SA President given iPad
The Student Association Executive Board collectively decided to purchase an iPad for SA President Sanjula Jain to take notes on at meetings, according to a joint statement from the board. The iPad was purchased using $381 of the $600 of the SA budget allotted to the executive fund, according to SA Treasurer Hersh Agrawal. The SA budget is funded in part by $2.45 of the blanket tax money paid by each student, according to the SA website.
Agrawal said the $600 executive fund is dedicated to new initiatives determined by members of the executive board.
Agrawal said he has a neutral stance on the purchase.
"I think it is a responsible use of the money," Agrawal said. "It was a necessary purchase, but it was a hard decision. As the person that's deciding the money, I understand [the] need, but [...] it's hard to see $381 leave to something like that."
The SA Executive Board cited reliability in its joint statement as the main deciding factor in opting for the Apple iPad over cheaper tablets. The user-friendly familiarity in using an Apple-brand electronic device was also given consideration.
"If you're looking for reliable tablets, pricing does come to $400," Agrawal said. "We opted to get a slightly older iPad for that same cost. Tablets under that price, we just didn't find them."
The board's statement enumerated several reasons for the purchase. As a team, the SA Executive Board proposed the idea of buying the SA president a tablet after noting that the distinct benefits would afford Jain greater efficiency in gathering and communicating data from meetings to the student body, the statement says.
According to the statement, typing on a laptop with a large screen during meetings can be considered rude and impersonal, and writing in a notebook diverts attention during a meeting toward penmanship and rapid writing. The board said a laptop for note-taking is also inconvenient because of the limited battery life of the Jain's personal computer and the little time she has to recharge her laptop between attending classes and meetings. Transcribing her notes from paper to digital form also creates a lag in sharing up-to-date information with the student body, the SA Executive Board said in its statement.
"The number of meetings that [Jain] goes to does not compare to anyone else's," Agrawal said.
The board said the iPad is not a personal gift to the president, but rather a resource to be used by presidents of the SA to facilitate communication and transparency of the SA to the student body. The iPad will be primarily used by Jain, but when her term is up, the iPad will be passed down to subsequent presidents, according to the joint statement.
"The iPad allows for the president to quickly type notes during meetings that can be easily archived in their digital format, as well as shared with the student body," the SA Executive Board said in the statement. "The intent of the purchase of the iPad is to allow for improved efficiency and etiquette during the president's daily meetings, and [it] will allow for easy and rapid sharing of information acquired from these meetings."
More from The Rice Thresher
U.S. News & World Report’s Top 20 colleges have adopted varying reopening plans and testing strategies for the fall semester. Rice, which has maintained a low positivity rate on COVID tests, joins only five other Top 20 institutions — the University of Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, Duke University, Vanderbilt University and Cornell University — in offering a hybrid or in-person classroom experience for the fall.
A group of Rice students have continued the summer movement to remove William Marsh Rice’s statue through daily sit-ins in front of the Founder’s Memorial since Aug. 31. Shifa Abdul Rahman, a junior at Lovett College, organized the sit-ins to push for the administration to remove the statue immediately.
Ronald Stebbings, professor emeritus of space physics and astronomy and former dean of undergraduates, passed away on Aug. 27 at age 91. Stebbings is survived by his two sons, Vernon Stebbings (Will Rice College ‘78) and Martin Stebbings (Sid Richardson College ‘83).