Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Monday, November 28, 2022 — Houston, TX

Editorial: ​Open doors should be encouraged, not fined

By Thresher Staff     1/17/18 12:02am

Housing and Dining has fined students at Will Rice College $200 per room for disabling the door closing mechanisms, which has sparked fears of a crackdown on door propping and “carding” (preventing automatic locking) at other colleges.

Door propping is like underage drinking: The university technically doesn’t allow it, there might be some associated risks, and yet a large portion of students do it anyway. Given this situation and the widespread nature of door propping, sudden enforcement of large fines seems both unfair and likely to spark further backlash from the student body. Enforcement is also arbitrary — whether a student is in her room when H&D checks the door can determine whether she owes the university $200. The use of fines introduces inequity in punishment: The financial resources available to students vary and lower-income students are more heavily affected.

While there are logical reasons for the existence of door rules — reduction of theft, prevention of intruders into students’ rooms — students should be given the freedom to make this tradeoff between risk and convenience. If a pair of roommates decide to card their door and jeopardize their belongings, that should be their choice. As college students who should be learning to “adult,” these are the kind of decisions we should be allowed to make.



It’s true that there are circumstances where a student’s choice to prop a door might affect others, in which the university’s hands are tied — in particular, fire safety rules fall into this category. Aside from those situations, however, H&D should drop its paternalistic attitude toward door propping and carding and legitimize the already well-established practice.

Editor-in-chief Juan Saldaña recused himself from the writing of this editorial.



More from The Rice Thresher

OPINION 11/15/22 10:21pm
Where we must agree: the politics of humanness

The words “free speech” will likely elicit groans from Thresher readers. Over the last three years, there have been three articles in the Opinion section bemoaning the need for a “classically liberal” political discourse at Rice. Unfortunately, between their self-righteousness and needless wordiness, they read more like whiny lectures than conversation starters. However, despite their condescension, their existence does suggest something unsettling about not just our campus politics, but politics at large. As the electorates of democracies around the world have become more sharply divided, the way we speak to each other, not just across the aisle but to our similarly minded partisans, has become more accusatory, exclusionary and violent. Put simply: we do not want to talk to each other, and understandably so. It is exhausting, and, more than that, we just don’t seem to know how to.

OPINION 11/15/22 10:16pm
Off-campus students should sublet their rooms to those who need winter break housing

For the first time since 2019, Rice is not allowing undergraduate students to remain in their on-campus housing during winter break. While this is a disappointing development, we understand why this decision needed to be made. Like students, staff need a break after a long semester. Further, keeping students on campus by providing housing over break was originally implemented to address pandemic travel restrictions, which are mostly gone. However, the need for winter housing is not gone. This decision still leaves some international students — or any other on-campus student looking to remain in Houston — scrambling for housing.

OPINION 11/8/22 11:39pm
The Honor Council needs to act more responsibly

For the past year, I have served as an at-large representative on the Rice Honor Council. I have sat through dozens of cases, read hundreds of pages of evidence and spent countless hours working to improve the transparency and fairness of the Honor System. While there are a myriad of issues with the Honor System, as there are with any institutional system, there is one in particular that needs to be addressed with expediency. The Honor Council is currently not an effective deliberative body due to the general lack of engagement from some of its members, which include elected representatives.  


Comments

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