Rice webmail's union with Gmail a welcome addition for students
Rice University recently announced a plan to rejuvenate its webmail system by transferring over to a Google interface and google servers. This decision will definitely yield improvement over the current webmail, and it is certainly exciting to see administration and IT making a proactive decision to shift our outdated system to one of the best and most proven email clients on the market.
This change will most noticably improve the reliability of our email storage and improve security of student email accounts. With email now backed up on higher-end, more reliable Google servers, students do not have to face to risk of losing all their email if the Rice server were to crash. Furthermore, the interface and integrated features of Gmail, such as Google Docs and Calendar, will likely serve as valuable tools that will be more accessible when directly linked with students'Rice accounts.
At the same time, this shift will affect only a portion of students since a great proportion of student body already uses an alternate email client, such as Gmail, and simply have Rice mail forwarded. Unfortunately, despite any shifts in the webmail system, the administration will continue to reserve its right to read your Rice email; thus hanging on to your non-Rice email address may not be a bad idea. Regardless, the email services provided throught he university should drastically improve one the Gmail shift is complete. Students, no longer despair the attrocity that is Rice webmail.
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Before you attend a counseling session at the Rice counseling center, you will be told that “the RCC maintains strict standards regarding privacy.” You will find statements from the university that your mental health record will not be shared with anyone outside of extreme situations of imminent harm, and only then that your information will be shared with only the necessary officials. This sounds great, except that these assurances bear no teeth whatsoever — no enforcement agency ensures that Rice follows its public confidentiality promises, and there are no penalties for Rice if they break them. The Wellbeing and Counseling Centers should more directly communicate the limits of their confidentiality policies when compared to unaffiliated counseling centers, and students in sensitive situations should take the necessary precautions to protect their information.
This week marks the last issue of the Thresher for the year, and for the seniors like myself, our last issue ever. I have been a part of the Thresher since freshman year. And it would not be an exaggeration to say it has defined my Rice experience. As someone pursuing a career in journalism after graduation, there has been no better place to learn than at this paper.
In January, the Rice Board of Trustees announced plans to move the Founder’s memorial to another area of the academic quad as part of a whole redesign, adding additional context of his “entanglement” with slavery. This comes despite continual calls from the student body to not have the enslaver displayed in the quad regardless of the context provided. It would be just for these calls to action and the majority of the Task Force Committee who voted to not keep it there that the Board of Trustees decide to not keep the memorial prominently displayed in the quad at all.