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Rice’s connection to the world’s first genetically altered babies is alarming. Not only was a former Rice graduate student leading the research, but an active Rice faculty member has academic and financial stakes in the project. Rice released a statement that the work is inconsistent with the ethical norms of the university. But the troubling truth is that while Rice students are introduced to the honor code during Orientation Week, most will go their entire undergraduate experience without a crash course, let alone a comprehensive one, in ethics.
The pay gap between male full professors and female full professors is $11,580 as of the 2017-18 academic year (see p. 1). This gap has grown over the past eight years from $6,526 in 2010-11 and $9,244 in 2013-14.
This week, the Rice Program Council changed the theme for Esperanza, which will take place at the Houston Museum of African American Culture, from “A Night at Gatsby’s” to “A Taste of the Twenties.” The change occurred after the Black Student Association, Rice African Student Association and the National Society of Black Engineers reached out to RPC with concerns that the initial theme was based on a novel that is not racially inclusive and overlooks the contributions of the African American community to culture in the 1920s. By meeting with student leaders and altering the theme, RPC responded in a thoughtful and appropriate way. The discussion that led to the change is an example of honest and critical conversations that we should be engaging in.
This past weekend, Rice’s volleyball team won two away matches to extend its winning streak to a program-record 13 matches in a row, breaking the old record of 12 set in 1995. This is a historic and extremely impressive accomplishment for head coach Genny Volpe’s team. But almost no one at Rice was able to watch it happen.
Last year, Chi Alpha staff member Mathison Ingham commented to the Thresher that Evening of Elegance was meant to provide an environment with “dignity” compared to Night of Decadence. That set off a whirlwind of criticism culminating in a fiery op-ed from then-Wiess College senior Josh Kaye. Chi Alpha did not publicly respond to the criticism.
This week, as promised, Rice officials sat down with representatives from the Rice International Student Association (see p. 1). Unfortunately, the administration’s comments described by RISA members are symptomatic of an overall apathy towards meaningful progress in financial support for international students. This is our second editorial of the year on the topic of international student aid because we feel it is important not to let this issue be swept aside in a private meeting. Once again, we are calling for greater transparency, not only through clear financial goals but also through increased and transparent communication with international students on how Rice can better support them.
Texas is dead last in the nation in voter turnout, according to census data (see “Push to the Polls” in Features), and the problem is even worse among younger Texans — a paltry 27.3 percent of college-age Texans made it to the polls in the 2016 presidential election.
Last week, Rice unveiled a new financial aid program it’s calling the Rice Investment. The program, lauded by this board in last week’s editorial, will expand Rice’s tuition and fee grants dramatically. But the Rice Investment doesn’t offer the same help to international students, who make up 13 percent of this year’s incoming undergraduate class (see p. 1). To address this, the administration should set measurable and actionable goals for providing financial aid to international students.
On Tuesday, Rice announced a program it’s calling The Rice Investment, a sweeping expansion of its need-based financial aid set to begin in the fall of next year. Families making between $65,000 and $130,000 per year will receive grants covering the entire cost of tuition, currently $46,600 per year. In addition to receiving full-tuition grants, those making less than $65,000 will also receive grants that cover fees, room and board. Households making under $200,000 will not be asked to take out loans as part of their financial aid package and will have at least half their tuition covered.
Ten years ago, visual and dramatic arts professor Chris Sperandio founded Matchbox Gallery out of his old office (see p. 1). A decade later, Matchbox, now Inferno, is the only space on campus solely dedicated to student art. However, student artists and the VADA department need more space to create and display their work.
Proposed changes to federal education policy obtained by the New York Times would allow universities to lessen their responsibility in handling cases of sexual assault.
The Thresher editorial board stands with over 400 students who have signed the petition for Julianne Yost to remain at Rice. While there are statements in the petition that are incorrect – Yost is an instructor, not a lecturer, and due to the limited terms of instructors, her contract cannot be renewed – the chemistry department should hire her as either a lecturer or teaching professor.
Rice is starting this year with numerous high rankings from the Princeton Review, commending the school in categories such as “Lots of Race/Class Interaction” where the university ranked No. 1 and “Best Dorms” where Rice ranked No. 10. We are proud to attend a university that has achieved such rankings, but we also believe these accolades are not a reason to be complacent in categories where Rice has received national recognition.
Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson and Director of Sexual Violence and Title IX Support Allison Vogt confirmed that changes to the Critical Thinking in Sexuality course will be implemented next fall, in response to student input after this year’s pilot course. The mandatory CTIS course will be offered Mondays through Thursdays during evening time slots at residential colleges. Students will attend the course with their fellow residential college members. Hutchinson and Vogt also said they hope to have mostly Rice instructors heading the sessions with the aid of volunteer teaching assistants, after freshmen voiced concerns over unrelatable outside instructors.
The Rice University student body will vote on a proposed $5 increase in intramural sports fees this week. The increase will pass if at least two- thirds of the required 20 percent turnout votes in favor.
Rice University has found a new dean of undergraduates in the form of Bridget Gorman, current Will Rice College magister and chair of the sociology department. She will succeed outgoing dean John Hutchinson in July.
This year is no exception to the trend of Rice’s rising cost, with tuition rising 3.2 percent for the 2018-19 academic year. However, this year’s tuition increase comes with significantly more financial aid. The financial aid budget will increase by 10 percent, in accordance with Rice’s Vision for the Second Century’s goal of focusing on accessibility and affordability for low- and middle-income applicants.
In the spirit of the Student Association’s changeover this week, the Thresher editorial board has filtered through the many resolutions, amendments, task forces and working groups passed this year in search of the most impactful accomplishments and areas that could be improved in the future. Overall, the SA under outgoing President Justin Onwenu has certainly brought up important topics that could set up the incoming executive board to further galvanize the Rice student body.
Last week, a panel of Rice professors discussed and responded to common issues in Rice undergraduate teaching.
A Student Association task force is examining the cost of health center tests for sexually transmitted infections, with survey results indicating that more than 60 percent of sexually active Rice students have never been tested for STIs (see p. 1). Currently, the health center offers a four-disease test which costs $74; individual tests cost around $25. These costs are not on the health center website, nor is there any mention of available testing for HPV, the most common STI.