I like meeting people as much as the next guy. I like it more than the next guy, actually. There's a world of unknown experiences within a new person, and sometimes, learning the story of someone's life can feel like watching art made in real time. It’s amazing that a first impression can feel like that. Spontaneous and beautiful and original — that's how first times should feel. At one point in my life, meeting people almost always felt like that. But socializing at Rice is different.
In an op-ed in the Oct. 17 issue of the Thresher, Chloe Wilson discussed the cognitive dissonance she sees in progressive Rice students who post political comments on social media but are noticeably absent from phone banking and canvassing events. Unfortunately, her call to action critically omitted an important variable in the conversation about increased civic engagement: the systemic suppression and exclusion of disenfranchised Americans. As a result, I find her framing of the Rice student as busy, privileged and lazy to be too simplistic, deficit-oriented, and homogenizing.
Beto O’Rourke’s campaign to unseat Ted Cruz as U.S. Senator has arguably generated as much buzz on campus as the 2016 presidential election. While it’s clear that Rice students are most politically engaged during election season, students should consider whether electoral politics is the most effective means of pursuing their political goals. We argue that it is not, and that our activism must not be limited to working within a political system that does not always reflect the needs of the people.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.