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Student responsibility necessary in 2011

By Anthony Lauriello     8/24/11 7:00pm

Rice student life is mainly contingent on three things: the academics, the colleges and the relationship between the administration and the students. The first two of these items are as strong as ever, but last year we saw several major challenges to the third. Before first semester even began last year, the administration sold the KTRU radio tower in a manner that, no matter your opinion on the eclectic radio station, demonstrated a complete disregard to students.

However the real changes occurred during the EMS Crisis 2011 which included an enormous influx of EMS calls and alcohol-related hospital transports. The administration instituted a necessary but unfortunate ban on hard liquor, and to their credit went to lengths to involve the college governments. Yet, the administration took certain actions unilaterally. RUPD continued on a worrisome trend toward becoming a force dedicated to catch student wrongdoing and not preserving student safety when, in several incidents, they pulled students aside for simply seeming intoxicated and looking young. Far more serious, RUPD began to accompany more and more EMS calls citing safety reasons and searching for parties around these calls, as occured at Duncan College last semester.

As a student body, we must do two things to preserve our culture and the rights it provides. First, we must shake off the apathy that Rice students are notorious for. We must make sure that the administration consults the student body and protests accordingly when it does not. Furthermore, we must make it clear that medical treatment and punishment for alcohol offenses remain completely separate entities. This responsibility falls especially on those we elected to represent us in student government, but this does not mean we should not get more involved as individuals as well.

Second, we must show that we deserve the trust of the administration. If we behave irresponsibly, Rice has no choice but to ensure student safety through draconian measures. The "temporary" liquor ban looks to become permanent, but I think we, as students, can't argue for it to be rescinded until we demonstrate maturity around alcohol. This is especially important, as the class of 2015 is by far the largest in our history, making up around a third of the student body. Freshmen, I implore you to behave better then your predecessors did at your age, as our school depends on it. Lastly, we must continue implanting the "culture of care" and making sure that those who need help receive it.

This summer, I interned in Washington, D.C. and met people from schools across the country. As I learned about other campuses where students regard their police force and administration as sworn enemies and saw at my job on Capitol Hill the utter lack of compromise and civility among our nation's leaders, I realized how proud I am of not only my school, but also the administration and RUPD. Despite objections to some of their policy implantations, I truly feel that they want the very best for students. Working together, with each other's input, we can preserve the culture we love not just for ourselves but also for future generations.

Anthony Lauriello is a Wiess College junior and Thresher Backpage Editor.

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