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A recent incident at McMurtry College involving a stripper and the college president-elect has set into motion a debate about Title IX’s application and the sexual climate on campus (see p.1). Behind closed doors, the future college president was surprised by a stripper that a friend had hired for him and did not turn her away. According to an email sent to McMurtry on Feb. 22, multiple students filed complaints under Title IX alleging harassment after the circulation of photos and a video of the event. The president-elect announced his resignation in an email to McMurtry on Feb. 20.
Sid Richardson College junior Jazz Silva will be the Student Association’s next president. She received more than twice the votes of both Lovett College sophomore Aishwarya and Jones College junior Sandra Blackmun in the general election to secure the position (see p.1).
The Student Association presidential debate revealed a clear choice for SA president. After responding to questions from the Thresher editorial staff and the audience, Sid Richardson College Senator Jazz Silva emerged as the most viable candidate. Though Lovett College Senator Aishwarya Thakur and Jones College Treasurer Sandra Blackmun showed passion for issues of importance to Rice students, Silva inspired confidence in her ability to enact change on these issues through the SA.
The Student Association presidential debate, initially scheduled for Monday, is instead being held today, Wednesday, Feb. 11 in the Kyle Morrow room in Fondren Library at 8 p.m. in place of the SA senate meeting. The SA initially planned to host the SA presidential debate on Monday, before elections began. However, according to SA President Ravi Sheth, the debate was moved to Wednesday to increase the event’s turnout.
The SA Blanket Tax Crack Team has petitioned a revamp to the existing blanket tax system with a new “pot of gold” proposal. 200 student signatures are required for the petition to be included in the General Election ballot, where a 20 percent referendum and a two-thirds majority vote will put the measure into effect (see p.1). The Thresher strongly supports the Crack Team’s new proposal and encourages students to sign the petition and to vote for it in the General Election.
Rice has a scalability problem. As undergraduate enrollment at Rice has grown rapidly in the past 10 years, many students and faculty have questioned if the undergraduate experience has lost part of its value: its educational intimacy (see p.1).
At the most recent Student Association meeting, the SA senate discussed legislation guaranteeing on-campus housing for Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps members (see p.1). Supporters argued that the midshipmen’s early-starting, rigorous schedule and service to the nation justified the guarantee. Those in opposition felt on-campus housing was not required for NROTC students to fulfill their training, as it might have been for Emergency Medical Services in-charges to perform their duties. Ultimately, neither side understood the others’ argument, and the two sides could not reach a middle ground, underscoring the fact that cases like these cannot be legislated by the entire student body.
Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson has made an executive decision to not allot time to Cheer Battle during Orientation Week 2015 (see p.1). However, O-Week coordinators will retain the option of organizing an unofficial Cheer Battle during O-Week. According to Hutchinson, Cheer Battle “doesn’t represent who we are at Rice anymore” and violates Rice’s harassment policy requiring a non-hostile environment.
The Honor Council Blanket Tax Contingency Committee found Honor Council “in violation,” giving Honor Council one of the three necessary strikes for the committee to begin considering reducing or removing their blanket tax. The Contingency Committee did not hand Honor Council an “aggravated violation,” which would have counted as to strikes (see p.1).
During his speech to the Student Association on Oct. 1, President David Leebron presented a graph that showed an increase in average course quality and instructor effectiveness from Fall 2007 to Fall 2013 in all five academic schools that offer undergraduate degrees. However, the graph also showed that the school of engineering consistently had the lowest score in both course and instructor evaluations over time.
Rice University students have reached a new level of laziness. This semester, Baker College Kitchen and West Servery have already replaced all 3,200 of their cups. Additionally, last year the serveries collectively purchased, lost and replaced 8,000 cups. To combat the problem, Housing and Dining has suggested adding 16-ounce disposable cups to the servery. and Tierra Moore, SA Environmental Committee co-chair, has proposed H&D not replace the cups to discourage students from stealing them (see p.1).
The Student Association is soliciting suggestions for how to spend $40,000 of leftover sums from the Rice Endowment for Sustainable Energy Technology’s blanket tax, which was approved in 2010 and dissolved in 2013 (see p.1).
The Student Association Blanket Tax Contingency Committee held their first meeting with Honor Council on Monday, Oct. 27 to discuss the documents it submitted for review. During the meeting, Honor Council defended its choice to allocate $50 per head to its yearly changeover dinner and other expenses that include the purchase of 15 tablets at $350 each and a new computer every three years (see p.1).
Following the 2012 Night of Decadence, during which 11 students were hospitalized, as well as other similar instances of unsafe behavior, Rice instituted a new alcohol policy. According to the Student Handbook, the policy “encourages with both regulations and sanctions a shift away from distilled spirits toward beer and wine, which pose a less serious danger of abuse.”
Following their inaction in addressing Honor Council’s blanket tax status, the Student Association Blanket Tax Contingency Committee sent a request for documents and a written statement about the organization’s blanket tax on Oct. 5. The Contingency Committee has also made public their planned meeting dates and times (see p.1).
The Student Association announced at the student senate meeting on Sept. 17 the formation of four pods to examine different topics: LPAPs, election timelines, campus-wide announcements and calendars and the blanket tax process (see p.1).
At the most recent Student Association meeting, SA President Ravi Sheth and other SA members expressed concerns over what they considered to be the aggressive wording of the legislation opposing the CUC drop limit proposal (see p. 1). Another point of contention raised in the meeting was whether such a formal mode of expressing disapproval was constructive or appropriate. The Thresher believes that, by critiquing the language of the proposal, SA members distract from the function of the legislation, which is to act as a permanent record of student response to administrative actions.
The Center for Undergraduate Curriculum proposed in April that students be limited to four dropped classes between weeks two and seven during their four years at Rice, with any extra drops being indicated by a ‘W’ on their transcript.
Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson, the General Council and President David Leebron recently convened a working group to address newly-formed campus sexual assault initiatives as proposed by the White House task force report, Not Alone.
The search continues for Martel College senior Reny Jose, who went missing on Monday, March 3 while on vacation in Panama City Beach, Fla.