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This week at the Student Association Senate, the Approval Threshold Committee presented their recommendations for changes to the overload petition process in light of the credit hour cap (see p. 2). Though the recommendations have not been finalized, the Thresher supports the committee’s work in providing a flexible solution to a process that currently feels cumbersome and bureaucratic.
The Student Association’s Committee of Constitutional Revisions is in the process of amending the SA constitution (see p. 4). Though the bill convening the committee last spring spoke of “procedural deficiencies” it sought to correct, over and over again, we have heard various members of student government complain that the SA constitution is “too long.” However, without detailed specific concerns regarding the content of the constitution, objections over the length of the constitution seem misguided.
While the Critical Thinking in Sexuality class will ﬁnally be implemented (see p. 1), the curriculum for the mandatory ﬁve sessions features omissions that are simply wrong.
As the transition process for Donald Trump’s presidency continues to unfold, students have every right to express concern over important political issues, whether they relate to the environment, reproductive rights, the status of immigrants or affordable health care. The documented rise of hate crimes targeting various minority groups is also cause for serious concern.
With most college masters in support of changing their title (see p.1), it does not seem reasonable to invalidate their concerns and their desire for a title more fitting for their roles within the residential college system.
For some, the Thresher’s coverage of the the challenges student-athletes face (see p.1) may only confirm what they already knew. However, far too often, the conversations surrounding life as a student-athlete simply end when we acknowledge the problems athletes confront within the Rice community. Instead, these findings should mark the beginning of a broader discussion on how to better improve the experiences of an important segment of our student body.
There are two glaring problems with how the Blanket Tax Committee allocated initiative funds this year. Student Association Treasurer Maurice Frediere said initiatives would not be considered for funding unless they were “new” (see pg. 1). First, the requirement that initiatives be “new” is nowhere outlined in the SA constitution, nor was it publicized through the application process. It is misleading to encourage organizations to apply for funding without informing them of such a disqualifying condition.
At this week’s Student Association meeting, current Rice Program Council Treasurer Ameesh Shah was nearly unanimously appointed as the SA’s first deputy treasurer (see "RPC treasurer appointed deputy treasurer of Student Association"). While we do not doubt Shah’s competence in performing the duties of the deputy treasurer, Shah’s current position as the treasurer of RPC, a blanket tax subsidiary organization, raises concerns about a conflict of interest.
A breakdown of Rice’s endowment indicates that 12 percent is invested in natural resources (see p. 1). Though we do not have an exact breakdown of how much of that 12 percent is allocated to oil and gas investments, Rice’s geographic location and its alumni network in the industry suggest that oil and gas is not an insignificant component of the endowment.
For many Rice students, voting Donald Trump for the presidency is out of the question, but Hillary Clinton may not be the clear alternative. However, the Thresher calls on the Rice community to carefully consider the threat Trump poses to them and in particular to their fellow minority students, reject third-party candidates and rally behind Clinton.
The Thresher applauds the Marching Owl Band’s performance during the halftime show of the Rice University vs. Baylor University football game (see p.1). The MOB forced a nationwide community to acknowledge our society’s rape culture that allows for a survivor’s trauma to be brushed aside in the name of athletics.
While the Student Association’s decision to create the appointed position of deputy treasurer and deputy parliamentarian (see p. 1) may seem inconsequential, it raises questions about the nature of elected versus appointed positions. The treasurer is elected because students place trust in an individual who is responsible for distributing their funds. Introducing an appointed deputy position with vague responsibilities of “assisting” the treasurer dilutes the power students have in choosing who handles these important decisions.
In the coming weeks, Rice University Housing and Dining will be introducing a Saturday night dinner option for students who wish to dine on campus (see p. 1). Going off campus for Saturday night dinners is a long-standing tradition for many, with students generally being encouraged to go “beyond the hedges” and explore the city of Houston. However, we may sometimes forget that this is just one of many aspects of social life at Rice that requires a certain degree of economic privilege.
In the wake of mass shootings throughout the country as well as certain college campuses, Brown and Martel Colleges’ recent initiative to provide active shooter training their for cabinet and college members should serve as a model for the rest of the Rice community. Events like the shooting at the University of California, Los Angeles, show that although the chance of experiencing a mass shooting may be low, preparedness is necessary not only to save lives but also to prevent a breakdown into chaos.
When the Survey of Unwanted Sexual Ex-periences proved that, much like other college campuses, sexual misconduct and assault are prevalent at Rice, many in the student body rallied around the cause and proposed change in the form of a mandatory Critical Thinking in Sexuality Class for new students. However, the administration’s response and support for this course has been lagging — and this delay could have dire consequences for the incoming class. Though the class was controversial, the fact that so many students felt compelled to respond is in itself impressive. It also indicates that a large portion of the student body is aware that sexual misconduct is a pressing issue and are actively working to create a safer Rice community.
In an email sent to the student body to clarify concerns surrounding the credit hour cap proposal recently passed by the Faculty Senate, Provost Marie Lynn Miranda and President David Leebron referenced the Thresher when describing past student input. They wrote, "The Thresher endorsed the proposal in a March 22 editorial, even before additional student input was incorporated."
Amid a flurry of RSVPs, the Student Association claimed on their Facebook event for the CUC protest that the Faculty Senate will “likely approve” the widely contested credit hour limit proposal. While how the Faculty Senate intends to vote has not been confirmed, the fierce student opposition to the CUC’s proposal makes it perfectly clear that if the administration cares at all about our voices, they will vote “no.”
As prospective students visit for Owl Days to decide whether to begin their career at Rice, those who might consider pursuing mechanical engineering may question their decision if they hear of the department’s recent town hall. MECH’s problems are representative of a larger trend at Rice of departments plagued by lack of faculty and class sections, sparsely offered courses, old equipment and dated curricula. The administration must address these problems to ensure Rice maintains the quality of education promised to its prospective students.
A recent decision by the Blanket Tax Committee to recommend an organization for subsidiary status is at risk of being overturned (see p. 1). The current blanket tax process, established last year, has done away with many of issues that plagued the old system, but is still a work in progress. Pressing concerns must be addressed for the system to remain fair and sustainable.
Sid Richardson College recently established a self-imposed ban on private parties in response to the Lads in Plaid incident and corresponding violations of the alcohol policy (see p.1). The Thresher believes the restriction fair, given the necessity of preventing similar violations in the near future as the college works to foster a culture of self-governance and responsibility. However, clear issues with how Rice and residential colleges handle private parties have emerged and present a strong opportunity for students to actively shape the campus’s social experience.