Response to Anson Fung: Support of Dreamers adheres to Rice's commitment to diversity and excellence
I am writing in antithesis to Mr. Fung's op-ed, dated April 11, 2018, that suggests that the university's public declarations regarding DACA contradict its commitment to impartiality.
In spring 1991, Tracy Hall and I had the pleasure of convening the first ever Diversity Week panel discussion on affirmative action, conceived in part to provide an informed response to regressive comments published by former Thresher Co-Editor in Chief Kurt Moeller.
At the conclusion of his brief introductory remarks, Dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering Michael Carroll (of happy memory) challenged the attendees to conceive of a broader context than Equal Employment Opportunity Commission categories when contemplating Rice's commitment to excellence, which he considered synonymous with a commitment to diversity. Specifically, he pointed out that he led a team of faculty and graduate students comprising Americans of various backgrounds: Greeks, Turks, Iranians, Chinese and an Israeli (not to mention that he, himself, was a first-generation Irish immigrant).
Amid the partisanship Moeller gleefully incited, I confess that I once received Dean Carroll's remarks as broad to the point of irrelevance, but they resonate powerfully in the current context. More than a partisan football, DACA represents a rational commitment to fairness and due process that, through carefully sustained and calculated legislative omission, seeks to resolve a degree of legal ambiguity that foreign nationals who have committed no crime must fear every day.
While the university was conceived in and committed to a myopic regional political agenda of racial and gender inequality continuing into the late 1960s, Dean Carroll's remarks demonstrate a commitment to excellence that no longer even stops at the water's edge. Given this history, it is uniquely fitting for Rice University to publicly declare its unwavering commitment to pursue excellence in and from every corner of the globe, especially when that excellence finds us first.
Sid Richardson '90, College Associate
More from The Rice Thresher
Whether you hate or love our content, there's a way to get involved, whether through writing, photography, videography, or design. Yes, I'm biased about how great the Thresher is — did I say I supported unbiased journalism? — but this is just one claim you can't fact check
Remember that we are fellow students seeking to deliver truth to the community with the best intentions in mind. I am deeply appreciative of every student, staff member, faculty and administrator that has shared their stories, data and viewpoints with me. Without the Rice community’s buy-in, the important work we do would not be possible.
As a Students Turning Rice Into a Violence-Free Environment liaison, the organization and its mission are incredibly important to me. I originally joined because, as a survivor myself, I wanted to be a part of facilitating safe spaces on campus through educating my peers and acting as a resource to provide support. STRIVE cares a lot about the student body and puts an extreme number of hours into raising awareness and making themselves accessible, as we have seen with the recent survivor panels, college-specific events throughout the year and their response to an anonymous 2019 Thresher opinion. However, we need to readjust how STRIVE is not only viewed and utilized by the student body but also how it is run. The place the organization holds now oversteps into the lives of liaisons and other students and goes beyond what they set out to do with their mission statement.