Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Friday, July 01, 2022 — Houston, TX

Editorial: Rice must increase transparency on int’l student aid

By Thresher Editorial Board     10/17/18 12:52am

This week, as promised, Rice officials sat down with representatives from the Rice International Student Association (see p. 1). Unfortunately, the administration’s comments described by RISA members are symptomatic of an overall apathy towards meaningful progress in financial support for international students. This is our second editorial of the year on the topic of international student aid because we feel it is important not to let this issue be swept aside in a private meeting. Once again, we are calling for greater transparency, not only through clear financial goals but also through increased and transparent communication with international students on how Rice can better support them.

RISA’s initial request for a large town hall meeting was downgraded to a smaller meeting in which key stakeholders including President David Leebron and Vice President for Finance Kathy Collins could not attend. Furthermore, RISA students said Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman and Vice President of Enrollment Yvonne Romero da Silva lacked familiarity with the specifics of  financial aid, which prevented them from discussing details. Students also said that when they requested regular meetings to continue the conversation, members of the administration were non-committal. Furthermore, Romero da Silva and Gorman responded to the Thresher’s questions with statements that provided little insight into the content of the meeting.

We understand that millions of dollars cannot be raised overnight, and so do the students in RISA. Explanations of why the administration cannot currently offer need-blind admission to all international students or offer aid to those who don’t initially apply for it are appreciated. But what’s more important than what the administration cannot currently do is what they can do. 



Romero da Silva has said Rice is undertaking efforts to increase aid for international students as part of the fundraising campaign that will also support The Rice Investment. Rice has set a concrete goal for increasing aid to international students, though it has not been widely publicized — according to the goals laid out in Rice’s Vision for the Second Century, Second Decade, the university hopes to provide international students with $4 million in aid per year. We worry that because this commitment has received little coverage outside of the Thresher, it will be easily forgotten. To demonstrate Rice’s commitment to international students, we ask that the administration publicly report its progress towards that goal at regular intervals. That way, the Rice community can hold the administration accountable for supporting 13 percent of the undergraduate student body rather than dismissing them. 



More from The Rice Thresher

OPINION 5/12/22 4:05pm
The Wellbeing Center should be transparent about its true confidentiality policies

Before you attend a counseling session at the Rice counseling center, you will be told that “the RCC maintains strict standards regarding privacy.” You will find statements from the university that your mental health record will not be shared with anyone outside of extreme situations of imminent harm, and only then that your information will be shared with only the necessary officials. This sounds great, except that these assurances bear no teeth whatsoever — no enforcement agency ensures that Rice follows its public confidentiality promises, and there are no penalties for Rice if they break them. The Wellbeing and Counseling Centers should more directly communicate the limits of their confidentiality policies when compared to unaffiliated counseling centers, and students in sensitive situations should take the necessary precautions to protect their information.

OPINION 4/19/22 11:11pm
We’re in student media to learn

This week marks the last issue of the Thresher for the year, and for the seniors like myself, our last issue ever. I have been a part of the Thresher since freshman year. And it would not be an exaggeration to say it has defined my Rice experience. As someone pursuing a career in journalism after graduation, there has been no better place to learn than at this paper.

OPINION 4/19/22 11:02pm
Philanthropy doesn’t excuse slavery

In January, the Rice Board of Trustees announced plans to move the Founder’s memorial to another area of the academic quad as part of a whole redesign, adding additional context of his “entanglement” with slavery. This comes despite continual calls from the student body to not have the enslaver displayed in the quad regardless of the context provided. It would be just for these calls to action and the majority of the Task Force Committee who voted to not keep it there that the Board of Trustees decide to not keep the memorial prominently displayed in the quad at all.


Comments

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