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.
The Thresher is a job by definition (yes, we pay; no, not well). But it is also the place I have met some of my best friends and formed some of my favorite memories. Speaking to the journalism experience, the Thresher is a student media group, and in my four years I’ve seen how important both of those words are. We get a lot of attention for being “media,” and as a group with a large campus presence and channels to communicate with a majority of the broader Rice community, it’s important we take this seriously.
The other part of that is “student.” We are students first and we are constantly learning in our roles with the Thresher. Because we want to be held accountable by the community, we value feedback from readers as the best way for us to learn and grow and make sure the paper continues to fulfill its role on campus. It might surprise some people to know just how open we are to hearing this feedback. If you have thoughts, comments, questions or criticisms, please send us an email or even reach out to a staffer if you know someone.
Deviating now, because it is my farewell note and my last chance to write from the editor’s desk, I’m stealing a page from my predecessor’s book to write some personal thank yous. Firstly, to Ben Baker-Katz, a wonderful managing editor and co-leader: thank you for helping share the stress of Tuesday nights and being just an incredible friend over this past year. I cannot wait to see what you and the amazing Morgan Gage do together in the role next year. Thank you Ivanka Perez for both your friendship and sage wisdom. Along with Rishab Ramapriyan and Christina Tan, you were my role models coming into this position, and I’m ever grateful for that extra semester I had to work with you last fall.
This job would’ve been nothing without everyone on staff, especially the seniors, who made the office so lively and weekly operations so successful. We came back to a largely in-person format after over a year of remote work and the year was better than anything I could’ve expected. Thank you also to Katharine Shilcutt for stepping in as adviser in such difficult circumstances and being a blessing to all of us in student media.
And finally, thank you Kelley Lash. I wish more than anything that I could say all of this in person, but you were the greatest adviser and mentor, and the reason student media was such an amazing and supportive place in the first place. Though I won’t be there to see it firsthand after this week, I know the Thresher will carry on your legacy and make you proud.
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.
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.
Last year, the Board of Trustees announced that Rice would be increasing the undergraduate class size 20 percent — nearly 800 more students — by 2025. The quick rollout of this decision has left current students with a fracturing academic and social experience. Going forward, the administration needs to better plan for maintaining the small school benefits and residential college culture.