I am writing in antithesis to Mr. Fung's op-ed, dated April 11, 2018, that suggests that the university's public declarations regarding DACA contradict its commitment to impartiality.
In spring 1991, Tracy Hall and I had the pleasure of convening the first ever Diversity Week panel discussion on affirmative action, conceived in part to provide an informed response to regressive comments published by former Thresher Co-Editor in Chief Kurt Moeller.
At the conclusion of his brief introductory remarks, Dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering Michael Carroll (of happy memory) challenged the attendees to conceive of a broader context than Equal Employment Opportunity Commission categories when contemplating Rice's commitment to excellence, which he considered synonymous with a commitment to diversity. Specifically, he pointed out that he led a team of faculty and graduate students comprising Americans of various backgrounds: Greeks, Turks, Iranians, Chinese and an Israeli (not to mention that he, himself, was a first-generation Irish immigrant).
Amid the partisanship Moeller gleefully incited, I confess that I once received Dean Carroll's remarks as broad to the point of irrelevance, but they resonate powerfully in the current context. More than a partisan football, DACA represents a rational commitment to fairness and due process that, through carefully sustained and calculated legislative omission, seeks to resolve a degree of legal ambiguity that foreign nationals who have committed no crime must fear every day.
While the university was conceived in and committed to a myopic regional political agenda of racial and gender inequality continuing into the late 1960s, Dean Carroll's remarks demonstrate a commitment to excellence that no longer even stops at the water's edge. Given this history, it is uniquely fitting for Rice University to publicly declare its unwavering commitment to pursue excellence in and from every corner of the globe, especially when that excellence finds us first.
Sid Richardson '90, College Associate