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Monday, November 28, 2022 — Houston, TX

Online comments of the week

3/14/12 7:00pm

In response to "A continuous rise in tuition decreases Rice's overall value" (Mar. 09, 2012):

Lauriello did not need a grandiose writing center to compose his thoughtful essay about mindless tuition increases. A mere undergraduate has now demonstrated more common sense than all the king's court. This is hauntingly reminiscent of H.C. Anderson's "The Emperor's New Clothes."

A perennial theme of human civilization is playing out right before our eyes. Will the truth spread through whispers among the crowd, as in Anderson's tale? Or will the plain observation "But he has nothing on" fall on deaf ears?

Bill Wilson, BCB

In response to Anonymous, the answer was "large initial endowment." Universities are facing a great increase in education costs due to:

1. Health care - Not much you can do about that.

2. The increased need for IT - Try running a university without computers. And real computing power gets quite expensive...

3. New costs for disability support services, health and safety regulations, and other compliance issues - Again, little you can do.

4. Energy costs - The income the university takes in from tuition is of a similar order of magnitude as electricity and heating costs, and these have been rising (and may continue to do so).

5. Baumol's cost disease - labor does get more expensive.

So some increases in the cost of tuition above and beyond inflation are entirely fair. With that said - Rice, I think you've been making a massively stupid mistake letting tuition balloon so uncontrollably.

I'm glad the article recognizes the effect financial aid plays in all of this; this is an important discussion that gets lost in the whole tuition debate. In a way, raising tuition while keeping financial aid levels steady ends up being a progressive tax on education, though sadly international students (and fifth-years) get hosed by all of this.

I also completely agree that the Giffen good argument is complete and utter BS, though it's one that the university has fallen for (this fact was even explicitly stated in an article in the NYT a few years back).

The point that much of this money goes towards student-life services is probably the crux of the debate; if we look at Cooper Union (which remains tuition free) or many European universities (extremely low tuition), the schools are fairly bare-bones in terms of what they offer students. Want to go biking with a bunch of fellow cyclists? That's awesome - but you either need to find a local community group or pay the start-up monies needed to start your own. I personally think that Rice's attempts to win the "student life" arms race is a stupid, stupid unsustainable thing to do and that the university should go back toward a substantially cheaper, more basic model. Rice was the only private university I was able to afford of the lot that I applied to, so the choice to come here was easy. To lose our position as "the cheap, comprehensive university that offers a really good education" strikes me as losing what makes Rice particularly worth attending.

Leebron, I really could care less about some fancy statues around campus and, if I really wanted to do some climbing, I could have made the journey to the Texas Rock Gym or play around in the tiny bouldering gym that was in Hanszen's B&P. Student life is nice, but it's not the reason for going to college.

Paul Anzel Will Rice College Class of '09

In response to "BakerShake production dissapoints" (Mar. 09, 2012):

Thanks for giving an honest review of a Rice show. I've been to a lot of shows on campus that have gotten good reviews by the Thresher, but I've ultimately been disappointed. I think it's important to give constructive criticism. After all, that's the only way anyone gets better at anything, right?! The enunciation and projection problems are definitely things that could be fixed in time for a great run next week.


More from The Rice Thresher

OPINION 11/15/22 10:21pm
Where we must agree: the politics of humanness

The words “free speech” will likely elicit groans from Thresher readers. Over the last three years, there have been three articles in the Opinion section bemoaning the need for a “classically liberal” political discourse at Rice. Unfortunately, between their self-righteousness and needless wordiness, they read more like whiny lectures than conversation starters. However, despite their condescension, their existence does suggest something unsettling about not just our campus politics, but politics at large. As the electorates of democracies around the world have become more sharply divided, the way we speak to each other, not just across the aisle but to our similarly minded partisans, has become more accusatory, exclusionary and violent. Put simply: we do not want to talk to each other, and understandably so. It is exhausting, and, more than that, we just don’t seem to know how to.

OPINION 11/15/22 10:16pm
Off-campus students should sublet their rooms to those who need winter break housing

For the first time since 2019, Rice is not allowing undergraduate students to remain in their on-campus housing during winter break. While this is a disappointing development, we understand why this decision needed to be made. Like students, staff need a break after a long semester. Further, keeping students on campus by providing housing over break was originally implemented to address pandemic travel restrictions, which are mostly gone. However, the need for winter housing is not gone. This decision still leaves some international students — or any other on-campus student looking to remain in Houston — scrambling for housing.

OPINION 11/8/22 11:39pm
The Honor Council needs to act more responsibly

For the past year, I have served as an at-large representative on the Rice Honor Council. I have sat through dozens of cases, read hundreds of pages of evidence and spent countless hours working to improve the transparency and fairness of the Honor System. While there are a myriad of issues with the Honor System, as there are with any institutional system, there is one in particular that needs to be addressed with expediency. The Honor Council is currently not an effective deliberative body due to the general lack of engagement from some of its members, which include elected representatives.  


Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.