Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Thursday, August 11, 2022 — Houston, TX

Guest Opinion


OPINION 5/12/22 4:05pm

The Wellbeing Center should be transparent about its true confidentiality policies

Before you attend a counseling session at the Rice counseling center, you will be told that “the RCC maintains strict standards regarding privacy.” You will find statements from the university that your mental health record will not be shared with anyone outside of extreme situations of imminent harm, and only then that your information will be shared with only the necessary officials. This sounds great, except that these assurances bear no teeth whatsoever — no enforcement agency ensures that Rice follows its public confidentiality promises, and there are no penalties for Rice if they break them. The Wellbeing and Counseling Centers should more directly communicate the limits of their confidentiality policies when compared to unaffiliated counseling centers, and students in sensitive situations should take the necessary precautions to protect their information.


OPINION 4/19/22 11:02pm

Philanthropy doesn’t excuse slavery

In January, the Rice Board of Trustees announced plans to move the Founder’s memorial to another area of the academic quad as part of a whole redesign, adding additional context of his “entanglement” with slavery. This comes despite continual calls from the student body to not have the enslaver displayed in the quad regardless of the context provided. It would be just for these calls to action and the majority of the Task Force Committee who voted to not keep it there that the Board of Trustees decide to not keep the memorial prominently displayed in the quad at all.


OPINION 4/12/22 11:04pm

Rice must reconsider its partnership with Aramco

On March 21 in a recent press release, Rice University enthusiastically announced it had approved a five-year, $10 million bid for Saudi Arabian Oil Company’s (Aramco) involvement in Carbon Hub, a university-led research initiative committed to accelerating the energy transition toward sustainable hydrocarbons. In this same announcement, Rice’s Matteo Pasquali, a chemical engineer who directs Carbon Hub, construed the development in a positive manner, expressing his unequivocal excitement to “welcome the Aramco group” as “great partners” for facilitating a more sustainable future. 


OPINION 3/29/22 10:53pm

War in Ukraine: Blame America’s oligarchs as well as Russian counterparts

While life at Rice seems to return to normal, we must all comprehend that Russian President Vladimir Putin has unleashed hell on Ukraine. Countries including the United States are sanctioning Russia's oligarchs, whose concentration of immense wealth suffices to fund Putin’s war. But those rich Russian terrorists have not acted alone. Decades of wrongdoing by America’s oligarchs, due to our failure to control their greed and power, have also enabled Putin’s present holocaust in Ukraine. 




OPINION 3/8/22 11:35pm

Ensure student representation at Rice: Enforce the vote

I believe that at the heart of a thoughtful opinion piece lies an acknowledgment of its author’s blindness and that no opinion piece, especially those penned by cis white men, will ever wholistically convey a sociological issue’s full scope and importance. In that spirit, I would like to begin this writing with an admission: though I would like to spark discussion about compulsory voting within the hedges, I will not be able to address all of the nuances of a question as complicated as “How should we, as a community, vote?” in 1000 words.


OPINION 3/1/22 10:55pm

Students shouldn’t be exempted from minimum wage policy

A successful organization is far more than just a sum of its parts. As a leading institution, Rice likes to prides itself on its diverse and integrated community. Keeping with Rice’s future-paving spirit, faculty, staff and students all ought to be compensated sensibly. Rice University’s recent minimum wage hike is a step in the right direction for some employees, but falls short in securing reasonable pay for student workers. 


OPINION 2/24/22 9:15pm

This primary season, get out and vote

During this primary election season, we are undoubtedly aware of the high profile candidates running for office. However, there are countless more local and statewide races that are going to appear on our ballots — all of them crucial elected positions that will form the ballot we will vote on in November. Each time we vote, we shape the policies, ideas and experiences that are brought to the table for our city, county and state. These candidates are the people who will directly determine what life looks like for Rice University and the Houstonians surrounding us — in terms of criminal justice, voter suppression and civil rights. Early voting in the primaries has already begun, and will last till Feb. 25 (this Friday), and the closest polling location is located in the first floor of the John P. McGovern building in the Med Center. March 1, this upcoming Tuesday, will be the general election day and polling will be held in the Grand Hall of the RMC — making voting as easy as stopping by the RMC with your driver’s license, personal state-issued ID or passport in hand.


OPINION 2/22/22 11:33pm

Retracting Seth Huston’s statement is a start to challenging transphobia on campus

On January 21, 2022, the swimming news organization SwimSwam published an article including remarks by the Rice University women’s swimming coach, Seth Huston. Huston stated that trans swimmer Lia Thomas and other trans athletes should “compete as what [they] were biologically born until we get to a point where we’ve expanded opportunities.” He defined expanding opportunities as potentially “creating a third division, a transgender division, or whatever.” He further stated he thought it was “wrong” of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America to “suggest Lia compete at NCAAs” in reference to their support of Lia Thomas competing at the Women’s NCAA Championships in March. We urge that Huston retract his statement, we urge Rice to take this opportunity to change internal processes that harm trans students, and we urge readers to bring the facts about trans women athletes to the conversation when others espouse similar sentiments.


OPINION 2/22/22 11:23pm

Transpeople’s humanity is not up to ‘respectful discussion’

While I wasn’t able to attend the Senate meeting on Feb. 7, I read the minutes of the meeting and am severely disappointed in the Student Association’s response to the comments of Rice Swim coach Seth Huston on the “controversy” surrounding transgender athletes. I’m attempting to share my perspective on the situation as a trans student and former athlete/coach. The University must actively denounce transphobia and other forms of bigotry in the future if it wishes to uphold a value of equity on its campus.


OPINION 2/15/22 11:21pm

The Rice track should be open to all Rice students

The other day I (Rutherford) broke Rice’s rules — at least that’s what the security guard in the golf cart told me. Growing up as an avid runner near another small, private university in Texas, I, like much of my community, ran frequently on the university track. Hoping to maintain my fitness in college, I jogged to the on-campus Rice track early one morning through the open gates, and after barely finishing two laps was stopped by security. “You can’t run here,” he said. “The track is for Rice athletes only, and the gate should’ve been locked.” Why it’s a problem for a Rice student to run a few minutes on the empty Rice track, I don’t know. But rules are rules, and I politely exited the track to make way for the non-existent athletic practice.


OPINION 2/1/22 10:47pm

Theatre at Rice must commit to inclusivity

“You need to make your hair bigger” were the director’s words I overheard upon logging into one of my Zoom rehearsals for the department of visual and dramatic arts’ “New Voices” – a collection of scenes from a variety of shows, performed on Zoom in the middle of the pandemic. The sentence wasn’t spoken to me, but I felt discomfort upon hearing them during this dress rehearsal and at some later rehearsals. One of my peers was playing a Jewish character in a different scene; the student was not ethnically Jewish (and many Jewish people aren’t), but the character is explicitly written as Jewish going back for “generations and generations.” As a result, the director asked this student to alter her appearance to fit the Jewish part. 


OPINION 2/1/22 10:45pm

Own your career - no one else can do it for you

As student director of the Peer Career Advisor program with the Center for Career Development, I am passionate about ensuring everyone feels equipped along their career journey. Advising students has made me keenly aware of the anxiety and disappointment stemming from the COVID economy; it has also given perspective on common misconceptions about career exploration and campus resources, one of which is the idea that because a student meets with the CCD, they will automatically get an offer for their dream job. Although offices across campus exist to support students, it is ultimately up to students to take ownership of their own careers. 



OPINION 1/18/22 11:04pm

White-washing language: ‘Academic’ writing perpetuates division

As is the case with most aspects of our reality, professionalism and academia have been defined by whiteness to a degree that is obvious in their customs, codifications and subtleties. Whiteness is often defined as a latent, systemic ideology in which the customs of the white majority are normalized to a degree that alienates others, sometimes unbeknownst to the white people benefiting from it. Over time, white majorities have established a monopoly on communication, prioritizing their culture-specific vernaculars and language structure, thus creating norms of communication. Through the expansion of this construct, marginalized communities have been actively excluded from academic and professional spaces institutionalized by whiteness. 


OPINION 1/11/22 10:09pm

How can Rice be more accommodating to Black students?

Being Black in the United States is uncomfortable, often dangerous, and the bubble of a college campus doesn’t offer much protection. While Rice and many similar institutions tout their extensive diversity and inclusion efforts, these institutions often fail at supporting Black students.


OPINION 1/11/22 10:03pm

Dialogues on Diversity course is a move in the wrong direction

As a transfer to Rice and a junior at the university, I had to take this course as a new matriculant. However, I came into the class as a non-cis person of color with a history of student organization and community building surrounding the centering of colonized and exploited identities. This gave me a unique vantage point with regard to observing the way the course was taught and responded to. Rice’s “Dialogues on Diversity” doesn’t address the problem at hand: historically white institutions of higher education fundamentally disenfranchise colonized and exploited peoples through the continual perpetuation of white, colonial, casteist, capitalist violence.


OPINION 11/30/21 11:21pm

It’s past time to bring Chick-fil-A back to The Hoot

For those of you who are seniors, you’ll remember a campus controversy that broke out in April 2019 when The Hoot announced its decision to stop serving Chick-fil-A amid criticism of its donations to three organizations — the Salvation Army, the Paul Anderson Youth Home and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes — that have taken anti-LGBTQ+ stances. When the policy took effect the following fall, I spoke out against the decision in this paper, arguing the secondary boycott was nothing more than token enforcement of an unworkable standard. I still believe that we shouldn’t take into account political considerations when we eat. But The Hoot didn’t budge, and the controversy quickly faded away. I have close friends on both sides of the issue, so I didn’t push the matter any further.


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.