Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Thursday, May 23, 2024 — Houston, TX

Letters To The Editor

OPINION 4/2/24 11:50pm

Letter to the Editor: Student Association’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions resolution is antisemitic

The March 26, 2024 Thresher article “Senate debates resolution to boycott, divest SA funds from Israel-aligned companies” does not accurately or completely characterize my opposition to S.RES 02 as I expressed during the March 25 Student Association meeting. S.RES 02 empowers an “ethical spending advisory board” to prevent student organizations from spending Blanket Tax funding on corporations deemed to be “complicit in the violation of the human rights guaranteed to Palestinian civilians.” Because Rice University’s Jewish student cultural organizations are inextricably connected to the State of Israel through programming and professional staff, there is no protection that Blanket Tax funding would be withheld from these student organizations, should the resolution pass.

OPINION 2/27/24 10:17pm

Beyond Fondy 24/7: advocating for fairness

An editorial “24/7 Fondy presents more cons than pros” published Jan. 16 raised valid concerns about the potential drawbacks of Fondren Library operating 24/7. However, this argument barely scratches the surface, overlooking a critical aspect — the well-being of the dedicated staff who operate the library. 

OPINION 1/9/24 11:04pm

Letter to the Editor: Trafficking is a central feminist issue

Last semester, International Justice Mission’s anti-trafficking fashion Interwoven was featured in the Thresher. The article concluded with a call from me imploring Rice students to consider the connections between social issues they care about and human trafficking. I am writing today to expand upon that call to action and to mobilize the campus to consider trafficking more deeply. 

OPINION 11/28/23 10:39pm

Letter to the Editor: Pro-autonomy after Roe: what the life debate ignores

When “Pro-Life After Roe” was published in the Thresher, we were in the midst of finalizing a semester-long report on the state of reproductive rights in Texas. We had spent the day compiling firsthand accounts of the panic, pain and trauma produced by abortion bans. It felt necessary to address the guest opinion and confront the harms of abortion restrictions. 

OPINION 11/10/23 6:07pm

Letter to the Editor: Free speech at Rice should support open dialogue, not dangerous rhetoric

In the article “‘All out for Palestine’ protest sees 2,000 at Houston City Hall” from Oct. 17, Associate Vice Provost Catherine Clack discusses the Rice Students for Justice in Palestine sign-making event at the Multicultural Center in the wake of the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel. She states “... how is this something that we should oppose when it's an exercise of free speech?”  I respect the complexity of issues related to the Middle East and recognize the importance of representing a spectrum of views. But while free speech is a cornerstone of academic discourse, it is imperative that we distinguish between fostering open dialogue and supporting dangerous rhetoric.

OPINION 11/1/23 12:37am

Letter to the Editor: No feminism without sex positivity

Last week’s Thresher included a guest opinion objecting to the 2023 Night of Decadence theme, “NODie Dreamhouse: Cum On Barbie, Let’s Get NODy.” I applaud the article’s authors for their commitment to challenging latent and linguistically-embedded sexism in their campus community — everything around us, even something as silly and salacious as a NOD theme, can and should be examined for carried biases and perpetuated marginalizations. But “Cum on Barbie” is not one of those cases.

OPINION 2/21/23 10:17pm

ChatGPT is far from the villain it’s made out to be.

Last week’s issue of the Thresher included a letter to the editor that discussed the use of ChatGPT by Rice students. Felicity talks about how the reason we came to Rice was “to grow as a student and individual,” and I believe that in this regard, they are absolutely correct. Where she errs is when she implies throughout the article that this growth and intellectual stimulation are completely incompatible with the use of ChatGPT as an online tool. She is most certainly not the only one who holds that view. Many professors at Rice and across the world are currently grappling with how to handle the rise of A.I. I firmly believe that ChatGPT does have a place in academia and that the vast majority of Rice students are using ChatGPT in a positive manner that actually contributes to their educational pursuits. 

OPINION 2/14/23 11:37pm

Letter to the Editor: When you talk about AI, remember what we’re in school for

Yes, this article was written by a real person. The most recent issue of the Thresher included an opinion piece about the use of the artificial intelligence technology ChatGPT in academic contexts. The article, which was generated by the program itself as a display of its writing capabilities, highlighted ChatGPT’s efficiency and usefulness for “students at Rice University who are short on time and need to quickly finish an assignment.” As Rice and many universities grapple with AI’s place in their classrooms and plagiarism policies, I want to contribute a perspective that I found absent in the original article: efficiency is not the point of higher education.

OPINION 1/10/23 9:48pm

Letter to the Editor: Rice isn’t pro-choice until it supports both choices

A choice, by definition, must be between two or more possibilities. As I read about Rice’s Reproductive Health Working Group in the Thresher’s Nov. 30 Special Project, I’m struck by the fact that only one response to student pregnancy was presented. Reproductive health is not limited to contraceptives and abortions, but also includes prenatal, postnatal and maternal care and it is critical that the RHWG include these elements in their priorities. For Rice to be pro-choice means that it supports students regardless of their choice, and while some might choose to procure an abortion, others may choose to keep their child. 

OPINION 10/4/22 11:22pm

Letter to the Editor: Satire is not an excuse for discrimination

Two Wednesdays ago, instead of ending my weekly Thresher reading with a laugh, I was shocked to see a piece that included the Bible and prayer in order to mock a Christian professor on campus. Turning to other Christian students and Rice parents, I found similar shared disappointment and sadness. Myself and others sent emails to the Thresher explaining why we found this piece distasteful and discriminatory. We were answered only with an editorial published Sept. 27  saying, in essence: it’s satire, so take a joke. 

OPINION 10/4/22 11:22pm

Letter to the Editor: The Career Expo is not a one-size-fits-all

The Center for Career Development thanks Wills Rutherford for his time as a Peer Career Advisor at Rice, providing students with career guidance, and we congratulate him on securing his job from the Rice Expo. Responding to his opinion piece, “The Rice career fair fails Rice students,” I’ll elaborate upon the factors employers consider when deciding whether to participate in Rice career expos, the overall recruiting environment and the process Rice students should pursue when seeking employment. 

OPINION 3/22/22 11:07pm

Letter to the Editor: On fairness and trans-inclusivity in athletics

On Feb. 2, 2022, the Thresher published an opinion advocating for Seth Huston to undergo allyship training in response to his comments on trans-women’s participation in women’s sports. While I whole-heartedly endorse several of the authors’ key claims — such as their opposition to House Bill 25 — their interpretation of evidence regarding the effects of hormone therapy on trans-athletes lacks appropriate context, serving as a reminder to critically evaluate evidence in politically fraught discourse.   

OPINION 10/19/21 10:26pm

Re-assessing the marketplace of ideas

On Oct. 5, 2021, the Thresher published a guest opinion written by David Getter lamenting the erosion of freedom of expression at Rice. In the interest of embracing Getter’s call for reasoned discourse, I would like to offer a response to the claims made in the piece. 

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 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.