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Rice football announced that they would delay the start of their preseason practices in a press release today, due to concerns regarding the infection rate of the coronavirus in Houston.
The Faculty Senate met yesterday to discuss Rice University’s plans for the remainder of the fall semester and potential responses to COVID-19 case increases. The meeting follows the passing of a recent resolution expressing faculty disappointment with the Rice administration, due to implicit pressure on faculty to return in-person to campus.
A resolution from the Aug. 19 Faculty Senate plenary meeting expressing faculty dissension with Rice’s campus reopening plan was recently approved, according to an email sent to faculty on Sept. 1 by Speaker of the Faculty Senate Christopher Johns-Krull.
Welcome back to another year! I’ll spare you the discussion of its unprecedented nature and the challenges we’ll have to face and just say welcome. It’s been a tumultuous summer, even for the opinion section of the Thresher. In previous years, we haven’t published any opinions over the summer, saving the hot takes for each semester. This past summer, we published 14 opinions and three staff editorials. Members of our community, students and faculty alike, have written about anti-Blackness and anti-racism, Title IX and reopening campus, among other topics.
On a typical morning this fall, on-campus students might drop by the servery for breakfast on the way to a class and pass contracted construction workers building the new Sid Richardson College dorms. We take weekly COVID-19 tests at centers staffed with volunteers, attend classes led by professors with little to no prior experience in online instruction and receive emails from student leaders who have had to take on enormous responsibilities beyond their job descriptions. Behind our daily actions are hundreds of people working hard and going above and beyond to ensure that we can maintain a semblance of normality in our college experience.
Calista Ukeh was in the middle of throwing at a track meet during her senior year of high school when she received her admissions decision from Rice. As far as the throwing went, she was not having a great day — but that changed after she read the acceptance letter.
In early May, as a challenging spring semester came to an end, the Department of Education released the final version of a new Title IX policy, leaving school administrations across the country scrambling to adjust their own Title IX policies to reflect the federal policy before an Aug. 14 deadline amidst navigating a global pandemic. With these new rules came a slew of student advocacy at Rice as students pushed administrators to implement the new policy in a way that minimizes the harmful effects the updated federal guidelines have for survivors of sexual assault.
The Rice University Student Center held its annual Fall Student Activities Fair on August 29 through an online event platform called Hopin. According to event details on OwlNest, over 150 student organizations participated in the virtual club fair. Many of these organizations have adapted club structures to better cater to COVID-19 guidelines and remote students.
This is the first installation of Keeping up with the Sidizens, a features series that checks in with various members of the Sid Richardson College community as they navigate a semester without a physical college to call home.
With the semester starting amidst a pandemic, one way that Rice plans to regulate student behavior and ensure adherence to this year’s new Culture of Care agreement is through the new COVID Community Court. The Court handles all low level infractions on campus such as mask wearing and social distancing.
Wielding power in their respective commons and in the Student Association Senate, college presidents are perhaps the most visible faces of the student leadership that is essential to the Rice experience. But just a few weeks after this year’s cohort began their terms, their communities dispersed as students were sent home to study online. Now, the presidents must lead their colleges amid conditions completely unknown to all who came before: distancing rules, a ban on mass gatherings, students who may never actually be on campus and other pandemic-related changes. They may not have signed up for these new challenges, but they are surely stepping up to face them.
A student-written petition expressing concerns about the administration's handling of fall semester has reached 442 signatures at the time of print. Students shared dissatisfactions with the administration ranging from those listed in the petition — servery food and a new "medical hold" health status — to concerns about contact tracing.
The three official student-run businesses on campus, Rice Coffeehouse, The Hoot and Rice Bikes, all expect to reopen in September after submitting return to campus plans to Rice’s Crisis Management Team, according to the businesses’ respective Facebook pages. The student-owned business East-West Tea will not open in the fall, and Willy’s Pub, which is student staffed, cannot open until statewide restrictions on bars reopening are lifted.
Now on display in Fondren Library, Houston Asian American Archive’s “Faces in the Pandemic” exhibit explores Asian American experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic through dynamic visual art, fostering reflection and discussion on relevant topics of racism, isolation, history and intersectionality. The exhibit explores a history of Asian American discrimination from the early 1800s to today and prompts the viewer to think about what this moment will look like in our collective history.
At a time when many gyms and recreation centers across the country are shuttering their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rice’s Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center, which reopened from a temporary closure on Aug. 3, is taking a number of measures in order to remain open.
AUDRE LORDE DOCUMENTARY