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Editor’s Note: This is a letter to the editor that has been submitted by a member of the Rice community. The views expressed in this opinion are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the Thresher or its editorial board. All letters to the editor are fact-checked and edited for clarity and conciseness by Thresher editors.
When you’re the only media organization in a given space, you have a lot of power. We appreciate the platform the Thresher has given stories like “Black at Rice” and “In Their Own Words” this year — and recognize their meaningful contribution to the campus dialogue. However, speaking from our individual experiences in the Student Association Senate, we think it is important to note that the Thresher presents information in an environment in which there are few external checks on the narratives that it creates. This can present problems for students with perspectives that counter the Thresher’s but lack the same institutional capacity to present conflicting accounts. We find ourselves in that position today due to some of the ways in which the SA has been covered this year.
At universities across the U.S., including Rice, conversations about inclusion and the affordability of college are ongoing. The last few years have seen growing attention to financial accessibility and the inclusiveness of the Rice experience, and we are impressed by the positive spirit and heartfelt care that so many members of our community have shown toward others. What is notable is how this attention and care cuts across all levels of the university, ranging from the launch of The Rice Investment (designed to expand access to a Rice education for low- and middle-income undergraduates) to student leaders working to facilitate equivalent access to experiential opportunities by establishing accessibility funds within each of the residential colleges.
Waking up to last Tuesday morning’s news about the Rice Investment, I was thrilled to see such a significant change in how we structure financial aid at Rice. Rice is an incredible school, and such a broad change will make it possible for more students to access a Rice education. But I feel it is important to mention that even though tuition and room and board will be more affordable for many students, there is still work to be done to make Rice truly accessible to lower-income students.