LTTE: Correcting the record on the Thresher's endorsement
First, to the People for Palanki, thank you. Thank you for all the love and support you have shown during this campaign, from hanging flyers to changing profile picture frames to keeping me sane throughout these stressful weeks. It means the world to me.
I wanted to write this letter to address the Thresher’s recent endorsement. I am not upset that I did not receive their endorsement, as Ariana is a terrific candidate. Further, I completely respect the Editorial Board’s opinion, as they, like all students, are entitled to their own thoughts and views. However, I do believe that my leadership and my platform were mischaracterized by the Thresher’s editorial. My hope with this letter is that the student body can draw their own conclusions based on all the facts and determine the best candidate.
“[Rohan] does not display the same realism and vision for carrying [specific ideas] out.”
My vision is clear: improvements for all Rice students, not just one particular demographic. To carry out this vision, I have constructed a platform consisting of projects in several areas of student interest, from academics to student life and from wellbeing to diversity. I have a concrete plan for each point on my platform, featuring communication with students and administration, collaboration with members of the SA, and execution through careful planning and accountability. My proposals aren’t just ideas; they are projects that I know how to execute, because of my experiences in the SA and my connections within the administration. I understand that it may be difficult to accomplish all of my goals, but my sense of realism will help me prioritize and complete projects based on student input.
“His platform seems more like a grab bag of various small projects around, like … turning off lights to save electricity.”
Yes, I have several small projects within my platform, but this does not mean they will not be impactful. Rather, these projects will demonstrate that small improvements at Rice can be combined to cause tremendous benefit for the entire student body. Perhaps turning off the lights in common spaces to save electricity is not the most grandiose of ideas, but it could be the first step toward a more sustainable Rice.
“Palanki has not displayed the same careful consideration and reflection as Engles has in her proposals.”
As I mentioned above, the source of my diverse set of ideas is the student body. For the past three years, I have observed and listened to student input. The conversations are repetitive: How do I get more involved in the SA? Why do I have to pay for breakfast? Whom do I go to for graduate school advice? While I have acted on some of these ideas, there is so much more to be done. After careful consideration and reflection, I crafted my platform to bring these concerns to light and produce tangible solutions to long-standing needs. The specificity of my platform ensures that action is actually accomplished.
“His suggestion for a greater variety in meal plans did not demonstrate the same level of consideration for either student opinion or financial feasibility.”
I strongly disagree with this statement. Student opinion clearly indicates a desire for increased flexibility in meal plan options. In fact, this was the very basis for the SA’s implementation of Saturday dinner in the serveries, as students desired an on-campus dining option. However, conversations around meal plan options have not subsided. I have observed that students wish to have greater control over the number of purchased meal swipes per semester in order to avoid paying for meals that are not consumed. Although this may seem financially unfeasible for H&D, this department always considers student needs first, evidenced by the addition of Saturday dinners at no additional cost to students, and many of our peer institutions boast this flexibility already. As a result, I am confident that the SA and H&D can collaborate to address student meal plan concerns.
“His lack of thoughtfulness in his proposals … would make his election as SA President worrisome.”
It is unjustified to state that my proposals lack thought, as they are grounded in student opinion and are accompanied by specific plans of action through collaboration with the administration. I am confident in my platform and my ability to achieve its goals. As noted by the Thresher, I am the candidate with the most experience within the SA, meaning that not only do I know what needs to be done, but also how to do it. I am not a worrisome candidate at all, but a capable leader with a clear vision, tangible goals and a passion to improve Rice for all students.
SA Presidential Candidate
Jones College junior
More from The Rice Thresher
On Oct. 5, 2021, the Thresher published a guest opinion written by David Getter lamenting the erosion of freedom of expression at Rice. In the interest of embracing Getter’s call for reasoned discourse, I would like to offer a response to the claims made in the piece.
Within the hedges of Rice University, it is possible — and thanks to online shopping, sometimes easier — not to venture out and explore the city that Rice calls home. However, treating campus as separate from Houston fails to recognize the impact that we have on the larger community that we are a part of. To support the relationship between us and Houston, the Rice community should make a consistent and concerted effort to shop at and support local businesses.
Before Hispanic Heritage Month officially ends, I would like to take a moment to write about the labels those of us of Latin American heritage use to describe ourselves. At Rice, club names, course titles and survey questions often defer to pan-ethnic labels even though most people tend to use their national origin group as a primary identifier. These pan-ethnic labels are problematic. Although they in some ways unify Latin American communities, they often leave out others, like Afro-Latinos and indigenous Latinos. My goal here is not to dissuade people from using pan-ethnic labels; as history has shown, they can be useful, to some degree. However, my intention is for all of us, Latinos and non-Latinos alike, to use them wisely — with the understanding that the Latino community cannot be condensed into one culturally, ethnically or even linguistically homogeneous group. With that in mind, I hope that we as a Rice community continue to discuss and re-evaluate our language even after Hispanic Heritage Month ends.