Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Monday, November 28, 2022 — Houston, TX

Opinion


OPINION 11/15/22 10:21pm

Where we must agree: the politics of humanness

The words “free speech” will likely elicit groans from Thresher readers. Over the last three years, there have been three articles in the Opinion section bemoaning the need for a “classically liberal” political discourse at Rice. Unfortunately, between their self-righteousness and needless wordiness, they read more like whiny lectures than conversation starters. However, despite their condescension, their existence does suggest something unsettling about not just our campus politics, but politics at large. As the electorates of democracies around the world have become more sharply divided, the way we speak to each other, not just across the aisle but to our similarly minded partisans, has become more accusatory, exclusionary and violent. Put simply: we do not want to talk to each other, and understandably so. It is exhausting, and, more than that, we just don’t seem to know how to.


OPINION 11/15/22 10:16pm

Off-campus students should sublet their rooms to those who need winter break housing

For the first time since 2019, Rice is not allowing undergraduate students to remain in their on-campus housing during winter break. While this is a disappointing development, we understand why this decision needed to be made. Like students, staff need a break after a long semester. Further, keeping students on campus by providing housing over break was originally implemented to address pandemic travel restrictions, which are mostly gone. However, the need for winter housing is not gone. This decision still leaves some international students — or any other on-campus student looking to remain in Houston — scrambling for housing.


OPINION 11/8/22 11:39pm

The Honor Council needs to act more responsibly

For the past year, I have served as an at-large representative on the Rice Honor Council. I have sat through dozens of cases, read hundreds of pages of evidence and spent countless hours working to improve the transparency and fairness of the Honor System. While there are a myriad of issues with the Honor System, as there are with any institutional system, there is one in particular that needs to be addressed with expediency. The Honor Council is currently not an effective deliberative body due to the general lack of engagement from some of its members, which include elected representatives.  


OPINION 11/8/22 11:37pm

Campus deserves an actual policy debate

If you had stumbled into the Baker Institute on Nov. 7 expecting a showdown between the Rice Democrats and Rice Republicans, you would’ve been sorely disappointed. The debate, a tradition which has not occurred since 2018, was canceled. We are not missing much, though: the debate would have just regurgitated generic and predetermined political party talking points. If we want campus discussions on politics to have an impact beyond elections, we should invite all voices to the table and talk policy on a comprehensive level.


OPINION 11/2/22 12:00am

Faculty must do more to accommodate mental health

Rice faculty must include a mental health statement in their syllabi going forward after the faculty senate adopted part of a Student Association recommendation Sept. 28. Specifically, professors must include a list of mental health resources on campus compiled by the Wellbeing and Counseling Center and encourage students to use them as necessary. We applaud the faculty senate’s actions as a step in the right direction, but it is truly the bare minimum that they could have done to address students’ mental health. 


OPINION 11/1/22 11:59pm

Unsafe drinking is a cultural problem, not a policy problem

Party culture is back, babes. We’ve got publics nearly every weekend, Pub every Thursday and freshmen scoping out the best (read: most awkward) parties on campus. While we’re excited to welcome back a “return to normal,” there’s been a concerning increase in dangerous drinking habits on-campus. In the wake of consistently high numbers of alcohol related transports and students being found passed out drunk and alone, we’re calling on Rice students to think about what it means to be a good friend and community member in situations where alcohol is involved.


OPINION 10/25/22 9:45pm

Support Rice football at homecoming, they’ve earned it

The last time Rice football made a bowl game, the world was singing “Let it Go,” Ebola cases were in the headlines and it had been a mere 52 years since a certain president spoke at Rice Stadium about going to the moon. Yes, 2014 was the last time Rice played postseason football. In the seven full seasons since, the Owls won a grand total of 20 games. But seven games and four wins into this season, they find themselves on the precipice of their first bowl game appearance under head coach Mike Bloomgren. Let’s make sure to show them the support they deserve this weekend.



OPINION 10/18/22 9:52pm

To prevent suicide, we need to talk about it

In December of last year, I drafted an opinion entitled “Dear Rice, We Need to Talk (about suicide).” I chickened out on submitting it to the Thresher because I believed, against my own written argument, that talking about suicidality wouldn’t do anything — wouldn’t prevent death or injury or start the right kind of conversation. I was mostly worried about sending previously-suicidal students back into their own memories, or worse, forcing currently-suicidal students to endure a dialogue so close to their pain. But I believe if we continue in relative silence, the wound will scar, not heal. Rice, we need to talk about suicide. 


OPINION 10/18/22 9:50pm

If you are struggling, please reach out for help

This week, Izzie Karohl, a Rice alumna, wrote an opinion piece highlighting the need to talk about mental health and suicidality in our community. We at the Thresher want to add to her piece and encourage students who are struggling with their mental health or suicidal ideation to reach out for help, whether from on- or off-campus resources.


OPINION 10/4/22 11:22pm

Letter to the Editor: Satire is not an excuse for discrimination

Two Wednesdays ago, instead of ending my weekly Thresher reading with a laugh, I was shocked to see a piece that included the Bible and prayer in order to mock a Christian professor on campus. Turning to other Christian students and Rice parents, I found similar shared disappointment and sadness. Myself and others sent emails to the Thresher explaining why we found this piece distasteful and discriminatory. We were answered only with an editorial published Sept. 27  saying, in essence: it’s satire, so take a joke. 


OPINION 10/4/22 11:22pm

Letter to the Editor: The Career Expo is not a one-size-fits-all

The Center for Career Development thanks Wills Rutherford for his time as a Peer Career Advisor at Rice, providing students with career guidance, and we congratulate him on securing his job from the Rice Expo. Responding to his opinion piece, “The Rice career fair fails Rice students,” I’ll elaborate upon the factors employers consider when deciding whether to participate in Rice career expos, the overall recruiting environment and the process Rice students should pursue when seeking employment. 



OPINION 9/27/22 10:56pm

Rice is not your average school. We don’t want an average band.

Starting this season, Rice’s Marching Owl Band, longtime instigators of musical shenanigans at various Rice sporting events, will no longer play at basketball games — a role the university intends to fill with the traditional-instruments-only, student-only, audition-only, near-perfect attendance-required Owl Pep Band. To the three of us, this is a slap in the face to everything the MOB, and indeed Rice, stand for. 


OPINION 9/27/22 10:54pm

Universities should support the public good

What is the purpose of universities, in general, and Rice University, in particular? This is a subject of much debate these days. Let me first offer a disciplinary perspective. I am an active member of the Association for Computing Machinery, the oldest and largest professional society dedicated to computing. The Associations’ Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct states: “Computing professionals’ actions change the world. To act responsibly, they should reflect upon the wider impacts of their work, consistently supporting the public good.” So ethical computing has a responsibility to support the public good. Going back to the opening question, I believe that the core purpose of universities is to support  the public good.  What is the public good? My favorite definition was provided by Hammurabi almost 4,000 years ago: “to further the well-being of mankind.”


OPINION 9/27/22 10:47pm

Backpage is satire, not journalism

Every week, the Thresher’s Backpage staff spend their Monday nights in a corner of our office coming up with a satirical take on the week’s news. Their goal is simple: to bring some levity to what might otherwise be a dreary week of problem sets, essays and exams. Their works of comedy also serve as a delightful ending to much of our more serious journalistic content; and for this reason, the Backpage is a consistent favorite for many of our readers.


OPINION 9/20/22 11:46pm

The Rice career fair fails Rice students

Comments like “What’s with the suit? What’s the occasion? Who’s getting married?” surrounded me as I strolled into my college commons one day last fall. It caught me off guard; why am I the only one dressed up on career fair day? My bioengineering friend quickly answered my question. “Why should I bother going to the career fair?” he said. “There’s no bioengineering companies there.” He’s absolutely right. But the problem extends beyond just bioengineering.


OPINION 9/20/22 11:44pm

Dare to be wise

In the 18th Century, Immanuel Kant (often considered the central figure in modern philosophy) used the phrase Spaere aude in a 1784 essay titled “Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment.”  Translated from Latin, it means “dare to know,” or in some cases, “dare to be wise.”  Kant argued our inability to think for ourselves was due to fear, not due to a lack of intellect.  In the opening paragraph of his essay, Kant states “Have the courage to use your own reason—that is the motto of enlightenment.”


OPINION 9/20/22 11:42pm

Support diversity in the arts in Houston

The Oscars may be so white, but Houston art isn’t — as long as you’re looking in the right places. It is all too true that arts organizations still fall short of creating accessible spaces with equitable representation of artists. For instance, white men still make up the majority of artists represented in prominent museums across the United States. Even with increased attention to elevating the work of women artists and an uptick in women-only art shows and exhibitions focused on the work of underrepresented artists, only 11% of permanent acquisitions by major American art museums from 2008 to 2019 were by women; of that 11%, only 3.3.% were by Black women artists. 


OPINION 9/13/22 11:10pm

Don’t skip the 2022 midterm elections

With no presidential election at stake in 2022, do this year’s midterm elections even matter that much? I wasn’t sure until I saw the complete list of offices up for election in Texas this November. Most notably, the midterm election will determine the next Texas Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, both chambers of the Texas Legislature and all 38 U.S. Representatives.