Regents or kings?
"The time has come, the people said, to speak of many
things: of rash decisions, power plays, and regents who act like
"With deep apologies to Lewis Carroll," Mavis Pennington, a
Houston nurse described [Chronicle, "Viewpoint" June 9) the
University of Texas System School of Nursing (UTSSN) debacle
as growing "curiouser and curiouser."
What is really curious to us is that the language of
"Jabberwocky" used by the Regents was swallowed up by the
six nursing school deans who have remained safely "neutral"
through the entire controversy.
From the Regents' March 26 decision the deans accepted the
UTSSN abolishment as an act of God rather than men and
dutifully worked for an "orderly transition" by September 1.
At the September 9 Austin legislative hearing called to study
the reorganization, Vice-Chancellor (promoted from Deputy)
Walker closed his testimony by saying the "reorganization was
working well because of the willing cooperation and hard work of
our nursing school deans."
Dean Hawkins from San Antonio said "it would be a
marvelous challenge" and Acting Dean Dorothy Otto from
Houston said "I can live with it."
A tactic verbalized in the Frank Erwin days, Regent historians
will recall, is to pay your administration well (nursing school
deans earn approximately $40,000 a year). Strengthen your administration, Erwin's law goes, and you'll weaken the power of
Thus, because the deans did nothing to publicly question or
challenge the authority of the Regents, it fell upon the Texas
Nurses Association to file an unprecedented:lawsuit against the
Regents last May.
Because the administrators of the nursing schools have been
silent in protest, it has fallen on the faculty ahd students to fight
for the integrity of their patient-oriented profession.
The brave voices who have spoken up have done so at great
professional and personal risk. As TNA attorney Charles Babb
reminded legislators at the September 9 hearing, "Some of the
nurses risked their careers by testifying today. In fact, when
they return to work tomorrow morning, they might not have a
Two Houston faculty members who testified, Dr. Frances
Moncure and Dr. Evelyn Redding, received a summons to
appear before their new administrator, Dr. Charles Berry,
president of the UT Health Science Center. Houston's Acting
Nursing School Dean Dorothy Otto, who now functions,,as an
intercessor to the president, told Moncure it was called "to
discuss your appearance at the hearing." The memo read: "to
discuss differences of opinion regarding the operation of the
Houston Post medical reporter Mary Jane Schier, who has
avoided coverage of the UTSSN story like the plague, took this
opportunity to call Redding and ask if it were true that she and
Moncure were going to be fired. The attorneys for the nurses,
knowing Schier's loyalties and biases, regarded the call as
After the nurses' attorneys called the Texas Attorney
General's office and that office called Berry, the meeting was
Redding and Moncure have been targeted by the medical
hierarchy, along with Mildred Dayton at UT-Houston, because
they have chosen to take a stand and have remained committed
since the "Save Our School" days. "There is no neutrality in
the illegal abolishment of the school," they have steadfastly
They have challenged the irresponsibility of Berry's
statement last March 12 when he said "I do not believe in higher
education for nurses. It only makes the health care delivery
system more expensive for professionals (i.e., physicians)."
They have challenged-and proved wrong-Regent-physician
Joe Nelson's "Report" that UT nurses are "so poorly prepared
to perform as bedside nurses and to assist in the care of the
sick that UT. . .hospitais have to put Ul graduates through six
weeks of clinical training."
They have challenged the accusation that something is wrong
in nursing education to cause the heavy turnover of nurses in
hospitals by suggesting that something may be wrong inside the
hospitals to cause the nursing shortage.
In fact, they have effectively challenged every reason given by
Walker and the Regents for the dissolution. They are now
working with a lobbyist employed by TNA to pass a bill in the
next legislature to protect the autonomy of nursing education
and practice in Texas.
We are the beneficiaries from the struggle to save UTSSN and
we are calling for an end to the harassment of those nurses who
are speaking for the consumers of health care in Texas.
We are calling on our legislators in the next session to study
the "curious" power of the UT Regents who arrogantly
destroyed what, until recently, was the best nursing school
system in the country.
letters to breakthrough
The article you wrote in a
summer issue on the Memorial
City Shopping Center rapist was
excellent. You gave a physical
description of the man and an
account of his habitude in the
attacks he made, long before
any of the other media did.
I am sure it would be very
helpful for other women to be
able to read about these
"neighborhood rapists". . .The
reason these guys can get away
with these repeated attacks is
because women aren't informed
on who, where, how, or what to
look out for.
Thank you tor informing me.
Editor's note: We hope to
receive the cooperation of the
Houston Police Department in
continuing to provide such information.
Would you please stop
putting pictures of "sexy" women into "Dead Pans." I see
these fantasies of men everywhere I go. PLEASE-I don't
have to look at this perpetrated
reflection of myself in a paper I
read to read about women in the
Texas area. Run the photos of
the MEN who create these
Editor's note: We empathize
with your reaction; we're sick of
''cheesecake" too. Entries are
submitted by readers who find
them offensive and want them
stopped. Also, the sexism of
Texas Monthly covers [Breakthrough, January 7976] may not
have been apparent over a 3 yr.
period until we ran nine covers
together. We are not averse to
showing photos of the men
responsible for sexism. Our
June/July "DeadPans" featured members of the UT Board
of Regents and the UT Deputy
Mattel's Baby Brother Ten-
derlove is admittedly a bold
step by a doll manufacturer to
put genitals on a doll. It is not
surprising that some criticism
has been leveled at Mattel.
However, the criticism is based
on the genitals as being offensive. My own criticism of
Mattel is for not also making a
Baby SISTER Tenderlove with
Our lack of proper sex education leads to the myth that a
male has a penis and a female
has NOTHING. Up to now,
male aM female dolls have both
had nothing. This was easier
for me to explain to my 4-year
old as a consistent, societal
hang-up about genitals. Now,
in dolls, she will see the myth of
females having nothing and
males having something.
Mattel, your Baby Brother
Tenderlove stands as blatant
male chauvinism until you make
a female counterpart. I intend
to 6oycott your doll until then.
I just fired my gynecologist.
Not because he was incompetent, but because I did not like
his attitude toward me.
here is a copy of the letter I
sent him. I hope other women
will be encouraged to talk
straight to their doctors and
stop settling for less than the
best in health care.
The last (and only) time I
came to your office you correctly
diagnosed a yeast infection and
prescribed the proper treatment
for me. But you failed to tell me
what type of infection I had or
anything about it. Fortunately,
the pharmaceutical company
enclosed information about
monilia with the medicine I
You did not tell about the
medicine. I am not saying you
prescribed the wrong drug, but
the next time I want to know in
advance at least the name of the
drug. A doctor should say how
the drug works and any possible
A gynecologist should answer
all my questions fully, without
hesitation or embarassment.
You were elusive when I asked
you direct questions about my
infection. I felt that you were
embarassed and did not respect
my intelligence or interest in my
own health. This made me
uncomfortable in your office.
I wrote this letter because I
felt you deserved to know why I
will not return to your office.
Art— Charley Kubricht-Fore, Prairie Jackson
Advertising— Gertrude Barnstone, Ailene English,
Sarah Lees, Mary-k Wilson
Circulation— Michal Alaniz, Anne Harris, Nancy
Kern, Cathy Snygg, Glenda Sherry
Production— Karen Barrett, Gertrude Barnstone,
Janice Blue, Gabrielle Cosgriff, Barbara Hugetz
Editors-Writers— Sam E.J. Akers, Janice Blue,
Feature Writers— Jan Cunningham, Patti O'Kane
Office— Janice Blue, Barbara Hugetz
Photography— Amos Barrow, Marilyn Jones, Nancy
Typesetting— Barbara Hugetz
Gertrude Barnstone, Janice Blue
Gabrielle Cosgriff, Barbara Hugetz
Vol. 1, No. 8, October 1976. Houston Breakthrough is published
monthly (with the exception of the June-July and the August-
September issues) by the Breakthrough Publishing Company,
1708 Rosewood, Houston, Texas 77004, P.O. Box 88072, Houston,
Texas 77004. Telephone (713) 526-6686. Subscriptions $5.00 a year.
Newsstand 50 cents per copy. This publication is on file at the
International Women's History Archive in the Special Collections
Library, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60201.