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Thursday, July 09, 2020 — Houston, TX °

Opinion





OPINION 6/29/20 4:48pm

Rice’s diversity education must include anti-racism

“To make a true difference in creating an equitable society, Rice’s course should educate students on the history and sociology of race as a construct, how systemic racism manifests in every facet of society and how to be anti-racist rather than simply not racist,“ writes Nicole Zhao (Brown ‘15). 


OPINION 6/22/20 6:19pm

Replace Willy’s Statue with Johnson

“In this cultural moment the university can no longer play the same old games of working groups and task forces to confront its racist history. Therefore I am calling for the replacement of the statue of William Marsh Rice in the middle of Rice University’s campus with one of Raymond Johnson, the first Black graduate student at Rice and a current professor in the math department,” writes Yoseph Maguire (Wiess ‘18).


OPINION 6/1/20 6:40pm

Non-Black journalists, students and college administrators need to do better. So do we.

On May 25, Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd. Chauvin, a Minnesota police officer, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on the ground. Floyd did not merely “die in police custody” as the Washington Post and other publications continue to insist on phrasing it. As Floyd pleaded that he couldn’t breathe, a police officer killed him. Active voice.



OPINION 5/18/20 3:15pm

Don’t overlook Black lives in pandemic solidarity

The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have given rise to a new phrase that has been thrown around by media outlets and social media users across the country: “We are all in this together.” Don’t get me wrong — I am not denying the fact that every person in this country has been impacted by the virus in some capacity, and I am certainly not denying the rise in local expressions of solidarity. Over the past couple months, we’ve seen students and volunteers across the country donate their time and resources to help their neighbors.  Young people have come together on social media platforms to address issues surrounding mental health and online learning, creating a sense of community while also practicing social distancing. I am not denying the presence of solidarity. What I would like to discuss, however, is the fallacy of solidarity in a racialized society. 



OPINION 5/5/20 4:37pm

Letter to the Editor: Don’t sacrifice students to keep standardized testing

On April 21, the Thresher reported on a Student Association resolution urging Rice to suspend standardized testing requirements for applicants who will matriculate in 2021. Vice President for Enrollment Yvonne Romero da Silva makes statements in the Thresher article that do not reflect the reality of standardized testing or the obstacles marginalized students have been facing even before COVID-19. 


OPINION 4/21/20 6:33pm

Administration should be transparent about decisions for future semesters

On Monday, California State University, Fullerton became one of the first colleges in the country to announce that it will start the fall semester virtually. Rice is not CSUF — a 40,000-student campus in a state significantly more affected by COVID-19 than Texas — so we do not expect the Rice administration to announce contingency plans at this time. The status of the fall semester at Rice has not yet been announced, and the administration has not communicated their plans or decision to the Thresher or the student body at this time. But when they make plans about future semesters, which they will have to do eventually, we urge them to consider the following factors. 


OPINION 4/21/20 3:32pm

From the managing editor’s makeshift desk: Saying farewell from afar

A couple weeks ago, I wrote nearly 900 words of eulogy for my loss of the final quarter of my final year at Rice. Like nearly everything I do, it was self-indulgent and entirely too in touch with my emotions. I submitted it to the Thresher (really I just sent our lovely opinion editor Elizabeth a Slack message) but very soon afterward, someone I love got sick and I decided not to go through with the editing process. 


OPINION 4/14/20 6:42pm

Time to go further: Faculty should consider mandating optional finals and other steps

This Thursday, the Faculty Senate will meet to finalize their April 22 agenda. As an editorial board, we endorse the measures they plan to vote on. As students, we are suggesting they take a step further to consider more accommodations such as making finals optional for all students. We also ask that professors take proactive steps now to adjust their classes, regardless of what the Faculty Senate eventually decides. 


OPINION 4/14/20 3:57pm

Believing survivors is not a political convenience

I said I wouldn’t write another opinion for the Thresher after the Facebook comments I received for a submission about Brett Kavanaugh. Kind of feels like shouting into the void, anyway — am I really going to change someone’s mind who doesn’t want to listen to folks who say they’ve been sexually assaulted? But I’m back! Facebook comments be damned!Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee following Bernie Sanders’ endorsement, has been accused of sexual assault. Tara Reade, a former Senate aide who worked in Joe Biden’s Senate office, claimed that he sexually assaulted her in 1993. The details are disturbing. Reade allegedly told multiple friends and her brother about the incident. 


OPINION 4/7/20 11:22pm

Double A grading: Rice’s chance for equity

On March 25, the Faculty Senate passed an academic relief package, including an opt-in pass/fail policy that allows undergraduate students to designate any course this semester as pass/fail until the last day of classes, including First-year Writing Intensive Seminars and major, minor or certificate requirements. With the transition to remote learning, we believe that the Faculty Senate was short-sighted in recognizing the extreme changes students have undergone in a matter of weeks. 


OPINION 4/7/20 9:47pm

Rice must clarify protections for all employees during COVID-19

 President David Leebron previously promised staff members that “despite the significant reduction in campus activity this semester,” Rice would not furlough or reduce compensation for its employees in his March 15 email. However, little clarifications or information on how Rice will be supporting employees has been released since then. At the Thresher we have been wondering: Who at Rice is considered an “employee,” and how are less visible populations being protected during this time? 


OPINION 4/7/20 9:45pm

End unethical voluntourism at Rice

Recently, Rice University announced that all undergraduate international travel has been canceled until the start of the fall semester.  I can imagine that this decision has been challenging for many undergrads who were looking forward to expanding their horizons by practicing a new language or immersing themselves in a new culture over the summer. At the risk of sounding cliche, I can say that international travel opportunities I received through Rice have been some of the most transformative experiences of my life. These cancellations come with a heavy sense of loss, and I hope that someday soon every student who was looking forward to international travel will get to spread their wings. Yet, I think that in this pause, we have the opportunity to reflect upon and stop a particular kind of predatory tourism pervasive at Rice: voluntourism. 


OPINION 3/31/20 10:10pm

A call to revive, revamp and maintain Rice culture(s)

When we ran for our Student Association executive team positions and defined our platforms, we did not anticipate the arrival of COVID-19. Due to these unusual circumstances, we as members of the executive team have been rapidly thrust into our roles. We have relayed student concerns to administrators and have made an effort to amplify student voices as much as possible. We have been strategizing how we can best communicate with all of the Rice community during the coming weeks as we resume our virtual classwork. But throughout it all, one question has remained on our minds: How can we establish and maintain an intimate, engaging Rice culture and connection while members of the Rice community are so physically distant from each other?   


OPINION 3/31/20 8:35pm

To professors and students alike: please lower your standards

Last week, we urged the administration to grant students academic accommodations in light of the unprecedented era we are existing in. That happened the next day, when the Faculty Senate voted unanimously in favor of a series of motions intended to alleviate the weight of academics on undergraduates this semester, including one that allows students to designate all courses this semester pass/fail. We applaud the administration for taking such an important step in doing right by students as we try to navigate the rest of our semester remotely.