Editorial: Let’s be honest about why Rice Owls must “give back”
Every year, the Rice Annual Fund solicits donations from students for the Rice Owls Give Back campaign. One reason is to foster a “tradition” of giving back; another is to measure student satisfaction and boost the school’s ranking. Many students, however, aren’t sure why they should donate in addition to the thousands in tuition they already pay. Instead, they are often pressured into coughing up a dollar or two. Contrary to how the program is often portrayed, the amount of money raised only about equals the amount spent to encourage donations.
The very name of the campaign suggests that something valuable has already been given to students. But current students, especially freshmen, might not feel that they have tangibly received anything from Rice besides admission (and attempting to enroll in 600 percent full classes).
Ideally, the Fund would be less duplicitious in their messaging and more cognizant that many paying students aren’t eager to be targeted by a fundraising campaign. Maybe when students graduate, they will “give back” to the school that boosted their careers. However, current Rice students are simply that: students, buried by mountains of loans and coursework.
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“Statues are not meant to teach events. They are constructed to honor the memory of those depicted. Like all slave owners, William Marsh Rice is not worth reverence,” write Taylor Crain (Lovett ‘21), Lauren Palladino (Duncan ‘21), Emily Weaver (Jones ‘22) and Divine Webber (Duncan ‘22).
“To make a true difference in creating an equitable society, Rice’s course should educate students on the history and sociology of race as a construct, how systemic racism manifests in every facet of society and how to be anti-racist rather than simply not racist,“ writes Nicole Zhao (Brown ‘15).
“In this cultural moment the university can no longer play the same old games of working groups and task forces to confront its racist history. Therefore I am calling for the replacement of the statue of William Marsh Rice in the middle of Rice University’s campus with one of Raymond Johnson, the first Black graduate student at Rice and a current professor in the math department,” writes Yoseph Maguire (Wiess ‘18).