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A resolution from the Aug. 19 Faculty Senate plenary meeting expressing faculty dissension with Rice’s campus reopening plan was recently approved, according to an email sent to faculty on Sept. 1 by Speaker of the Faculty Senate Christopher Johns-Krull.
All campus operations including in-person and remote classes were cancelled from 5 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday in anticipation for Hurricane Laura, according to an email sent to the Rice community Tuesday night, from Chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee Kevin Kirby. Students living on campus are also required to shelter in place from Wednesday 10 p.m. until sunrise Thursday, according to an additional email sent Wednesday at 7 p.m.
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.
Students returning to campus in the upcoming fall semester will have to adjust to a number of precautionary changes all subject to change, such as rearranged housing, bathroom schedules and mandated COVID-19 testing, implemented in efforts to protect against the spread of COVID-19, according to an email sent July 1 by Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman. Students will have until 5 p.m. CST on July 6 to fill out a survey stating their enrollment and housing intentions for the next semester.
The Lovett College Orientation Week coordinator team reopened advisor applications to add additional advisors and to create an additional O-Week team after some students raised concerns about a lack of Black advisors at Lovett. This comes after previous years in which residential college advising teams have been criticized for lacking diversity.
Rice has announced plans to allocate all $3.4 million in funds received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to students, according to an email sent yesterday morning from Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman and Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Seiichi Matsuda.
With an in-person graduation ceremony indefinitely postponed, the class of 2020 was presented in a virtual commencement ceremony, livestreamed yesterday on the university’s YouTube and Facebook page. The undergraduate ceremony included footage of students and campus, messages from various community members and a reading of all the graduating seniors’ names.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, announced a stay-at-home order for the county on March 24 which, originally scheduled to end on April 3, has been extended to April 30. Working alongside Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Hidalgo has been responsible for instituting these and other precautions for the city of Houston during the current pandemic. The Thresher recently sat down with Hidalgo to discuss next steps for the city.
Following Rice’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the transition to all online classes, the Student Association has moved to an online platform for the remainder of this semester. Without the option of in-person Senate meetings, the SA is now using a Canvas page to hold discussions and send announcements.
Rice announced that it is implementing a staff hiring freeze effective immediately, according to an email sent to division leads and administrators on Wednesday night. The email, which was obtained by the Thresher, also said that there will be no pay raises for staff for fiscal year 2021.
Yesterday, a petition created by Kendall Vining requested that administration give students the option to pass/fail their classes this semester, in light of all the recent changes on campus due to COVID-19. Vining, Student Association internal vice president, wrote and posted the petition, and at the time of publication it had 2,473 signatures and comments in support from students and parents.
With concerns about the potential spread of coronavirus on campus, the admissions office has taken precautions to limit the interaction with people outside the Rice community on campus. On-campus tours, lunch hosting and events for prospective students including Owl Days and Admit Days have been canceled through April 30.
Editor’s Note: The identities of students and sources mentioned in this story have been removed to protect them from possible backlash. Any questions about our anonymity policy and sourcing should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Faculty Senate voted to remove the requirement that undergraduate students complete 60 credit hours outside of their major coursework, at their Feb. 19 meeting.
Ex-Rice football player Stuart Mouchantaf (Hanszen College ‘16) pleaded guilty to two federal charges: conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute, causing death, and possession with the intent to distribute, causing death, at a hearing last Thursday, Feb. 20. Mouchantaf is accused of causing the March 2018 death of his teammate Blain Padgett from an overdose of the synthetic opioid carfentanil.
Ending a weeklong controversy, the University Court ruled 6-3 that Will Ledig, a candidate for Rice Program Council President, was eligible to remain on the Student Association election ballot released today. According to the case abstract obtained by the Thresher, the UCourt majority agreed that the definition of membership is not made clear enough in the RPC constitution to justify excluding Ledig from the ballot.
The Student Association Senate voted on Tuesday evening to allow Will Ledig, a Hanszen College junior, to remain on the ballot as a candidate for Rice Program Council president, despite issues of ineligibility and constitutional violations.
Anna Margaret Clyburn, current president of Martel College, will be the only candidate on the ballot this year for the role of Student Association President following Jones College senator Drew Carter’s withdrawal from the race. Current SA President Grace Wickerson and former SA President Ariana Engles have expressed concern over the implications of an emerging pattern of a lack of presidential candidates.
Two days after the elections ballot was approved by the Student Association, multiple concerns have arisen, including a possible Rice Program Council constitutional violation and Kevin Guo potentially dropping out from the only contested Student Association race — the race between John Cook and Guo for the treasurer’s role.