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Sunday, October 24, 2021 — Houston, TX °

Opinion


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 10/19/21 10:24pm

Support Houston, shop local

Within the hedges of Rice University, it is possible — and thanks to online shopping, sometimes easier — not to venture out and explore the city that Rice calls home. However, treating campus as separate from Houston fails to recognize the impact that we have on the larger community that we are a part of. To support the relationship between us and Houston, the Rice community should make a consistent and concerted effort to shop at and support local businesses. 


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 10/13/21 12:23am

Guidelines require definitions: What is a ‘gathering’?

As we have seen over the past 18 months, COVID-19 has a tendency to disrupt even the best-laid plans. The administration was premature in declaring a return to normalcy in May, and we appreciate the caution with which they have handled COVID policies this semester. Since the initial testing snafu during Orientation Week, COVID guidelines on campus have been gradually rolled back as the semester progresses. 


OPINION 10/5/21 10:14pm

The Rice community showed us how to show up

This weekend, people flooded the streets of Houston and cities across the state to protest SB 8 at the Women’s March. For a march dedicated to women, the crowd extended well beyond that group, including adults, children and pets alike. While it may have been initially daunting to take action in the wake of SB 8’s enactment, numerous displays of support last weekend by members of the Rice community and other actions in the previous weeks have shed light on how we can support each other and come together to support causes we are passionate about.


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 9/28/21 10:18pm

Rice must clarify academic accommodations

Four weeks ago, we wrote an editorial calling for the Rice campus to embrace a new normal when it comes to COVID policies and our activities on campus. Because we are arrogant enough to believe that everyone reads and takes guidance from our editorials each week, it seems that, by and large, the community has taken our advice as this semester has continued along in a relatively “normal” way. However, there is still work to be done in ensuring that courses are delivered in a uniform manner, allowing every student an equal opportunity to succeed in their classes while we continue through this pandemic. 


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 9/21/21 10:57pm

Turn your attention to volleyball

After this past weekend, and football’s embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Longhorns, it’s possible that much of the Rice community is un-rhetorically echoing JFK and asking themselves: Why does Rice play Texas? The answer, of course, is volleyball. 


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 9/14/21 10:06pm

It is on each of us to be anti-racist and hold others accountable, not just student leaders

The use of racial slurs by college students toward their peers is a problem that permeates across college campuses all over the country. The Rice community is no exception. When students say or do racist things, specifically toward other students, there is usually outrage, and rightfully so. However, in most of these instances, the immediate response is to look to student leaders for a reaction. If we, as a community, are serious about being anti-racist, then it is on all of us to hold our peers accountable.



OPINION 9/7/21 10:00pm

Unused meal swipes should automatically be donated

The Guest Meal Swipe Donation Form closes on September 10, yet many students may not know about the program. Along with low visibility of the program, changes in COVID-19 restrictions such as removing restrictions on who can visit residential colleges may lead students to donate fewer guest swipes in anticipation of using them for guests. The program already could not cover all of the students who wanted to utilize it in the last two semesters. With the possibility of receiving fewer donations this semester, it is imperative that the administration step in and pursue additional routes for addressing food insecurity for off-campus students.


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 8/31/21 9:50pm

Don’t simply return to normal — embrace a new normal

In the past few weeks, the Rice community has begun to return to in-person activities, from Orientation Week to research and soon classes. However, challenges have arisen alongside that return, seen through an increase in COVID-19 cases and students’ feelings of isolation after testing positive amidst a largely in-person community. Despite the difficulties of a highly virtual environment, COVID-19 brought about a more accessible and often more accommodating world. Now, we ask the entire Rice community for a more significant commitment: pursue a new normal instead of just a familiar return.


OPINION 8/24/21 10:52pm

From the editor’s desk: Entering a transition period

Last year, for their welcome letter, our Editors in Chief gave insight into what it looked like as they navigated leading a newspaper in the midst of a pandemic. This year, we’re looking forward to having people back in the office, being together for our weekly meetings in the Rice Memorial Center and on Tuesday production nights — just as the Thresher operated two years ago. 


OPINION 8/24/21 10:50pm

The crisis is not over

On May 24 of this year, Chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee Kevin Kirby sent an email to the Rice community, informing everyone that the Crisis Management Team would “cease its formal COVID-19 organization and operations” by the end of that week. This came exactly one week after the Crisis Management Team had lifted the indoor mask mandate for vaccinated individuals, essentially returning campus activity to normal.