RPC's increased blanket tax unnecessary
The Rice Program Council has recently requested a blanket tax increase. This appeal for greater funding has prompted the Thresher to assess the recent history of RPC programming and determine whether enough success has been demonstrated to warrant the additional $3 per student, which translates to a budget of almost $12,000.
RPC has hosted several successful events recently, including the President and Dean's Study Break in the fall and, more recently, Owls at the Alley. Beer Bike is also generally a success and other events such as H2O07 Assassins are well-received.
One of RPC's greatest successes this year was the Centennial Weekend Esperanza. The dance was extremely well-received. However, RPC also spent a substantial extra amount on the evening by hiring DJ Samantha Ronson. This particular decision by RPC is just one of many that have resulted in programming characterized by imprudent spending and a myriad of other problems.
The Welcome Back Concert has been heavily criticized in recent years for performance choice, Tudor Fieldhouse audio problems and poor attendance; however, adjustments have not been made to the concert. The fall Sky Zone outing had transportation troubles and deprived many students of the chance to attend, and of those who did attend, three were injured with broken bones. Furthermore, RPC was forced to give free Esperanza tickets to students who waited in line but did not make it to Sky Zone. Rondelet this semester has been canceled, and RPC has cited high costs for Esperanza as a primary reason. RPC also gives back to the Rice community by using its funds to subsidize various events, such as Rice Night at the Symphony and the Rodeo. This service is appreciated by students, but because of the demand of these events, tickets often sell out quickly. Though everyone pays for the funds that allow RPC to provide subsidized tickets, only a small minority get to benefit from them.
With such a variety of its events plagued by problems, the Rice Thresher does not believe RPC has earned a raise to be funded by the students. The Thresher is not against RPC's blanket tax amount as it stands and in fact supports last year's blanket tax increase for Beer Bike because of the consistent success of Beer Bike. The rest of RPC needs to demonstrate success before it should be considered for a raise. While greater funding may help RPC put on better events, particularly through the Night Owl Antics Committee, it is not the responsibility of the students to throw more money at an organization that has not proven it can appropriately spend the money it currently has. RPC's planned expansion is a laudable goal; however, it should not occur until RPC has demonstrated consistent successes with its programming.
Perhaps RPC should seek to put on a larger quantity of smaller-scale events or attempt to cut costs from some of its larger events. Regardless of the way RPC decides to accommodate its budget to work within its current funding, the Thresher does not believe RPC has earned the blanket tax increase it is requesting and encourages the Blanket Tax Review Committee, Student Association and student body to vote accordingly.
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