Admin should stand with LGBTQ students from Rice and Baylor
The last time the Marching Owls Band performed a halftime show at a football game against Baylor University, they formed a IX on the field to call out Baylor’s cover-up of a sexual assault scandal — and the Rice administration gave an official apology on behalf of the university. At Saturday’s show during the Rice-Baylor football game, the MOB again used their platform to support student interests. Over 50 Rice and Baylor students and alumni ran onto the football field, waving pride flags to stand with LGBTQ+ students at Baylor. And the Rice administration has so far been silent.
The controversy surrounding Baylor’s policies toward its LGBTQ+ students began earlier this semester, when a student LGBTQ+ group was denied a charter for official university recognition. Nearly simultaneously, Baylor President Linda Livingstone released a statement reaffirming Baylor’s Christian ideological foundations and prohibiting Baylor students from participating in LGBTQ+ advocacy groups.
Livingstone’s statement was not only hurtful, but it also contradicted some of Baylor’s other stances on sexuality. Baylor claims they offer support for LGBTQ+ students through their Title IX office, counseling center, chaplain’s office and other sources. But if the university isn’t willing to give LGBTQ+ students the recognition of an official club, and the resources and funding that accompany that designation, then how can LGBTQ+ students at Baylor trust resources from the university claiming to help them?
Instead of a statement condemning Livingstone’s statement, President David Leebron posted a picture of himself with her on Twitter with the caption, “Always love meeting up with one of my favorite university presidents” before the game on Saturday.
In the past, the Rice administration has not shied from making public statements concerning MOB performances as shown by their highly publicized apology to Baylor in 2016. In the face of the overwhelming demonstration of solidarity for LGBTQ+ students from both the Rice and Houston communities, the Rice administration should make another public statement — this time, in support of the MOB and students of both Rice and Baylor. Rather than default to defensive statements in fear of backlash, the administration should actively seek opportunities to stand in solidarity with their students.
More from The Rice Thresher
Housing and Dining recently spoke out about an unacceptable number of missing ceramic plates from serveries across campus, prompting several college presidents and coordinators to remind students not to throw these plates away or leave them in shared spaces. The issue has gotten so bad that H&D has stated that they will begin charging colleges each time they find one in the trash.
At the very first Editorial Board meeting of this school year, the seniors on our board got on our high horses to inform the Rice community of the way things used to be done vis-a-vis selling tickets to public parties. We’ve held our tongues since then, as we can appreciate that circumstances change and growth is good. But the time has come for us to speak again, this time in support of resurrecting the greatest of all pre-COVID traditions: Sunday brunch.
We reported at the end of last week that popular late-night food spots YoYo’s Hot Dog and Oh My Gogi are being forced out of Rice Village by the end of the month. Justifiably, Rice students and the local community were outraged — a petition to the Rice Management Company titled “Save Yoyos and Oh My Gogi” has over 4,500 signatures as of publication.