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Monday, May 27, 2024 — Houston, TX

Overly stringent public capacity limits harm Rice traditions

By Thresher Editorial Board     4/9/24 11:03pm

At 7 a.m. sharp on Beer Bike morning, students gathered in a line (if one can call it that) stretching nearly to McMurtry College  commons, in hopes of attending Martel College’s iconic morning party. Upon entry, students would discover that the historically packed public boasted the attendance of, well, a large FITQ.

This shift arrives in light of new capacity limitations and a closed sundeck, recommended by the Alcohol Policy Advisory Committee. As we await the last public of the year, capacity policies for Bacchanalia should return to a reasonable medium.

The stringent Martel capacity limit, which required checking each student’s net ID against a massive spreadsheet of ticketed students, was an administrative overstep that harmed Rice’s beloved student self-governance and traditions. This year’s Beer Bike was relatively controlled, likely pointing to efforts on the part of college leadership to encourage safe drinking practices and students for monitoring their own drinking. Fun yet responsible publics exemplify Rice’s high degree of student autonomy and traditions, which remain a key selling point for potential students. We hope administration can respond in kind with more reasonable policies for Bacchanalia and upcoming years, preserving these traditions that make Rice, Rice. 



The ticketing process of Martel’s morning party, which has been the same used for many post-COVID publics, is inefficient and unnecessarily burdensome for volunteers. Instead, as we’ve advocated for in the past, let students show up and close entrance to the public once capacity is reached, removing the need to note down individual net IDs and deal with thousand-row spreadsheets crashing. Believe it or not, there was a time before Google Form ticket drops and freshmen reselling wristbands for 10 times their original cost. 

Coming off a five-month dry spell of publics, we understand the need to monitor Beer Bike more strictly this year. But by no means should the success of this year’s Beer Bike imply that overly stringent ticketing and net ID checks are the correct path. If Martel’s morning party was just a test, we hate to see what’s next. 

Last year, our editors-in-chief voiced their concerns about the slow death of campus traditions. Their sentiment still rings true. We’ve had our slap on the wrist — now, we ask that Rice traditions aren’t sacrificed in the name of overdone safety procedures.

Editor’s Note: Thresher editorials are collectively written by the members of the Thresher’s editorial board. Current members include Riya Misra, Spring Chenjp, Maria Morkas, Prayag Gordy, Sarah Knowlton, Sammy Baek, Shruti Patankar, Juliana Lightsey, Arman Saxena and Kathleen Ortiz.



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