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The Thresher welcomes President Barack Obama's statement in support of same-sex marriage equality (see story, page 8). Though the political side of the situation is hard to ignore, the advancement of equality for all groups, whether out of a belief that it is right and necessary or for political reasons, is a positive thing. That being said, the Thresher also holds that it is important to not confuse politicians with the ideas they claim to espouse.
At the end of every year, we like to take the time to congratulate and thank our colleagues who have graduated and will now have to find real jobs. Editor in Chief Josh Rutenberg was generally clean-shaven as an underclassman and news editor, but he grew an impressive senior beard. His wonderfully bad jokes never failed to inspire a few groans, but his civility and helpfulness, especially at odd hours of the morning, were exceptional. Design Czar Zach Castle also managed to stay charismatic on late nights, though female staffers of all ages soon learned that he is a shameless flirt.
The Thresher would like to congratulate the students who participated in Three Day Startup for holding a successful conference. The program is designed to help students expand their entrepreneurial education. Students who have great ideas but lack resources can apply to participate in the program and have the opportunity to launch their potential business. It is programs such as these that motivate students to achieve a high level of success at the undergraduate level. Unfortunately, there was a deficiency in support for the program this year due to the event's timing. Since it was scheduled between Beer Bike and the Rice Business Plan competition, Three Day Startup had difficulty in receiving a large amount of funding. We commend the program for finding creative means of exploring external connections to fulfill itsfunding requirements.
To eliminate the unfair advantage the Graduate Student Association has in college sports, the idea of establishing a Dean's Cup has been proposed. In this new Dean's Cup, the GSA would be eliminated from the running.
While the changes in the Lifetime Physical Activity Program are a move in the right direction by the Student Association, there are still problems with the program (see story, pg. 1). New students will have priority with half of the available spots reserved in a given LPAP. While the Thresher endorses the decision to give new students a chance at registering for an LPAP, the SA needs to reconsider giving away 50 percent of the seats to new students over rising seniors.
In the March 30 issue of the Thresher, Ryan Robertson should have been named as the brewmaster in the "From Baker to brewer" feature.
Last Saturday morning, Martel College and Duncan College were visited by the Rice University Police Department as the result of noise complaints from neighboring residents (see story, ricethresher.org). Although no students' identification was actually examined, the situation frightened students enough to send them running toward their rooms and other colleges. There was massive confusion between the students, coordinators, chief justices and RUPD: If officers and the chief justices communicate better, there will be no need for officers to interfere with college activities unless it is absolutely necessary.
Beer Bike is tomorrow, and while colleges will be celebrating with established traditions, the campus-wide coordinators and Student Judicial Programs are introducing several changes that will alter the dynamic of the event (see story, pg. 1). There are three significant changes being made to Beer Bike. However, not all of these changes are negative. First, the balloon fight will be held at two different stops. This change is supposed to get more students to the bike races. The second stop will be at the intramural fields and would therefore create a shorter walk to the races for students. The Thresher supports the new balloon fight structure and agrees that if students are willing to walk to the second stop and throw more balloons, they will also be willing to travel the short distance to the bike races.
The Thresher believes that it is unfortunate that the Marching Owl Band and non-major music classes are being left out in the cold and forced to gather in a room that is less than suitable for their needs (see story, pg. 6). The university needs to provide a space, such as the old swimming pool room in Autry Court, for these groups that have been a part of the campus culture for years.
This year, the Beer Bike blanket tax has been proposed to double in cost from $5 to $10. While at first this may seem like a jarring amount to charge students, this change will help Beer Bike attend to its annual budget deficits. The proposal needs 20 percent of the student population to participate in the vote and a two-thirds majority vote in its favor for it to pass. The Thresher endorses the proposed increase in tax and encourages students to vote in its favor.
Housing and Dining has recently made the decision to extend its hours of operation for the South Cafe. This means that the cafe will open for 30 minutes (from 7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) after South Servery closes. The new changes are excellent for those who eat late, especially athletes, who have always had problems with getting to the servery before it closes at 7:30 p.m.
The implementation of the new writing center in the fall of 2012 should help improve more than just writing on campus. First of all, it will hopefully help eliminate the age-old stigma on campus that taking a COMM class means you cannot write. With the requirement that everyone on campus has to take a writing seminar in his or her freshman year, we believe that the university will have leveled the playing field.
We would like to congratulate Sasha Cooke on winning a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for her performance as a cast member in the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Dr. Atomic.
Congratulations to baseball coach Wayne Graham for getting inducted into the Collegiate Baseball Hall of Fame. He has been at Rice for the past 20 years, has amassed 900 wins in his career and got the Owls their only national championship in 2003. He has affected the lives of numerous athletes and has been a pleasure to have as part of the Rice community. Congrats to him as he keeps on trekking, trying to lead the Owls to their 18th straight postseason berth and their second ever national championship.
Lovett College was filled with the smell of gasoline last week, forcing students to evacuate out of both fear and, in some cases, watering eyes (see story, pg. 1). The open grate in front of the college that connects directly to the buildings' ventilation system shed light on what is clearly a safety hazard.
The Thresher commends the implementation of a standardized process for establishing food representatives in each college. Currently, the colleges have varying numbers of food reps who often have different jobs. Now, each college will have one food rep who is an elected cabinet member (see story, pg. 1).
The 2012 Student Association General Election had its lowest turnout since 2002. The bleak 28 percent student participation portrays the undergraduate student body in the unflattering light of apathy, but the problem of low voter turnout lies with the SA as well.
In the Student Association General Election results, Clinton Willbanks, not Will Banks, is one of the junior class Honor Council representatives-elect, and Nick Ryder, not Mark Dudley, is the KTRU station manager-elect. The Thresher regrets these errors.
After more than a year-long attempt to switch from Rice Webmail to Gmail, Information Technology and Google have finally signed a contract, meaning Rice students will begin using Gmail next semester (See story, pg. 1). University administrators decided to switch to Gmail because of student interest and the perceived usefulness of the Google applications associated with Gmail, such as Google Documents.
The Lifetime Physical Participation Activity Program has proved itself to be about as inefficient as its burdensome name. Fortunately, some much-needed change is forthcoming to the program (See story, pg. 1). Four proposals have been offered to the student body to vote upon, and these ideas range from abolishing the program to maintaining the status quo.