Click here for updates on the evolving COVID-19 situation at Rice
Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Monday, January 17, 2022 — Houston, TX °

Editorials


OPINION 1/11/22 10:00pm

We can change our culture around eating

Recently, the Student Association introduced a resolution to structurally address disordered eating at Rice. Although the resolution contains tangible ways to mitigate this issue, we also believe that an important factor to consider is the culture on campus around eating disorders and food in general. Though this culture is not unique to Rice, we have the power to challenge it by being more conscious of how our language surrounding food affects others.


OPINION 11/30/21 11:19pm

We need proactive academic policies

We’re nearing the end of another semester in the COVID-19 pandemic, filled with policy changes requiring flexibility from administration, faculty and students alike. We appreciate the administration’s responsiveness to the evolving pandemic, but the continuous changes are not without consequences. This semester has been hard on many students’ mental health due to insufficient academic accommodations on top of pandemic-related stress. While we understand the necessity in being flexible with COVID policies due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic, administration and professors should recognize the impact this has on students and their mental health, and be proactive in accounting for this.


OPINION 11/16/21 11:10pm

It’s time to talk about Willy

Last week, the Board of Trustees announced that Reginald DesRoches, Rice’s current provost, will be the next president of Rice University. DesRoches will be the eighth president in the history of the university, and the first person of color and foreign-born person to hold the position. We applaud the Board’s selection of DesRoches, and wish him great success in his new role. But because there are seven months left before the beginning of his tenure, we would like to pen one of our final editorials to President David Leebron and the Board of Directors. It’s time to talk about everyone’s favorite subject — one that has found itself in our news section repeatedly — the statue of one William Marsh Rice. 


OPINION 11/2/21 11:10pm

ImagineOne issues are disastrous; they should be addressed now

Since it was implemented this past summer, nearly everyone on campus has been affected in one way or another by the new ImagineOne human resources and finance system. Undergraduate students in charge of organizations are having to literally guess at their budgets and hope that they are spending within their limits. Additionally, graduate students were having issues receiving their paychecks, and faculty could not find their research funds without specific coaching.


OPINION 10/26/21 10:43pm

Rice should expand its parental leave policy to all

Two years ago, the Thresher extensively covered discrepancies in Rice’s maternity leave policies in regards to their treatment of faculty and staff. Specifically, we called for Rice to equalize its maternity leave policies. In addition, we were reminded that Rice’s maternity leave policy discriminates between tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty, and that the conversation should be centered around parental leave instead of just maternity leave. 


OPINION 10/19/21 10:24pm

Support Houston, shop local

Within the hedges of Rice University, it is possible — and thanks to online shopping, sometimes easier — not to venture out and explore the city that Rice calls home. However, treating campus as separate from Houston fails to recognize the impact that we have on the larger community that we are a part of. To support the relationship between us and Houston, the Rice community should make a consistent and concerted effort to shop at and support local businesses. 


OPINION 10/13/21 12:23am

Guidelines require definitions: What is a ‘gathering’?

As we have seen over the past 18 months, COVID-19 has a tendency to disrupt even the best-laid plans. The administration was premature in declaring a return to normalcy in May, and we appreciate the caution with which they have handled COVID policies this semester. Since the initial testing snafu during Orientation Week, COVID guidelines on campus have been gradually rolled back as the semester progresses. 


OPINION 10/5/21 10:14pm

The Rice community showed us how to show up

This weekend, people flooded the streets of Houston and cities across the state to protest SB 8 at the Women’s March. For a march dedicated to women, the crowd extended well beyond that group, including adults, children and pets alike. While it may have been initially daunting to take action in the wake of SB 8’s enactment, numerous displays of support last weekend by members of the Rice community and other actions in the previous weeks have shed light on how we can support each other and come together to support causes we are passionate about.


OPINION 9/28/21 10:18pm

Rice must clarify academic accommodations

Four weeks ago, we wrote an editorial calling for the Rice campus to embrace a new normal when it comes to COVID policies and our activities on campus. Because we are arrogant enough to believe that everyone reads and takes guidance from our editorials each week, it seems that, by and large, the community has taken our advice as this semester has continued along in a relatively “normal” way. However, there is still work to be done in ensuring that courses are delivered in a uniform manner, allowing every student an equal opportunity to succeed in their classes while we continue through this pandemic. 


OPINION 9/21/21 10:57pm

Turn your attention to volleyball

After this past weekend, and football’s embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Longhorns, it’s possible that much of the Rice community is un-rhetorically echoing JFK and asking themselves: Why does Rice play Texas? The answer, of course, is volleyball. 


OPINION 9/14/21 10:06pm

It is on each of us to be anti-racist and hold others accountable, not just student leaders

The use of racial slurs by college students toward their peers is a problem that permeates across college campuses all over the country. The Rice community is no exception. When students say or do racist things, specifically toward other students, there is usually outrage, and rightfully so. However, in most of these instances, the immediate response is to look to student leaders for a reaction. If we, as a community, are serious about being anti-racist, then it is on all of us to hold our peers accountable.


OPINION 9/7/21 10:00pm

Unused meal swipes should automatically be donated

The Guest Meal Swipe Donation Form closes on September 10, yet many students may not know about the program. Along with low visibility of the program, changes in COVID-19 restrictions such as removing restrictions on who can visit residential colleges may lead students to donate fewer guest swipes in anticipation of using them for guests. The program already could not cover all of the students who wanted to utilize it in the last two semesters. With the possibility of receiving fewer donations this semester, it is imperative that the administration step in and pursue additional routes for addressing food insecurity for off-campus students.


OPINION 8/31/21 9:50pm

Don’t simply return to normal — embrace a new normal

In the past few weeks, the Rice community has begun to return to in-person activities, from Orientation Week to research and soon classes. However, challenges have arisen alongside that return, seen through an increase in COVID-19 cases and students’ feelings of isolation after testing positive amidst a largely in-person community. Despite the difficulties of a highly virtual environment, COVID-19 brought about a more accessible and often more accommodating world. Now, we ask the entire Rice community for a more significant commitment: pursue a new normal instead of just a familiar return.


OPINION 8/24/21 10:50pm

The crisis is not over

On May 24 of this year, Chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee Kevin Kirby sent an email to the Rice community, informing everyone that the Crisis Management Team would “cease its formal COVID-19 organization and operations” by the end of that week. This came exactly one week after the Crisis Management Team had lifted the indoor mask mandate for vaccinated individuals, essentially returning campus activity to normal. 



OPINION 4/13/21 10:17pm

Account for international students when planning for fall

 On Rice’s campus, a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel finally seems to be emerging. The administration is optimistic about “a mostly normal fall semester,” according to communications sent out by Kevin Kirby. According to President Leebron’s announcement on fall planning, most classes are expected to be in person, most university housing is expected to be fully occupied and COVID-19 policies regarding gathering restrictions are expected to be relaxed. The road forward for many Rice students is clear: Sign up for a vaccine appointment as soon as possible and wait for more than 80% of the Rice community to be fully vaccinated so that COVID-19 policies can be relaxed.


OPINION 4/6/21 9:19pm

Willy Week no more: Students have the power to distance from William Marsh Rice

This year’s Beer Bike Week looks quite different from years past, even in name. Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman encouraged Beer Bike coordinators to rename Willy Week to reflect the different nature of the event due to COVID restrictions. Individual college Beer Bike coordinators chose a variety of new, college-specific names; many told the Thresher that they were further motivated to change the name to distance their college from William Marsh Rice and that they may carry the name change into future years. Coordinators’ swift renaming of Willy Week reminds us that students have a lot of power at this university — and that we can and should use it to foster a Rice community that we’re proud of.


OPINION 3/30/21 9:49pm

The twelfth residential college is a clean slate

Earlier this week, Rice’s Board of Trustees announced that they had approved a measure that, by 2025, will expand the undergraduate student body by 20 percent and add another residential college to Rice’s campus, giving us an even dozen. It is the latter announcement that struck us as particularly noteworthy, as the addition of a residential college is not all that common. Rice has added residential colleges twice in the last 20 years: Martel College in 2002 and McMurtry and Duncan Colleges in 2009. If you’re thinking that’s not all that long ago, keep in mind that 2009 was the first year Silly Bandz were sold in stores. With the addition of a twelfth college, we thought it pertinent to point out that a lot can change in 12 years, be it culturally or socially, and that Rice has the opportunity to capitalize on the blank slate that is this soon-to-be-named college.


OPINION 3/23/21 10:27pm

When reporting on anti-Asian violence, journalists need to prioritize Asian voices and hold racists accountable

Last Tuesday, a white man took the lives of eight people in a series of mass shootings at three spas and massage parlors in the Atlanta area. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent. The event was horrific, as is the general trend it belongs to of rising anti-Asian violence in the U.S. over the past year. We write this with a heavy heart for the victims, their loved ones, and the Asian community at large. As a student newspaper, we feel the need to discuss the racist, dangerous choices many media organizations have made over the past week, and commit to doing better.


OPINION 3/16/21 10:20pm

What we’ve learned from publishing a newspaper in a pandemic

For the past year, people have been using the message “we’re all in this together” to help us feel less isolated in the shared traumatic experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. While all of our lives have been touched by the pandemic, it has also affected each of us differently, at different times and in different degrees. Some of us stayed in Houston, while others went back to our hometowns. Some of us stayed inside, isolated from other people, while others had to work in-person jobs as essential workers. Some of us watched our loved ones suffer from afar after they contracted the virus and some of us contracted it ourselves. For this editorial, the Thresher editorial board is reflecting on our experience of the pandemic as a newspaper staff and finding out why the work we do continues to be worthwhile despite the challenges.