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Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Saturday, November 27, 2021 — Houston, TX °

Guest Opinion


OPINION 10/13/21 12:30am

​​Reconsider using the terms Hispanic, Latino and Latinx

Before Hispanic Heritage Month officially ends, I would like to take a moment to write about the labels those of us of Latin American heritage use to describe ourselves. At Rice, club names, course titles and survey questions often defer to pan-ethnic labels even though most people tend to use their national origin group as a primary identifier. These pan-ethnic labels are problematic. Although they in some ways unify Latin American communities, they often leave out others, like Afro-Latinos and indigenous Latinos. My goal here is not to dissuade people from using pan-ethnic labels; as history has shown, they can be useful, to some degree. However, my intention is for all of us, Latinos and non-Latinos alike, to use them wisely — with the understanding that the Latino community cannot be condensed into one culturally, ethnically or even linguistically homogeneous group. With that in mind, I hope that we as a Rice community continue to discuss and re-evaluate our language even after Hispanic Heritage Month ends. 


OPINION 10/5/21 10:13pm

Open your heart to those with whom you disagree

In the fall semester of my freshman year, I wrote what I thought was a relatively innocuous opinion piece for the Thresher on free speech at Rice. I realize now that the omnipresent threat to freedom of expression on college campuses is just one manifestation of a much larger and more pernicious phenomenon: visceral, unadulterated hatred for those who express heterodox views. If we fail to turn back this tide of hatred currently inundating our school, I’m afraid it will eventually consume every heterodox thinker in its path and leave in its wake a trail of stifled minds and frightened souls.


OPINION 9/28/21 10:23pm

Administration is prioritizing money and prestige over student well-being

As last summer neared its close and I began looking towards the fall semester, I was more excited than I had ever been to start a school year. After a difficult year of online classes and social isolation, I couldn’t wait to finally see all the friends that I had missed for the last 16 months, as well as meet the underclassmen that I had been unable to interact with throughout my junior year. Despite the rise of the Delta COVID-19 variant, with Chair of Crisis Management Advisory Committee Kevin Kirby’s email on Aug. 3, I was still filled with a strong sense of optimism about my final year at Rice. Unfortunately, it has since become clear that this optimism was misplaced, as was my trust in the Rice administration. 


OPINION 9/28/21 10:20pm

Less horny all the time, please

Rice Missed Encounters were once synonymous with a public Facebook group after the same name. This group was invented for students to reach out to cuties seen around campus when in-person contact was either faux pas, as in the middle of an event, or impossible without some loud and embarrassing pursuit. Through it, friends of mine found relationships, and I received a shoutout myself for my “very sincere and lovely” smile. Though many pioneers pushed at its boundaries with concupiscent calls to action like “I want you in my bed”, the question remained: what if the page were horny? Like, frighteningly, debilitatingly horny.


OPINION 9/21/21 10:58pm

If you care about people, care about the Texas abortion law

I am absolutely terrified about the state of abortion access in Texas and the U.S. after the passage of S.B. 8. When I came to Rice, I did not think that it would mean giving up some of my fundamental rights. I am a woman, and while I have never had an abortion I know that I might get pregnant at some point in my life and that it might not be my choice. It is a fear and a fact that every person with a uterus must live with. 


OPINION 9/14/21 10:10pm

Are we insignificant? Meaning, science and God

We live in an illusioned and disillusioned world. Misinformation swarms everywhere as a pandemic ravages the planet. Every person has an opinion, every opinion an archenemy next door. We are divided and afraid. For many, another semester of squelched college experience is now wholly overshadowed by the tangible threat of disease and death all around.


OPINION 8/31/21 9:53pm

COVID-19 is here to stay — we must learn to live with it

On Aug. 19, many members of the Rice community were disappointed, confused and angered by Provost Reginald DesRoches’s announcement that in-person instruction would be delayed by two weeks in response to positive cases during Orientation Week. Over this last year, the Rice administration has acted with foresight and wisdom to keep us safe in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, but this announcement can only be described as a knee-jerk reaction to an entirely predictable situation. Unfortunately, COVID-19, the Delta variant and pandemic restrictions will not simply go away but will likely be with us for years to come. The Rice administration must adopt longer-term policies that will allow us to safely live with COVID-19 in the long term.


OPINION 4/27/21 10:53pm

Refocus STRIVE to fulfill its original purpose

As a Students Turning Rice Into a Violence-Free Environment liaison, the organization and its mission are incredibly important to me. I originally joined because, as a survivor myself, I wanted to be a part of facilitating safe spaces on campus through educating my peers and acting as a resource to provide support. STRIVE cares a lot about the student body and puts an extreme number of hours into raising awareness and making themselves accessible, as we have seen with the recent survivor panels, college-specific events throughout the year and their response to an anonymous 2019 Thresher opinion. However, we need to readjust how STRIVE is not only viewed and utilized by the student body but also how it is run. The place the organization holds now oversteps into the lives of liaisons and other students and goes beyond what they set out to do with their mission statement. 



OPINION 4/13/21 10:59pm

Letter to the Editor: What should we call “Willy Week”?

 As the parade to Beer Bike 1992 devolved into a water balloon melee, I picked up a pink water balloon and flung it in the general direction of a group of Sidizens who had been pelting me and my fellow Wiessmen with them.  As I did so, I felt my Rice ring slip from my finger.  A moment later, in the distance, I heard the metallic ping as my ring fell to the pavement.  “My ring!  My ring came off!”  I don’t know how I was heard over the din of laughter and yelling, but in a few moments, Rice students from three or four colleges paused their good-natured rivalry and helped me recover it, only a little worse for wear.  I wore that slightly dented ring up until replacing it for my 25th reunion a few years ago.


OPINION 4/6/21 9:35pm

We still need to care about voter suppression in a post-Trump America

Just a couple of months ago, Gov. Greg Abbott declared “election integrity” to be an emergency item for the 2021 Texas legislative session. This was promptly followed by the National Republican Party launching a committee to pursue state election laws, praising Abbott’s initiative. With Senate Bill 7 (SB 7) and its House equivalent (HB 6), in addition to other bills directed at restricting voting access like House Bill 2293, marginalized groups will be further restricted from their right to vote. Shift workers who rely on later voting place hours will be without options. Individuals with disabilities who require vote-by-mail will be burdened with providing proof of their condition. Drive-thru voting will be banned. The role of poll watchers, already infamous for attracting self-appointed vigilantes of voter intimidation, will be able to record voters who receive help filling out their ballots. 


OPINION 3/30/21 9:56pm

Student Association committees deserve more from students

Rice students don’t pay attention to the Student Association. This is clear from recent Thresher coverage on the low voter turnout during the SA election and students’ inability to identify the people they “elected” to the executive team. If it weren’t for current SA President Kendall Vining’s encouragement to apply for Academics Committee chair last year, I would have fallen into that category too. I learned that although the SA is designed to represent and empower all student voices regardless of whether they hold a formal SA position in order to better our campus and broader Houston community, it struggles with apathy (or worse, alienation) and a lack of participation. 


OPINION 3/27/21 5:31pm

The statue is only a starting point

I believe Willy’s Statue should go, but I feel that much more than that is needed. I believe the ideal solution to the fate of the statue and the future of racial equity at Rice is to begin a holistic program to acknowledge, address and atone for our university's racism, past and present. 


OPINION 3/23/21 9:41pm

Letter to the Editor: An old alum joins the statue debate

My class was 1957 — when President Leebron was two years old. Willy’s endowment paid for my Rice tuition. I have supported Rice generously in the past, but I've ceased at present. I am not pleased with the direction President Leebron is taking the university — I've written a couple of letters to him and the Alumni Association expressing my thoughts. 


OPINION 3/22/21 8:08pm

Rice should be a place where the “model minority” myth is broken

Rice University prides itself in its diversity, so there is no excuse for Rice to be a place that continues to fail in actively working to break the “model minority” myth. Rice must actively educate themselves on the history of oppression and racism against API and show true solidarity with their API students by expanding the scope of their resources and diversity initiatives to include API.


OPINION 3/2/21 10:55pm

Ted Cruz has embarrassed Texas for too long

Ted Cruz has had a crazy 2021. In just two months he incited an insurrection, refused to confirm the outcome of a free and fair election, and abandoned Texas during a deadly natural disaster. All in all, I think that he is one of the most disgraceful people currently in office. That needs to change, and since he is not going to wake up tomorrow with a shiny new set of morals and a backbone, it is clear that Ted Cruz must go.


OPINION 2/25/21 8:58pm

Scroll less, live more: My experience quitting social media

We’ve all heard that expression before: if it's not on social media, then it didn’t happen. It seems like nowadays we can’t do much for the fun or the joy of it without feeling that urge to take a picture or video, upload it to the web, and tag our friends in it. In trying times like these, we need to realize that number of likes and retweets aren’t a healthy measure of social affirmation. We need to consider taking a serious break from social media (maybe pick up a hobby) and re-examine our relationships with these platforms. 


OPINION 2/23/21 11:29pm

We should maintain and pursue an inclusive environment at Rice

Recently, I was looking through pictures from my freshman year and discovered something startling — they all depicted me as an unhappy and miserable student. Transferring to Rice was never part of my postsecondary education plans. In fact, like most students, I graduated high school with the expectation that I would spend only four years in college. My complex college journey has led me to realize how important it is for us as individuals and an institution to actively work towards maintaining our diverse student body and prioritizing inclusion. In light of Rice’s plan to expand its undergraduate enrollment, it is imperative that students educate themselves about student movements and hold the institution accountable for its actions and promises, paying closer attention to the “Down with Willy” protests, the work being done by the Task Force and the steps the university will take to attract new students while also meeting the needs of current students.



OPINION 2/9/21 9:40pm

An Open Letter to O-Week Coordinators: Recruit More Transfer Advisors

I can’t remember my Orientation Week. It’s not a blur of happiness or a general lack of memory on my part. It’s a malaise of stress and not knowing my place. Coming in as a transfer, I felt simultaneously alienated from my O-Week siblings and my O-Week parents, too old to feel the freshman excitement but too inexperienced to engage with established Rice students. I had no model of what I was supposed to be or even could be — transfer students received maybe an hour of transfer-specific programming, and I only had one conversation with a transfer co-advisor who I never saw again.