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Tuesday, April 23, 2024 — Houston, TX

Jae Kim for SA president

By Thresher Editorial Board     2/20/24 9:40pm

Due to his previous successful initiatives, desire to correct flaws within the Student Association and passion for student advocacy, we, the Thresher Editorial Board, endorse Jae Kim for SA president.

Kim has three years of experience working within the SA as a new student representative, senator and college president. He has learned ways to improve the efficacy and success of the organization. For instance, Kim wants to ensure that intense research and conversations with stakeholders occur before introducing resolutions, rendering them more beneficial. His advocacy-centered approach is poised to get students engaged in the SA, which has been a shortcoming of the organization for years. Further, he wants to bridge existing gaps between college presidents and other SA members to benefit the colleges using SA’s funding and connections to administration.

Both Kim and his opponent, Hanszen College senator Trevor Tobey, want to restructure the Blanket Tax, an $85 part of each student’s tuition that goes to the SA, Rice Program Council, student media organizations and other student groups that serve the entire Rice community. Importantly, both candidates want to create a separate source of money for recurring events that are not covered by the Initiative Fund. Unlike Tobey, Kim wants to explore raising the Blanket Tax, which has remained the same since 2015 in spite of inflation — something we agree is necessary to sustain the growing undergraduate population.



Many of Kim’s plans build off previous initiatives he spearheaded as Brown College senator and president. This includes improving housing accommodations for transgender and gender non-conforming students, expanding the Student Success Initiatives food pantry and increasing study spots on campus. His knowledge of who to work with and how to design projects to make them successful will make him adept at achieving his goals as SA president.

While Tobey shares some of Kim’s goals, his ideas for achieving them are less detailed and harder to achieve. Both want to expand late night dining options, but Tobey’s plan to negotiate pay bonuses for Housing and Dining staff working extra hours using SA money raises concerns about overextending the SA’s budget. Additionally, Tobey wants to provide subsidies for off-campus therapy, but he provided little additional information on his plan to do this during his interview with the Editorial Board.

Tobey has valid criticisms of the SA’s inability to effect change due to loose resolutions and vast conformity within the organization. Kim is running with a team, many of whom echo his ideas. While a ticket can be helpful for voters and close collaboration is important, it is even more important to allow for disagreement in the SA, something that Tobey sees as lacking. We hope that the future SA executive committee will encourage diverse ideas both from the student body and within the SA itself.

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. 



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