Vote. It’s not that hard.
After last year’s Student Association election saw less than a fourth of the student body turnout to vote, we penned an editorial calling on students to engage further with the SA and its elections. As we approach another election — voting opens next Wednesday — we feel it necessary to reiterate our call. For anyone who has tried to raise student awareness of an issue, aired a grievance against the administration or tried to spur change on campus, now is the time to cast your ballot for who you want to represent the student body and fight for the issues that matter to you.
There is a common misconception, somewhat excusably, that the business of the SA only concerns a small number of students. With this perception, people feel that they have nothing at stake in the elections and therefore don’t bother casting a ballot. But this year, the SA has been thrust into the spotlight over a variety of issues, such as the debate over moving the Founder’s Memorial and the disabling of the EarthCam. In both of those controversies, administrators cited SA concerns and suggestions as guidance for their actions.
It is clear now more than ever that the SA plays a direct role in student life on this campus. So what should y’all do? Vote. Luckily, the voting process couldn’t really be any easier. The SA conducts its elections antithetical to everything for which the new Texas election law stands. Every student is automatically registered, the ballot is emailed directly to each voter, and voting takes place online, 24/7 over eight days.
All that being said, voting just for the sake of voting is not enough. You can and should educate yourself on the candidates to make an informed decision through any number of means. Visit the candidates’ websites and read about their platforms. Read our election coverage this week and our candidate endorsements next week. Attend the SA Presidential Debate on Monday night. And if all else fails, approach the candidates personally and ask them for their position on an issue you care about. Use your vote to shape the organization that can bring the issues you most care about to the forefront of campus discussion.
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
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.
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.
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.