The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, June 19, 2000, Image 1

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Listen to KAMI) 90.9 FM at 1:57 p.m. for details on the Milam Elementary bilingual program. • Check out The Battalion online at Weather: Mostly cloudy with a hiqh of 90 and a low of 76. MONDAY June 19,2000 Volume 106-Issue 154 6 pages i w&vm h iik'i m =i:kiir itudents continue oviet Union during a while he worked in Gem . Attorney's Office identify fimoff. It said he conspirf. nilitary intelligence inform ; when he was a civilian e' f, was indicted by federal grar ; indictment was unsealed; a was arrested, e highest-ranking U.S. mill arged with espionage,fede id. He had access to allct n received or produced ; center. , Staff and Wire The Battalion Bonfire may burn this year ter all. Following Texas A&M Presi dent Dr. Ray M. Bowen's decision to suspend Aggie Bonfire until at least 2002, many former and cur- jent students have begun dis cussing the possibility of an alter- native bonfire. 1 Marie Johnson, a senior agricul tural development major, said she knows students who are already planning on building their own bonfires. ■ "Bonfire will happen next year. It won't be on campus, but there are .students who will make it happen," Johnson said. I Don Ganther, an A&M gradu- |a|e and owner of the Dixie Chick en, also disagrees with the suspen sion of bonfire and is exploring the possibility of holding his own bon- fijre this year. Tory ptist ie Will rch r Class i Bible ;tudents. it 9:45 iria :ontact 6558 iu Nancy Braus, mother of victim Do minick Braus, being interviewed by re porters after the press conference. "[Bonfire] should be held this year to honor those fallen chil dren," Ganther said. "Texas is a big state. There's lots of places you could go [to have a bonfire]." Ganther approached Dr. Larry Gresham, an A&M marketing pro fessor, and requested that he ask his current and former students how they would feel about an off- campus sponsored event. "There was an overwhelming consensus that the students I sur veyed wanted to have an event, but there was no real consensus about how the event would be held," Gre sham said. "If Ganther does decide to sponsor an off-campus bonfire, then it would need to be closely su pervised, because he would be tak ing on a lot of responsibility." Ganther said that he will decide by September 2000 whether he will hold a bonfire. Ganther's substi tute bonfire will be a solemn, fam ily-oriented event, with no alcohol, he said. An off-campus bonfire would not violate any laws, according to Bert Fuller, deputy of Burleson County. "As long as there is not a county or state 'burn ban' in place, and the bonfire is held on private land, with the owner's consent, then there is no law against a [bonfire] being held," Fuller said. "In some counties if prior notifi cation is given, the fire de partment may stand by in case of an emergency." See Plans on Page 6. Bonfire discontinued until 2002 Fate of bonfire answered with Maureen Kane The Battalion On Friday, Texas A&M President Dr. Ray M. Bowen announced his decision to postpone Bonfire until 2002 and to completely eliminate cut, a student- run tree-cutting event. "I don't think it will surprise anyone that we will not have a bonfire this year," Bowen said. "We fully anticipate a bonfire-related event, a memorial, a trib ute to the young people lost and injured. This is something our student leadership has indicated an interest in, and we will support it. It is our decision that we will not have a cut. Not having a cut achieves a number of goals. Major improvement in the safety environment, major reduction in the amount of time it takes to build bonfire, and there are academic ben efits to that. The basic desire to do something good is out there. It doesn't necessarily have to be to go to cut and put yourself at risk, expose yourself to some really despicable behavior and put your academics in jeopardy," he said. Although it was difficult, Bowen said his decision will help the University improve safety, decrease bonfire-building time and make the construction site more organized and secure. Fie said a plan for the next bonfire must be creat ed with a detailed design prepared by licensed pro fessionals. Height limits will be set, and stack work times must be set. "We will have a bonfire if it is completely re structured," Bowen said. "We will have a bonfire which is not unlike historical bonfires — a single stack, tepee-shaped bonfire. Bonfire will have a con struction plan made by licensed professionals. Con-' struction time will be limited to two weeks. We will not have work after midnight or before sunrise." He added that Aggies need to be flexible in re sponse to this decision. "The challenge to them is to protect this tradition, to cause this tradition to be here as a safe, positive el ement of our University," Bowen said. "I am confi dent that they are and will be committed to the fun damental changes necessary. Our responsibility as administration, faculty and staff of this University is to guide the young people, not to make their deci sions for them. It's not to take away this tradition as a student-led activity." Bowen said there have always been extreme view points concerning the continuation of bonfire, and it "includes people who say 'stop the bonfire,' or 'don't change it,' but the vast majority say 'make whatever changes are necessary to save it.' I'm amazed at all the support I've gotten from the broader Aggie commu nity, regents, chancellor, faculty senate, and Associa tion (of Former Students) for what 1 do," he said. (top) President Ray M. Bowen addresses the student body on the fate of bonfire, (left) Rusty Thompson joins the crowd to hear Bowen's decision, (right) Ryan Thompson, coordinator of the Keep The Fire Burning or ganization, was also in attendance. Bowen said that deciding the fate of bonfire was emotionally difficult. He also said, "Some will speculate that this decision is too tough. I do not think so. Remember the bonfire is a manifestation of the Aggie spirit. If, in fact, this University were ever to decide it would not have a bonfire, the Aggie spirit would find some other beneficial activity that would allow the students to display their leadership." On the subject of his resignation, Bowen said, "I do not plan to resign.... The question was asked in a friendly way: Are the students going to be held re sponsible for the collapse of the bonfire? and I said, 'no, the buck stops here.' No student or anyone else is going to be held responsible. The most important thing was to have our students understand that we're not going to turn our backs ort them and have them take responsibility for what happened out there," he said. "We're standing together, and the eas iest way to clarify that in people's minds was to say, 'look at me, don't look at them.' The idea of having authority and accepting responsibility is fundamen tal to the leadership in management. The people that run this University accept responsibility." Bowen added that there has been no litigation filed against A&M, although legal action may be taken in the future. See Decision on Page 6. ocdst Victims, parents and students respond to Bowen’s decision hodist ) • 846-8731 11:00 a.m. 019:45 lerson »e on call lion >6 Staff The Battalion Students gathered at television sets all over cam pus Friday, anxiously awaiting Texas A&M President Dr. Ray M. Bowen's official decision on the future of Aggie Bonfire. At the student recreation center, students set their weights aside to listen to Bowen's decision. Once the decision was announced, students reacted differently. "I think President Bowen showed real profession alism in making his decision," said Jacquelyn Hen derson, a senior Russian and psychology major. "Even though it may not have been popular, he took the ini tiative needed to preserve lives. He put safety first. That's the most important thing," she said. Amber Arnold, a junior psychology major, said bonfire is a special memory that future Aggies should have the opportunity to experience. "Every year that I can remember has a memory of Ibonfire in it. Once I became an actual Aggie student, the bonfire became more meaningful than ever. I am very upset that two more freshman classes will not have the opportunity to participate in a wonderful tra dition the way I remember bonfire always being." Many students expressed displeasure at the elimi nation of cut. Cut took place on the weekends, pro ceeding the building of the bonfire stack, when the trees were cut down. "1 think Dr. Bowen overall made a good deci sion. Bonfire definitely needed more regulation, but one thing I disagree with was taking away cut," said Matthew Weir, a senior industrial distrib ution major. Ryan Thompson, a co founder of Keep the Fire Burning and a senior his tory major, said Bowen's Aggies accept change in tradition Former students express feelings on elimination of cut See Students on Page 4. Kim Trihlio and April Young The Battalion President Dr. Ray M. Bowen's deci sion to postpone Aggie Bonfire until 2002 and eliminate cut — when stu dents themselves cut down trees — were the main concerns for several for mer students. "I can't say that I am totally pleased that [bonfire] is going to wait until 2002," said Mark Gratkowski, Class of '92. "I think the engineering could have been done by 2001. And as for eliminat ing cut, that just blows me away. [Cut] is a major, major part of the tradition," he said. "That is very disappointing since I did cut for several years. 1 agree everything needs to be changed, but I think a lot of the tradition will be lost by waiting so long." Judy Franklin, president of the Hous ton A&M Club and Class of '68, said she is glad bonfire was not discontinued. "As a former student and head of a club, 1 applaud Dr. Bowen's decision. I “I am glad that it will continue in a safer manner. Stu dents go to A&M for all that it represents” — Judy Franklin president of the Houston A&M club am glad that bonfire will continue," Franklin said. "I am glad that it will con tinue in a safer manner. Students go to A&M for all that it represents." However, Franklin also expressed displeasure about the elimination of cut. "There is nothing more important than the life of a student. I didn't think things like cut site would be eliminated. I know it does represent a source of dan ger, but there has never been a fatality at the cut site," Franklin said. "That was kind of a surprise, but it does make sense. Eliminating cut does cut out some steps in the total collective bonding process." Roland Hurst, Class of'72 and own er of the Aggieland of Texas store in Houston, said he supports only some parts of Bowen's decision. "I have some mixed feelings about the decision. I am not sure about the cut aspect. That was part of the bonding. I, by no means, want another tragedy, though," Hurst said. "I never wanted to hear that we are not going to continue bonfire because that would show that Aggies give up, and Aggies don't give up. I think this decision, associated with [Vision 2020], will make [the Universi ty] grow to the next level, but it is the See Former students on Page 6.