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

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March 20, 2000
Volume 106 ~ Issue 110
10 pages
iviiieo Tennessee
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
“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 !
ire students that express;
communication in the cl
: of which results from ((
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
— 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
,. Jollapse include:
native EnM I, , , ,
speakers, * The ceflier P oie racked.
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
shortcuts and
eliminated some safety measures.
•The wedding cake design of the bon
fire was flawed.
•Lack of a specific blueprint or de
•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.
; for MU
there are
|.£j dents who to
a problem w
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
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.
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-
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
mailable for:
R or
Dminate them!
J up in the
>, 127 Koldus
i :OOpm
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
Q. :
Marty flashes were
concentrated hero at
the compound
windows and roofline.
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
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
s j
The site
Fort Hood was
because its
conditions are
similar to
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-
clothing lie
prone for 20
) The shooters run
to positions in the
firing area and
shoot a variety of
weapons, from
pistols to grenade
Another shooter © A tank drives
appears from an
armored vehicle
and fires tear
gas and
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,
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
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