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Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Wednesday, June 03, 2020 — Houston, TX °

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DesRoches’ appointment promising for the future

(01/22/20 4:07am)

As undergraduates, we are far more likely to be familiar with the everyday work and initiatives that come from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduates than those from the Offices of the Provost or even the President. Often, the Thresher’s coverage reflects this uneven familiarity. However, when Rice announced that current Dean of Engineering Reginald DesRoches was named the incoming provost, we were excited for the new era of university leadership to come. 


Deadly shooting at Bellaire High School highlights need for tighter gun control

(01/22/20 4:06am)

Fourteen days. That’s how long the U.S. went before its first fatal school shooting of 2020. Two weeks into the new decade, 19-year-old César Cortés was shot and killed at Bellaire High School, about five miles southwest of Rice. He was a Junior Reserve Officers Training Corpsmember who was enlisted in the Army and had aspirations of serving his country. His death is heart-wrenching. It was also preventable.


Not in our name will the Ion perpetuate injustice

(01/22/20 4:02am)

The spring of 2019 I heard whispers and read snippets about the Innovation District, which I understood, initially, to be an innovative tech and consulting hub for venture capitalists, startups and big corporations. Immediately, I wanted to be involved out of fear the development would exclude the interests of creative students at Rice and of communities vulnerable to displacement and cultural erasure.


Stop saying the r-word: Sincerely, someone on the spectrum

(01/22/20 4:00am)

One evening last semester, I sat down at a table with the most familiar faces in my college commons for dinner. We had a lot of scattered conversations about classes, the food and, for some, the past weekend’s late-night escapades. It was during the discussion of this final topic that I heard that word: “Retarded.” It was used in the context of describing the unwise action of a person, maybe or maybe not involving alcohol. Something relatively casual. I didn’t remember the action as much as the word. No one else on the table really noticed. I myself didn’t speak up due to being afraid of possible ridicule and just being in shock. I had hoped that this encounter, along with other encounters that I’ve had the chance to overhear or straight up hear, would not occur on this campus. However, as these occurrences are appearing more frequently, it might as well be me to address it.


Audrey’s opens in Jones Business School

(01/22/20 3:53am)

Highly anticipated campus coffee shop Audrey’s officially opened on the first day of spring semester classes last week after permitting issues delayed its initial September launch date. Despite the buzz surrounding Houston coffee guru David Buehrer’s newest venture, one look at the shop’s crowd suggests that few undergraduates are aware that Audrey’s is already open or even where it is. It’s pricier than other on-campus alternatives but still worth visiting — they have a few stellar options that can’t be found at Rice Coffeehouse, FLO Paris or East-West Tea.



Predicting the 2020 Grammys: Winners, losers and snubs

(01/22/20 3:49am)

It’s that time of the year! Houston continues to deny us a winter and the Grammy Awards continue to deny any representation to rap music! Even as I gripe to my friends about snubs of my favorite artists, I will still inevitably tune into the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards this Sunday, Jan. 26 to watch bizarrely matched performances; the odds of an Ariana Grande/Aerosmith collaboration are terrifyingly high. In light of my obsession and criticism of the Grammys, I name the least expected nominations, biggest snubs, who I think should win and who I predict will actually win in the “Big Four” categories: Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Best New Artist.



Women’s Basketball should still be considered C-USA favorites

(01/22/20 3:46am)

There’s no denying it: Rice women’s basketball had a rocky start to the 2019-20 season. Coming off a historic season last year in which the team won 21 straight games and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005, this year’s team registered a middling 5-6 record against non-Conference USA opponents to start the season. 




Facing the STEM Superiority Complex

(01/22/20 3:03am)

The modern world doesn’t know how to integrate STEM, the humanities and the social sciences. We’ve come to the point where our society values technological innovation as the best way to solve any and all problems that arise. Scientific development without consideration for people and regulation creates significant issues, from racist algorithms that favor white patients over black patients to Amazon’s Alexa recording our conversations. These are instances where we thought of STEM as entirely separate from humanities and social sciences, and as a result, important ethical and social considerations were completely overlooked. The aforementioned algorithms are a result of neglecting the social determinants of health and the biases in medicine that are reflected in historical datasets. Smart speakers have been recording millions of hours of intimate home conversations that are being analyzed and parsed without the explicit consent of users. Because technology is incredible and has the ability to do amazing things to positively impact the world, we need to integrate it with the humanities and the social sciences in order to prevent mass abuses.



Rice admits 19 percent of Early Decision applicants to the class of 2024

(01/15/20 5:46am)

Rice welcomed 385 students into the class of 2024 through the university’s binding early decision program, according to Vice President for Enrollment Yvonne Romero da Silva, as well as 55 students through QuestBridge National College Match. This year, Rice accepted around 18.9 percent of the 2,042 applicants on Dec. 12, according to Romero da Silva, a higher percentage of students admitted than last year. 



Rice Ph.D graduate known as ‘CRISPR Baby’ scientist sentenced to three years in prison

(01/15/20 5:43am)

A Chinese court sentenced He Jiankui (Ph.D. ‘10), who revealed that he had genetically-edited twin girls last year, to three years in prison on Dec. 30, 2019. The questions surrounding his PhD advisor, Rice University bioengineering professor Michael Deem’s involvement in the He’s experiments, remain unanswered. In November 2018, Rice began a full investigation into Deem’s role in the research.



First classes held in Kraft Hall as construction continues

(01/15/20 5:38am)

The new four-story home for the School of Social Sciences, Patricia Lipoma Kraft ’87 and Jonathan A. Kraft Hall for Social Sciences, completed a substantial portion of its construction over the break, according to Larry Vossler, senior project manager for Facilities Engineering and Planning. While classes have begun in the building, extractors and remaining debris can be seen on the grounds next to the building.