Editorial: Rice must stand with students against tax bill
In another example of the drastic effects national policy can have on the Rice community, the tax bill in Congress has the potential to severely impact graduate students (see p. 1). The proposal would remove exemptions for tuition waivers, increasing the effective tax paid by graduate students on already small stipends.
The bill would also apply a tax to Rice’s endowment income. Even with this additional financial burden, however, Rice must commit to raising graduate student stipends to offset increased taxes if the tax plan becomes law. Without doing so, the reduction in post-tax stipend income could seriously endanger the ability for graduate students to support themselves while attending the university, as well as impact the diversity and quality of the future students who are able to afford to come to Rice.
President David Leebron’s Vision for the Second Century II focuses heavily on Rice’s graduate programs. That recognition of graduate students’ importance should be reflected in Rice taking a strong stance opposing the tax bill — the university has already said it supports the Association of American Universities’ statement against it — and the actions it takes if the proposal becomes reality.
More from The Rice Thresher
Before you attend a counseling session at the Rice counseling center, you will be told that “the RCC maintains strict standards regarding privacy.” You will find statements from the university that your mental health record will not be shared with anyone outside of extreme situations of imminent harm, and only then that your information will be shared with only the necessary officials. This sounds great, except that these assurances bear no teeth whatsoever — no enforcement agency ensures that Rice follows its public confidentiality promises, and there are no penalties for Rice if they break them. The Wellbeing and Counseling Centers should more directly communicate the limits of their confidentiality policies when compared to unaffiliated counseling centers, and students in sensitive situations should take the necessary precautions to protect their information.
This week marks the last issue of the Thresher for the year, and for the seniors like myself, our last issue ever. I have been a part of the Thresher since freshman year. And it would not be an exaggeration to say it has defined my Rice experience. As someone pursuing a career in journalism after graduation, there has been no better place to learn than at this paper.
In January, the Rice Board of Trustees announced plans to move the Founder’s memorial to another area of the academic quad as part of a whole redesign, adding additional context of his “entanglement” with slavery. This comes despite continual calls from the student body to not have the enslaver displayed in the quad regardless of the context provided. It would be just for these calls to action and the majority of the Task Force Committee who voted to not keep it there that the Board of Trustees decide to not keep the memorial prominently displayed in the quad at all.