Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, June 06, 2023 — Houston, TX

Start by paying the students who need it most

By Thresher Editorial Board     3/21/23 9:18pm

Student Association president Solomon Ni presented a motion during the March 20 senate to pay voting members of the SA essentially $8 every senate in session, which they are required to attend. Our new cohort of SA representatives near-unanimously shot the motion down. 

While we applaud Ni’s effort to compensate student leaders and aren’t opposed to paying leaders when possible, we have to acknowledge that current resources are limited and ultimately should be best spent to lower the barriers to access opportunities for low income students. A pay capped at $200 for an entire academic year for all voting members of the SA makes little difference in students’ lives compared to redirecting this fund towards need-based allocation for SA members.

Divvying up limited resources equally between students doesn’t result in equal impact. First-generation low-income students are frequently at a disadvantage when it comes to their ability to offer up unpaid labor compared to their peers. Offering stipends for low-income students when possible increases the opportunities for them to be involved on campus, as well as promotes inclusivity and brings more diverse voices to the table in our student organizations.

There is also something to say about the nature of the SA being a student-elected, voluntary government body. At a time when the student body is vocally questioning the efficacy of the SA and the downright purpose of its existence, we caution the SA against risking increasing dissent for a slim chance of increasing internal engagement. The point of volunteer positions is to give back to the Rice community for that reason. This holds true for organizations outside of the SA as well. We hope we don’t lose sight of the value of volunteering for our community. 

As a general rule, organizations should direct their resources to the areas they will do the most good. Just looking at the statistics, the majority of Rice students do not need financial incentive to give back to our community. However, for FGLI students, financial accessibility is a barrier to participating in student leadership positions in the SA and beyond. By concentrating resources, we can remove those barriers and ensure everyone’s voice can be heard on campus. 

We need to think more critically and realistically about how we compensate student leaders. Working with what we have, we should dedicate resources to making student leadership positions accessible to students who might otherwise be financially unable to devote their time.

​​Editor’s Note: Thresher editorials are collectively written by the members of the Thresher’s editorial board. Current members include Ben Baker-Katz, Morgan Gage, Bonnie Zhao, Hajera Naveed, Nayeli Shad, Riya Misra, Michelle Gachelin, Daniel Schrager, Prayag Gordy and Brandon Chen. 

More from The Rice Thresher

OPINION 4/26/23 2:07pm
Beware of dissenters, reinvestigate the real Israel

Israel is a special place and arguably the most misunderstood in the world. We will be celebrating Israel’s 75th birthday at Rice, commemorating the occasion with a conference hosted by the Baker Institute on April 27, 2023. It is important to understand that the Jewish connection to the land of Israel goes back thousands of years. Jews were always in this land before Israel was created. As I prepare to graduate, having founded a Students Supporting Israel chapter at Rice, I want students to be informed about Israel and Palestine. There are many people who spew misinformation and will not want to listen to facts because of the false narrative they love to believe.

OPINION 4/18/23 10:09pm
Thank you for letting me tell your stories

If there is anything I will miss about college, it is the Thresher.  No matter how many long nights or years of my life I have given to this paper, I have never grown tired of the Thresher. Maybe because of a superb staff that impresses me every day with their talent and dedication to good journalism or the unwavering support and friendship (and fist bumps) from my co-editor Ben Baker-Katz, but, I think most of all, it is the work I was able to do here. 

OPINION 4/18/23 10:09pm
Thresher holds the memories of a campus

For the last two years, whenever someone has tried to make plans with me on a Tuesday, I’ve responded with some version of “I can’t, I’ve got Thresher.” The natural next question, after I explain that putting together a weekly paper takes up the vast majority of every Tuesday, is “Why do you spend so much time on it?” And silly as it may seem, I’ve never really come up with a good answer to that question.


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