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Texas is dead last in the nation in voter turnout, according to census data (see “Push to the Polls” in Features), and the problem is even worse among younger Texans — a paltry 27.3 percent of college-age Texans made it to the polls in the 2016 presidential election.
Last week, Rice unveiled a new financial aid program it’s calling the Rice Investment. The program, lauded by this board in last week’s editorial, will expand Rice’s tuition and fee grants dramatically. But the Rice Investment doesn’t offer the same help to international students, who make up 13 percent of this year’s incoming undergraduate class (see p. 1). To address this, the administration should set measurable and actionable goals for providing financial aid to international students.
On Tuesday, Rice announced a program it’s calling The Rice Investment, a sweeping expansion of its need-based financial aid set to begin in the fall of next year. Families making between $65,000 and $130,000 per year will receive grants covering the entire cost of tuition, currently $46,600 per year. In addition to receiving full-tuition grants, those making less than $65,000 will also receive grants that cover fees, room and board. Households making under $200,000 will not be asked to take out loans as part of their financial aid package and will have at least half their tuition covered.
Ten years ago, visual and dramatic arts professor Chris Sperandio founded Matchbox Gallery out of his old office (see p. 1). A decade later, Matchbox, now Inferno, is the only space on campus solely dedicated to student art. However, student artists and the VADA department need more space to create and display their work.
Proposed changes to federal education policy obtained by the New York Times would allow universities to lessen their responsibility in handling cases of sexual assault.
The Thresher editorial board stands with over 400 students who have signed the petition for Julianne Yost to remain at Rice. While there are statements in the petition that are incorrect – Yost is an instructor, not a lecturer, and due to the limited terms of instructors, her contract cannot be renewed – the chemistry department should hire her as either a lecturer or teaching professor.
Rice is starting this year with numerous high rankings from the Princeton Review, commending the school in categories such as “Lots of Race/Class Interaction” where the university ranked No. 1 and “Best Dorms” where Rice ranked No. 10. We are proud to attend a university that has achieved such rankings, but we also believe these accolades are not a reason to be complacent in categories where Rice has received national recognition.
Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson and Director of Sexual Violence and Title IX Support Allison Vogt confirmed that changes to the Critical Thinking in Sexuality course will be implemented next fall, in response to student input after this year’s pilot course. The mandatory CTIS course will be offered Mondays through Thursdays during evening time slots at residential colleges. Students will attend the course with their fellow residential college members. Hutchinson and Vogt also said they hope to have mostly Rice instructors heading the sessions with the aid of volunteer teaching assistants, after freshmen voiced concerns over unrelatable outside instructors.
The Rice University student body will vote on a proposed $5 increase in intramural sports fees this week. The increase will pass if at least two- thirds of the required 20 percent turnout votes in favor.
Rice University has found a new dean of undergraduates in the form of Bridget Gorman, current Will Rice College magister and chair of the sociology department. She will succeed outgoing dean John Hutchinson in July.
This year is no exception to the trend of Rice’s rising cost, with tuition rising 3.2 percent for the 2018-19 academic year. However, this year’s tuition increase comes with significantly more financial aid. The financial aid budget will increase by 10 percent, in accordance with Rice’s Vision for the Second Century’s goal of focusing on accessibility and affordability for low- and middle-income applicants.
In the spirit of the Student Association’s changeover this week, the Thresher editorial board has filtered through the many resolutions, amendments, task forces and working groups passed this year in search of the most impactful accomplishments and areas that could be improved in the future. Overall, the SA under outgoing President Justin Onwenu has certainly brought up important topics that could set up the incoming executive board to further galvanize the Rice student body.
Last week, a panel of Rice professors discussed and responded to common issues in Rice undergraduate teaching.
A Student Association task force is examining the cost of health center tests for sexually transmitted infections, with survey results indicating that more than 60 percent of sexually active Rice students have never been tested for STIs (see p. 1). Currently, the health center offers a four-disease test which costs $74; individual tests cost around $25. These costs are not on the health center website, nor is there any mention of available testing for HPV, the most common STI.
Above: A video description of ranked-choice voting, from Minnesota Public Radio.
After last year’s contentious campaign for Student Association president, it is refreshing to see four candidates vying for the position with, for the most part, passion and grace. As the university transitions to a new dean of undergraduates, student leadership will be essential in the next year.
The internal vice president serves as a proxy for what we want the Student Association to be. They should champion others’ ideas and advocate fiercely to ensure that students can use the SA as a vehicle for the betterment of Rice.
Student Association treasurer can be a relatively thankless job, in which performance only becomes publicly visible in the case of a complete mismanagement of the role or a major error.
This past Monday, the Student Association passed a resolution calling on almost every department to create more academic minors. According to the resolution, each academic department, excluding the Schools of Architecture and Music, should determine whether they could create minor versions of their majors. The resolution argued that doing so would provide Rice students with more choices in their academic pursuits, as well as better equip them with marketable degrees for the future.
Like most of Rice’s traditions, the debate has undergone changes through the years. In the last two years, we’ve tried to make the event a more substantial and better attended part of the election cycle with in-depth questions and a more formal setting (previously, the debate was a dry, sparsely attended hour on Fondy 4th). Our goal is to make the debate a maximally informative discussion that helps undergraduates make an educated choice in voting for their student body president.