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Class of 2021 undergraduates lined up on Friday evening to receive their degrees and Class of 2020 undergraduates received theirs on Saturday evening, both amidst a limited crowd due to COVID-19 capacity restrictions. Commencement was held for the first time in the Rice football stadium to allow for more physical distancing, after Rice administration adapted to allow for students to bring four guests to attend their respective ceremonies.
Rice has rescinded its mask requirement in outdoor spaces and no longer requires that fully vaccinated individuals take weekly COVID-19 tests. The announcement follows the results of a community survey of vaccination status that revealed 74 percent of the Rice community members have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Rice announced today that there will no longer be a mask requirement in outdoor spaces and that fully vaccinated individuals will not be required to take weekly COVID-19 tests, in an email sent to the Rice community by Kevin Kirby, chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee. The announcement follows the results of a community survey of vaccination status, which revealed that 74 percent of the Rice community members have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
At this time, Owl House Properties will not be included on the new housing website as a result of feedback from students, according to Elizabeth Leaver, Housing and Dining operations director for the South Colleges. Students who rented from Owl House Properties were recently asked to fill out a survey asking for their feedback on whether or not the company’s properties should be included on the website that H&D launched.
The Rice Management Company’s current construction of the Ion in the Third Ward has continued to spark controversy within the community. During the past year of ongoing construction, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades has brought attention to the alleged mistreatment of workers from Milam & Co Painters, a company subcontracted by Rice for the Ion construction project.
Rice Student Run Businesses collectively announced their official endorsement for the removal of the Willy Statue on social media last Thursday. Rice Coffeehouse, The Hoot and Rice Bikes concurrently released a statement on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter outlining their reasons for supporting the movement.
Rice Management Company attended last week’s Student Association meeting, updating the Rice community and sparking debate about Rice Management Company’s ongoing development in Houston’s Third Ward. The Ion, a centerpiece of the 16-acre Innovation District, is slated to open later this year, according to Rice Management Company’s manager of strategic initiatives Samuel Dike.
Elliot Riesman-Tremonte, a Martel College sophomore, is running uncontested for the role of Student Association treasurer. The voting period starts on Feb. 18 at 12 p.m. and closes Feb. 26.
Classes for the 2021 summer term will be delivered in an online format, unless otherwise specified, and at a reduced rate of $300 per credit hour for Rice undergraduates, according to a memorandum from Provost Reginald DesRoches.
As administration of the COVID-19 vaccine begins worldwide, Rice is working with the state of Texas to be designated as a vaccine site, according to Vice President of Administration Kevin Kirby, who chairs the Crisis Management Advisory Committee.
Editor’s note: Students interviewed for this story were given the option of remaining anonymous in the interest of preserving their privacy and preventing disciplinary repercussions. Anonymous students who are referenced multiple times were given false names marked with an asterisk upon first mention.
The Center for Career Development held its first virtual career fair two weeks ago and the student-run “Night of Networking”, for STEM students, will be held on Oct. 8. With recruiting season coming soon, both the CCD and Rice students have committed to bringing opportunities for networking and recruiting to students virtually.
With the semester starting amidst a pandemic, one way that Rice plans to regulate student behavior and ensure adherence to this year’s new Culture of Care agreement is through the new COVID Community Court. The Court handles all low level infractions on campus such as mask wearing and social distancing.
In light of financial and academic challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Student Association recently passed a resolution asking the Office of Admissions to suspend standardized testing requirements for applicants for Fall 2021 matriculation. However, Rice officials have said that they will not be making this decision without significant deliberation.
The honor council, which upholds one of Rice’s longest-standing systems, has been adapting to their new virtual environment for investigative meetings and hearings as a result of Rice’s response to COVID-19. University court, however, will not continue hearing cases in this remote environment.
The Rice Women’s Resource Center began offering free pregnancy tests last week to all students. These tests are located in the center in the Rice Memorial Center, alongside other previously-offered resources like condoms, tampons and pads.
At the beginning of this semester, Rice launched Coursera for Rice which provides students, faculty and staff with full access to all Rice courses on Coursera for free. This effort is part of the Coursera for Campus program, which provides campus-specific courses taught by professors affiliated with the school.
The Rice Women’s Resource Center recently hosted their annual “Ask a Feminist Panel,” where three panelists spoke about their view on feminism and their attitudes toward current issues of debate surronding the topic. This year, the panelists were Brian Riedel, Amina Matin, Tani Barlow and Ylinka Barotto, all of whom bought a diverse perspective to the discussion.