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Opinion



OPINION 10/19/11 7:00pm

Commencement speaker a solid choice

Salman Khan has been selected as the commencement speaker for Rice's 99th graduation ceremony (See story, pg.1). The pick is an interesting one in that he lacks the star power typical of a commencement speaker, yet represents many of the aspects of an ideal Rice graduate. As the founder of the non-profit Khan Academy, Khan represents entrepreneurship, leadership, a focus on education and community conscientiousness. While Khan may not be a household name right now, he certainly represents the upcoming generation of leaders. Khan's vision has already created one of most effective open-source educational resources available, and he will likely continue to revolutionize education as his career progresses.


OPINION 10/19/11 7:00pm

Special interests hurt legislation

At a recent Baker Institute event, former Senator Alan Simpson said: "If the U.S. government is beholden to AARP and Grover Norquist, then we don't have a prayer, don't have a prayer, of getting anything done." His analysis, though dismal, is completely accurate — U.S. policy is paralyzed by moneyed special interests, and it is eating away at our democracy and hindering any chance at progress.


OPINION 10/19/11 7:00pm

University-wide picnics a great addition to campus life but require major improvements

You'd be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn't enjoy a good picnic. The idea of sitting outside and enjoying the nice weather, good company and a tasty meal has a particularly timeless and idyllic feel to it. These aspects of picnics and the bonding that they engender have led the university to pursue many of these events on various occasions throughout the year, from O-Week to Willy Week and other, more random times in between. While the intent is good and the idea behind the picnics is a great one, a growing number of students do not seem to enjoy the picnics as much as one would think. In fact, some students downright avoid them in favor of off-campus alternatives.


OPINION 10/19/11 7:00pm

Pub's resurrection dependent on support of Rice community

While Willy's Pub's financial woes are widely known, it seems that now the establishment is less fiscally viable than ever before (See story, pg. 1). With Little Willy's floundering, unsustainable operating costs, and the shift to hosting Pub Nights at home colleges, Pub is finding it more and more difficult to escape the red.








OPINION 10/5/11 7:00pm

WikiRice has potential

The WIkiRice page has been live for several months now and is slowly expanding (see story, pg. 5). The concept is a brilliant one; essentially, anyone can update the Rice-related pages. As the website expands, there will be pages to represent Rice's most famous (and infamous) moments. Ultimately, WikiRice may serve as the archive for campus happenings. Unfortunately, this ultimate vision is hampered by the constant possibility of illegitimite posts. Without proper monitoring, the site could quickly degenerate into a medley of inside jokes and college rivalry.


OPINION 10/5/11 7:00pm

BISF Debates: Do political assassinations undermine the constitution

As someone who aspires to promote peaceful interactions between the U.S. and the Middle East, I would be outraged over the killing of Yemeni-American radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki on Sept. 30, 2011 via drone strike. However, I feel quite the opposite; I am proud of our intelligence community for taking decisive action to neutralize a significant international threat.




OPINION 10/5/11 7:00pm

RUPD new officer training will improve student-officer relations

The Rice University Police Department took great strides to improve its relationship with the student body by instituting a new college-centric training program for newly-hired RUPD officers (see story, pg. 7). RUPD has hired quite a number of new officers over the past year, and Rice's culture makes it necessary for the new officers to be specifically trained to understand how the college system operates.


OPINION 10/5/11 7:00pm

Reducing Beer Bike racers would improve race safety

What could possibly be changed about the day most Rice University students and alumni agree is the best day of the year? With pre-sunrise musical wake-ups, delicious food, drink aplenty, and supposedly the world's largest water balloon fight, Beer Bike is as close to perfect as any college event could be. Or is it?


OPINION 9/28/11 7:00pm

National honor reflects Rice professors' commitment to education

Rice's own Richard Tapia was honored with the U.S. National Medal of Science this past week (see story, pg. 1). Tapia's work in the field of mathematics, paired with his contributions outside the class room, make him extremely deserving of the award. Tapia has been a member of the Rice community for over 40 years, and his long-term association with the university is a testament to Rice's ability to draw and retain the best faculty in the country.


OPINION 9/28/11 7:00pm

Centenni-Ale a huge hit

St. Arnold's Centenni-Ale was released at Valhalla this past Friday and the volume of sales was extremely impressive. The Thresher would like to extend a sincere thanks to Brock Wagner, Rice aulmnus and St. Arnold's founder, for celebrating his alma mater's centenial anniversary in such a distinct way. It is these sorts of small but unique happenings around Rice that make us who we are.


OPINION 9/28/11 7:00pm

Professors' research should not be prioritized over teaching

Universities should focus first and foremost on educating their students. Ensuring that students receive the highest quality education possible should be the fundamental goal of the administration. Unfortunately, as things stand right now, this is not the case. Promotions are given out based on a faculty member's research and the number of times he has been published and referenced in journals without much consideration as to how effective an instructor he or she is.