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Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, August 04, 2020 — Houston, TX °

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A look back into history: Rice in times of crisis

(04/14/20 8:40pm)

For the first time since our university’s founding in 1912, all instruction is taking place remotely and virtually. For the second time since our founding in 1916, the Thresher has stopped printing physical papers (the first break was during World War I, according to our records) and for the first time has transitioned to emailing a weekly online newsletter (which you can and should subscribe to here). And for the first time in its 64-year history, Beer Bike did not happen.



Rice students petition for Double A policy, Faculty Senate Executive Committee unanimously rejects

(04/10/20 8:39pm)

After a recent Thresher opinion piece in support of Rice adopting a Double A grading policy, students mobilized their support through the creation of a petition. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee unanimously rejected this proposal on April 10, according to Christopher Johns-Krull, speaker of the Faculty Senate.


April 15: Backpage signup, sourcing links for quarantine stories, songs, recipes, disability support

(04/09/20 8:00pm)

With few students on campus and writers working remotely, we need all the help we can get to continue featuring our diverse Rice community. To make things a bit easier, we’ve compiled all of the relevant submission links for the week of April 15 below. If you can’t see the embedded forms, click the titles to be directed to the form!



Summer 2020 courses move online, fees reduced

(04/08/20 8:04am)

All summer session courses for 2020, except for research and internships, must now be offered online and no face-to-face courses may meet, according to the Office of the Registrar. In addition, fees for summer courses have been reduced to $250 per credit hour from the typical $800 per credit hour billed for online summer classes, according to the Rice Cashier’s Office.


Double A grading: Rice’s chance for equity

(04/08/20 4:22am)

On March 25, the Faculty Senate passed an academic relief package, including an opt-in pass/fail policy that allows undergraduate students to designate any course this semester as pass/fail until the last day of classes, including First-year Writing Intensive Seminars and major, minor or certificate requirements. With the transition to remote learning, we believe that the Faculty Senate was short-sighted in recognizing the extreme changes students have undergone in a matter of weeks. By the end of the semester, student and faculty limitations will look drastically different from when the Faculty Senate passed the opt-in pass/fail policy. The current policy insufficiently addresses growing inequities caused by disruptions to the semester stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak. Instead, Rice should implement a Double A grading scale for the Spring 2020 semester, meaning students will only receive a final grade of A or A- for every class.


The Zoom Experiment: Faculty share mishaps, adaptations and creative solutions

(04/08/20 3:13am)

More than two weeks ago, faculty and students embarked on a remote-learning journey, most of them using a combination of Zoom’s videoconferencing platform and Rice’s Canvas platform. While faculty have experienced mishaps surrounding internet stability and lagging, many have embraced the platform and found creative avenues for continuing their classes. 


Rice must clarify protections for all employees during COVID-19

(04/08/20 2:47am)

President David Leebron previously promised staff members that “despite the significant reduction in campus activity this semester,” Rice would not furlough or reduce compensation for its employees in his March 15 email. However, little clarifications or information on how Rice will be supporting employees has been released since then. At the Thresher we have been wondering: Who at Rice is considered an “employee,” and how are less visible populations being protected during this time?


End unethical voluntourism at Rice

(04/08/20 2:45am)

Recently, Rice University announced that all undergraduate international travel has been canceled until the start of the fall semester.  I can imagine that this decision has been challenging for many undergrads who were looking forward to expanding their horizons by practicing a new language or immersing themselves in a new culture over the summer. At the risk of sounding cliche, I can say that international travel opportunities I received through Rice have been some of the most transformative experiences of my life. These cancellations come with a heavy sense of loss, and I hope that someday soon every student who was looking forward to international travel will get to spread their wings. Yet, I think that in this pause, we have the opportunity to reflect upon and stop a particular kind of predatory tourism pervasive at Rice: voluntourism. 


Swimmers adjust to life without pools

(04/08/20 2:30am)

At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has completely uprooted the daily lives of so many, the entire country is constantly having to adjust. But for Rice student-athletes, the stakes are higher than most, given the pressure to stay in shape and train remotely. This is especially true for Rice’s swim team. With shelter-in-place orders taking effect in 42 states, and only “essential businesses” remaining open, pools and swimming facilities have been shuttered throughout the country. According to swimmer Rebecca Brandt, this has left much of the team unable to practice their craft.


Student-run businesses support employees, plan ahead amid uncertain times

(04/08/20 2:06am)

Shut down for the remainder of the semester, student-run businesses are facing challenges filling the financial and emotional gap left by COVID-19. Questions hover for Coffeehouse, The Hoot and Rice Bikes, as well as student-owned East-West Tea and student-staffed Willy’s Pub, as to how they will support their student employees, deal with disrupted income and plan ahead.


Rice honor council moves online, University Court suspends operations

(04/08/20 12:55am)

The honor council, which upholds one of Rice’s longest-standing systems, has been adapting to their new virtual environment for investigative meetings and hearings as a result of Rice’s response to COVID-19. University court, however, will not continue hearing cases in this remote environment. 


Construction continues undeterred on campus

(04/08/20 12:08am)

For the students still staying in the south colleges, one noise rises above the rest: the sounds of construction on the new Sid Richardson College building. Although most major buildings on campus have been closed, all construction projects on campus have continued due to their continued classification as “essential” under Houston’s stay-at-home order.



Weekly Screen: Week of April 6

(04/07/20 11:06pm)

For our lovely readers, you may know that “The Weekly Scene” is a regular fixture of the Thresher’s print A&E section that promotes local arts events both on campus and throughout Houston every week. However, due to campus and citywide restrictions on public gatherings due to the COVID-19 outbreak and our subsequent inability to print issues for the remainder of the semester, the Weekly Scene is sadly obsolete at the moment. Thus, to fill the gap in my heart left by my beloved little column, I’d like to present the Weekly Screen: a short list of TV, movies and videos to check out from the socially-distanced comfort of your home. 


On Frank Ocean, Isolationism and the Vulnerability Paradox

(04/07/20 11:04pm)

Without a word or warning, elusive singer-songwriter Frank Ocean resurfaced from his sea of isolation this past Friday with the release of two new tracks, “Dear April” and “Cayendo.” Both intimate ballads stripped of rich instrumentation and centered around Ocean’s emotional vocals, the two tracks popped up out of the blue on Ocean’s website in October 2019 in the form of preorder vinyls which  just shipped out last week, coinciding with the songs’ digital release.


KTRU sustains its sound from a distance with new remote programming

(04/07/20 11:00pm)

After recently celebrating the restoration of its original call sign letters last fall, KTRU has entered yet another new chapter in its vibrant history: completely remote operations. Rather than surrendering the airwaves to Robo — the station’s “robot” automated system which plays prerecorded music and announcements on loop —  the DJs of Rice Radio have found a way to preserve the human touch that makes KTRU a destination for eclectic music lovers across Houston and beyond. 


Halted Hollywood: Movies you can watch early, and ones you’ll have to wait for

(04/07/20 10:57pm)

Virtually every traditional movie theater across the country has closed indefinitely by now, which has thrown a wrench into several upcoming movie releases, including highly anticipated blockbusters like Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow” and Disney’s live action remake of “Mulan.” Box Office Mojo says U.S. movie theatres have grossed only $5,000 in each of the past two weeks on average, several orders of magnitude less than this time last year. Films that were scheduled to come out this spring and summer have been pushed back several months, and for those which have not, expect them to be delayed soon. Here are the major delays grouped by production company: