University Press (Beaumont, Tex.), Vol. 71, No. 42, Ed. 1 Friday, April 7, 1995 Page: 3 of 6
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Friday, April 7,1995
SGA should examine
fall’s priorities now
SGA election results are in.
Anxious students are looking
forward to next semester and
all the goals they hope to
two long semesters seems
longer than it really is. Ask
past SGA presidents.
Nevertheless, there are several
issues that should be consid-
ered a part of every SGA
The SGA should strive to
be a more effective and true
voice of the student body.
Lamar has a diverse student
body. Not only does Lamar
have a varied ethnic popula-
tion, the demographic make-
up of the student body serves a
wide-range of students from 17
to whatever. In order to serve
as a true voice of the student
body, it is vital to have a repre-
sentative student government
— representative in that it
depicts the diversity of
Lamar’s unique student popu-
lation. The SGA should make
it a top priority to genuinely
represent Lamar students by
trying to get these students
SGA should work to make
the voice of the student body
more effective. Representation
is a big part of that. But, also,
being a respected organization
off campus is extremely impor-
tant. The student government
should concentrate on serving
as a liaison between the com-
munity and Lamar. The sur-
rounding Chambers of
Commerce have been active in
presenting what they feel is in
the best interests of Lamar.
Regardless of whether the
Lamar-TSU merger takes
place, the chambers have
demonstrated their concerns.
This is a perfect opportunity
for the SGA to step in and
establish a working relation-
ship with the community.
Communication and input
“As a part of a
bigger voice, La-
mar’s student gov-
ernment can make
an impact on high-
er education. It is
its responsibility to
channels are vital to a commu-
Also, the SGA should con-
tinue to establish a voice in the
state. It should take an active
role in groups such as the
Texas Student Association and
the Collegiate Organizations
of Student Government
Associations on a national
level. As a part of a bigger
voice, .Lamar’s student govern-
ment can make an impact on
higher education. It is its
responsibility to do so.
The idea of having a stu-
dent regent or at least a stu-
dent panel that reports to
regents is still an avenue worth
pursuing. Again, whether the
TSU-Lamar merger takes
place, students have the right
to a direct voice to the board
Also, the SGA should con-
cern itself with gaining signifi-
cant standards on campus. For
example, developing standard-
ized faculty evaluations.
It is the SGA’s responsibili-
ty to look out for the best
interest of the students.
A new year is coming up.
Agendas are being set.
Now is the time for SGA to
focus on priorities for next
Charity is its own reward
Hand outs, foolish acts are admirable deeds?
I am sure my good friend had my best
interest in mind when she called me a fool.
(Actually, what she said was that I had
acted foolishly. It’s by extrapolation that I
arrived at the harsher conclusion, since fool-
ishness is usually committed by one who is at
least the temporary fool.)
All I had done was turn back when a
stranger called'out, “Miss, can you help me
out?,” just as my friend and I passed her on
our way to work.
The stranger was a veritable portrait of
destitution. Matted hair, dirty skin, ill-fitting,
crumpled clothes with old and multiple stains.
A scar appeared from beneath a worn and
woolen beret and cascaded down the middle
of her forehead to the bridge of her nose.
“Can you help me?,” she said again, as I
walked toward her, my hand already rum-
maging through my purse. I knew the drill.
“What’s your name?,” I asked.
I was “Lisa” or “Leesha.” I’m not sure.
The word was garbled when the woman
dropped her chin to her chest and covered
her mouth. Her eyes were lowered, too, as in
shame. Still, I could tell she was young —
maybe 24,25, tops.
“Where are you from?,” I asked, trying to
“Right here in D.C.,” she said. “Me and
my boyfriend are homeless.”
I looked around — no boyfriend in sight.
“How long have you been homeless?,” I
“All my life,” she said matter-of-factly.
I gave her a few dollar bills, patted her
shoulder, urged her to “take care of herself,”
f ied. My
“What’s her story?,” she asked.
“Homeless,” I said.
“You didn’t give her much, I hope.”
“Just a few dollars.”
“A few dollars?” Girl, you are such a suck-
er. She’s probably running off to the nearest
liquor store or crack house now.”
“Maybe. I didn’t ask.”
“You don’t have to ask. You could look at
her and see she was strung out. I know you
think you’re helping her, but I’ll bet all you
did was help pay for her morning fix.”
“Yeah, well. I ’might have given her a cou-
ple of quarters, but a few dollars? She’ll never
get anywhere with hand outs like that. That
No doubt, her point was what Cicero had
in mind by saying “What is the use of being
kind to a poor man?”
What, after all, could a few dollars do for a
stranger? Buy a bottle of shampoo or a bar of
soap or a pair of socks? Pay for a sandwich
and a piece of fruit?
Perhaps, but even then, what about tomor-
row? Won’t the stranger have to implore
another passerby? It could be, “Miss, can you
help me out?” forever.
My friend may have been right. The
stranger may have been every bit the drunk
or junkie imagined. She may have been no
one’s victim but her own — the remains of
squandered opportunities, the produce of
reckless pleasures, now wed to Deep Trouble.
But I had had neither the time nor the
inclination to explore the full extent of the
stranger’s circumstances, so, not knowing, I
responded to the story she had to tell.
I gave her money because money was her
implicit request and I had it to give. Though I
hoped for truth, I did not offer the money in
exchange for it. Though I hoped the cash
would be used wisely, I required no receipt.
Though I would have liked my little donation
to serve a long-term good, I demanded no
Charity, which is what my giving was, is not
so proud and insistent that it asks a lot of
questions. It is more believing than invest-
ment, more innocent than lending, more hon-
est than buying peace of mind.
You give in charity realizing the recipient
may find you the delectable prey of their
dreams while friends look disgusted and call
But you give because unless you’re willing
to put real time and effort into helping some-
one, it’s the only thing you can do.
Except ignore the cup and the hand, con-
vinced they’re better off empty.
Deborah Mathis is a syndicated columnist
for Tribune Media Services
Senate of the State of Texas
Senate passes three bills to protect victim rights
For too long, criminals’ rights have taken
precedence over crime victims’ rights in our
justice system. Although the constitution
affords certain protections to the accused,
these should not be at the expense of justice
or the rights of the victims and their families.
The Texas Senate recently passed three
bills, all introduced by Sen. J.E. “Buster”
Brown, which address this problem. These
bills have been hailed by victims’ rights
groups and law enforcement officials as
major steps toward a fairer, stronger crimi-
nal justice system.
The first of these is known as the Tracy
Gee Bill. It was named for a 22-year-old
woman who was shot in the head while sit-
ting at a red light because the murderer
wanted to steal her car. This perpetrator was
sentenced to death for the crime but the
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed
this conviction in 1993. The reason? The
judge in the original case allowed the jury to
be shuffled twice instead of once, a techni-
cality unrelated to the outcome of the case.
But a bill passed by the Senate will pro-
hibit Texas appeal courts and the state Court
of Criminal Appeals from reversing a con-
viction for an error of “less than constitu-
tional dimension.” Only if the record showed
that it was “more probable than not that the
error materially affected the verdict or sen-
tence to the detriment of the appealing
party” would an exception to this prohibi-
tion be made. This will plug some of the
loopholes which help criminals escape their
The second of these bills toughens the
penalties for people fleeing from police in a
motor vehicle. This bill makes such an action
a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by one
year in jail and a fine up to $4,000. If anyone
is seriously injured as a result of the flight,
the person fleeing is charged with a second-
degree felony which is punishable by two to
20 years in jail and a fine up to $10,000.
No deterrent to fleeing police currently
exists in law. This encourages criminals to
flee because at least they have a chance to
get away without fear of the consequences if
they fail. This often has led to tragic results.
In Houston alone, 11 people died in 1994
because of these high-speed chases.
The last of these bills will allow members
of a victim’s family to privately view the exe-
cution of their loved one’s murderer. A par-
tition would separate the victims’ family
from relatives of the condemned, who cur-
rently are allowed to view the execution.
Three states now have such a law.
This bill will allow victims’ families a
degree of closure. It will help such a family
put this tragic chapter behind them once and
for all. That is why victims rights groups
strongly support this legislation.
The war on crime will not be won over
night. It requires many battles and skirmish-
es to chip away at the strength of the enemy.
But when these bills pass the House and are
signed by the governor, as I am confident
that they will be, serious progress will have
been made in this vital fight.
Michael Galloway is state senator for
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Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 10055, LU Station, Beaumont, Texas 77710, or drop letters off at our offices in
200 Setzer Student Center.
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Malik, Stephan. University Press (Beaumont, Tex.), Vol. 71, No. 42, Ed. 1 Friday, April 7, 1995, newspaper, April 7, 1995; Beaumont, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth500697/m1/3/: accessed January 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Lamar University.