The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, March 20, 2000, Image 1

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MONDAY March 20, 2000 Volume 106 ~ Issue 110 10 pages 4dea k‘r'11 UOlJj iviiieo Tennessee ting firefighters arrived,neitf eing smoke coming Iri ilerted the suspect,bull was fine, according lo in after, deputies anil apse s cause las been found lesults to be released in May agio thing for the city: s. The firemen, police, ves on the line a lotbui :t to be shot at the seen; itise," I’resident Clintot r\ iew \\ ith CNN. ived and were ambusbei estigators will not release their official ndings until May. Jon Zagrodsky, with MeKinsey & o., an inter- ational man- gement con- Pif Pf P| | lilting firm, nk jid the rea- in for the collapse, which killed 12 ggies on Nov. 18, 1090, would not be surprise. “Internally, I think we have an an- iver... and know what caused the prob- lin,” he said. “We've discussed it at ery high levels and have a reasonably Continued fromhf “Now there are over5(1, ti versity, Texas Tech Un as University have all re exas alone were lost do be aware that there is am ice major, said she woulJ tperate situation. 1 my eyes got so heavy 1« I over and sleep in my car! could take advantageofif nglish proficiency, careful with all teaefe . c giv e the new faculty, V plaints we do try to help; of overheads, etc.," Fordsa th these measures in pract its have voiced problems 1 ! professors. ire students that express; communication in the cl : of which results from (( STAFF AND WIRE A probable cause for the 1999 Aggie onfire collapse has been found, but in- o Texas Lutheran iM “internally I think w have an an swer ... and know what caused the problem. — Jon Zagrodsky with MeKinsey & Co. ;ood conclusion about what caused it.” The commission will not release the indings until May to allow time for the eory to be tested by outside engineers. “We have to make sure we're right,” lagrodsky said. Some theories listed in the Austin- imerican Statesman on the cause of the that pro- znds ,. Jollapse include: native EnM I, , , , speakers, * The ceflier P oie racked. commumcali also’dependi many other fi tors,” Fordsa “It is trueii A crane hit the bonfire stack’s rossties before the collapse, possibly racking the centerpole. The bonfire stack was leaning days before the collapse. •The bonfire stack was 59 feet tall when it fell, before it reached the ap proximate completion height of 75 feet. University regulation states the stack should only be 55 feet tall. •The ground the bonfire was built on was sloped. rSmVlMriSTSI • B on ft re workers took construction shortcuts and eliminated some safety measures. •The wedding cake design of the bon fire was flawed. •Lack of a specific blueprint or de sign. •Students building the bonfire had been drinking. The Special Commission is com posed of four teams assigned to deter mine the cause of the collapse: Fay En gineering, Kroll Associates, Packer Engineering and Performance Improve ment International. MeKinsey and Co. is overseeing the commission’s work. Leo Linbeck Jr., chairperson of the commission said he is unaware of the commission’s theory. The commission canceled the last planned March 14 meeting, citing a lack of justification fora formal session. The commission will not hold any further public meetings. The commission recently requested an extended deadline and an additional $1 million for its investigation. If the ad ditional money is approved, it would bring the budget to $2 million. The A&M Board of Regents will de termine if the additional $1 million will be approved this week at their meeting March 23-24 in Temple. The final report of the commission’s findings will be presented at a public hearing the first week of May. t *1 • 1k’i 3 rW I I’i Rally for change CODY WAGESAI hk Battalion Rev. Jesse Jackson and Houston’s African-American community leaders advocated equal funding for Texas Southern and Prairie View Universities before an audience of 700 students at the University of Houston Friday. A&M students sue police dept. TEXARKANA (AP) — Two college students are | seeking more than $500,000 in damages from two undercover police officers, the city of Palestine and Anderson County after they were pulled over and ar rested for making obscene gestures, causing them to miss their final exams. Siblings Amanda and Bryan Prewitt, both of Texatknna.'contend in d lawsuit tiled last week in fed eral court in Texarkana that they were headed to Col lege Station in December when Amanda Prewitt had to brake her car suddenly along U.S. Highway 79 in Anderson County to avoid hitting a car with a man and a woman inside. Amanda Prewitt made an obscene gesture at the car’s occupants and continued driving, according to the suit. The Prewitts claim they didn’t know the oc cupants were undercover Palestine police officers in an unmarked car. While the Prewitts’ car was stopped at an inter section, the officers, Shelby Green and Brenda Gray, allegedly began threatening the Prewitts and cursing at them. The lawsuit claims Green got out of the car, didn’t identify himself as an officer and approached the Prewitts’ car in a threatening manner. The Pre witts drove away in an attempt to escape what they believed was a case of “road rage,” court papers state. Brian Prewitt also made an obscene gesture during the confrontation, according to the suit. When the two youths later pulled their car over for a Palestine police cruiser, they were handcuffed, arrested and taken to the Anderson County Jail, where Amanda Prewitt was strip searched. Mike Meaders, assistant police chief in Palestine, recalled the incident but said he was not aware of the See Lawsuit on Page 2. mkuhle ; for MU there are |.£j dents who to a problem w non-native (English) speaking fan ty. These pei are really tni to do a iidents will just meetlto vill be a good experience, hie said that MU studea nine departments that li , ith faculty proficiency /1U during testimony ini :ure. s testified that the iciency problem] tends to! tics, engineering ehmkuhle said, lie also said he is anxW SBP candidates answer questions about platform issues This is the first in a five part series. The four !0 j candidates for student body president were each asked five questions in separate interviews. BY ROLANDO GARCIA The Battalion Beyond the elegant speeches about represent ing students and showing the Aggie spirit, each of the four candidates for student body president kave outlined a handful of projects they pledge to pursue if elected. Ranging from ambitious to practical, the pro- which the candidates chose to address may cany'many of the same themes, but promise dif ferent methods for implementation. Senior international studies major Brandon Gar rett said he wants to make it easier for students at Texas A&M to undertake a broad course of study, and not be imprisoned within the narrow confines of their degree plan. “One of the largest problems that we have is that we’re too focused in one area. You learn engineering, and that’s it. Or you learn business, and that’s it,” Garrett said. “We’re not affording students the opportunity to grow and to learn and develop, and that’s what college is all about.” Garrett said the University should make it eas ier for students to get a minor or a double major from different colleges and departments. Forrest Lane, a senior political science ma jor, said one of his priorities is to cultivate lead- STUDENT BODY ELECTIONS ership skills among students. To help accom plish that, he wants to create a sophomore leadership organization. Also, Lane said he wants a student fee over sight committee that would attempt to set a timeline for the implementation of the oncoming fee hikes. “I think if we create an annual dollar limit, then we’re going to start prioritiz ing those fees and figure out, ‘this one is important now — but maybe we can wait two or three years for this next one,’ that way we’re not just throwing these out arbitrarily,” Lane said. Jeff Schiefelbein, a senior marketing major, said the underlying reason he de cided to run for student body president is to change the perception of student government and to make its officers more accessible to students. “I’ve been in student government for four years, so I’ve gotten to see the decent people that really try to represent and try to serve,” Schiefel bein said. “But then 1 also see the people that are driven by titles that make student government al most an elitist group — and in some form or fash ion — try to intimidate.” To help combat the Student Senate’s elitist im age, Schiefelbein said he wants student senators to be more proactive in communicating with their constituents and to meet a certain quota in filling out fonns from the students they represent. “A lot of those people just sit at a desk and wait for people to come to them. I’d like to see them See Candidates on Page 2. results of a Web-based * lOOO students to seeiftfc on firmed, e internal policy on studf id based on the result oKff have an idea oftheproU disciplines it concerns said. “Obviously, we ions that are inapprop® >e addressed. We haves® ire not English proficieni depend on speaking, list be changed.” Bonfire photograph featured in magazine DZOOO DVARDf mailable for: EAR VTION R or NIZATION Dminate them! J up in the >, 127 Koldus i :OOpm BY STUART HUTSON The Battalion While examining the pages of Life s 1999: The Year in Pictures at a Kal Barnes and Noble for tips on photojournalism, architecture gradu- lestudent J. P. Beato stumbled across a surprising picture. Spanning two pages, the picture of Tim Kerlee trapped in the 1999 gie Bonfire collapse was not shocking because of its enormous size or because it revived memories of the tragic incident, but because the Mure was taken by Beato, a photographer for The Battalion, the morn- igofthe collapse. “I didn’t even know that it was going to be in there,” Beato said, never thought when I was taking the photo that it would ever ome to represent the tragedy of the collapse in a publication as restigious as this.” Since its original two-by-three inch appearance in The Battalion, the See Beato on Page 2. -K. . «■' * Jb. , n * Ihe^inPtctiire! |j .# GUY ROGERS/Tm: Battalion P Beato, an architecture graduate student, has a photo fea red in the LIFE 1999: The Year in Pictures. Siege reenactment to provide insight Mysterious flashes Infrared surveillance footage recorded by an FBI airplane during the final raid of the compound shows a rapid series of bright flashes. Parties on both sides of the investigation dispute the cause of these flashes. This weekend's test may reveal the source of the flashes. Q. : Marty flashes were concentrated hero at the compound windows and roofline. ‘mmxm KILLEEN (AP) — Aircraft circled, tanks rumbled and com bat-garbed shooters fired off rounds at a Central Texas military base Sunday in a high-stakes field test to resolve whether federal agents shot at the Branch Davidians in the waning moments of the 1993 Waco standoff. Government officials have always insisted that their forces fired no shots that day, when the FBI launched a tear-gassing operation designed to end the 51 -day siege. But Branch Davidian plaintiffs suing the government for wrong ful death insist Sunday’s field test will confirm their ex perts’ analysis: that rapid-fire bursts of light appearing on the FBI’s 1993 aerial infrared surveillance footage repre sent gunfire from govern ment positions into the Da vidians’ retreat. “If we ... show that there are flashes from gunfire, 1 am hopeful FBI leaders will acknowledge that guns were fired and the FBI will find out who fired and on what orders,” the plaintiffs’ lead counsel, Michael Caddell, said prior to the test, stand ing outside Fort Hood’s gate. The Army outpost is located 50 miles southwest of Waco, site of the 1993 siege. FBI officials have suggested that the flashes come from sun light glinting off pools of water, metal or other debris strewn on the ground while the government’s tanks pierced the compound’s walls to insert tear gas. Davidian leader David Koresh and some 80 followers perished during the fire that consumed their compound several hours into the ©: tear-gassing operation. The government contends their deaths, whether from fire or gunshot wounds, came by their own hand. The plaintiffs argue that government gunfire cut oft'the sect members’ only avenue of escape as the inferno raged. The field test, ordered by the federal judge presiding over the Da vidians’ lawsuit, was designed to determine whether the Forward Looking Infrared camera is capable of detecting people, debris heat ed by exhaust from tanks, sunlight reflections and, of course, gunfire. The government’s infrared experts, as well as those hired by the plaintiffs, will compare the test footage with the FBI’s 1993 tape to deter mine whether muzzle blasts fired during the test have similar thermal sig natures. Preliminary results were expected as early as Sunday evening. Caddell has scheduled a news con ference Monday in Hous ton to air portions of the test video and discuss findings. s j The site Fort Hood was chosen because its environmental conditions are similar to Waco’s. Water-filled drums Debris field of tin cans, hub caps, broken glass and aluminum Field maneuvers Two aircraft equipped with infrared cameras fly over the test site filming the test below. The footage will be examined to determine which objects and actions create visible flashes. > Six shooters wearing fire- retardant, military clothing lie prone for 20 minutes. ) The shooters run to positions in the firing area and shoot a variety of weapons, from pistols to grenade launchers. Another shooter © A tank drives appears from an armored vehicle and fires tear gas and flashbang rounds. forward, revealing aluminum debris and glass under neath it. i: Office of the Special Counsel; U.S. District Court for 1 t District of Texi U.S. Attorney Mike Bradford, one of the gov ernment’s lead lawyers in the case, has acknowl edged that infrared tech nology can detect gunfire — a statement Caddell has described as a stunning reversal of the government’s earlier position. The critical issue, Bradford and other federal officials contend, is whether the cameras detect people on the ground. No people were visible on the 1993 infrared tape until after the fire erupted and FBI See Waco on Page 2. • Buckeyes rally to de feat Aggies, 8-7 1 . T C S 11 r Jyllg ■ ■■MIBWSiiKM: JUUWk I ftp 1 4 • Down and out at South by Southwest All about what went on at this year's festival. Page 3 mjm f? , ’ m 41—B3i Hi > • The classro of Bahel University of Missouri plan to require English proficiency for profes sors full of benefits. m f Jj • Listen to KAMU-FM 90.9 at 1:57 p.m. for de tails on the B-CS unem ployment rate. • Check out the Battalion online at battalion.tamu.edu.