Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Monday, November 28, 2022 — Houston, TX

Guest Opinion


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. 


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.