For a student body that is often self-described as uninformed and apathetic, Rice has proven in recent weeks just how powerful and outspoken our voices can be. In light of the conversations taking place all over campus on Senate Bill #4, which would create a task force to develop a course for new students on critical thinking in sexuality, we call upon more students to join the conversation on these pages. If you feel your voice is not being heard, reach out to us and use the Thresher as a platform to challenge the status quo.
Recently, at Wesleyan University, students voted to cut the newspaper’s budget due in part to the publishing of an op-ed critiquing the Black Lives Matter movement, while at Yale University, hundreds of students protested following a master’s email questioning sensitivity in regards to Halloween costumes. Both events reflect the precarious balance on college campuses between promoting free speech, challenging traditional thought and maintaining empathy towards peers. The incidents at Wesleyan especially exemplify the importance of an undergraduate paper that stimulates ongoing conversation on sensitive topics and of students being able to critically differentiate between news and opinion.
The Thresher believes it is your responsibility to challenge your peers’ ideas, and it is our responsibility to provide you a platform to do so. In line with this belief, although we reserve the right to withhold submissions, we choose to publish any opinion piece that is sent to us. It is not our place to determine the validity of an individual’s opinion. Rather, students must understand the corresponding news behind an opinion piece, and formulate their own opinion after fully examining the nuances and perspectives of the story. Students who remain largely uninformed by choosing to use opinion pieces as their sole source of information do a disservice not only to themselves but to their entire community, especially if they go on to propagate these opinions as fact.
That being said, while we do try our best to report unbiased, comprehensive news, we are not infallible. It is easy to miss the quieter voices of a news story and even easier to entirely neglect those that are silent. We work hard to prevent our personal opinions from influencing the news we report, but the topics and perspectives we cover are undoubtedly shaped by the networks and connections we hold. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of you reaching out to us if you feel we are neglecting to include your voice or provide coverage of news that matters to you.
This campus is more than capable of being informed, critically examining issues and engaging in debate, but we cannot allow the conversation to begin and end with SB#4. Together, the Thresher and the student body can ensure that pertinent issues garner the coverage and conversation they deserve.
Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Thresher editorial staff. All other opinion pieces represent solely the opinion of the piece’s author.