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Tuesday, October 20, 2020 — Houston, TX °

Opinion



OPINION 10/20/20 9:17pm

Proposed pass/fail policy is antithetical to academic exploration

The Faculty Senate recently presented their proposed changes to the pass/fail policy, which include changing the threshold grade for pass to a C, preventing students from recycling the four allotted pass/fail designations and preventing a pass/fail from being converted to a letter grade after the deadline, even for classes that later become major requirements after the major is declared. The proposed changes to the pass/fail policy do not serve to ameliorate students’ academic integrity or academic performance, but rather unnecessarily limit flexibility and discourage intellectual curiosity and exploration. 


OPINION 10/13/20 11:44pm

This election, down-ballot races determine the future of our climate

As the election approaches, we are undoubtedly aware of the presidential ticket. However, there are 45 more races that are going to appear on our ballots — all of them crucial elected positions that form the basis of Harris County. Each time we vote, we shape not just our country but also our local municipalities. These candidates are the people who directly determine what life looks like for Rice University and the Houstonians surrounding us — in terms of criminal justice, our tax dollars and our environment.  


OPINION 10/13/20 9:53pm

Support student artists as they support the Rice community

When the massive tents known as Provisional Campus Facilities were first constructed on the Rice campus, the South college courtyard suddenly looked a bit alien — a literal sign of the times. Those once foreboding white tents have since been transformed, however, into canvases for compelling visual art, and the once downtrodden courtyard surrounding them into a colorful playground, thanks to the Moody Center for the Arts’ “Creative Interventions” initiative.  


OPINION 10/13/20 7:03pm

This election, vote to protect the Affordable Care Act for the millions who need it

As its name aptly suggests, the Affordable Care Act is a crucial piece of legislation that has made healthcare much more affordable for low-income communities, including expanding Medicaid. Most notably, though, it ensured that those with preexisting conditions could not be denied insurance coverage because of their health status. Not only that, but the ACA allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until they are 26. This legislation has saved lives. Now, President Donald Trump wants to take it away. 


OPINION 10/6/20 9:42pm

The pandemic hasn’t gone away. Neither should academic accommodations.

There are so many ways in which this semester is unlike any semester before. We’ve heard this said a million times in a million different ways. Every media outlet from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal has written about how the pandemic has changed higher education. And yet, amid people constantly admitting that this year is different, one thing has remained the same: academic expectations.


OPINION 10/6/20 9:38pm

Now is a crucial time for Latin American Studies: Let’s protect it, not neglect it

This July, I received an unexpected email stating that the Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American studies department no longer exists. It was dissolved, as a result of a merger between six different majors and programs. As a student majoring in Latin American studies, I was surprised to learn that I belonged to a new entity named the department of modern and classical literatures and cultures, which includes the former SPLAS department and the department of classical and European Studies. The African and African American studies department and Asian studies department, however, remained separate and apart from the merger. Among the reasons cited for the merger was a desire on the faculty’s part to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration as well as to boost the weight and visibility of the humanities departments at Rice.  


OPINION 10/6/20 9:26pm

Now what? Reconsider Rice’s COVID-19 policies

At the beginning of September, a customer at my job refused to wear a mask and coughed into my face. To that point, I had been doing everything correctly: I took classes remotely, washed my hands every hour, double-masked, sanitized every object I or a customer could touch and showered thoroughly whenever I came home. I was confident that I would be fine. A week later, the symptoms started. 



OPINION 9/29/20 10:08pm

Rice is not a bubble free of COVID-19, students must remain vigilant

At the beginning of the semester, we wrote about our skepticism with the administration’s reopening plan. The plan has proven to be successful so far — we have been able to keep our COVID-19 case count low, especially in comparison to many other universities across the country. Our case numbers may reflect the administration’s thorough planning, but they also reflect the caution and cooperation that everyone on campus has exercised  over the past six weeks. Things seem to be going well, so we implore everyone at Rice: don’t let up now.


OPINION 9/29/20 8:23pm

We lost RBG, what do we do now?

As a woman with a credit score and bodily autonomy, not to mention a recent call to jury duty, I know many of my human rights were secured by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's legal advocacy before I was even born. Ginsburg was undoubtedly a civil rights legislation giant, and has been  honored as the first woman in U.S. history to lie in state. She was a large influence in my decision to pursue social justice work, and has inspired and enabled generations of women to stand up for themselves and others. Unfortunately, many of us haven’t been able to mourn her legacy in peace. 


OPINION 9/29/20 8:16pm

Vote for Joe Biden, a candidate tailor-made for this moment

Like many Rice students and faculty, I was incredibly invested in this year’s Democratic primary, watching it with anticipation as a candidate I loved was counted out by seemingly all of the so-called experts. Unlike many Rice students, I was pulling for Joe Biden. I know that many don’t share my enthusiasm for Joe and that’s totally understandable. He’s definitely more centrist than some may like and, similar to anyone who has been in politics, he’s certainly made some mistakes. However, give him a chance — he’s exactly the president America needs right now.  


OPINION 9/23/20 12:07pm

Houston youth: Overcome barriers and take over the polls

Despite the structural barriers facing many young people and people of color, often in tandem, we are ready to show up to the polls and make an impact on our communities this November... If you are a young Houstonian, join the movement to change the narrative that we are civically apathetic: get informed, register to vote, go to the polls and volunteer with local nonprofits or campaigns. 


OPINION 9/22/20 9:56pm

Say something: Administration should respond to Willy’s statue sit-ins

Rice administration has yet to publicly respond to the demonstrations to remove Willy’s statue that began in the academic quad three weeks ago. Shifa Rahman, the first student to begin protesting regularly and primary organizer of the sit-ins, says administration has not reached out to address the situation in a private fashion either. As more students join the “Down with Willy” cause, pressure is mounting for the administration to respond. Why have they stayed silent for so long?  


OPINION 9/22/20 9:19pm

Hands off Belarus: What can we do across the ocean

September 11, 2020. We are standing on a sidewalk by a skyscraper near West Loop 610. Around 40 people came to this protest, all dressed in red and white colors. We are waving red and white flags. Songs in Belarusian, Russian and English are playing from the speakers. Many cars passing by are honking and their drivers are waving to us. Along the freeway, there are boards and placards with signs: “Putin Keep Out of Belarus,” “Stop Violence In Belarus” and “Long Live Belarus.”


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.