Listen to and accommodate student-athletes
For some, the Thresher’s coverage of the the challenges student-athletes face (see p.1) may only confirm what they already knew. However, far too often, the conversations surrounding life as a student-athlete simply end when we acknowledge the problems athletes confront within the Rice community. Instead, these findings should mark the beginning of a broader discussion on how to better improve the experiences of an important segment of our student body.
It is discouraging for athletes to face apathy from other students, ranging from low attendance at game to malicious questions about why athletics even belongs at Rice. The logical conclusion to such claims is that the humanities or the arts have no place here either. Such arguments are short-sighted, elitist and dismiss the range of talent that enrich our community.
It is difficult to balance athletics with other aspects of social life, ranging from participation in Orientation Week to on-campus organizations. Those who are not student-athletes cannot change the demanding nature of athletics, but they can examine their residential colleges and campus organizations and make a conscious effort to ensure that student-athletes have an inclusive and welcoming experience.
Perhaps this signifies the need for the Student Association to conduct a survey on the experience of student athletes. In order to move forward with tangible changes addressing the issues the athletic community may face, we first need more tangible data from athletes themselves on their challenges and proposed solutions, to help understand the scope of the problem and know what would help them most.
Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Thresher editorial staff. All other opinion pieces represent solely the opinion of the
More from The Rice Thresher
Two years ago, a group of Thresher staffers went to Washington D.C. to attend the College Media Association’s annual convention, during which student journalists shared concerns that their communities didn’t take them seriously. Administrators would patronize them and ignore emails, and coverage often went unread.
For those of you who are seniors, you’ll remember a campus controversy that broke out in April 2019 when The Hoot announced its decision to stop serving Chick-fil-A amid criticism of its donations to three organizations — the Salvation Army, the Paul Anderson Youth Home and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes — that have taken anti-LGBTQ+ stances. When the policy took effect the following fall, I spoke out against the decision in this paper, arguing the secondary boycott was nothing more than token enforcement of an unworkable standard. I still believe that we shouldn’t take into account political considerations when we eat. But The Hoot didn’t budge, and the controversy quickly faded away. I have close friends on both sides of the issue, so I didn’t push the matter any further.
We’re nearing the end of another semester in the COVID-19 pandemic, filled with policy changes requiring flexibility from administration, faculty and students alike. We appreciate the administration’s responsiveness to the evolving pandemic, but the continuous changes are not without consequences. This semester has been hard on many students’ mental health due to insufficient academic accommodations on top of pandemic-related stress. While we understand the necessity in being flexible with COVID policies due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic, administration and professors should recognize the impact this has on students and their mental health, and be proactive in accounting for this.