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Tuesday, April 13, 2021 — Houston, TX 80°

Opinion


OPINION 4/6/21 9:35pm

We still need to care about voter suppression in a post-Trump America

Just a couple of months ago, Gov. Greg Abbott declared “election integrity” to be an emergency item for the 2021 Texas legislative session. This was promptly followed by the National Republican Party launching a committee to pursue state election laws, praising Abbott’s initiative. With Senate Bill 7 (SB 7) and its House equivalent (HB 6), in addition to other bills directed at restricting voting access like House Bill 2293, marginalized groups will be further restricted from their right to vote. Shift workers who rely on later voting place hours will be without options. Individuals with disabilities who require vote-by-mail will be burdened with providing proof of their condition. Drive-thru voting will be banned. The role of poll watchers, already infamous for attracting self-appointed vigilantes of voter intimidation, will be able to record voters who receive help filling out their ballots. 


OPINION 4/6/21 9:19pm

Willy Week no more: Students have the power to distance from William Marsh Rice

This year’s Beer Bike Week looks quite different from years past, even in name. Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman encouraged Beer Bike coordinators to rename Willy Week to reflect the different nature of the event due to COVID restrictions. Individual college Beer Bike coordinators chose a variety of new, college-specific names; many told the Thresher that they were further motivated to change the name to distance their college from William Marsh Rice and that they may carry the name change into future years. Coordinators’ swift renaming of Willy Week reminds us that students have a lot of power at this university — and that we can and should use it to foster a Rice community that we’re proud of.


OPINION 3/30/21 9:56pm

Student Association committees deserve more from students

Rice students don’t pay attention to the Student Association. This is clear from recent Thresher coverage on the low voter turnout during the SA election and students’ inability to identify the people they “elected” to the executive team. If it weren’t for current SA President Kendall Vining’s encouragement to apply for Academics Committee chair last year, I would have fallen into that category too. I learned that although the SA is designed to represent and empower all student voices regardless of whether they hold a formal SA position in order to better our campus and broader Houston community, it struggles with apathy (or worse, alienation) and a lack of participation. 


OPINION 3/30/21 9:49pm

The twelfth residential college is a clean slate

Earlier this week, Rice’s Board of Trustees announced that they had approved a measure that, by 2025, will expand the undergraduate student body by 20 percent and add another residential college to Rice’s campus, giving us an even dozen. It is the latter announcement that struck us as particularly noteworthy, as the addition of a residential college is not all that common. Rice has added residential colleges twice in the last 20 years: Martel College in 2002 and McMurtry and Duncan Colleges in 2009. If you’re thinking that’s not all that long ago, keep in mind that 2009 was the first year Silly Bandz were sold in stores. With the addition of a twelfth college, we thought it pertinent to point out that a lot can change in 12 years, be it culturally or socially, and that Rice has the opportunity to capitalize on the blank slate that is this soon-to-be-named college.


OPINION 3/27/21 5:31pm

The statue is only a starting point

I believe Willy’s Statue should go, but I feel that much more than that is needed. I believe the ideal solution to the fate of the statue and the future of racial equity at Rice is to begin a holistic program to acknowledge, address and atone for our university's racism, past and present. 


OPINION 3/23/21 10:27pm

When reporting on anti-Asian violence, journalists need to prioritize Asian voices and hold racists accountable

Last Tuesday, a white man took the lives of eight people in a series of mass shootings at three spas and massage parlors in the Atlanta area. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent. The event was horrific, as is the general trend it belongs to of rising anti-Asian violence in the U.S. over the past year. We write this with a heavy heart for the victims, their loved ones, and the Asian community at large. As a student newspaper, we feel the need to discuss the racist, dangerous choices many media organizations have made over the past week, and commit to doing better.


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. 


OPINION 3/22/21 8:08pm

Rice should be a place where the “model minority” myth is broken

Rice University prides itself in its diversity, so there is no excuse for Rice to be a place that continues to fail in actively working to break the “model minority” myth. Rice must actively educate themselves on the history of oppression and racism against API and show true solidarity with their API students by expanding the scope of their resources and diversity initiatives to include API.


OPINION 3/16/21 10:20pm

What we’ve learned from publishing a newspaper in a pandemic

For the past year, people have been using the message “we’re all in this together” to help us feel less isolated in the shared traumatic experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. While all of our lives have been touched by the pandemic, it has also affected each of us differently, at different times and in different degrees. Some of us stayed in Houston, while others went back to our hometowns. Some of us stayed inside, isolated from other people, while others had to work in-person jobs as essential workers. Some of us watched our loved ones suffer from afar after they contracted the virus and some of us contracted it ourselves. For this editorial, the Thresher editorial board is reflecting on our experience of the pandemic as a newspaper staff and finding out why the work we do continues to be worthwhile despite the challenges. 


OPINION 3/9/21 9:40pm

From the editor’s desk: What I’ve learned from a year of online learning

“All classes moving online.” These four words headlined an historic email sent on March 12, 2020, the day when the Rice administration announced that campus would be evacuated for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester and the classroom experience would fundamentally change for an ever growing amount of time. On the one year anniversary of Rice and other universities’ move to online learning, it is worth reflecting upon this once-foreign experience and critically considering the future direction of education upon the pandemic’s conclusion.  


OPINION 3/9/21 9:38pm

Second doses of the vaccine are coming soon. The Rice community should be prepared.

Last month, over 800 members of the Rice community received a surprise first dose of the Moderna vaccine, which was provided by the Harris County Public Health Department after a power outage caused vaccines to unexpectedly defrost. Individuals who were vaccinated on campus are slated to receive their second dose on March 22. It is imperative that students and administration adequately prepare for hundreds of Rice community members to receive their second doses in the coming weeks.


OPINION 3/9/21 9:38pm

Second doses of the vaccine are coming soon. The Rice community should be prepared.

Last month, over 800 members of the Rice community received a surprise first dose of the Moderna vaccine, which was provided by the Harris County Public Health Department after a power outage caused vaccines to unexpectedly defrost. Individuals who were vaccinated on campus are slated to receive their second dose on March 22. It is imperative that students and administration adequately prepare for hundreds of Rice community members to receive their second doses in the coming weeks.


OPINION 3/2/21 10:55pm

Ted Cruz has embarrassed Texas for too long

Ted Cruz has had a crazy 2021. In just two months he incited an insurrection, refused to confirm the outcome of a free and fair election, and abandoned Texas during a deadly natural disaster. All in all, I think that he is one of the most disgraceful people currently in office. That needs to change, and since he is not going to wake up tomorrow with a shiny new set of morals and a backbone, it is clear that Ted Cruz must go.


OPINION 3/2/21 10:53pm

Low SA election turnout reveals need for better campus engagement

With only 24 percent participation, this year’s Student Association presidential election had the lowest voter turnout in the past five years. While student apathy towards the SA Senate and its leadership can easily — and perhaps fairly — be attributed to recent events such as the pandemic or the recent winter storm, SA election turnout has consistently declined over this five-year period.  


OPINION 2/25/21 8:58pm

Scroll less, live more: My experience quitting social media

We’ve all heard that expression before: if it's not on social media, then it didn’t happen. It seems like nowadays we can’t do much for the fun or the joy of it without feeling that urge to take a picture or video, upload it to the web, and tag our friends in it. In trying times like these, we need to realize that number of likes and retweets aren’t a healthy measure of social affirmation. We need to consider taking a serious break from social media (maybe pick up a hobby) and re-examine our relationships with these platforms. 


OPINION 2/23/21 11:29pm

We should maintain and pursue an inclusive environment at Rice

Recently, I was looking through pictures from my freshman year and discovered something startling — they all depicted me as an unhappy and miserable student. Transferring to Rice was never part of my postsecondary education plans. In fact, like most students, I graduated high school with the expectation that I would spend only four years in college. My complex college journey has led me to realize how important it is for us as individuals and an institution to actively work towards maintaining our diverse student body and prioritizing inclusion. In light of Rice’s plan to expand its undergraduate enrollment, it is imperative that students educate themselves about student movements and hold the institution accountable for its actions and promises, paying closer attention to the “Down with Willy” protests, the work being done by the Task Force and the steps the university will take to attract new students while also meeting the needs of current students.




OPINION 2/17/21 3:21pm

Kendall Vining for Student Association president

It is the Thresher editorial board’s opinion that only Martel College junior Kendall Vining has the qualifications, experience and platform to effectively lead the student body as Student Association president. Vining’s experience in the SA as the current internal vice president, plans to address students’ concerns (particularly prioritizing the immediate needs of Black students), commitment to transparency and speaking out on important topics makes her an appropriate fit for the current and upcoming needs of the student body.


OPINION 2/17/21 2:34pm

Lily Sethre-Brink for Student Association external vice president

In last year’s Student Association election, there were no external vice president candidates on the first round ballot. This year, refreshingly, we have three candidates running — three candidates who are all incredibly qualified for the position. All three have ample experience working within the SA, strong communication and leadership skills, and a clear vision for the path they want to help lead Rice down. However, throughout their campaigns and our editorial board interviews, one candidate stood out: Baker College SA Senator Lily Sethre-Brink.