This afternoon three of our members had a few quick errands to run on campus. We had to do some banking, we needed to add our fall meeting time to our banner, and then we had to go by the university general counsel’s office to set up a time to view some documents per a request that our member Brendan Laws made. We also had to pay $40 for another public information request. The Texas Public Information Act is really useful because it allows citizens a way to look at documents created by the government. Click here for a quick primer: Texas public info.
Anyway it was just another routine day on campus for a few activists. However as is often the case at the University of Houston, where they make up new laws everyday, the most mundane task can turn into an ugly incident of oppression of happy go lucky students.
It was about 1:45 when we walked toward the lawyers office. We came upon Leslie Pruski, (secretary to Dona Cornell, the general counsel) in the hallway. She asked who we were here to see and we told her Valerie Coleman-Ferguson, one of the lawyers on staff. Pruski went into the office and told someone. A woman came out and we told her the same thing. She told us to wait, which we did. We sat for around 15 minutes. Now bear in mind all we had to do was give them $40 cash and get a receipt and go. Another woman passed through the reception area we were waiting in and we asked her to check on things. She returned and told us they were checking on the law and would get back to us. They had to check on the law to see if they could accept cash? But wait it gets better. Then still another woman came out and showed our member Tim a receipt and took his $40, but instead of letting us have the receipt she said she had to take it and photocopy our money and our receipt.
So we waited another ten or fifteen minutes. Except now Brendan was going to be late for work because it was 2:30 so we went ahead and went into the hallway where the offices are and the video above shows what happened.
It’s important to note the the lawyer in this video, Mr. Rangel, is not just having a bad day, he has a bad day everyday students are around on legitimate business. For review and contextual purposes, below are two more videos showing Mr. Rangel acting unprofessional and ignorant. We think this accurately reflects most UH staffer’s attitudes towards students or at least the ones that we’ve encountered over the years of our activism.
Its also important to note that our group is primarily made up of working class students. We mention that because we had to buy this expensive video camera and we must continually buy tapes for it just to protect ourselves. Its bad enough that they jack up the tuition every year, but it is just ridiculous that we can’t do the simplest errand on campus without having these folks go beserk on us. This idiotic behavior of staffers just makes us use up more film and more time documenting it.
And here’s another one from this year: