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There are two glaring problems with how the Blanket Tax Committee allocated initiative funds this year. Student Association Treasurer Maurice Frediere said initiatives would not be considered for funding unless they were “new” (see pg. 1). First, the requirement that initiatives be “new” is nowhere outlined in the SA constitution, nor was it publicized through the application process. It is misleading to encourage organizations to apply for funding without informing them of such a disqualifying condition.
At this week’s Student Association meeting, current Rice Program Council Treasurer Ameesh Shah was nearly unanimously appointed as the SA’s first deputy treasurer (see "RPC treasurer appointed deputy treasurer of Student Association"). While we do not doubt Shah’s competence in performing the duties of the deputy treasurer, Shah’s current position as the treasurer of RPC, a blanket tax subsidiary organization, raises concerns about a conflict of interest.
A breakdown of Rice’s endowment indicates that 12 percent is invested in natural resources (see p. 1). Though we do not have an exact breakdown of how much of that 12 percent is allocated to oil and gas investments, Rice’s geographic location and its alumni network in the industry suggest that oil and gas is not an insignificant component of the endowment.
For many Rice students, voting Donald Trump for the presidency is out of the question, but Hillary Clinton may not be the clear alternative. However, the Thresher calls on the Rice community to carefully consider the threat Trump poses to them and in particular to their fellow minority students, reject third-party candidates and rally behind Clinton.
The Thresher applauds the Marching Owl Band’s performance during the halftime show of the Rice University vs. Baylor University football game (see p.1). The MOB forced a nationwide community to acknowledge our society’s rape culture that allows for a survivor’s trauma to be brushed aside in the name of athletics.
While the Student Association’s decision to create the appointed position of deputy treasurer and deputy parliamentarian (see p. 1) may seem inconsequential, it raises questions about the nature of elected versus appointed positions. The treasurer is elected because students place trust in an individual who is responsible for distributing their funds. Introducing an appointed deputy position with vague responsibilities of “assisting” the treasurer dilutes the power students have in choosing who handles these important decisions.
In the coming weeks, Rice University Housing and Dining will be introducing a Saturday night dinner option for students who wish to dine on campus (see p. 1). Going off campus for Saturday night dinners is a long-standing tradition for many, with students generally being encouraged to go “beyond the hedges” and explore the city of Houston. However, we may sometimes forget that this is just one of many aspects of social life at Rice that requires a certain degree of economic privilege.
In the wake of mass shootings throughout the country as well as certain college campuses, Brown and Martel Colleges’ recent initiative to provide active shooter training their for cabinet and college members should serve as a model for the rest of the Rice community. Events like the shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles, show that although the chance of experiencing a mass shooting may be low, preparedness is necessary not only to save lives but also to prevent a breakdown into chaos.
When the Survey of Unwanted Sexual Ex-periences proved that, much like other college campuses, sexual misconduct and assault are prevalent at Rice, many in the student body rallied around the cause and proposed change in the form of a mandatory Critical Thinking in Sexuality Class for new students. However, the administration’s response and support for this course has been lagging — and this delay could have dire consequences for the incoming class. Though the class was controversial, the fact that so many students felt compelled to respond is in itself impressive. It also indicates that a large portion of the student body is aware that sexual misconduct is a pressing issue and are actively working to create a safer Rice community.
In an email sent to the student body to clarify concerns surrounding the credit hour cap proposal recently passed by the Faculty Senate, Provost Marie Lynn Miranda and President David Leebron referenced the Thresher when describing past student input. They wrote, "The Thresher endorsed the proposal in a March 22 editorial, even before additional student input was incorporated."
Amid a flurry of RSVPs, the Student Association claimed on their Facebook event for the CUC protest that the Faculty Senate will “likely approve” the widely contested credit hour limit proposal. While how the Faculty Senate intends to vote has not been confirmed, the fierce student opposition to the CUC’s proposal makes it perfectly clear that if the administration cares at all about our voices, they will vote “no.”
As prospective students visit for Owl Days to decide whether to begin their career at Rice, those who might consider pursuing mechanical engineering may question their decision if they hear of the department’s recent town hall. MECH’s problems are representative of a larger trend at Rice of departments plagued by lack of faculty and class sections, sparsely offered courses, old equipment and dated curricula. The administration must address these problems to ensure Rice maintains the quality of education promised to its prospective students.
A recent decision by the Blanket Tax Committee to recommend an organization for subsidiary status is at risk of being overturned (see p. 1). The current blanket tax process, established last year, has done away with many of issues that plagued the old system, but is still a work in progress. Pressing concerns must be addressed for the system to remain fair and sustainable.
Sid Richardson College recently established a self-imposed ban on private parties in response to the Lads in Plaid incident and corresponding violations of the alcohol policy (see p.1). The Thresher believes the restriction fair, given the necessity of preventing similar violations in the near future as the college works to foster a culture of self-governance and responsibility. However, clear issues with how Rice and residential colleges handle private parties have emerged and present a strong opportunity for students to actively shape the campus’s social experience.
Note: This editorial appeared in the Feb. 24 issue of the Thresher, but was not published online until March 22, as shown. This clarification was added April 28.
Beer Bike is one of the most anticipated days of the year, with Rice students across campus participating in Beer Bike festivities. Somewhat surprisingly, however, the Beer Bike races themselves suffer from low turnout every year. By the time students have woken up early, walked around campus visiting different colleges and thrown water balloons at their rivals, few have the energy to make the trek to the tracks.
As Griffin Thomas prepares to assume the role of Student Association president, he is faced with the challenge of carrying out his campaign promises, while considering where his predecessor has left off.
This year’s Student Association presidential race has been a competitive one. Lovett College junior Griffin Thomas has leveraged his experience as Lovett president to position himself as an outsider willing to be a strong figurehead for student opinion. Jones College junior Joan Liu, on the other hand, has emphasized her external vice president experience to present herself as a communicator willing to work with administration to accomplish student-generated goals.
All three Student Association external vice president candidates brought big ideas to the table during Friday’s debates. Sid Richardson College sophomore Justin Onwenu showed interest in improving the relationship between students and Student Judicial Programs, Wiess College sophomore Hannah Todd planned to address meal plan structuring issues and Hanszen College sophomore Brianna Singh hoped to take the SA beyond the hedges. Of all three, though, Todd emerged as the candidate with the greatest ability to understand and realize students’ interests.
As the Student Association Senate votes on Rice Video Productions’ blanket tax status today, the Thresher urges its members to send the measure to the general election ballot. Students have the right to know and decide how their tuition is being allocated to support student run organizations. Since its shift from shooting campus events under its old name, Rice Television, to filming creative shorts under its current moniker, RVP has failed to provide a platform that can justify why it should continue to receive funding, and on a larger scale, how they will continue to serve the student body’s best interests.