I had the pleasure of visiting the Rice campus for the first time last week. I was impressed by everything I saw and heard, including the beautiful setting and architecture, and the bright, engaging students. However, I was concerned about a comment attributed to Hugh Grier, a Rice sophomore, in an article on the front page of the Nov. 16 issue of the Rice Thresher. Grier was quoted as saying Hillary Clinton is a “lying, cheating bought-out criminal” who “knowingly broke the law and openly lied to the American public” and “there are people are in prison for doing what she did.”

I was stunned by these comments because they were not what I would expect of a Rice student destined to be a productive member of society, a future scholar or a scientist. If I could speak to Mr. Grier, I would ask him three questions.

1) What evidence do you have of these claims? What are your sources? I have seen similar comments from Clinton’s political opponent, but nothing from any objective source to make me draw those same conclusions. I have seen a series of efforts by Republican congressional committees to conduct investigation after investigation with the hope of finding some wrongdoing, but they found nothing that suggested she lied, cheated or broke any law. In fact, she may be the most vetted politician in our history, and the only one to come out clean after such a thorough investigation.

2) How would you feel if someone said these things about your mother? Clinton is a person, a mother, a wife, a daughter. It is fine to disagree with someone on policy issues, it is also fine to not like their personality, but do we gain anything by calling people names?

3) What is a prospective employer going to think about a student who makes inflammatory statements in public with no evidence to support them? Is he going to draw similar unfounded conclusions in the research he conducts for work? Is he going to make inflammatory comments about his coworkers or leadership? Is this someone who can be trusted to represent the organization in a professional way?

Respectfully,

Michael P. O’Donnell, MBA, MPH, PhD, Editor in Chief of American Journal of Health Promotion