Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, April 23, 2024 — Houston, TX

‘Seventh Under Scrutiny’ headline revisited

By Drew Keller     2/9/16 9:12pm

Last week, Kaylen Strench wrote an opinion piece in the Thresher calling attention to the lead story of the previous issue, whose headline read, “Seventh Under Scrutiny: Sid Richardson College faces administrative backlash following sexual assault at unregistered party.” Kaylen wrote that the headline and accompanying photo of Sid contributed to making it “not only unclear that a sexual assault had occurred, but … imply[ing] that whatever happened, the members of Sid Seventh were somehow to blame.”

The headline for the article was the topic of considerable discussion among certain members of the Thresher editorial staff. While the headline is factual, it was certainly not intended to obscure the fact that a sexual assault was reported or to shift responsibility from the perpetrator of the assault. If it did convey such messages, then in retrospect I wish we had written it differently. 

We were concerned that a headline focusing purely on the assault would serve to sensationalize the event and detract from the tragic reality that such assaults occur to many students throughout the year. Though this particular assault was publicized due to RUPD’s crime alerts, and so elicited a much greater response from students and administration, we didn’t want to create the perception that the assault was an isolated incident. As the Survey on Unwanted Sexual Experiences results showed earlier this year, sexual assault is widespread on campus.

In reporting on events like the assault, we hope to not only make the Thresher a source of fact amid rumors, but also support further conversation surrounding the assault and what we must do to make our campus a safer place. But I’m glad that she spoke out about the misplaced blame she saw in our headline — and I’m thankful she reminded us all that in the end, the assaulter and the assaulter alone bears culpability for the violence they inflict.

More from The Rice Thresher

OPINION 4/16/24 10:18pm
Do more to make campus bird-friendly

April is the month of many things: Beer Bike, a solar eclipse, the last day of classes and, perhaps lesser known, Earth Month. As Rice launches a series of Earth Month events, I would like to address our potential as a campus community to be more environmentally conscious, particularly in an effort to make this campus more friendly to birds.

OPINION 4/10/24 2:41pm
Student activism is working – and fear-mongering cannot hold us back

S.RES 02, titled “Student Association Boycott and Divestment from Corporations Complicit in the Ongoing Genocide in Gaza,” was presented to the Student Association on March 25. This resolution proposes the creation of an Ethical Spending Advisory Board designed to ensure that Blanket Tax funds are not dedicated to corporations that are complicit in Israeli colonial violence and apartheid based on guidelines created by the BDS movement. 


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