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Friday, March 22, 2019 — Houston, TX 77°

op-eds


OPINION 10/31/18 12:38am

‘Fun’ classes aren’t always fun — and that’s great

The modern college student is almost expected to take some wacky classes during their college career. From Exploration of the Solar System to Beginning Sculpture to Scuba, there is something for practically every student who wants to pick up some skills that they might never use in their career but will have a great time learning. After all, that’s what fun classes are for.



OPINION 10/31/18 12:29am

LTTE: NOD helped make me into who I am

Thanks to the glory of social media, I have watched the controversy of NOD vs. EOE with interest for the past couple of years. I loved NOD. It was crucial in my growth as a sex-positive queer individual, and I thought my voice might be useful in this conversation.


OPINION 10/24/18 10:17am

Get an STI test, and protect your health

Testing for sexually transmitted infections is increasingly important for college students at Rice and across the nation. More STIs were diagnosed among teenagers and young adults in 2018 than in any prior year, according to the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention. With transmission rates higher than ever before, getting tested is the most effective course of action you can take to maintain both your and your partners’ sexual and holistic health.


OPINION 10/24/18 1:00am

A letter to my fellow men: Let’s do more, and let’s do better

I have spent a great deal of my time at Rice contemplating what it means to be a man. Over two weeks ago, when Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, I learned a little more about the answer to that question. In light of the Kavanaugh hearings, it seems to me that to be a man is to be given license to lie under oath, to respond to legitimate questions with churlish non-answers, to break norms of decency, civility, and indifference to partisanship central to the survival of our democracy and to override the credible testimony of women with nothing to gain. In sum, it is to live by a lower standard — to be expected to do no more than the bare minimum — and then have that standard lowered again if it ever becomes inconvenient.


OPINION 10/24/18 12:58am

Competition over ideological purity distracts from substantive activism

In last week’s Thresher issue, Chloe Wilson did an excellent job exhorting Rice students to demonstrate their progressive values not just through Tweets, but through participation in activities that are more likely to bring about real social change. I do not wish to repeat her critique of Rice students’ relative political inaction. Rather, I would like to situate the problems that she describes within some disconcerting trends in the culture of social justice activism. For too many of us, our advocacy as allies of social justice has strayed from the goal of supporting marginalized groups and has become focused on distancing ourselves personally from the oppression that afflicts them. 


OPINION 10/17/18 12:49am

Hey Dems: Get off Twitter and get out the vote

It’s been a busy few weeks in the political world. According to my Facebook feed, our community is fired up about the upcoming election. Since early voting starts next week, now is the perfect time to get involved in local progressive organizing. But that’s not how things work at Rice.


OPINION 10/12/18 3:24pm

Response to Scannell: ‘Job interview’ or criminal trial? The two sides are talking past each other.

In the Oct. 3 issue of the Thresher, Maddy Scannell, like many Democrats, called Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing “a job interview.” Others, however, have quibbled with this description. Right-wing commentators dispute this characterization because they believe the confirmation hearing ought to be treated as a judicial proceeding. My intention in writing this piece is not to align myself with either of these contexts; rather, I am interested in the language itself. What does it mean to view Kavanaugh’s hearing as a job interview? What does it mean to view Kavanaugh’s hearing as a judicial prosecution?


OPINION 10/3/18 1:33pm

Lying is for losers: Very serious reasons to tell only the truth

If I told you that I wanted to create a lie-less utopia, would you want to join? I hope you would, because I think it’d be a great place. Friends, I really want to convince you all to tell the truth to everyone about everything, no matter the situation. I guarantee you’ll enjoy life more if you do. Now don’t get me wrong; I don’t think for a second that a lie-less utopia is possible. One of you guys will slip up, I’m sure. Not everyone can be as honest and perfect as I am. Regardless, I feel like I have to try and persuade you. There’s no harm in trying, you know? Now, a word of caution: I don’t have a single empirical or even fact-based argument to support this dream of mine. I just have a series of selfish, somewhat thought-out reasons. I can’t promise you’ll agree with me, but you’ll definitely be entertained.


OPINION 10/2/18 11:54pm

Editor’s Explainer: Roberts would be new swing vote

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, if confirmed to the Supreme Court, will take the seat left by retiring justice Anthony Kennedy. Though nominally a Republican, Kennedy was the swing vote on a variety of 5-4 decisions. Kavanaugh, conversely, would be the second most conservative justice on the court, according to political scientist Lee Epstein. This change in the court’s ideological makeup would likely make Chief Justice John Roberts the new swing vote. 


OPINION 10/2/18 11:52pm

Confirming Kavanaugh sends wrong message

The #MeToo movement was supposed to be a national reckoning, an exposure of the frequency of sexual violence across America — from Hollywood to government to college campuses. Rice, to its credit, has attempted to reduce the frequency of assaults in a number of ways. The Critical Thinking in Sexuality program is a strong step beyond our peer institutions, and Rice is reportedly reevaluating the practices of Student Judicial Programs after the departures of Donald Ostdiek, the former associate dean of undergraduates, and Lisa Zollner, the former director of SJP. But we, as students, have to acknowledge that Rice is an outlier. In much of the country, this issue is largely swept under the rug.


OPINION 10/2/18 11:50pm

On Kavanaugh, Ford and the #MeToo Movement

Let me be the 100th woman in your life to say this today: I'm extremely, extremely disappointed. After watching all seven hours of testimony, I’m disappointed by senators hiding behind party lines. I’m disappointed by the standard that Brett Kavanaugh has set for future court nominees. But most of all, I’m disappointed that the outcome actually doesn’t disappoint me. I should’ve known that the actual facts would be irrelevant when senators on both sides took turns repeating already disproven claims But now I’m here to talk more about the wider implications of these disappointing events (and they don’t look good).


OPINION 9/26/18 6:13pm

Rice must expand financial aid eligibility for international students

When my parents got divorced a few months ago, my family went into panic mode. Dad kept pushing me to figure out a way to use my impending permanent resident status as proof of eligibility for FAFSA, while Mom figured out ways to take out an even bigger loan in case Dad was unable to pay the bills. After hearing news of the new tuition assistance program for middle-class students, I excitedly called the financial aid office only to find out that as an international student, I would be ineligible. Even if Rice expanded aid to international students, I could not apply for need-based aid because I had shown on my application that I could pay the sticker price — a virtual necessity for admission in the eyes of my college advisor, and a binding declaration that would make me ineligible for financial aid for as long as I attend Rice, no matter any change in circumstances. 


OPINION 9/25/18 11:49pm

Rice’s new financial aid is great for the few who make it in

Like many other students, we were excited to hear that Rice will be overhauling its financial aid system. While need-based financial aid already pays for our tuition and the majority of other expenses, this policy change will probably result in a small, but very helpful, increase in our aid next school year. More importantly, though, it seems like Rice might finally be trying to make itself more inclusive of people whose families are not financially stable or well off.  However, despite the fanfare, we are skeptical that this financial aid overhaul will significantly increase Rice’s accessibility to low-income students. Rice now promises a smoother ride to a low-income student if they manage to make it through the admissions process, but this policy does not make that road any easier. While this change is good for students from middle- and lower-class families who currently attend or might someday manage to get in, economically disadvantaged students still face an enormously difficult challenge in gaining admission in the first place.


OPINION 9/25/18 11:47pm

Rice's next investment: financial accessibility beyond tuition

Waking up to last Tuesday morning’s news about the Rice Investment, I was thrilled to see such a significant change in how we structure financial aid at Rice. Rice is an incredible school, and such a broad change will make it possible for more students to access a Rice education. But I feel it is important to mention that even though tuition and room and board will be more affordable for many students, there is still work to be done to make Rice truly accessible to lower-income students.


OPINION 9/19/18 3:53am

There’s more to life than career fairs and co-ops

Last week, three Rice alumni who work at General Electric wrote an opinion piece in which they called on freshmen and sophomores to quit making excuses, stop messing around with fruitless activities like college leadership or studying abroad and apply for professional internships as early as possible in their undergraduate careers. While I do not question that the authors were well intentioned, their piece makes sweeping assumptions that are ignorant, damaging and simply incorrect.



OPINION 9/12/18 1:09am

Freshmen and sophomores should pursue professional internships

I wish that, six years ago, one of my advisers had told me the impact that getting a “real” job, outside the hedges and in my chosen field, could have on my career.  The three authors on this piece, all Rice alumni working at General Electric, are passing along this advice: Don’t wait until junior year. Getting real-world, relevant, practical experience in a field is the best way to set your professional career up for success.