Click here for updates on the evolving COVID-19 situation at Rice
Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Saturday, January 23, 2021 — Houston, TX 46°

Response to Anson Fung: Support of Dreamers adheres to Rice's commitment to diversity and excellence

By Gilbert Saldivar     4/18/18 2:42pm

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.

Gilbert Saldivar

Sid Richardson '90, College Associate



More from The Rice Thresher

OPINION 1/19/21 5:54pm
Let’s heal how we talk about food

How should we discuss food, then? I don’t want to be misunderstood as advising against all food-related conversations. I feel quite the opposite: eating is one of humanity’s oldest social rituals. It’s meant to bring us together. We’re at our best when we engage in conversations that center the enjoyment of food rather than its nutritional content. 

OPINION 12/9/20 11:05pm
Re-return to campus — but to what end?

The first wave of COVID-19 erupted in the U.S. in early 2020. Rice responded quickly: During March 9-15, classes for the week preceding Spring Break were canceled, students were instructed not to return to campus after Spring Break, and instruction after Spring Break was made fully remote. This quick reaction to the pandemic was typical of many organizations and localities all around the country, as it became clear that social distancing was then the only effective way to slow down the spread of the disease. This seems to have worked and, by early May, the first wave was somewhat subsiding. The Rice administration then tasked the Academic Restart Committee with the mission of “Return to Rice.” 

OPINION 12/4/20 12:13pm
Let’s reevaluate music as a social resource

To be sure, a poetic analogy between music and our differences will not resolve any issues directly. It can, however, remind us of our shared humanity. It can get us back in touch with our nature as social animals. It is a nature that is often oppressed by the individualism in our capitalistic society that encourages competition, putting too much focus on the dissonances for our own good. 


Comments

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