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Monday, September 21, 2020 — Houston, TX °

Opinion


OPINION 9/15/20 10:40pm

How to safely vote in the presidential election

The upcoming presidential election may be the most important of our lifetime. It also comes in the middle of a life-changing pandemic that has seriously altered election administration. Although election procedures continue to be finalized, we now have a solid idea of what our options are for voting in November and as the election judge for Rice’s polling location this year, I’m here to break it all down for you.


OPINION 9/15/20 10:24pm

To the administration: Reevaluate unpaid student labor

This March, when students across campus received an email announcement that classes were shifted to a remote format for the rest of the semester, many of us had one preliminary concern: How will we move out of our dorms? With piles of personal belongings remaining in empty dorms, the job of packing and moving boxes was relegated to students, most of whom did the job without pay. In an interview for an article in our features section this week, one student said he spent approximately 75 hours on the task.


OPINION 9/15/20 9:15pm

Rice students must care about climate change and act accordingly

Recently, I was eating dinner outdoors when I saw a classmate throw a plastic Gatorade bottle in the trash can. I mentioned it, and she told me that she wasn’t recycling because there was still Gatorade in the bottle. When I suggested that she empty and rinse out the bottle to recycle it, she just waved her hand and laughed. I returned to my room, crushed — that same morning, my family in California’s Bay Area had awoken to another day of hazardous smoke and “snowing” ash from three nearby wildfires, and some of the sites of my childhood memories had burned to the ground. 


OPINION 9/8/20 10:09pm

Voting is essential this year

Political engagement is now both more important and more difficult than ever. The stakes always seem higher in a presidential election year but now — with the pandemic, the protests and everything in between — the stakes feel like they were tied to a rocketship and are currently somewhere orbiting Jupiter. 


OPINION 9/8/20 9:58pm

Want to vote this November? Register and make your voting plan today

Voting may be a constitutionally guaranteed right for most American citizens over the age of 18, but that right is infringed upon year after year by voter suppression tactics employed by legislators across the country. This November, that infringement is poised to be only more severe due to the ongoing pandemic and President Donald Trump’s consistent undermining of the United States Postal Service. Although the grim reality is that most voter suppression tactics are out of an individual voter’s control, there are some steps you can take to protect your vote.



OPINION 9/1/20 11:24pm

To our essential workers at Rice: Thank you

On a typical morning this fall, on-campus students might drop by the servery for breakfast on the way to a class and pass contracted construction workers building the new Sid Richardson College dorms. We take weekly COVID-19 tests at centers staffed with volunteers, attend classes led by professors with little to no prior experience in online instruction and receive emails from student leaders who have had to take on enormous responsibilities beyond their job descriptions. Behind our daily actions are hundreds of people working hard and going above and beyond to ensure that we can maintain a semblance of normality in our college experience.  


OPINION 8/25/20 10:12pm

Admin’s own actions need to reflect the Responsibility, Integrity, Community and Excellence they demand of students

When you visit return.rice.edu, the university’s online hub for information about reopening plans, you’re redirected to coronavirus.rice.edu. It’s a seemingly harmless swap — “return” becomes “coronavirus” — but one that is indicative of the two incompatible narratives the administration has been feeding its students, staff and faculty. 


OPINION 8/25/20 8:48pm

Where are the disabled students in Rice’s COVID-19 plan?

In July, Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman sent out an email to the undergraduate student body which highlighted the policies for Rice’s reopening plan for the fall. It is very thorough and we greatly appreciate the work the administration has put into this plan, but we have a lot of concerns about how it will affect students with learning and physical disabilities, as well as students with medical and mental health issues. We urge the administration to ensure that the voices of students with disabilities will be heard and that their needs will be accommodated.  


OPINION 8/25/20 7:50pm

From the Editors’ Desk: How we're handling journalism in a pandemic

Five months ago, we sat in the Thresher office, eating chips, chatting and editing articles along with our fellow staffers. During our last in-office work cycle for the spring semester, before everyone began using phrases such as "these unprecedented times," we were focused on finishing our articles under the wire, wondering how likely it would be for Rice to make classes remote for the rest of the semester. 


OPINION 8/17/20 11:57am

Critical fault lines in our reopening plan

Rice University’s president and provost’s message on July 28 summarized all the steps the university has taken to assure the safety of our community and our ability to fulfill our mission.  As the new academic year is about to begin, however, the rate of new COVID-19 cases is still very high and deaths in Harris County continue to increase. The pandemic is still spreading unabated in a community where approximately 1,500 of our off-campus undergraduates, our graduate students and our staff and faculty will live, dine, shop, party and risk being exposed to COVID-19. The same group of people will then come to campus to attend classes, teach, research, work and potentially infect more people. 


OPINION 8/4/20 4:00pm

Return to campus — but to what end?

“Even at this reduced risk, students and their parents need to know that the campus will not be safe, and the risk to health and lives should be evaluated against potential benefits. Therefore, it is worth examining what these benefits are,“ writes Professor Moshe Vardi.




OPINION 7/24/20 8:15pm

Turning off the NBA: taking a stand against human rights abuses in China

Earlier this month, an amalgamation of NBA players announced that they would be replacing the names on the back of their jerseys for the rest of this upcoming season with NBA-approved social justice-related phrases such as “equality” and “freedom.” These types of phrases should be foundational principles upon which we stand, but the NBA’s decision to let players put these phrases on the back of their jerseys leaves one asking: What about human rights violations in China? Will NBA players be allowed to put “I stand with the Uighurs” or “Free Hong Kong” on the back of their jerseys? The Chinese Communist party has carried out human rights abuses targeting many different minority groups in Xinjiang and has forced groups like the Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps, where they are perpetually surveilled while given little to no rights. 


OPINION 7/24/20 7:57pm

Letter to the Editor: Re-evaluate return to campus

During the past couple of weeks, Rice faculty have received various messages from Rice University administrators that explain in detail how Rice is working to provide a safe and effective learning environment for students in the fall semester. These plans are premised on the physical return to the campus of a significant majority of the undergraduate population. While I am grateful for the efforts of our colleagues in administration, I am also deeply concerned that these measures are not sufficient to provide the level of safety that Rice students and employees should be able to count on. In keeping with Rice’s long-standing commitment to life-safety and the well-being of the community, I feel compelled to convey my concerns.


OPINION 7/13/20 2:40pm

Rice’s Title IX policy-making must be transparent and inclusive

"We are deeply concerned about Rice’s current policy-writing process regarding the release of a new Title IX policy, due August 14. Based on our observations and concerns with the administration's response, we feel there are issues in the following areas: coronavirus accommodations, publication of data, transparency and equitable representation."