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In light of the recent global financial crisis, Rice has instituted a temporary staff hiring freeze and is asking that departments reduce their non-compensation operating expenses by 1 percent . The budget reductions should result in total university savings of $600,000, according to Vice President for Finance Kathy Collins.
Last Thursday, the night before the 15th anniversary celebration of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, 22 international flags were stolen, leaving Baker Institute staff void of props for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's speech just hours before it began. The flags, which have a collective value of $1,342, were stored in the Centennial Campaign tent between the Baker Institute and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management before the event. The flags have not been found, Rice University Police Captain Dianna Marshall said, although replacements were found before the event started.
In a dramatic redistricting of Autry Court, the new student section at Tudor Fieldhouse has moved from the right courtside location to one behind the south baseline. This location, which was converted from a back gym, is out of sight of the main scoreboard, a frustration for many students who attended the first games at the fieldhouse on Saturday. Since the student section is located behind the main scoreboard, students can only see the auxiliary scoreboard, which does not display information like player statistics, Assistant Director of Athletics Chuck Pool said.
While running the Halloween Baker 13 last Friday, Martel College sophomore Will Meyers jumped against a window at the northeast corner of Fondren Library, breaking the window and cutting his upper leg, RUPD Captain Phillip Hassell said. Baker 13 was running back to Valhalla to be a part of a wedding ceremony that was taking place when Meyers crashed into the window, Wiess College sophomore Jeremy Goodreau said.
Rice's Centennial Campaign, which aims to raise $1 billion for the university by Rice's 100th anniversary in 2012, will be announced today at an "All-Rice" picnic for students, faculty and staff that includes a performance by indie rock band The National. The campaign's $1 billion goal is double that of Rice's last campaign, "Rice: the Next Century," which ended in 2004. President David Leebron said the $1 billion goal was determined by thinking about what was possible and then going beyond that figure. Since Rice has already raised $500 million for the campaign, Leebron said the gamble had paid off.
Juniors and seniors looking to improve their professional networking skills can do so through Golf for Grads, a new program for Rice students organized and designed by Houston real estate company Redstone Companies, which teaches students golf skills and fundamentals. The program starts next semester and costs $85 per student and consists of six Sunday sessions in which participants learn golf in partnership with a mentor from the industry they are studying, Laura Klein, associate director of the Center for Student Professional Development, said. No prior golfing experience is required, and students are provided with clubs, balls and other golfing necessities.
Get ready to show off those washboard abs you've been working on all semester. This year, Wiess College's annual Halloween party, Night of Decadence, will take place tomorrow at 10 p.m. in the Wiess Commons. The theme is KryptoNOD: Horny Heroes and Villainous Vixens. Tickets cost $8 dollars in advance and $10 dollars at the door, and T-shirts are also available for $10. Wiess Socials Brett Wakefield and Becky Leven said they are expecting 1,200 to 1,500 people to attend. Last year, 1,391 showed up to the party, almost half the total number of undergraduates. There will be nine Rice University police officers, approximately 120 student security personnel, Emergency Medical Service volunteers on hand and three carts to transport people back to their colleges at the end of the evening organized by the College Assistance Peer Program.
Noted theoretical physicist Sylvester James Gates, Jr.'s speech last Wednesday marked the end of the President's Lecture Series of Diverse Scholars. Computational and Applied Mathematics Professor Richard Tapia, who started the series five years ago, decided to discontinue the lectures due to poor attendance. The lecture series specifically invited African-American, Hispanic and Native American scholars born and raised in the United States to speak. Tapia said he started the series because, at the time of its founding, the original President's Lecture Series had never featured a historically underrepresented minority. In addition to Gates, over the past five years the series has attracted Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario; Brown University President Ruth Simmons, the first black president of an ivy league university; and physicist Arlie Petters, a Belizean- American famous for his work in gravitational lensing.
When it tore through campus in mid-September, Hurricane Ike left $3 million in campus damages in its wake. About two-thirds of the buildings and one-third of the trees on campus were affected, Facilities, Engineering and Planning Manager of Communications Susann Glenn said. Glenn said the majority of the damage was minimal. She said hurricane damage typically involved wet carpet and some broken windows, she said.
Students interested in assisting professors and researchers with biomedical research at the Collaborative Research Center will now have a greater opportunity to do so. Over the next ten years, the CRC will receive $3 million from the John S. Dunn Research Foundation. The money will be used to fund grants for medical research done by Rice researchers working in collaboration with other institutions, Charles Hall, president of the John S. Dunn Research Foundation, said. Although this money will not go directly to students, Provost Eugene Levy said the grant money would benefit students by giving them the opportunity to participate in more research projects. Hall said the money would be used to fund seed grants for open-ended projects, allowing researchers to have as much free rein as possible in biological research.
Feeling that the Honor Council may be overwhelmed with student judicial matters, the Faculty Senate plans to form a working group to assess whether the system is functioning optimally. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Professor Evan Siemann said the Faculty Senate wants to assess the reasons for an increased number of Honor Council cases, since at its busiest times the council can expect a case per day. The working group, which is not yet fully formed, will be headed by Siemann and History Professor Edward Cox and will include Mathematics Professor John Hempel, Management Professor Duane Windsor, Physics and Astronomy Professor Thomas Killian and some students from the Honor Council. Honor Council President Jackie Ammons said the Honor Council had sent a suggested list of people to the task force but that, currently, no meetings had been set up. Siemann said the final group would probably have one or two additional faculty members so that all the disciplines would be more equally represented. This group plans to observe whether the Honor Council system is functioning optimally, Siemann said.
Families Weekend, when parents are invited to visit their children on campus, will start next Thursday Sept 25. The event, organized by Jennifer Harding, Director of Reunion Programs and Special Events, at the Office of Alumni Affairs in collaboration with Student Association External Vice President Nicholas Muscara, will emphasize the leadership qualities of Rice students this year. The theme is "Rice Students. Leading. Locally. Globally." Muscara, a Martel College sophomore, said this year's Families Weekend would be more centered around a theme than last year's, when the theme was simply "Students."
Students seeking a quiet place to work on Friday and Saturday nights can now avail themselves of Fondren Library's new hours. Fondren will now be open an additional two hours Friday and Saturday as part of a pilot program that will continue through the fall semester. The library will now be open from noon on Sunday to midnight on Friday and from 9 a.m. to midnight on Saturday. Fondren will keep its normal facilities open during its new evening hours, Vice Provost and University Librarian Sara Lowman said. Like on any normal weekday night, two staff members will be on duty and the hours of the reference staff will not change.
Living off campus can be a learning experience. Students venturing beyond the accommodating dorm situation have to suddenly deal with bills, buying groceries and preparing meals. However, Will Rice College and Wiess College are now offering to shoulder the lunchtime burden by offering free weekly meals. At Will Rice, where the program is in its third year, off-campus students are provided with free sandwiches and cookies each Friday. Wiess is pioneering a similar program, and will be offering free sandwiches to off-campus students Tuesdays for the next two weeks to gauge student interest. Will Rice Master Paula Krisko said she and her husband, Mike Wolf, started the program two years ago as part of a series of efforts to get off-campus students more involved in residential college life.
As the federal law that has set the drinking age at 21 comes up for review next year, college and university presidents and chancellors from across the country have come together to sign the Amethyst Initiative - begun in July - which advocates an informed and unimpeded debate to see if the current policy is working. The initiative, so named because of the ancient Greek myth that amethyst would ward off the effects of drunkenness, states that the current law has created a culture of binge-drinking often conducted in secret that endangers student health and safety. The initiative currently has over 120 signatories, including presidents of some of Rice's peer institutions, such as Duke University and Dartmouth University.Although President David Leebron said he was in favor of a debate about the merits of the current drinking age, he said he did not sign the Amethyst Initiative because he felt it was advocating that the drinking age should be lowered to 18. Leebron said he needed more research and information before he could advocate that position.
The Rice Annual Fund raised an all-time high of $6.35 million last year, providing more money for a variety of undergraduate programs including scholarships, fellowships and residential college life.The money raised by the annual fund is classified as unrestricted funds, meaning the entirety of the money raised in a given fiscal year is spent on programs that will directly impact students, such as scholarships, fellowships, residential college life and books and subscriptions for Fondren Library. The Annual Fund also donates to Dean of Undergraduates Robin Forman's budget, which provides funds for the Student Association and Rice Program Council, as well as study breaks. Large-scale donations for construction of new buildings or residential colleges are not part of the Annual Fund, Rice An-nual Fund Director Ginger Nash said.
Students looking to pay less for their daily commute to campus will have access to two alternatives this year: Zipcar and NuRide. Zipcar, which is targeted at students, is a car rental service. NuRide, intended primarily for faculty and staff, is a carpooling service. Both programs are available through the transportation office.Zipcar will allow students to rent a car at the rate of $7 per hour with an annual subscription fee of $35. The hourly rental fee includes insurance, gas and other expenses related to car maintenance such as car washes, Assistant Transportation Manager Elizabeth Gbordzoe said. Students can sign up for the Zipcar program at the launching event Aug. 26 in the Housing and Dining parking lot in front of Baker College. Students will also be able to see the two cars available for rental, a Toyota Prius and a Volvo S40, Director for Administrative Services Eugen Radulescu said.
Students from outside of Texas may not be surprised to learn that about half of the professionals from the East and West Coasts have heard of Rice, according to a recent market survey by the Office of Public Affairs. The survey, which Vice President for Public Affairs Linda Thrane said is the first to ask about Rice's recognition, polled 800 people and found Rice to be best-known in Texas, with awareness dropping along the East and West Coasts. Thrane said the survey found that among those who recognized Rice, the majority had a favorable impression of the university. The majority of those surveyed surprisingly did not have a negative view of Houston, Thrane said. The Office of Public Affairs conducted a phone poll of 800 opinion leaders -- affluent people over 35 who are active in their communities - in Houston, greater Texas, New York, Washington D.C., Miami, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Participants were asked about their familiarity with Rice, what attributes they associated with the university, whether they had heard or read about Rice in the news, whether they had a personal connection with Rice and whether they had visited Houston. Thrane said the survey was intended as a benchmark for future surveys on Rice's reputation as part of President David Leebron's Vision for the Second Century.
Willy Week jacks are typically harmless, humorous and a minor inconvenience. However, an unauthorized jack by Will Rice College --- in which members of the college strung up spiderwebs made of fishing wire across campus -- broke this tradition when two students got caught in them. At about 1 a.m. Thursday morning, Martel College sophomore Jen Pan was riding her bicycle and hit one of Will Rice's spiderwebs strung in the path from Lovett College to Lovett lot. She said the wire twisted around her neck and cut her.
The bike racks across campus may be a little less crowded after Facilities, Engineering and Planning installed a total of 215 new slots over spring break. FE&P worked with Brown College senator Patrick McAnaney and Lovett College senator Fiona Adams to determine locations for the new bicycle racks, which will go by the academic buildings and around Rice Stadium. FE&P Communications Manager Susann Glenn said her department had been given $50,000 for additional bike racks in academic, administrative and athletic areas. Glenn said this budget will provide enough racks to hold 335 additional bikes.