.

-Additional reporting by Christopher Shelton

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student center

Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

The newly-renamed Student Center will hold its Grand Opening on Wednesday, and activities and promotions have been planned for the whole day. Students should seize the chance to explore new corners of the SC and take advantage of free food and giveaways.

SC Open House

The Student Centers’ new motto is “Connect. Eat. Relax. Shop.” Students interested in any of these activites should explore the Student Center for discounts, new venues and new spaces for some old faces.

Each location is having its own game, giveaway or activity, so don’t miss the chance to grab some free stuff and engage with people you’ll be seeing for the rest of the semester.

Sweets, Selfies, Signs

Some of the day-long activities include opportunities to sign up for the MLK Day of Service, a room devoted to desserts, mobile violinist Rhett Price, a video game lounge, caricature artists and even custom street signs and license plates.

SC Takeover

The Grand Opening culminates with an array of events, including a cooking demo presented by the Council of Ethnic Organizations, a Greek Showcase, karaoke, a preview of this year’s Frontier Fiesta and a showing of “Guardians of the Galaxy” from 8 to 10 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre.

Be warned, you might not be able to attend everything!

For more details about the activities, visit the Student Centers’ website at uh.edu/studentcenters.

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