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Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 — Houston, TX 83°

Editorials


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. 


OPINION 3/9/21 9:38pm

Second doses of the vaccine are coming soon. The Rice community should be prepared.

Last month, over 800 members of the Rice community received a surprise first dose of the Moderna vaccine, which was provided by the Harris County Public Health Department after a power outage caused vaccines to unexpectedly defrost. Individuals who were vaccinated on campus are slated to receive their second dose on March 22. It is imperative that students and administration adequately prepare for hundreds of Rice community members to receive their second doses in the coming weeks.


OPINION 3/9/21 9:38pm

Second doses of the vaccine are coming soon. The Rice community should be prepared.

Last month, over 800 members of the Rice community received a surprise first dose of the Moderna vaccine, which was provided by the Harris County Public Health Department after a power outage caused vaccines to unexpectedly defrost. Individuals who were vaccinated on campus are slated to receive their second dose on March 22. It is imperative that students and administration adequately prepare for hundreds of Rice community members to receive their second doses in the coming weeks.


OPINION 3/2/21 10:53pm

Low SA election turnout reveals need for better campus engagement

With only 24 percent participation, this year’s Student Association presidential election had the lowest voter turnout in the past five years. While student apathy towards the SA Senate and its leadership can easily — and perhaps fairly — be attributed to recent events such as the pandemic or the recent winter storm, SA election turnout has consistently declined over this five-year period.  



OPINION 2/17/21 3:21pm

Kendall Vining for Student Association president

It is the Thresher editorial board’s opinion that only Martel College junior Kendall Vining has the qualifications, experience and platform to effectively lead the student body as Student Association president. Vining’s experience in the SA as the current internal vice president, plans to address students’ concerns (particularly prioritizing the immediate needs of Black students), commitment to transparency and speaking out on important topics makes her an appropriate fit for the current and upcoming needs of the student body.


OPINION 2/17/21 2:34pm

Lily Sethre-Brink for Student Association external vice president

In last year’s Student Association election, there were no external vice president candidates on the first round ballot. This year, refreshingly, we have three candidates running — three candidates who are all incredibly qualified for the position. All three have ample experience working within the SA, strong communication and leadership skills, and a clear vision for the path they want to help lead Rice down. However, throughout their campaigns and our editorial board interviews, one candidate stood out: Baker College SA Senator Lily Sethre-Brink.


OPINION 2/9/21 9:36pm

Sprinkle days are replacing spring break — so take an actual break

In a normal spring semester, we get spring break. This year, we get five “sprinkle” days instead — random weekdays dispersed throughout the semester on which no class occurs and no assignments can be due. The idea is to give Rice students their well-deserved days off without encouraging unnecessary travel. As Christopher Johns-Krull of the Academic Restart Committee wrote to course instructors, “it is intended that, to the extent possible, these be real breaks for students and instructors.”


OPINION 2/2/21 10:13pm

It’s Black History Month. Let’s listen to our Black students.

February is Black History Month, which for the Rice community means it’s an especially fitting time to reflect on the history of Black students on campus. William Marsh Rice’s original charter for the school excluded non-white students, and ever since the first Black undergraduates were admitted in 1965, the Black student community at Rice has made significant contributions to campus while simultaneously facing continued discrimination and racism.  


OPINION 1/26/21 10:32pm

Stronger together: Rice community members should embody principles of mutual aid

Mutual aid networks have cropped up around the world throughout the last year as a response to the pandemic. The concept, which is not a new one, is fairly simple — a community voluntarily shares and receives resources and services among one another, monetary or otherwise, with the goal of making the whole community stronger. Still, it’s radical, especially in a country that encourages individualism, capitalism, and a ‘pull yourself up by the bootstraps’ mentality — an expression that, by the way, is nonsense.


OPINION 11/17/20 10:58pm

Covid-19 cases are on the rise everywhere— act like it

To say “be safe” or “be responsible” over the break leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Let’s be absolutely clear: This wave of the pandemic is worse than we’ve ever seen, with cases of and hospitalizations for the coronavirus breaking records every single day. Most of the hometowns we’re returning to are not enforcing sufficient restrictions to mitigate the spread, and if you’re staying at Rice, Harris County certainly is not either. It’s time for us to rethink our new normal in the context of the worsening outbreak. 


OPINION 11/10/20 11:18pm

The election is over — but the work is not

After three and a half excruciatingly long days, the race for president was called for Joe Biden on Saturday morning by the Associated Press and other major media organizations. This was a historic moment, as Kamala Harris is poised to become the first woman, the first Black person and the first South Asian person to hold the office of vice president.  


OPINION 11/3/20 9:02am

The Election’s effects go beyond Tuesday — academic accommodations must reflect this

Students have heightened anxieties during this time, regardless of who wins — for their safety, for their futures, for other people, for their families, for the rest of the world. With all this going on, no midterm break to properly rest, and an increasingly worsening pandemic without proper academic accommodations to account for it all, we need time to rest and check in with one another. Whatever outcome, election night will be hard; the days following may be worse. Be gentle with us — we’re trying. 


OPINION 10/27/20 10:01pm

Don’t miss your last chance to vote — and make history — this year

Texas has continuously shattered voter turnout records since early voting started in the state on Oct. 13. Through Monday, Oct. 26, after 14 days of early voting, 7,802,505 people had cast their ballots in Texas. That is almost 50 percent of the total number of registered voters in the state. For reference, around 8.5 million votes were cast in Texas in 2016 in total — this number includes ballots cast through the entire early voting period and on election day. 



OPINION 10/20/20 9:17pm

Proposed pass/fail policy is antithetical to academic exploration

The Faculty Senate recently presented their proposed changes to the pass/fail policy, which include changing the threshold grade for pass to a C, preventing students from recycling the four allotted pass/fail designations and preventing a pass/fail from being converted to a letter grade after the deadline, even for classes that later become major requirements after the major is declared. The proposed changes to the pass/fail policy do not serve to ameliorate students’ academic integrity or academic performance, but rather unnecessarily limit flexibility and discourage intellectual curiosity and exploration. 


OPINION 10/13/20 9:53pm

Support student artists as they support the Rice community

When the massive tents known as Provisional Campus Facilities were first constructed on the Rice campus, the South college courtyard suddenly looked a bit alien — a literal sign of the times. Those once foreboding white tents have since been transformed, however, into canvases for compelling visual art, and the once downtrodden courtyard surrounding them into a colorful playground, thanks to the Moody Center for the Arts’ “Creative Interventions” initiative.