It has been our honor to serve as editors in chief over the past year. To run a media outlet is certainly no easy task, and whether you are the Rice Thresher or CNN, the simple fact is that you will be receiving a lot of feedback, not all of which is positive - and that is certainly the public's prerogative. Just as it is our job to bring the news to the public, it is the duty of the responsible public to share their perspectives with the media so that we may ultimately better report on those things that best represent the interests of the public. With that being said, it is the season of changeovers, and the Thresher is no different. Current Creative Director Rachel Marcus will be assuming the position of editor in chief starting with the next issue, and we wish her the best of luck, but before then, we would like to recap the 10 biggest stories and topics of our tenure, partially for nostalgia, but also for memoriam and progression.
10. The speakers
Chief Justice John Roberts, Gov. John Huntsman and of course his eminence, Travis Porter, have all visited Rice this year, and we hope next year will bring an even greater pool of speakers to the Rice community.
9. The Caplans, Martel's RAs, being dismissed
The support system we have at residential colleges at Rice is quite effective; however, this system is susceptible to breakdown, and the Caplans represent an example of that. But more importantly, the system worked, and the complaints of the Martel student body were heard, ultimately resulting in a change to ensure the most positive student experience for Martel students.
8. The Great Election Debacle of 2013
This is an encompassing topic which is comprised of the uncontested Student Association presidency, the Rice Program Council campaign misconduct, and the SA ballot's nonadherence to constitutional requirements. Election season is a time to celebrate democracy, not bemoan it. Simply put, we hope things run smoother than this past year in the future for the betterment of the community.
7. The men's basketball team exodus
Six players left the basketball team during this past offseason. Whether a result of team chemistry issues, the bidding of former Assistant Coach Marco Marcos, or blatant racism as alleged by Arsalan Kazemi and Omar Oraby in their NCAA waiver requests, the simple fact is that Head Coach Ben Braun's squad was left decimated and unable to compete, with the team accomplishing only one conference win to date this season. The dissatisfaction that led to this massive exodus is something Athletic Director Rick Greenspan and the rest of the athletic department will want to work to eliminate.
6. New infrastructure
From the $20 million Moody Foundation pledge to fund a new arts building to the recently started Glasscock Building for Continuing Education, it is certainly a great thing to see that alumni are investing in the betterment and future of Rice University. Dear investors, can we see some love for a new student center?
5. Bowl game win
The Rice football team had an incredible season, particularly by finishing the year with five straight wins - the last of which was a victory in the Armed Forces Bowl. The final win of the year allowed Rice to finish with a winning 7-6 record for the season; furthermore, a heroic performance by quarterback Driphus Jackson and the rest of the young squad creates a lot of anticipation for next year. On a side note, look for tight end Vance McDonald in this year's NFL draft as his draft stock seems to be continually rising.
4. C-USA women's soccer conference win.
For the first time in school history, the Rice women's soccer team finished the season at the top of the C-USA standings. The accomplishment is unprecedented and undeniably due in part to the great senior leadership provided by Julia Barrow, Amy Beger, Alex Burton, Lauren LaGro and Andie Obermeyer. Also ladies, those conference rings look sick.
3. Rice turns 100
Rice University celebrated its 100th anniversary last October. Rice has made incredible strides over the past century, becoming one of the leading research universities in the world with one of the smallest student bodies among its peers. Only the next century will be able to tell how we continue to better ourselves while maintaining the unique identity that makes us the best university in the country.
2. Mental health at Rice
Rice has the happiest students in the country. This is a headline that has been printed numerous times in the Thresher and a phrase that is uttered constantly around campus. Yes, students tend to be happy here at Rice. However, for those that are not happy here, the perception that everybody at Rice is happy is difficult to cope with. A courageous opinion piece by Olivia Hansen in December brought this issue to the surface, and since then, the dialogue about the truth of mental health at Rice has been opened. The administration has taken note of the issue, and we can only hope that campus resources are ultimately expanded to the point that all students can access the care they need in the case of mental crises.
News of the 10 alcohol-related transports from this year's Night of Decadence was picked up immediately by the Houston media. A story about potential future leaders of the state and country being brought to the hospital for getting over-intoxicated was too good to pass up for these local outlets, but the fact they all seemed to miss was that these transports occurred nearly universally out of an abundance of caution. The transports illustrated the fact that at Rice, we have a support system in place that ensures that anyone in the vicinity of danger gets the best treatment possible - even if they do not necessarily need it. Nonetheless, the occurrence of so many Owls being hospitalized in one night reopened the conversation about alcohol on campus. The Alcohol Policy Advisory Committee was convened to give its recommendations to Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson. While some change is clearly needed, as enumerated in recent editorials, we can only hope the alcohol policies ultimately enacted do not negatively impact the culture of Rice University. For better or worse, the changes put into effect now could change the landscape of Rice's social life for the next century.
Ryan Gupta and Seth Brown are editors in chief of the Rice Thresher and will be sleeping from now until graduation.
More from The Rice Thresher
A new initiative to address food insecurity at Rice allows students to donate their unused guest meal swipes, which will then be allocated to students living off-campus who cannot afford meal plans, according to Student Association President Grace Wickerson.
Beginning the fall of 2020, Orientation Week Peer Academic Advisors will no longer also serve as O-Week advisors. The Office of Academic Advising instituted this change to lower the mental and physical strain for students chosen for those positions, according to Aliya Bhimani.