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It’s nearly time for Night of Decadence, the ever-popular, notorious and sex-centric Wiess costume public. NOD is, hands down, Rice’s most renowned public. It’s been highlighted in Playboy and Rolling Stone magazines. It even has its own Wikipedia page.
Every week, the Thresher’s Backpage staff spend their Monday nights in a corner of our office coming up with a satirical take on the week’s news. Their goal is simple: to bring some levity to what might otherwise be a dreary week of problem sets, essays and exams. Their works of comedy also serve as a delightful ending to much of our more serious journalistic content; and for this reason, the Backpage is a consistent favorite for many of our readers.
The Oscars may be so white, but Houston art isn’t — as long as you’re looking in the right places.
Residential college life is often considered the cornerstone of the “Rice experience.” Just look at any Rice admission materials or listen to the chants at Beer Bike. College governments, then, play an integral role in representing and serving the students within their residential colleges. From Brown to Wiess, residential colleges host a plethora of committees, including the standard committees across campus and ones that stand out in their singularity like with Hanszen’s cheese committee.
Over the summer, Rice Housing & Dining announced significant changes to the dining schedule and meal plan that went into effect at the start of the semester. The most notable change was the addition of a new meal time, affectionately known as “munch.” The other adjustment implemented the following change: “Re-entry to ANY servery requires a student to swipe to receive up to two entree plates again.”
Three years ago, in the pre-COVID world, there were only three public parties that charged for admittance. NOD and Y2K needed the money to hire extra security, and Architectronica charged because it wasn’t funded by a college and depended on the money from ticket sales to cover event fees. Now, we fear more colleges will charge for entrance to publics, a poor practice we urge socials to avoid.
Every August, as Orientation Week wraps up and the fall semester begins, it feels as if the campus is rejuvenated with new life. That feeling is especially prevalent for students this time around, as this is the first semester to start with fully in-person classes since January of 2020. But what many students might not realize is that this year is also a fresh start administratively. In addition to welcoming a new president, Rice announced the hiring of five new vice presidents and a new provost.
Last year, the Board of Trustees announced that Rice would be increasing the undergraduate class size 20 percent — nearly 800 more students — by 2025. The quick rollout of this decision has left current students with a fracturing academic and social experience. Going forward, the administration needs to better plan for maintaining the small school benefits and residential college culture.
On Dec. 26 of last year, President David Leebron and future president Reginald DesRoches sent an email to the Rice community regarding plans for this spring semester. The email proclaimed that Rice had “entered a new and different phase of the pandemic.” Specifically, the email stated that the university would “begin to shift our policies to a posture that recognizes COVID-19 as endemic and facilitates our ability to deliver the best education and opportunity to our students, while still taking reasonable precautions.”
After three years and much anticipation, we finally had a normal Beer Bike. None of the past week’s events could have been possible without the hard work of every Beer Bike coordinator, bike captain, chug captain and every student, staff and alumni who played a role in making Beer Bike 2022 the spectacular event it was.
As it stands under the Student Association election rules, candidates are not allowed to send mass campaign emails, and included in this rule is anyone campaigning on behalf of the candidate. During this year’s SA presidential race, Rice PRIDE endorsed candidate Gabby Franklin, a choice they then shared with their members via an opt-in Listserv. This is now the subject of the recent complaint by former Will Rice College senator William Tsai who claims that the endorsement email was a violation of SA election rules. The case will be brought to University Court this upcoming Thursday, March 31.
Here at the Thresher, we, like most students on campus, like to complain about academic accommodations. Still, we feel the need to bring it back up because some issues persist. Issues that, if we’re being honest, seem easily addressable, especially in this time of constantly-shifting campus norms. We’re talking about professors scheduling exams the week after, and sometimes in the days immediately following, spring break.
After two years, public parties are finally coming back. Two out of four classes of undergraduates have never had the opportunity to attend a public, while juniors had their one year with public culture cut short. Many members of the Rice community are unfamiliar with public parties and all they entail, while others’ experiences are two years removed and they are eager to return to the parties of their underclassmen days.
Last Monday, we received word that our beloved advisor, Kelley Lash, had passed away. In what was a busy week filled with Student Association election coverage, grappling with indescribable grief then didn’t feel possible. We decided to carry on with our coverage and endorsements as planned — we believed Kelley would have been disappointed if we hadn’t — but we feel ready now to express just how much she meant, and still means, to all of us.
This year, two candidates with distinctly different approaches and areas of expertise are vying for the Student Association presidency. We, the Thresher Editorial Board, endorse Gabrielle Franklin for Student Association President because of her stances on accountability and fostering an inclusive environment for underrepresented students as well as actionable plans to do so.
Based on her abundance of concrete ideas and willingness to learn about the SA, we, the Thresher Editorial Board, believe Crystal Unegbu to be the better candidate for Student Association internal vice president.
After last year’s Student Association election saw less than a fourth of the student body turnout to vote, we penned an editorial calling on students to engage further with the SA and its elections. As we approach another election — voting opens next Wednesday — we feel it necessary to reiterate our call. For anyone who has tried to raise student awareness of an issue, aired a grievance against the administration or tried to spur change on campus, now is the time to cast your ballot for who you want to represent the student body and fight for the issues that matter to you.
Last week, the Texas A&M University President M. Katherine Banks gave The Battalion — A&M’s student newspaper — a 24-hour notice that they would have to stop printing despite being self-funded by advertisements, ahead of the paper being rolled into the university’s new journalism department. The administration made these calls without any consultation or even warning to the students or their faculty advisor, informing them that if they chose to remain a student organization, they would potentially lose their office and faculty advisor.
It has finally happened. After 18 months of protests, Facebook arguments and countless feedback forms, the Rice University Board of Trustees announced last Tuesday that the statue of William Marsh Rice would be relocated to a less central location within the Academic Quadrangle. The decision, viewed as a compromise by nearly everyone, understandably received mixed reviews, including from Rice community members who have long since graduated: President David Leebron said that while some alumni responses were “very angry,” others called the decision “thoughtful.”
In August 2021, the Office of the Provost announced instructors could now opt out of showing their course evaluations to students amid the change to remote learning. Regardless of circumstances, the option of hiding evaluations is detrimental to students searching to understand the potential difficulties of future courses.