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The Rice University Police Department has responded to several reports of unhoused persons seen on campus, with some of these instances involving the same individual, according to RUPD Chief of Clemente Rodriguez. Since late March, people who are homeless have been reported at Baker College, in the Wiess College alcoves, in Will Rice College commons and entering Herman Brown Hall and George R. Brown Hall, according to emails sent by RUPD to Baker College residents and a message sent by a Wiess College residential associate to Wiess College residents.
Rice University announced yesterday that the state of Texas will give the university 4,000 first doses of Pfizer vaccine for distribution on campus. The first clinic will be Thursday, April 1 in Tudor Fieldhouse, according to Vice President of Administration Kevin Kirby.
Several colleges have changed the name of Willy Week this year due to the different structure of the week compared to past years, including the restrictions on the types and frequency of events that can be held due to the pandemic, and because of the ongoing conversation regarding Willy’s statue.
In the past two weeks, students reported seeing Rice University Police Department officers wearing face masks depicting the “Thin Blue Line” symbol on campus, a symbol sometimes associated with the Blue Lives Matter movement and which some students associate with the movement. RUPD Chief Clemente Rodriguez said that he had not seen any officers wearing masks with the words “Blue Lives Matter” written on them, and none of the RUPD supervisors he spoke with saw any RUPD officers wearing masks with messages saying the words “Blue Lives Matter.” However, some officers have worn masks depicting the “Thin Blue Line” symbol, which Rodriguez said was meant to support fellow law enforcement officers.
Below-freezing temperatures, hazardous roads, power outages and frozen water pipes in the Houston area moved Crisis Management to cancel classes Feb. 15 and 16, with Feb. 17 remaining a scheduled sprinkle day. No classes or exams can be held and no assignments can be due on these days.
Rice students, staff and faculty dashed to the East Gym amidst the ongoing winter storm to claim one of the hundreds of Moderna vaccines administered on campus Monday afternoon. Harris County Public Health gave the vaccines — which would have otherwise gone to waste due to a power outage at their building — to Rice and other institutions that were already equipped to administer the vaccines. 810 vaccines were distributed to Rice’s campus, according to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
Rice University received 1,000 Moderna vaccines from Harris County Public Health that had to be administered by 5:00 p.m. Monday, according to Rice’s Crisis Management Team. Due to the weather and unsafe road conditions, these vaccine doses were designated for those who were already on the Rice campus. Vaccines were given at the East Gym beginning at 11:15am, and the student were advised to turn back at 12:30 p.m., according to Director of News and Media Relations Doug Miller.
Rice’s Crisis Management Team reported 15 positive tests and a positivity rate of 0.31 percent from Nov. 3 through Nov. 9, the highest weekly positivity rate this semester.
Adjaye Associates, an architecture firm with offices in Accra, Ghana, London and New York, will design Rice’s new student center, which is expected to be complete by fall 2023. The winner was selected by a committee of Rice administrators and faculty, with input from the Student Association and Graduate Student Association.
As early voting came to a close last week, many Rice students cast their ballot ahead of national Election Day, either by mail-in or early voting at one of the many sites in the Houston area, including this year on campus at Rice Stadium.
The upcoming Faculty Senate vote on the pass/fail policy changes, which were proposed in March, has been postponed due to disagreements among faculty about the changes, according to Faculty Senate Speaker Christopher Johns-Krull.
Willy’s Pub raised over $39,000 by Sept. 28 to go towards reopening the business, almost doubling their initial goal of $20,000, according to General Manager Emily Duffus.
Early voting starts on Oct. 13 in Harris County and will continue through Oct. 30. Those who are registered to vote in Harris County, including students who have registered to vote with their on-campus address, can vote at any election day polling location starting today. Rice Stadium will be Rice’s on-campus polling location for both early voting and on Election Day. Voting booths will be set up inside Gate One, on the Greenbriar Lot side of the stadium near University Boulevard.
Current Student Association Interim External Vice President Tessa Schreiber will continue to serve as the SA EVP after receiving 57.26 percent of the vote, winning over Will Rice College senior Kevin Guo in the EVP special election.
Former Sid Richardson magister and planetary sciences professor Dale Sawyer, who passed away on Sept. 15, was honored this past week with a tribute at the Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza. The building, also known to Rice students as the rainbow building, displayed Sid’s colors of red, black and gold starting on Sept. 22 until the end of last week.
Rice Management Company has entered a multiyear partnership with Brighter Bites, a nonprofit focused on addressing food insecurity and health education, according to a Sept. 16 press release. Rice Management Company is currently developing The Ion, an under-construction tech hub in Midtown, as well as the South Main Innovation District in the surrounding neighborhoods of Midtown and Third Ward.
The Welch Foundation announced that it will donate $100 million to establish the Welch Institute for Advanced Materials at Rice University, the largest single gift that Rice University has ever received and the largest in the Welch Foundation’s 65-year history.
The three official student-run businesses on campus, Rice Coffeehouse, The Hoot and Rice Bikes, all expect to reopen in September after submitting return to campus plans to Rice’s Crisis Management Team, according to the businesses’ respective Facebook pages. The student-owned business East-West Tea will not open in the fall, and Willy’s Pub, which is student staffed, cannot open until statewide restrictions on bars reopening are lifted.
Orientation Week is a decades-old event at Rice, with traditions that have largely remained untouched. This year, coordinators have had to modify or cut out many traditional O-Week events to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and university guidelines in light of the pandemic, resulting in a unique experience for the incoming class of new students.
Rice’s office of admission saw a greater enrollment of both freshman students and transfer students than last year, with just under 1,000 new students enrolling in total, according to Vice President for Enrollment Yvonne Romero da Silva.