Page 13


8 The Texas Observer Dan Kubiak had asked Rep. Joe Pentony to cut short his questions of Erwin because other witnesses were waiting their turns. Reps. Senfronia Thompson and Pentony were noticeably less adulatory in their questioning. Thompson dealt mainly with the subject of minority enrollment at UT Austin, and elicited from Erwin the opinion that blacks and browns are not satisfactorily represented there. But, he said, the one percent black enrollment is due less to discrimination at The University than to its inability to offer sufficient financial aid to poor students and the general lack of “hospitality” for minorities in Austin. Erwin said UT had tried for several sessions to get the Legislature to appropriate funds for. a recruitment and scholarship program, failing each biennium, and now planned to use $400,000 of the Available Fund to carry out such’ a program. What Erwin did not mention is that the money would be spread out over four years. Best estimates are that such funding would allow The University to support 20 or 30 students who would not otherwise be able to afford to attend. Pentony was more wide-ranging in his questions. After some preliminary sparring over minority enrollment and the possibilities of the Available Fund’s tripling as a result of increasing oil prices, Pentony shot a series of questions about specific expenditures at Erwin: did he really think $75,000 a year for the fnaintenance of contributed to quality education? did he think that $115 a month for cleaning the Bauer House swimming pool was necessary for quality education? did he regard a “three or four thousand dollar honorarium for a Washington lobbyist to speak” was an absolute necessity for quality education? Erwin tried for a while to respond to specifics \(every major college and university, he said, provided a residence for its president, a place where academic gatherings could be held, and besides, those eventually told Pentony, “I think it’s fair to say that you have never been an admirer of whoever is running UT, and I don’t think I am going to change your mind about it now.” Pentony appeared as a witness himself two days later, mainly to introduce into the record a list of expenditures from the committee, “We have listened to stories of physics labs, cyclotrons and top professors. This is only part of the story, the story from the top down. . . . The bottom of the Permanent University Fund is found in vouchers from the comptroller’s office.” He asked the committee to endorse his proposal for allowing the coordinating board to distribute Permanent Fund and Available Fund monies to any state institution which needed intensive support. Pentony’s statement made a larger impression than will any other criticism of the Permanent Fund: the purchase of toilet paper and shredders was front page news, if only for a day. It also moved Erwin to an angry response, one cast in the terms of a man who is counting votes and not debating points: “For the past year Representative Pentony and his aide, Bill Aleshire, have been conducting a vicious campaign of criticism and harassment against The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas System. UT administrators have been required to spend literally hundreds of man hours in responding to an endless number of requests for detailed information emanating from Pentony and Aleshire. The expenditures of the Available Fund which Pentony and Aleshire are criticizing today constitute only a minute percentage of the $20 million per year that is expended from that fund and all the criticized expenditures were approved both by the UT administration and the state comptroller and all of them are entirely legal and within the proper scope of the fund. The continuation of the destructive efforts by Pentony and Aleshire is a disservice to both the University and the state.” What Pentony did \(with the help of research, indefatigable as usual, by Bill underbelly of the Permanent Fund. What he left only hinted at was the idea that the swollen research facilities funded by utilities companies and defense contractors as well as the Available Fund of The University might be no better as first-priority items of “academic excellence” than is the Bauer House. It is considered unlikely that the committee will heed Pentony’s advice. He told the Observer he would not expect more than seven to ten committee retaining a constitutional dedication of the Permanent Fund to UT and Texas A & M. Other convention-watchers said Pentony would be lucky to get that many votes in committee, and that the convention as a whole would very likely approve the continuation of the dedicated funds. As Erwin said in his testimony, “Few interests in the state can muster the political influence that can be generated by the students, faculty, administration, governing board, alumni and friends of an institution of higher education.” J. F. MARTIN ELFANT Sun Life of Canada 1001 Century BUilding Houston, Texas CA 4-0686 Since 1866 The Place in Austin GOOD FOOD GOOD BEER 1607 San Jacinto 477-4171 CLASSIFIED Classified advertising is 20i per word..Discounts for multiple insertions within a 12-month period; 26 times, 50%; 12 times, 25%; 6 times, 10%. BOOKPLATES. Free catalog. Many beautiful designs. Special designing too. Address: BOOKPLATES, P.O. Box 28-1, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387. TYPING & PRINTING SERVICE. Reasonable, artistic typing of reports, manuscripts, theses, dissertations; mimeographing, multilithing; open weekends. M. A. Delafield, 442-7008, Austin. PLAYING THE RECORDER IS EASY. Free catalog, best recorders, recorder music. Beginner’s Pearwood Soprano Book, $11.95. Amster Music, 1624 Lavaca, Austin. E. ROSEWOOD APTS. Impeccable, one bdrm. upper, unfurnished, central air, adults over 50 only, $91-$120. 733-1176 San Antonio. GUITAR PICKERS. Buy your guitar strings from us and save 20%. Mail orders accepted. Amster Music, 1624 Lavaca, Austin. “It sounds very pessimistic to talk about Western civilization with a sense of retreat. I have been so optimistic about the ascent of man; am I going to give up at this moment? Of course not. The ascent of man will go on. But do not assume that it will go on carried by Western civilization as we know it. We are being weighed in the balance at this moment. If we give up, the next step will be taken but not by us. We have not been given any guarantee that Assyria and Egypt and Rome were not given. We are waiting to be somebody’s past, too, and not necessarily that of our future.” J. Bronowski, “The Long Childhood,” ,The Nation, Dec. 31, 1973. YOUR BOOK PRINTED from well-typed manuscript. Any quantity economical. BIOGRAPHY PRESS, Rt. 1, Box 745, Aransas Pass, Texas 78336. EDUCATORS WORKSHOP. Individualized treatment of students; 4 semester hours credit possible; June 9-21; Austin. Contact: Foundation for Educational Skills, 3520 Cedar Springs, Dallas 75219.