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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 — Houston, TX

Freezing cold takes with Chief and Justice


Andy Liu / Thresher

Timmy Mansfield (left) and Jacob Wong (right), clad in banana suits, try to fit into an ice bath together. Mansfield and Wong serve as co-Chief Justices for McMurtry College this year.

By Hamza Saeed     9/12/23 10:57pm

“Okay, so let’s say I have a gun to your head, because I just went ahead and robbed a bank … I need you to tell me who you are in 10 seconds.” (The Thresher always starts with hard-hitting questions.)

“I’m a  … gamer,” Jacob Wong proclaimed. “I started out with Minecraft, and then … I got pretty competitive at Counter-Strike.”

“I like eating red crayons, but I wish they had some more red-40 in them,” Timmy Mansfield added.

Wong and Mansfield, McMurtry College’s Chief and Justice, respectively, were put on the hot — rather, ice-cold — seat in an exclusive interview with the Thresher. To get the most authentic story, the Thresher asked these two men to don their banana costumes and sit in ice baths by the North Servery Fountain.

If having two chief justices sounds strange, it should — Wong and Mansfield ran together for the position of chief justice after Joon Lee stepped down last year. 

In an email sent to McMurtry students in May, Lee, now a junior, said he resigned following a boxing event on McMurtry’s college night. Lee was in charge of refereeing the match between two McMurtry students, but it was shut down by one of McMurtry’s magisters.

Lee had made a name for himself on Fizz as “CJoon.” The Thresher asked Mansfield to rank Lee’s public perception on a scale of O.J. Simpson to Jesus of Nazareth.

“He was like Messi … or Jordan,” Mansfield said. 

“That’s a really sussy scale,” Wong added. 

However, Mansfield and Wong agreed that Lee’s legacy did not intimidate them — instead, they saw this opening for CJ as an opportunity rather than a challenge.

“There was no pressure from anyone, really,” Mansfield said.

These self-proclaimed goofballs had a deep bond prior to running together for CJ. It started with being freshman year roommates. 

“The reason I get up in the morning is so that I can turn around in bed and see Jacob,” Mansfield quipped.

As CJs, Mansfield and Wong have already had to handle perilous situations.

“There was a mystery person on fourth floor [at McMurtry]. We didn’t know who they were … we had to sweep the floors,” Mansfield said.

“Yep, we did sweep the floors around midnight … there was a message in the GroupMe, so Timmy and I, we took action, we grabbed some weapons … [and] we roamed the halls,” Wong explained. 

Going forward, Wong and Mansfield have big ambitions: Wong hopes to go to medical school, although he acknowledges that being an MD is a slight downgrade from being a CJ, and Mansfield plans to attend graduate school. While they are here at Rice, however, they want to have a lasting positive impact on their community.

“One goal … personally, is that I want to make McMurtry the safest college out there, and one step we have taken to accomplish that is building the largest [associate justice] team at Rice,” Wong said. 

As part of their CJ duties, Mansfield and Wong were responsible for giving the class of 2027 a presentation about alcohol safety on campus. Their talk included musical interludes and costume changes. McMurtry freshman Connor Gibbons said that their unique approach made the talk more effective.

“They walked in to ‘SOS’ by Rihanna,” Gibbons said. “The costumes just added to the overall message of McMurtry. It was very engaging. They were able to make it funny and informative at the same time so that people actually understood what they were saying.”

Jenifer Bratter, a magister at McMurtry, said CJs promote safety and are a resource for other students.

“In a college context … being visible and known among students in this way is also important,” Bratter wrote in an email to the Thresher. “Jacob and Timmy have been wonderful resources for students and have done a great job in ensuring that students know and understand the importance of safety.”

When asked what the rest of Rice should know about Murts, Wong emphasized the college’s gleeful attitude. 

“I think in one sentence, I would say that we are a bunch of fun, silly, goofy people … and safe!” Wong declared. “Emphasis on safe, actually … fun, silly, goofy, whimsical and safe.”

Sarah Knowlton contributed reporting.

Editor’s Note: Timmy Mansfield is a Backpage editor for the Thresher.

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