NOD shut down highlights a need for change
In the early hours of Oct. 29, the 50th Night of Decadence public at Wiess College was abruptly cut short. In an email to all students, the Wiess team in charge of organizing the public justified the shut down due to the complete overwhelming of Rice and Houston emergency services, which was promptly accelerated after an altercation between RUPD and several students.
We thank the caregivers, Rice Emergency Medical Services, CJs and all others involved for doing everything they could to assist their fellow students and respond to this unexpected turn of events. But the escalation of the situation and the eventual need to shut down the public demonstrates an alarming shift in alcohol and party culture at Rice.
While discussions including NOD talks, Critical Thinking in Sexuality and Orientation Week CJ talks are required across all residential colleges, other resources like alcohol counseling referrals are not offered equally. Though important, proactive talks are clearly not enough; resources must be offered to remedy behavior so that people drink safely at future parties.
Restrictions on parties and hard alcohol, while a likely response to incidents like this year’s NOD, are not the solution either. We’ve seen time and time again that banning hard alcohol or alcohol-related gatherings will not stop people from drinking — but it could make them less likely to seek medical help. No student, especially one who needs assistance, should avoid REMS out of fear for their future at Rice.
Part of rebuilding a culture of care at Rice means looking out for each other, whether that is dialing REMS when things get serious or keeping a friend who is too intoxicated from entering a public. But measures should be taken to keep this situation from happening in the first place. Count your drinks. Seek out support from peers or professionals to learn how to manage drinking habits. Learn your limits and stay within them when and if you choose to drink. NOD has demonstrated that our resources in the moment are finite, and we as responsible students need to change the way we approach alcohol to avoid overextending those resources again.
Editor’s Note: Thresher editorials are collectively written by the members of the Thresher’s editorial board. Current members include Prayag Gordy, Riya Misra, Nayeli Shad, Brandon Chen, Sammy Baek, Sarah Knowlton, Hadley Medlock and Pavithr Goli. Editors-in-chief Prayag Gordy and Riya Misra and news editor Brandon Chen recused themselves from this editorial due to reporting on the corresponding story in our news section.
More from The Rice Thresher
When “Pro-Life After Roe” was published in the Thresher, we were in the midst of finalizing a semester-long report on the state of reproductive rights in Texas. We had spent the day compiling firsthand accounts of the panic, pain and trauma produced by abortion bans. It felt necessary to address the guest opinion and confront the harms of abortion restrictions.
Rice’s 111-year history is marked by lots of positive impact — and plenty of harmful actions. William Marsh Rice, the university’s founder and namesake, was a slave owner, and from the school’s establishment as a free institution for only white students to Ku Klux Klan meetings occurring on Rice property, the connections to segregation and racial injustice cannot be denied.
As Rice has been struggling for the past few weeks with our culture around alcohol and public gatherings, Speakeasy Pub last Thursday night has shown us that a safe, responsible and fun drinking environment is still very possible.