Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Saturday, February 24, 2024 — Houston, TX


NEWS 10/1/14 3:51am

Forum on Ferguson draws large crowd

A panel of faculty, staff and students held a town hall discussion entitled “Mobilizing Student Dialogue: What happened in Ferguson? Could it happen here?” to address the shooting of Michael Brown. The event, sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Center for Civic Leadership, had more people in attendance than could be seated at Farnsworth Pavillion. Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot by Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9. His death led to protests and continued unrest. According to Felicia Martin, Associate Director of the CCL, the purpose of the town hall was to create a safe space for diverse perspectives and inquiry.“We hope that this conversation will inspire you all to challenge your own assumptions and the assumptions that your peers might have about some of these issues,” Martin said. Donald Bowers II (Hanszen ‘91), Association of Rice Alumni Board President, served as the moderator for the conversation. The event was divided into two parts; in the first, panelists presented on police brutality against people of color and, in the second, panelists answered audience questions. Associate professor of history Alexander Byrd discussed the history of the killing of African-American youth in American history, according to Bowers. Byrd said students should educate themselves as scholar-activists.“The methods of social control and the violence meted out to so-called New Negroes in the late 19th century is of a kind of similar type of violence that is often meted out to African-Americans now,” Byrd said. “I don’t think that 2014, in this context, is a new era.”Associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese Luis Duno-Guttberg discussed criminalization of minorities and mass incarceration, as well as racial profiling.“Racial profiling rests in a visual regime, [fed] by a series of cultural discourses that fit into seeing the other as the criminal,” Duno-Guttberg said. “This is not connected to a single policeman who is racist. There is a whole history that constructs that whole visual regime.”Rice University Police Department Chief Johnny Whitehead said there are reasons other than bias to explain why events such as the Ferguson shooting occur, including poor training, lack of equipment, poor recruitment processes and lack of accountability when these events do occur. Whitehead also said he encourages students to know their rights during police encounters.“There are some things that we can do when we have an encounter with a police officer, in terms of how we react,” Whitehead said. “Make sure that you’re doing everything to keep the encounter safe as well.”The three student panelists included Rice Democrats Outreach Co-Chair James Carter, Women’s Resource Center Wellness Coordinator Michelle Pham and Will Rice College junior Abraham Younes.“I’m proud to be black, but in recent years, being black has been something that has scared me a lot,” Carter said. “With what happened to Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, it scares me that I can step outside my home and not come back because of some miscommunication, whether I made it or whether someone else [mis]understood it.”Younes said a night when he was jaywalking and was passed by police caused him to draw parallels between his life and Brown’s. Brown had been walking in the the street when he was shot. “How many more black boys and brown boys have to die before we realize that this is not about one cop?” Younes said. Several audience members contributed to the discussion, causing the event to run longer than its planned 90 minutes.Paige Polk, a Martel College senior, said she grew up surrounded by black males who were taught to regulate their behavior around authority figures and assumed that females were immune to discrimination. Polk said the discussion had been geared toward black and Latino men.“Are the conversations we’re having about black and brown men because they do face more targeted oppression, or is it implicit of sexism?” Polk said.Batter responded to Polk with a discussion on how men of color may behave a certain way in the presence of authority, and how social rules are taught to children. According to Batter, the way people of color must be aware of their behaviors from an early age indicates it has become their responsibility to respond to prejudice.“Quite frankly, although I appreciate the comments about ‘This is what I have to do when I walk into a store,’ you shouldn’t have to do those things,” Batter said. “Nobody should have to do those things. If men are being told you have to do this so you don’t get killed, know that it’s your responsibility, that’s unconscionable. ”Carter spoke after the event about engaging students who do not feel involved in issues such as Brown’s shooting.“While you might look at a situation and say this has nothing to do with me, I’m not a black, young male in Missouri, that doesn’t mean that you or the people you care about are not affected,” Carter said. “Everyone is affected when things like this happen.”

NEWS 10/1/14 3:50am

SA discusses bill to create task force on education

The Student Association is considering a bill that will create a task force to examine the future of education at Rice University. Trent Navran, the SA Executive Vice President, introduced the bill to create the Rice Education of the Future task force at the Sept. 24 student senate meeting; the bill will be put up for vote at the senate meeting today, Wednesday, Oct. 1.Navran said the idea to form and chair the REF task force arose from discussions about the Rice experience that occurred during the centennial, such as the Student Vision for the Second Century.“Going as far back as the centennial ... one of the key priorities we wanted to emphasize [was] advancing the Rice education,” Navran, a McMurtry College senior, said. “[Students] came up with really neat ideas that weren’t really acted upon ... so we were kind of thinking about how we want to spend the year as a student association and … came to the conclusion that we could really benefit from focusing on the Rice experience, how we as a student government could advance it.”The task force plans to discuss integrating co- and extracurricular opportunities into the curriculum, promoting social impact, connecting Rice with the Houston community and adding value to the Rice education in the face of changes in digital education, among other topics.Navran began the process by collecting opinions on the Rice education from graduating seniors at the end of last year. He said the importance of co- and extracurricular activities emerged as a theme during those discussions.“A lot of people remark that they did all these cool things outside of the classroom despite their Rice courseload,” Navran said. “At some point, I think it would be fantastic to see things a lot more in alignment, that the things you’re learning in class are related to the questions you’re asking and sharing with your friends at lunch, which is related to the extracurriculars you’re taking on and the problems you want to solve.”The task force will include 11 members: four at-large undergraduate representatives, one senator, one college president, four new student representatives and Navran. Navran said he wants to include students with different academic interests on the task force.“Whether it’s advancing entrepreneurship, changing physical spaces on campus to enhance collaboration, or changing degree requirements to emphasize a more experiential learning process, it would be ideal to grow our team’s interests and abilities by finding people on campus who are plugged into different academic areas,”Navran said.Online EducationThe first line of the bill states: “Whereas, the proliferation of digital technologies and Massive Open Online Courses has caused higher education institutions to continually rethink their value proposition regarding their offerings to students and communities.”Navran said the increasing relevance of Massive Open Online Courses, or ‘MOOCs,’ such as Coursera and edX, both of which Rice participate in, has forced colleges to reevaluate their value to students.“There’s a threatening aspect of MOOCs, which is you no longer need to go to a place like Rice for a quality computer science class or go to Princeton for a high quality history class; you can take them from those institutions for free on Coursera,” Navran said. “What that means for institutions like Rice is they can no longer say they’re offering an amazing academic experience; the value proposition has to shift.”Reid Whitaker, Executive Director of the Center for Digital Learning and Scholarship at Rice University, said he views MOOCs as supplements to the Rice education in the future, though not replacing it entirely.“Rice is an institution that prides itself on small classrooms and interactions, especially the relationship between teacher and student,” Whitaker said. “What I do think that will happen is we will see more ways in which students can complete different courses that may not be the essential pieces [of a Rice education].”Whitaker said MOOCs have the potential to increase the academic breadth of a Rice education through facilitating interaction with other universities.“What’s inside the hedges is the best, but reaching out there and connecting with other professors, other students at other universities ... can really enhance the experience for all students,” Whitaker said. “While we may have some limitations with Rice in terms of some co-curricular activities, MOOCs can provide an opportunity to research about all sorts of things.”According to Duncan College senior Brian Baran, MOOCs will not fundamentally affect the education Rice currently offers.“I think there’s a reasonable case to be made that higher education on the level that Rice is providing is about a lot more than the classroom experience and that the classroom experience is about much more than the lectures and assignments,” Baran said. “It’s also about being in the classroom with people from a variety of backgrounds and having quality discussions that can’t yet really take place in an online environment.”Whitaker said he also thought MOOCs will not be able to replace the core Rice classroomexperience.“I think that MOOCs will never replace that laboratory experience, the immediate live conversation, the non-verbal, the connections, the experience of college,” Whitaker said. “That can never be replaced by a MOOC, and it can never get to that level.”Moving ForwardBaran said he believes the bill should be reworded to make it clear that the task force does not presuppose specific changes should be made to the Rice education.“We should first be asking whether we need to fundamentally change the way we approach higher education, because the answer to that question determines the type of adaptations that we should be making to new technologies and opportunities,” Baran said. “I think the language of the bill implies that we have already determined that major changes need to be made, and that’s a question that the task force should first be asking and considering.”Jones College senior Lillian Seidel teaches a section of UNIV 110: First Year Foundations. She said Rice should try to incorporate leadership and extracurricular commitments into its curriculum, citing the Certificate in Civic Leadership as an example.“[Education should be] about personal development, and that was mentioned in Leebron’s Vision for the Second Century,” Seidel said. “That is something important to consider, especially when moving forward and planning the next century of what a Rice education is going to look like.”The bill states the REF task force will submit its members for approval on Oct. 8, hold town hall meetings and conversations in October and November, present progress updates on the Oct. 15, Nov. 5 and Nov. 9 senate meetings, present a document of findings at the Nov. 29 senate meeting, and submit the document to the administration’s Quality Education Task Force and Office of the President before Dec. 5. Navran said he hopes the conversations leading up to the creation of the document will be fruitful.“There are a lot of points where there is a lot of constructive data coming in, and this document will hopefully be the culmination of all of that,” Navran said. “I’m hoping that, along the way, there will be a lot of things that can inform faculty [and] administrators about what really does matter most to students.”

NEWS 10/1/14 3:48am

Show me the money: Honor Council blanket tax investigation stalls

After the Student Association Blanket Tax Standing Committee referred the Rice Honor Council to a Contingency Committee last spring for investigation into its finances, no further official follow-up has been pursued this year. As a blanket tax organization, Honor Council receives a blanket tax of $2.00 per student. All blanket tax organizations must submit a budget in the fall to the SA’s Blanket Tax Standing Committee for review. However, last fall, Honor Council declined to submit a budget for the 2013-14 year in a letter from former Internal Vice Chair Isabelle Lelogeais that outlined the organization’s expense report. “It is not possible for us to create a proposed budget, as our expenses are entirely dependent on factors beyond our control, such as the volume of cases we receive,” Lelogeais, a Jones College senior, said in the letter. The only fixed annual expense that Honor Council incurs, Lelogeais writes, is a changeover dinner that is a tradition for the organization. Despite admitting that the changeover dinner is an annual tradition, Honor Council did not include this expense in any of their reports since 2008 save one. The receipt for the 2013 changeover dinner indicates that Honor Council spent $1,400 on a meal for 30 people, which amounts to around $50 a person. In Lelogeais’ letter, however, she said the dinner is an important function for Honor Council. “While the price on this meal might seem very high ... it is a large number of people and it is essential for the organization,” Lelogeais writes. In the Blanket Tax Standing Committee meeting held last February, Honor Council maintained that its $29,000 in accumulated surplus and unspent revenue was necessary to cover unexpected costs, but it did not believe that a decrease in the blanket tax amount was needed, according to the Annual Review Report on the committee’s proceedings. Currently, based on the $2.00 per person blanket tax, Honor Council’s self-reported projected revenue for 2013-14 was $7,900.  “In its meeting with the committee, the Honor Council tended toward acknowledging that a blanket tax amount of $1.25 per student per year would be sufficient for the Honor Council to function from year to year while making adequate savings,” the report states. “However, the Honor Council declined to voluntarily request a decrease in funding.”In the Annual Review Form submitted by Honor Council, the organization stated that it received a blanket tax of $1.00 per student, which is half of the actual value. According to the Annual Review Report, Honor Council leadership did not know their organization’s actual blanket tax amount. “The Council acknowledged that past leadership has been unaware of its level of blanket tax funding,” the report states. “There has apparently been confusion as to whether the amount was $1.00 or $2.00 per student per year.”Honor Council released a projected budget for 2013-14 after its meeting with the Standing Committee. Of the $12,448.35 projected expenses, $9,291 was allocated for one-time expenses such as computers, tablets, a printer and a scanner. As per previous years, $1,500 was allocated for the changeover dinner (at $50 per person), as well as $250 worth of gifts from the Rice Bookstore for members. The budget also allocated $815.35 for sales tax on purchases, despite the fact that Rice is a tax-exempt organization. In a letter to the Standing Committee, Associate Dean of Undergraduates Donald Ostdiek said he supports Honor Council’s blanket tax level. ““I consider [Honor Council’s] use of its blanket tax funding to be appropriate, relevant to its purposes and consistent with its mission statement,” Ostdiek said in the letter.  According to Sid Richardson College President Nick Cornell, the Honor Council’s budget presented concerns over the amount of blanket tax funding the organization received. “Their operation expenditures are not really that high. In any given year, they do not have substantial fixed costs... most of it’s just variable costs, [such as] pens and [paper],” Cornell, a Sid Richardson College senior, said. “There was a concern that they were getting a fairly large blanket tax that can not possibly be spent on that much paper.”The Standing Committee referred Honor Council to a Blanket Tax Contingency Committee to further look into the organization’s funding. The purpose of the Contingency Committee, whose members were chosen last April, is to “conduct an in-depth review of Honor Council’s use of its blanket-tax funding,” according to an Executive Memorandum sent by SA President Ravi Sheth. “The end goal of the Contingency Committee is to determine Honor Council’s standing with regard to the blanket tax review criteria and...suggest a more appropriate level of funding,” Sheth, a Martel College senior, wrote in the memorandum. The Contingency Committee did not meet last year. The first meeting took place this September, but this meeting was invalidated because it wasn’t publicly announced and therefore violated the SA Constitution. Contingency Committee member Anastasia Bolshakov said she feels that a decision should have already been reached by now. “I think we should probably have already had a decision by this point, since the blanket tax process has started all over again,” Bolshakov said. “I think there are still a lot of questions about the [SA] Constitution. How we’re supposed to proceed is unclear.” A contingency committee has never been formed under the current blanket tax review process.“It’s a really hard process to go through, because there’s never been a contingency committee before,” Bolshakov said. According to the SA Constitution, a blanket tax organization needs to be found in violation by the Contingency Committee three years in a row before a change in the blanket tax level can be implemented. Cornell, who currently serves on the SA’s blanket tax pod, said this system is not feasible. “In practice this doesn’t work, because we are students and we only have a four year lifespan at Rice,” Cornell said. “Finding a group in violation three years across administration when we’re only here for like four years overall is just incredibly challenging to do.”Cornell said one the issues that the pod is looking into is potential reforms to the process so that is easier for students to implement changes to the blanket tax levels that they voted on. “The blanket tax  is a draconian process for all parties involved,” Cornell said.  “It involves a ridiculous amount of paper work and a ridiculous amount of work reviewing the paperwork and numbers year after and year only to arrive at results that don’t mean anything.”According to University Court Chair Brian Baran, the blanket tax review process as a form of student oversight is essential.“The SA leadership has been very good at advocating for its role in oversight of the blanket tax, but that needs to be accompanied by better following through on that oversight,” Baran said. “What’s the point of having an annual review if we don’t follow up on problems that it identifies?”Honor Council could not be reached for comment. 

NEWS 9/25/14 7:29am

Pod structure to encourage discussion

The Rice University Student Association is employing a new group structure, referred to as a pod, to address four presidents’ topics of interests: the LPAP requirement, campus-wide election timelines, campus-wide announcements and calendars and the blanket tax process, according to SA President Ravi Sheth.“I can't possibly claim to know the solution to these topics –– or if there is any current problem with them at all –– so I am asking small groups of four or five students to consider these topics and provide recommendations to [the] Student Senate as to how to proceed,” Sheth, a Martel College senior, said.According to Sheth, each pod will focus on a different topic.“These small groups are open to any student, and the college leadership have been asked to [inform] any relevant students who are interested in working on these issues that they can join,” Sheth said.According to Sheth, the four topics originated from discussions with different groups on campus.“In a given week, I have 15-20 hours of meetings and hundreds of emails, with groups ranging from students [such as] college presidents, senators [and] SA committees, to faculty, staff and administrators,” Sheth said. “These issues have come up in these settings or discussed informally with students.”Lovett College President Meghan Davenport said she thinks all four topics are equally important. Davenport, a senior, said she is interested in participating in the pod focused on the blanket tax process.“I think it is very important to examine the processes through which people can get funding for campus-wide initiatives,” Davenport said. “I know the staff of the Student Center does great work with that already, but even they are constrained if the process is not ideal. I have seen more and more campus-wide organizations coming to the colleges for funding, which may be okay in the short term to test out ideas if the college approves but is not a sustainable solution. It is not a good practice for the colleges to be allocating money to things that they ultimately have minimal oversight on.”University Court Chair Brian Baran said he also thinks it is important to discuss the blanket tax process because the blanket tax system allocates a huge amount of students’ money.“It's certainly worth discussing whether there's a better system for allocating those student funds in order to maximize the value they provide to the Rice community, both in terms of what organizations accomplish with them and how accessible they are to organizations deserving of student funding,” Baran, a Duncan College senior, said.Baran said he thinks the campuswide election timeline is an equally important topic.“Election timelines impact just about every student and student organization at Rice and connect to a lot of other important discussions, such as how we can make it as feasible as possible for students to study abroad,” Baran said.According to Sheth, the pod focused on the LPAP requirement will discuss whether the current requirement is in line with its original mission and possible alternatives. The pod for campus-wide announcements and calendars will discuss whether the status quo is efficient and whether a campus-wide calendar will improve the situation.Sheth said he expects the pods to provide recommendations to the SA on how these four areas should move forward.“This will be an efficient way for us to quickly gauge opinions on these issues and potential for future changes, while also making sure what we are doing is in line with what students want, and not just what I or our leadership wants,” Sheth said.Baran said he supports the idea of pods because it engages people with a strong interest to start a discussion on the topics that could lead to more formal consideration.“Because the Student Senate tends to have a crowded agenda with topics that have been raised by the administration or are the subject of legislation, it's hard to find time to discuss topics that haven't yet developed to that point,” Baran said. “The pod system is a beneficial expansion of the SA's ability to gather and structure student input and, thus, to accomplish something valuable to the student body.”According to Sheth, he will appoint the groups of students for each topic at the SA meeting on Sept. 24, and the groups will present their initial recommendations at the Oct. 8 SA meeting.

NEWS 9/25/14 7:27am

Jones School of Business develops Masters of Accounting program

The Jones School of Business is launching a new Master of Accounting program that will earn students their Master of Accounting degree in one year. Rice previously offered the MAcc program, but it dissolved in the late 90s due to lack of student interest and lack of a need for this type of program in the accounting field at the time, according to Program Director Benjamin Lansford.

NEWS 9/25/14 7:18am

RUPD to begin notifying before towing vehicles

Students, faculty and staff will be notified before their vehicle is towed for parking in an unauthorized parking lot as of Sept. 15. According to the Rice University Police Department Chief of Police Johnny Whitehead, this policy applies to registered vehicles left in unauthorized parking lots for more than two days.

NEWS 9/25/14 6:58am

Competition prompts boba sale limits

Rice University student clubs need to start looking for new fundraising ideas, due to new limits placed on boba tea sales this academic year. According to Rice Taiwanese Association President Tim Chang, three years ago the only clubs that sold boba tea were the Chinese Student Association and RTA. Chang, a McMurtry College senior, said when other clubs discovered the $200 profits boba tea fundraisers were raising, they started to sell boba tea as well, creating competition over boba tea customers amongst clubs.

NEWS 9/17/14 5:36pm

Rice responds to national divestment trend

In an email sent to the Rice Environmental Club on Sept. 3, Club President Hutson Chilton said the club would, among other initiatives and if members were interested, enact a campaign to encourage the university to withdraw from, or divest of, fossil fuel investments, following a trend at other American private universities.

NEWS 9/17/14 5:33pm

Working group looks to students

The Working Group on University Responses to Federal Initiatives on Sexual Assault continues to seek student opinion on the new sexual assault policy, according to Associate Vice Provost Matthew Taylor. Taylor and Lovett College President Meghan Davenport, the student representative of the working group, gauged opinions at the Student Association Senate meeting on Sept. 10.

NEWS 9/17/14 5:22pm

RUPD launches new radio system

The Rice University Police Department launched a new digital two-way radio communications system, marking the end of an extensive two-year collaborative endeavor between RUPD, Facilities Engineering and Planning and Rice IT. According to RUPD Chief Johnny Whitehead, the changes seek to improve communication across campus and with Houston’s Police and Fire Departments.Before the switch, which occurred on Sept. 9, the same radio communications system had been implemented for more than 15 years and presented multiple challenges for RUPD, according to Whitehead.“We had been experiencing some issues with scratchy transmissions and dead spots on campus,” Whitehead said. “[The old system] presented a safety issue to our officers.”According to Whitehead, the switch was also prompted by the City of Houston’s Police Department’s radio communications upgrade that went live last October.“In the past, we had communications with [HPD], but when they went to their new radio system, we lost the ability to communicate with them,” Whitehead said.The findings of a 2012 campus-wide radio study presented two options: building a new radio infrastructure on campus or going to a digital system. RUPD decided to join the city’s radio system, which was already in place, rather than begin an independent project.“The radio project team met with all the radio users on campus including FE&P, Athletics, Housing and Dining, and Transportation to identify their needs,” Whitehead said. “There was a consensus that only the public safety agencies, RUPD, Rice [Emergency Medical Services] and Environmental Health and Safety, should go to the new digital radios.”According to Deigaard, the new system also communication with on-campus departments as well as with off-campus public safety agencies such as the Houston Police and Fire Departments and the University of Texas Police in the Texas Medical Center.“It used to be that dispatch could only listen to one radio channel,” Deigaard said. “[Rice] is not a little stand-alone island anymore. We are now part of a large collective.”

NEWS 9/17/14 5:21pm

Rice among most diverse colleges

The New York Times placed Rice University on a list of the most economically diverse top colleges, calculating a College Access Index based on the number of freshmen coming from Pell Grant families in recent years and on the net price of attendance for low and middle class families.Director of Student Financial Services Anne Walker said Rice is ranked 18th on Pell Grants in the country. “The Pell Grant basically goes to the neediest students,” Walker said. “These are extremely low-income families, and that has been kind of a tool to measure economic diversity. At schools like Rice, and those in our cohort [Consortium on Financing Higher Education], we have middle income students who still have excessive need.”Walker said because Rice covers 100 percent of unmet need, Pell Grant recipients get generous packages and have to pay little out of pocket to Rice.“We don’t package loans for them,” Walker said. “They’ll have a small work study, $2500, if they choose to use that.”However, Walker said the Pell Grant is not the largest part of the aid package.“The largest part of the package comes from Rice,” Walker said.According to Walker, if tuition increases and a family’s income has not changed, Rice covers the difference. However, she said if a family’s income goes up, or circumstances such as one child graduating college — making it so that a family no longer has two college students — change, then a family may not get as generous a package.“The expected family contribution takes in lots of things — income, kids in college, some assets, not many, but [if] the Expected Family Contribution is below, they’ll receive a Pell Grant,” Walker said. Walker said the Office of Financial Aid does not provide loans for families with incomes under $80,000. “Many of those families do not receive Pell [Grants], so we’ve said for us, low income at Rice means under $80,000,” Walker said.According to Walker, a lot of families look at their finances differently and each situation is unique. “Families that have high consumer debt, we don’t take that into consideration,” Walker said. “Families who pay for private high schools, we don’t take that into consideration. Families do have some costs, that when we’re looking at packaging them for aid, we may not consider, and rightfully so.”Walker said economic diversity means diversity in all areas for the Office of Financial Aid. “[It means] social diversity, racial diversity, ethnic diversity,” Walker said. Duncan College sophomore Iqra Dada said she is not surprised Rice is on the list, because demographically, she believes Rice has a lot of variety in students’ background.“[It’s] because of the amazing job the [Office of Financial Aid] does in making college affordable for low-income students,” Dada said.

NEWS 9/17/14 5:18pm

LoL and Smash networks emerge

Rice LoL ClubEach year, a few passionate Rice University students take the initiative to create their own clubs. This year, students have formed Rice’s first  electronic sports club, called the Rice LoL club. According to Club President Tung Nguyen, the club has obtained approval from Assistant Director of Student Activities Julie Neisler and seeks to unite students across campus who play League of Legends.Nguyen, a Sid Richardson College junior, said the club currently has 108 members and has previously organized intramural events.“Our mission is to bring people with similar interests together through tournaments and similar events,” Nguyen said. According to Nguyen, last year, the Rice LoL club participated in ivyLoL’s open league and the collegiate star league, competitions in which the club plays groups from other universities. According to the ivyLol ranking website, last year Rice’s team was ranked fifth in its division, which contained 43 teams. Rice Smash CommunityLast semester, Brian Lee, the external vice president of Rice LoL club, created the Rice Smash Community, a Facebook community for Rice students who enjoy competitively playing Super Smash Bros., a popular fighting game on Nintendo video game consoles.According to Lee, a Jones College junior, the group currently has 64 members and organizes meetups and tournaments.“Our community exists to provide friendly competition for every skill level, from the newest players to the best players in the region,” Lee said. “A few of our members often attend the weekly tournaments run in Pasadena, and our sessions here are meant to help us stand up a little better against Mojo, the number one player in Texas.”According to Lee, the Rice Smash Community has no intentions of becoming an official club in the near future and currently exists solely for students to enjoy playing the game with other students on campus.

NEWS 9/17/14 5:17pm

Printing costs increase $.01

The cost for printing a standard black-and-white page has increased to $0.07 after remaining at $0.06 for a decade, Manager of Information Technologies Technical Communications Carlyn Chatfield said in a campuswide email on Sept. 9. Other printing charges remain the same.“The new charge begins on Sept. 15, 2014, and will allow Rice University to continue meeting the rising cost of printing in the colleges and other student labs,” the email states.The price increase is necessary for a sustainable budget, according to Director for IT Business Services and Planning Yemeen Rahman.“Our goal is to maintain a printing budget which can sustain printers, supplies, maintenance and support,” Rahman said. IT Director for Systems Architecture Infrastructure and Cloud Strategy Barry Ribbeck said the increase is due to a larger student body.“Three years ago, we began evaluating options to outsource the lab printing service, but thus far, the projected expense to the students is higher,” Ribbeck said.

NEWS 9/17/14 5:14pm

Software failure crashes network

The three major Rice University wireless networks, Rice Visitors, Rice Owls and Eduroam, crashed due to software failure, according to Director of Rice Networking, Telecom and Data Center William Deigaard. “It went down in a strange way,” Deigaard said. “The three major SSID that we offered [were] all completely down, which is incredibly rare.”According to Deigaard, Rice uses thin-client centralized control architecture, which means two pairs of controllers serve as the brains of more than 1500 wireless access points on campus. “There is some large, powerful equipment that lives at the [center] of the network,” Deigaard said. “All the access points around the campus are connected to [the controller and] if that crashes, it can take down a very large number of access points.”Normally, the crash of a controller can be remedied by moving access points from the crashed controller to the other controller in the same pair, but in this crash, a software bug paralyzed both controllers. Deigaard said network engineers worked through the night of Sept. 4 to upgrade the wireless controller to a newer version. “We patched it to the newer version the next morning,” Deigaard said. “It took longer than we hoped, [but[ we have been stable since [Sept. 4].”Rachel Gray, a Lovett College junior, said she thinks the performance of the wireless network is not as satisfying as last semester. “The Wi-Fi has been more unstable than my ex-boyfriend,” Gray said. “Jokes aside, I’ve had more problems with it this semester than previous semesters. I haven’t personally noticed a decrease in speed, but the communication will drop suddenly.”According to Deigaard, having many users in one area consuming too much bandwidth can lead to a spotty Wi-Fi connection.“If moving improves [the connection], then congestion was likely the issue,” Deigaard said. “If, however, people find particular areas that never work, we want to know that. When folks have issues like this, they need to bring the machine to [IT Helpdesk] or our networking team can take a look.”Lead Student Computer Consultant at the IT Help Desk Galen Schmidt said the most common issues he sees for Wi-Fi problems are bad drivers and bad certificates. “The drivers for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 weren’t very good when they were released,” Schmidt, a Duncan College senior, said. “Updating the drivers helped in many cases....Some of the updates to Macs have caused certificate problems.”