Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Friday, May 24, 2024 — Houston, TX

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VADA building could answer years of student, faculty concern

(09/04/19 3:16am)

For years, students on campus and the Thresher editorial board have been petitioning for more visual and dramatic arts support — in space, funding and recognition. With Tuesday’s announcement of a new, dedicated VADA building in the near future, there is finally hope that all three of these requests will be fulfilled.The Thresher editorial board applauds the efforts of Dean of the School of Humanities Kathleen Canning, VADA chair John Sparagana and the Humanities Advisory Board as well as the countless student voices that have been petitioning for increased VADA attention for years. The editorial board also applauds the administration for its openness to the idea and commitment to fundraise for the project. 


Don’t pass on student opinion

(08/28/19 4:14am)

Following faculty concerns that students are misusing the pass/fail option, the faculty senate formed a working group last semester to reevaluate the existing policy. The working group’s charge is to determine if the policy sufficiently fulfills the option’s purpose and to “examine how these policies affect the learning environment.” Currently, the working group has one undergraduate representative out of nine members and the group has so far only surveyed instructors. While we recognize the ways in which pass/fail affects the instructor’s classroom environment, we urge the working group to consider the ways in which that is true for students as well.



Administration should prioritize VADA in fundraising efforts

(04/10/19 5:29am)

More than five years ago, the Thresher editorial board wrote about the visual and dramatic arts department’s need for attention from the administration, specifically that it “could greatly benefit from new space and materials.” The editorial was in response to the demolition of the Art Barn, a historically significant building funded by John and Dominique de Menil. 


Crumbling Hanszen threatens residential college experience

(04/03/19 4:28am)

This year, Hanszen College’s room draw ended with 17 unclaimed beds. It’s been well-established that Hanszen’s housing facilities are in dire need of upgrades, but so far Rice’s administration has largely turned a blind eye to the housing discrepancies that threaten to sully the perceived equality of the residential college system. This should be the last straw. Rice needs to make a concrete, meaningful and tangible pledge to construct a new residential building for Hanszen.


Rice Crisis Management should have issued notifications during Deer Park fire

(03/27/19 3:00am)

A cloud often hangs over the student body as it returns from spring break. Usually, that’s a product of mixing Frio 6.0, Red Bull and sunshine. This year, though, that cloud was the result of a massive fire at a chemical storage facility on the bank of the Houston Ship Channel.


Cut class and head to College Station on Friday

(03/20/19 3:17am)

The women’s basketball team received potentially great news on Monday: when it tips off its opening game of the NCAA Tournament on Friday at 1 p.m., it will do so a mere two hour drive from its home court — in College Station on the campus of Texas A&M University. Rice has a chance to send enough fans to make it feel like a home game. That could matter. A lot. 


Editorial: Next SA should open doors

(03/06/19 5:01am)

Every election cycle, candidates push to increase the diversity of ideas that make their way from the student body to the Student Association Senate. As newly elected leaders take their positions at both the college and the SA Senate level, we have several significant changes — outside of constitutional reform — that we believe would increase the flow of ideas from the student body to its leaders.


Editorial: SA bill right for #MeToo era

(02/27/19 4:28am)

The Thresher editorial board strongly supports the Student Association’s efforts to prevent violent and sexual abusers from holding elected office in campus-wide organizations, including the SA Senate. We believe this change is one that should be implemented as soon as possible — not only at a campus-wide and SA voting level, but also for certain positions at a residential college level.


Editorial: For Student Association President: Grace Wickerson

(02/20/19 4:35am)

It is the opinion of the Thresher editorial board that only Brown College junior Grace Wickerson has the experience, attitude and knowledge to effectively lead the student body as next year’s Student Association president. During Friday’s SA Debates and in an interview with the Thresher editorial board, Wickerson, the current SA internal vice president, has demonstrated that they are committed to moving the SA forward and building consensus.


Editorial: Effects of racism at Rice persist today

(02/13/19 6:33am)

Revelations related to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s blackface appearance led to similar discoveries at Rice — in our very own Campanile yearbooks. This should not come as a shock to anyone. Rice, which was founded by a slaveowner, did not admit black students until 1965 and like colleges in Virginia, regularly engaged in racist practices like blackface. The Thresher was no exception, not only reporting on minstrel shows (1962) but also including racist, editorialized comments. Now, less than 60 years later, it would be insulting to claim that we are a completely different university. The traditions that this university is founded on were birthed during a racist time, and time and time again we see that we are still far from an equal world.


Editorial: Student government relies on your participation

(01/30/19 4:13am)

Petitions for the campus-wide Student Association ballot are due Sunday, and it’s not too late to consider running for a position. Often, the same individuals who served in the government their freshman year are the ones who ultimately run for SA or college leadership positions. But the fact of the matter is every Rice student has experience and skill sets that qualify them to serve in an elected position. 


Summer school grant aid is big step forward for Rice

(01/23/19 3:51am)

The new summer school financial aid is undoubtedly a good thing (see p. 3). In fact, it appears to place Rice ahead of its peer institutions. Harvard, Yale and Princeton Universities only offer loans for summer courses which must be paid back — Rice’s new grants, which need not be paid back, expand summer school access to those for whom the cost might be prohibitive. 



Editorial: News of CRISPR babies highlights need for better ethics curriculum

(11/28/18 5:10pm)

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.



Student organizations must be active on inclusion

(11/07/18 6:34am)

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. 


Students should be able to support their teams from afar

(10/31/18 5:33am)

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. 


Editorial: Evening of Elegance isn’t an alternative to NOD. It’s competition.

(10/24/18 6:02am)

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.