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Saturday, May 18, 2024 — Houston, TX

Guest Opinion



OPINION 10/3/23 11:55pm

Students’ silence on antisemitism scares me

There has been a lot of discourse regarding Rice Pride’s decision to cut ties with Houston Hillel. Yet, throughout this controversy, I’ve noticed an unsettling sense of reluctance to denounce this underlying fact: The precipitating resolution is itself antisemitic. 


OPINION 4/26/23 2:07pm

Beware of dissenters, reinvestigate the real Israel

Israel is a special place and arguably the most misunderstood in the world. We will be celebrating Israel’s 75th birthday at Rice, commemorating the occasion with a conference hosted by the Baker Institute on April 27, 2023. It is important to understand that the Jewish connection to the land of Israel goes back thousands of years. Jews were always in this land before Israel was created. As I prepare to graduate, having founded a Students Supporting Israel chapter at Rice, I want students to be informed about Israel and Palestine. There are many people who spew misinformation and will not want to listen to facts because of the false narrative they love to believe.


OPINION 4/18/23 10:05pm

Rice must expand resources for student performance groups

When prospective students apply to Rice, they undoubtedly value the academic rigor and research opportunities the university provides. However, many students ultimately choose Rice based on the assurance of a vibrant community and campus culture, where they can also pursue hobbies and interests outside of their university curriculum. As someone with a lifelong passion for dance, Rice Dance Theatre has filled this niche for me, allowing me to continue my dance education and nurture my artistic creativity as a member, leader, and now as outgoing president. This is true not only for me: RDT receives emails and direct messages from prospective students saying their college decision rests on available options to continue performing and learning dance. Unfortunately, growing constraints in space and resources have led RDT and other student performance groups to grapple among themselves for what Rice has available. Rice must increase the accessibility of practice and performance space and funding opportunities for all student performance groups that draw enthusiastic student interest on campus.


OPINION 4/18/23 10:04pm

Rice needs to improve awareness of preventive gynecological care

Almost one year ago, the news that Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court shocked all of us. The ruling ended a 50-year precedent that federally guaranteed the right to abortion care, allowing the state of Texas to criminalize abortion. Fortunately, Rice administration and student leaders quickly responded to the Texas abortion ban by raising awareness about safe sex, increasing access to contraceptives and more. These efforts are undoubtedly critical to the wellbeing of our campus, but there is another key area of reproductive health for those with a uterus that has gone unaddressed. 


OPINION 4/18/23 9:57pm

‘Israel at 75’ presents a unique opportunity

The initiative to reject Rice University’s Israel at 75 conference is rooted in hatred and performative anger. The Israeli occupation of Palestine is an issue that has plagued many for decades — people have lost their homes, friends, families and lives. This issue is nuanced and convoluted beyond most Rice students’ comprehension, including our own. The Baker Institute is not attempting to diminish these issues or glorify Israel’s actions over the past 75 years. By hosting this conference, it is simply acknowledging that this conflict continues to be one of the defining dilemmas of our time, and one that deserves attention, especially at a center of education such as Rice University. 


OPINION 4/18/23 9:38pm

Baker Institute must cancel ‘Israel at 75’ conference

This year marks the 75th year since the horrific events of the Nakba began. Al-Nakba, an Arabic phrase meaning ‘The Catastrophe,’ refers to Israel’s ethnic cleansing and violent dispossession of the Palestinian people and the establishment of the Zionist settler-colony. Between 1947 and 1949, 15,000 Palestinians were killed and over 750,000 were forcefully displaced by Zionist military forces to create the state of Israel. These events, cumulatively with the current violence perpetrated by the Zionist entity, have been characterized as genocide by Palestinian organizers, journalists, and activists working towards the liberation of their people from colonial rule.   


OPINION 4/18/23 9:15pm

Rectify Beer Bike results, or do away with them

In Beer Bike 2021, when there were four heats of three teams each, the Jones College men’s bike team finished with the fastest time of all the residential colleges, a net time that was at least three seconds faster than the Hanszen College men’s team–which was affirmed by the original results produced by the Rice Program Council, the entity that organizes Beer Bike – earning Jones men the uncontested first place finish they deserved. 


OPINION 4/11/23 11:58pm

Event security needs to be bolstered

As a large and diverse community, Rice University offers numerous opportunities for students to socialize and have fun outside the classroom. Some of the more notable events are the student-run public parties. However, in recent years, there has been a trend and movement to push for increased safety at such social events. While I acknowledge that maintaining tradition is important, it is time for Rice University to take more proactive approaches to ensure the safety of its students at social events such as publics.


OPINION 3/7/23 10:05pm

The Student Association is DEAD, long live the Student Association!

The Student Association in this past year has been disappointing to say the least; the discourse and lack of engagement I have seen reflects that disappointment. The Student Association’s reckoning has been a long time coming. The organization is in need of urgent reform in order to be more receptive to all the students it represents.


OPINION 3/7/23 10:03pm

Rice should expand free laundry detergent sheets program

Over the past year, Rice has piloted a partnership with Generation Conscious, offering zero-waste and toxic-free, refillable laundry detergent sheets to students during a pilot program at Hanszen College. The program consists of a central dispenser, in which students can refill a reusable container with 10 individual sheets at a time. These sheets are packaging free and plastic-free, and require 97% less water and 95% less carbon to produce and distribute than the average leading detergent. 


OPINION 2/28/23 10:47pm

The case for letting the SA burn

In his 1995 essay “The Case for Letting Malibu Burn,” historian Mike Davis advocates for a “controlled burn” of the opulent — and wildfire-prone — California city. Continuing to pour resources into attempts at shielding Malibu from the natural fire cycle, Davis argues, is an unsustainable practice with numerous opportunity costs to the greater community.


OPINION 2/28/23 10:46pm

It’s time for Rice to be serious about its climate pledges

Rice is not serious enough about its climate pledges. On February 11, when Rice’s campus was enmeshed by the Rice Marriage Pact, Rice’s 2030 Carbon Neutral pledge celebrated its one year anniversary. Rice hasn’t yet published any progress towards emissions reduction or other sustainability metrics. Missing data is not just an administrative inaction, but reveals how the pledges are actually built on flawed “net zero” frameworks and problematic “carbon offsets.” What counts as carbon emissions? Do historical emissions count? How about the increasing social cost of carbon? Rice must make a public commitment to publishing measurable sustainability goals and data and supporting student-led sustainability initiatives. 



OPINION 2/14/23 11:39pm

Focus on the science

Over the past year, the back-and-forth between science educator Professor Dave and Rice’s own James Tour has reached a new level of fervor, accompanied by name-calling, accusations of dishonesty and hordes of angry YouTube comments. To Professor Dave, Dr. Tour misunderstands origin-of-life research and purposely misrepresents the field.  Dr. Tour, on the other hand, claims his issues with OOL are based on the science itself and expresses concern that the public and students are misled about OOL research. Beneath all the incivility are two people who seem to care very deeply about science and science education. I encourage the Rice community to focus on the science itself, not any of the personal attacks.


OPINION 1/31/23 10:53pm

Will Rice adapt to AI or be left at its mercy?

ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is a form of artificial intelligence technology that has been growing in popularity amongst students, especially those in academia. Rice University has seen a recent surge in students utilizing ChatGPT to help them in their coursework, raising questions about its usefulness and appropriate usage. 


OPINION 1/17/23 11:47pm

Too many people are comfortable with their fatphobia

On Dec. 21, the following message was posted on Fizz:  “Fat people are disgusting and I’m tired of people like you sugar coating it saying it’s ok. If you don’t want to be disgusting eat healthier and go to the gym. Yes of course some people will have it harder than others but that’s life, that doesn’t mean you get to hide under your ‘genetics’ and pretend you don’t look disgusting when you’re clearly obese and unhealthy.” 


OPINION 11/29/22 11:00pm

Is using Fizz worth sacrificing our Culture of Care?

The social media app Fizz made its way to our campus earlier this semester, offering an anonymous discussion platform for exchanging messages and memes amongst Rice students. In recent weeks, antisemitic and racist posts were made by members of our community on this app. It is entirely hateful and dangerously intolerant. 


OPINION 11/15/22 10:21pm

Where we must agree: the politics of humanness

The words “free speech” will likely elicit groans from Thresher readers. Over the last three years, there have been three articles in the Opinion section bemoaning the need for a “classically liberal” political discourse at Rice. Unfortunately, between their self-righteousness and needless wordiness, they read more like whiny lectures than conversation starters. However, despite their condescension, their existence does suggest something unsettling about not just our campus politics, but politics at large. As the electorates of democracies around the world have become more sharply divided, the way we speak to each other, not just across the aisle but to our similarly minded partisans, has become more accusatory, exclusionary and violent. Put simply: we do not want to talk to each other, and understandably so. It is exhausting, and, more than that, we just don’t seem to know how to.


OPINION 11/8/22 11:39pm

The Honor Council needs to act more responsibly

For the past year, I have served as an at-large representative on the Rice Honor Council. I have sat through dozens of cases, read hundreds of pages of evidence and spent countless hours working to improve the transparency and fairness of the Honor System. While there are a myriad of issues with the Honor System, as there are with any institutional system, there is one in particular that needs to be addressed with expediency. The Honor Council is currently not an effective deliberative body due to the general lack of engagement from some of its members, which include elected representatives.