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President David Leebron announced that he will be stepping down from his role after this coming academic year on June 30, 2022 in an email to the Rice community Tuesday morning. Next year will mark Leebron’s 18th year as president after taking on the position in 2004.
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.
Content warning: this article contains references to sexual assault.
The Abercrombie Engineering Laboratory will be demolished and replaced by a new engineering and science building beginning this May. Demolition will start mid-May and construction of the new building will be substantially complete in January 2023, according to Associate Vice President for Facilities Engineering and Planning Kathy Jones.
Hanszen College tied with Jones College for first place in the men’s race while also tying with Jones for second place in the women’s race, according to updated Beer Bike 2021 results posted by Rice Program Council. These times were adjusted following a petition submitted by Hanszen due to discrepancies in their own recorded time versus RPC’s time. McMurtry College won the women’s race by almost 40 seconds.
McMurtry College claimed first place in the women’s Beer Bike race while Jones College won the men’s race, according to preliminary results posted by Rice Program Council. This year’s Beer Bike took place over two days and was live streamed due to in-person capacity restrictions. Alumni did not participate this year.
Charles Sidney Burrus, former dean of engineering at Rice, passed away on April 3 at age 86. Burrus is survived by his son, daughter and four grandchildren.
Larry McMurtry (class of ’60), a novelist and screenwriter who attended and taught English courses at Rice University, passed away on March 25 at age 84. He is survived by his wife, son, siblings and grandson.
Two sprinkle days have occurred so far, with one occurring during the winter storm, and the final three will occur on March 16, March 26 and April 8. Students have generally responded well to the implementation of sprinkle days, but some say it is hard to take a break as intended with only one day off.
Kendall Vining will serve as the next Student Association president after winning the election against Jarrett Prchal. Vining received 56.8 percent of the vote (545 ballots) while Prchal received 41.4 percent (345 ballots). A total of 959 ballots were cast for the SA presidential election for a voter turnout of 24 percent, the lowest turnout in the past five years.
Three Student Association candidates — Hunter Brown, Jared Butler and Lily Sethre-Brink — are currently campaigning for the position of external vice president. Voting opens Feb. 18 at 12 p.m. and closes on Feb. 26 at 12 p.m.
Rice plans to increase the undergraduate population by 20 percent by 2025, according to President David Leebron. Leebron presented the preliminary plan for the expansion at the Jan. 27 Faculty Senate meeting.
Of the 550 petitions submitted by students to the Office of Undergraduates, 528 were approved for early arrival prior to Feb. 15, according to Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman. While most of these students will be moving back to campus by Jan. 25, Gorman said 33 will arrive later, between that date and Feb. 15.
The Faculty Senate voted on Nov. 18 to extend the drop deadline for fall classes to Jan. 13 for continuing students and Jan. 6 for December degree candidates, according to Speaker of the Faculty Senate Christopher Johns-Krull.
Sidizens are preparing for move-in to the new Sid Richardson College building for the spring semester by participating in room draw and parking jack and using PODS located at various residential colleges in the coming weeks.
The Faculty Senate will vote on Nov. 18 on whether to extend the drop deadline for the fall semester to early January after final grades are posted, according to Speaker of the Faculty Senate Christopher Johns-Krull.
Margarita Rodriguez, a member of the Rice Facilities Engineering and Planning custodial team for almost 40 years, passed away on Oct. 30 due to complications related to COVID-19. She is survived by her son Mario Rodriguez, who is also a member of the FE&P team.
Rice Program Council is hosting Homecoming Week in person this week with three main events: a Rice Bubble event, which was held on Monday, Picnic Under the Stars on Wednesday and Esperanza on Saturday. Each event for Homecoming Week required a prior safety plan to be reviewed and approved by the Student Center and the Crisis Management Team, according to RPC President Samantha McClendon.
The Academic Restart Committee is not currently considering accommodations via adjusted grading systems due to COVID-19 for this semester, according to Speaker of the Faculty Senate Christopher Johns-Krull. Johns-Krull said the committee is open to recommending accommodations to the Faculty Senate if it seems to be necessary.
The sit-ins to remove William Marsh Rice’s statue from the Founder’s Memorial expanded to include projections of messages onto Lovett Hall on Oct. 5, which prompted Rice University Police Department to respond and shut down the display. The sit-ins have continued for over 40 days, with 14 people attending Monday’s sit-in and two additional students on Zoom.