Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Monday, November 28, 2022 — Houston, TX

Gabrielle Franklin for Student Association president


Photo courtesy Gabrielle Franklin

By Thresher Editorial Board     2/22/22 11:35pm

This year, two candidates with distinctly different approaches and areas of expertise are vying for the Student Association presidency. We, the Thresher Editorial Board, endorse Gabrielle Franklin for Student Association President because of her stances on accountability and fostering an inclusive environment for underrepresented students as well as actionable plans to do so. 

Franklin, current Brown College senator, is passionate about advocacy, and has past experience elevating vital and marginalized voices on campus. While her lack of experience on the executive team gives us some pause in her ability to hit the ground running, she is able to clearly articulate her stances on a range of issues as well as her plans and priorities for the office.

One of Franklin’s goals is to revive lost internal SA meetings and better facilitate external communication, the latter of which she has worked on in her current position. In her interview with the Thresher editorial board, she discussed her ideas to establish secondary points of contact within the SA to prevent a loss of communication when someone is unavailable, ask executive members to connect with college governments and promote monthly meetings between all SA positions. Beyond that, her focus on proactive communication with student groups and providing detailed notes or recordings of meetings when unable to secure a meeting for interested groups with administration shows a flexibility in her approach while retaining her prioritization of student interests.

Further, Franklin expressed her willingness to learn from other SA members about the inner workings of the organization. While she will come in with her own priorities for the incoming SA administration, she also prioritizes student feedback and opinion as evidenced by her willingness to directly collaborate with campus organizations to reach collective goals, such as with Rice PRIDE in response to recent issues regarding transphobia at Senate and with Questbridge to increase accessibility of resources for students facing food insecurity.

Franklin’s opponent, current SA Internal Vice President Madison Bunting, possesses distinct attributes that also make her very qualified for the job. For instance, she has incredible knowledge of the ins and outs of the SA that makes her a strong candidate. However, Bunting refused to take a definitive stance on a number of issues, including handling conflict with administration and the limits on acceptable speech in the Senate. This refusal to take a stance wasn’t just a fluke, but rather a key part of her platform which centered on deferring to the student body on nearly every issue.

Especially with low voting and polling turnout, it is not feasible to expect polling to provide the solution to all student issues. In the absence of well-rounded, complete polling data, or when the student body is split on an issue, a president is forced to take a stance that will influence the conversation within the SA and with the administration. In the end, we know where Franklin stands on the issues, which we believe to be a necessary quality in a president.

Editor’s Note: Thresher editorials are collectively written by the members of the Thresher’s editorial board. Current members include Savannah Kuchar, Ben Baker-Katz, Nayeli Shad, Talha Arif, Morgan Gage, Daniel Schrager and Brandon Chen.

More from The Rice Thresher

OPINION 11/15/22 10:21pm
Where we must agree: the politics of humanness

The words “free speech” will likely elicit groans from Thresher readers. Over the last three years, there have been three articles in the Opinion section bemoaning the need for a “classically liberal” political discourse at Rice. Unfortunately, between their self-righteousness and needless wordiness, they read more like whiny lectures than conversation starters. However, despite their condescension, their existence does suggest something unsettling about not just our campus politics, but politics at large. As the electorates of democracies around the world have become more sharply divided, the way we speak to each other, not just across the aisle but to our similarly minded partisans, has become more accusatory, exclusionary and violent. Put simply: we do not want to talk to each other, and understandably so. It is exhausting, and, more than that, we just don’t seem to know how to.

OPINION 11/15/22 10:16pm
Off-campus students should sublet their rooms to those who need winter break housing

For the first time since 2019, Rice is not allowing undergraduate students to remain in their on-campus housing during winter break. While this is a disappointing development, we understand why this decision needed to be made. Like students, staff need a break after a long semester. Further, keeping students on campus by providing housing over break was originally implemented to address pandemic travel restrictions, which are mostly gone. However, the need for winter housing is not gone. This decision still leaves some international students — or any other on-campus student looking to remain in Houston — scrambling for housing.

OPINION 11/8/22 11:39pm
The Honor Council needs to act more responsibly

For the past year, I have served as an at-large representative on the Rice Honor Council. I have sat through dozens of cases, read hundreds of pages of evidence and spent countless hours working to improve the transparency and fairness of the Honor System. While there are a myriad of issues with the Honor System, as there are with any institutional system, there is one in particular that needs to be addressed with expediency. The Honor Council is currently not an effective deliberative body due to the general lack of engagement from some of its members, which include elected representatives.  


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