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Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 — Houston, TX °

Guest Opinion


OPINION 9/15/20 10:40pm

How to safely vote in the presidential election

The upcoming presidential election may be the most important of our lifetime. It also comes in the middle of a life-changing pandemic that has seriously altered election administration. Although election procedures continue to be finalized, we now have a solid idea of what our options are for voting in November and as the election judge for Rice’s polling location this year, I’m here to break it all down for you.


OPINION 9/15/20 9:15pm

Rice students must care about climate change and act accordingly

Recently, I was eating dinner outdoors when I saw a classmate throw a plastic Gatorade bottle in the trash can. I mentioned it, and she told me that she wasn’t recycling because there was still Gatorade in the bottle. When I suggested that she empty and rinse out the bottle to recycle it, she just waved her hand and laughed. I returned to my room, crushed — that same morning, my family in California’s Bay Area had awoken to another day of hazardous smoke and “snowing” ash from three nearby wildfires, and some of the sites of my childhood memories had burned to the ground. 


OPINION 9/8/20 10:09pm

Voting is essential this year

Political engagement is now both more important and more difficult than ever. The stakes always seem higher in a presidential election year but now — with the pandemic, the protests and everything in between — the stakes feel like they were tied to a rocketship and are currently somewhere orbiting Jupiter. 


OPINION 8/25/20 8:48pm

Where are the disabled students in Rice’s COVID-19 plan?

In July, Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman sent out an email to the undergraduate student body which highlighted the policies for Rice’s reopening plan for the fall. It is very thorough and we greatly appreciate the work the administration has put into this plan, but we have a lot of concerns about how it will affect students with learning and physical disabilities, as well as students with medical and mental health issues. We urge the administration to ensure that the voices of students with disabilities will be heard and that their needs will be accommodated.  


OPINION 8/17/20 11:57am

Critical fault lines in our reopening plan

Rice University’s president and provost’s message on July 28 summarized all the steps the university has taken to assure the safety of our community and our ability to fulfill our mission.  As the new academic year is about to begin, however, the rate of new COVID-19 cases is still very high and deaths in Harris County continue to increase. The pandemic is still spreading unabated in a community where approximately 1,500 of our off-campus undergraduates, our graduate students and our staff and faculty will live, dine, shop, party and risk being exposed to COVID-19. The same group of people will then come to campus to attend classes, teach, research, work and potentially infect more people. 


OPINION 8/4/20 4:00pm

Return to campus — but to what end?

“Even at this reduced risk, students and their parents need to know that the campus will not be safe, and the risk to health and lives should be evaluated against potential benefits. Therefore, it is worth examining what these benefits are,“ writes Professor Moshe Vardi.



OPINION 7/13/20 2:40pm

Rice’s Title IX policy-making must be transparent and inclusive

"We are deeply concerned about Rice’s current policy-writing process regarding the release of a new Title IX policy, due August 14. Based on our observations and concerns with the administration's response, we feel there are issues in the following areas: coronavirus accommodations, publication of data, transparency and equitable representation." 



OPINION 6/29/20 4:48pm

Rice’s diversity education must include anti-racism

“To make a true difference in creating an equitable society, Rice’s course should educate students on the history and sociology of race as a construct, how systemic racism manifests in every facet of society and how to be anti-racist rather than simply not racist,“ writes Nicole Zhao (Brown ‘15). 


OPINION 6/22/20 6:19pm

Replace Willy’s Statue with Johnson

“In this cultural moment the university can no longer play the same old games of working groups and task forces to confront its racist history. Therefore I am calling for the replacement of the statue of William Marsh Rice in the middle of Rice University’s campus with one of Raymond Johnson, the first Black graduate student at Rice and a current professor in the math department,” writes Yoseph Maguire (Wiess ‘18).


OPINION 5/18/20 3:15pm

Don’t overlook Black lives in pandemic solidarity

The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have given rise to a new phrase that has been thrown around by media outlets and social media users across the country: “We are all in this together.” Don’t get me wrong — I am not denying the fact that every person in this country has been impacted by the virus in some capacity, and I am certainly not denying the rise in local expressions of solidarity. Over the past couple months, we’ve seen students and volunteers across the country donate their time and resources to help their neighbors.  Young people have come together on social media platforms to address issues surrounding mental health and online learning, creating a sense of community while also practicing social distancing. I am not denying the presence of solidarity. What I would like to discuss, however, is the fallacy of solidarity in a racialized society. 


OPINION 4/14/20 3:57pm

Believing survivors is not a political convenience

I said I wouldn’t write another opinion for the Thresher after the Facebook comments I received for a submission about Brett Kavanaugh. Kind of feels like shouting into the void, anyway — am I really going to change someone’s mind who doesn’t want to listen to folks who say they’ve been sexually assaulted? But I’m back! Facebook comments be damned!Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee following Bernie Sanders’ endorsement, has been accused of sexual assault. Tara Reade, a former Senate aide who worked in Joe Biden’s Senate office, claimed that he sexually assaulted her in 1993. The details are disturbing. Reade allegedly told multiple friends and her brother about the incident. 


OPINION 8/24/07 12:00am

Campus energy policy powered by irony

When I opened up my letter this summer from Dean of Undergraduates Robin Forman, I was delighted to find that Field Notes from a Catastrophe had been chosen as the common reading. Over the course of my first year at Rice, I had often found that the issue of global warming was little more than an afterthought for most students.  


OPINION 8/24/07 12:00am

Work hard, play hard: a dangerous myth

During college, most undergraduates undergo a process of self actualization, of becoming who they want to be. This week another class of talented, resourceful students began this journey through Orientation Week. Some of the nation's best and brightest become part of the Rice family every August, and before long they will become beloved members of the Rice community.