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Friday, May 14, 2021 — Houston, TX 72°

Guest Opinion


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.  


OPINION 2/2/21 10:22pm

Enough Deliberation: Down With Willy

At sit-ins during the fall semester, fellow protestors and I would occasionally be confronted by passersby defending William Marsh Rice’s legacy and his statue’s placement on our campus. Some may attribute the stubornness of Willy’s defenders to the gaps in the record of William Marsh Rice’s ties to slavery. However, as more information about William Marsh Rice's life comes to light, this ignorance becomes a choice. Decision-makers and opponents of the sit-in alike must come to terms with the overwhelming evidence of the Rice family’s anti-Blackness and take down the statue.


OPINION 1/26/21 10:25pm

If the GSA Sells Out, Third Ward Suffers

On Jan. 19, the Rice Graduate Student Association met to discuss a new “endowment proposal.” GSA normally operates with a rollover fund from the previous year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the  cancellation of activities typically financed by the GSA, they’ve found themselves with too much money on hand. With over $50,000 in funds from the previous fiscal year when the pandemic began, as well as an anticipated $70,000 in the year that started in July, this endowment is projected to top six figures. Their proposal? Hand $100,000 of this money over to the Rice Management Company for investment. Not only would this be a disservice to graduate students who paid into the so-called “surplus,” it will make us complicit in politically and ethically troubling investments. The GSA should reverse the decision.  


OPINION 1/19/21 5:54pm

Let’s heal how we talk about food

How should we discuss food, then? I don’t want to be misunderstood as advising against all food-related conversations. I feel quite the opposite: eating is one of humanity’s oldest social rituals. It’s meant to bring us together. We’re at our best when we engage in conversations that center the enjoyment of food rather than its nutritional content. 


OPINION 12/9/20 11:05pm

Re-return to campus — but to what end?

The first wave of COVID-19 erupted in the U.S. in early 2020. Rice responded quickly: During March 9-15, classes for the week preceding Spring Break were canceled, students were instructed not to return to campus after Spring Break, and instruction after Spring Break was made fully remote. This quick reaction to the pandemic was typical of many organizations and localities all around the country, as it became clear that social distancing was then the only effective way to slow down the spread of the disease. This seems to have worked and, by early May, the first wave was somewhat subsiding. The Rice administration then tasked the Academic Restart Committee with the mission of “Return to Rice.” 


OPINION 12/4/20 12:13pm

Let’s reevaluate music as a social resource

To be sure, a poetic analogy between music and our differences will not resolve any issues directly. It can, however, remind us of our shared humanity. It can get us back in touch with our nature as social animals. It is a nature that is often oppressed by the individualism in our capitalistic society that encourages competition, putting too much focus on the dissonances for our own good. 


OPINION 11/17/20 11:48pm

You should still be keeping up with the 2020 election.

Polls are closed, but the presidential election results and the transition period remain in contention. The projected winner of the 2020 presidential election is Joe Biden, but there’s a long road to reach his inauguration, and President Donald Trump seems to be laying down more and more asphalt each day. In an era where misinformation is as abundant as ever, it’s that much more important for citizens — especially students, in whose hands the future of America lies — to be capable of parsing between the truth and the lies. 


OPINION 11/10/20 11:29pm

Urge Rice Left to rethink its support for terrorists

This past Friday, Rice Left offered unabashed support for a so-called “Palestinian feminist icon” named Leila Khaled. Make no mistake: Khaled, whom they refer to as a “liberation activist,” is, in every sense of the word, a terrorist. In 1969, Khaled and a group of fellow terrorists hijacked a civilian flight from Rome to Tel Aviv and planted bombs in the nose of the plane, which were detonated moments after the passengers, children and elderly among them, had hastily exited the plane. The plane having been diverted to Damascus, two Israeli civilians aboard the flight were held hostage by the Syrian government for three months after being delivered by the hijackers.