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Sunday, November 29, 2020 — Houston, TX °

Opinion



OPINION 11/17/20 11:48pm

You should still be keeping up with the 2020 election.

Polls are closed, but the presidential election results and the transition period remain in contention. The projected winner of the 2020 presidential election is Joe Biden, but there’s a long road to reach his inauguration, and President Donald Trump seems to be laying down more and more asphalt each day. In an era where misinformation is as abundant as ever, it’s that much more important for citizens — especially students, in whose hands the future of America lies — to be capable of parsing between the truth and the lies. 


OPINION 11/17/20 10:58pm

Covid-19 cases are on the rise everywhere— act like it

To say “be safe” or “be responsible” over the break leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Let’s be absolutely clear: This wave of the pandemic is worse than we’ve ever seen, with cases of and hospitalizations for the coronavirus breaking records every single day. Most of the hometowns we’re returning to are not enforcing sufficient restrictions to mitigate the spread, and if you’re staying at Rice, Harris County certainly is not either. It’s time for us to rethink our new normal in the context of the worsening outbreak. 


OPINION 11/10/20 11:29pm

Urge Rice Left to rethink its support for terrorists

This past Friday, Rice Left offered unabashed support for a so-called “Palestinian feminist icon” named Leila Khaled. Make no mistake: Khaled, whom they refer to as a “liberation activist,” is, in every sense of the word, a terrorist. In 1969, Khaled and a group of fellow terrorists hijacked a civilian flight from Rome to Tel Aviv and planted bombs in the nose of the plane, which were detonated moments after the passengers, children and elderly among them, had hastily exited the plane. The plane having been diverted to Damascus, two Israeli civilians aboard the flight were held hostage by the Syrian government for three months after being delivered by the hijackers.


OPINION 11/10/20 11:18pm

The election is over — but the work is not

After three and a half excruciatingly long days, the race for president was called for Joe Biden on Saturday morning by the Associated Press and other major media organizations. This was a historic moment, as Kamala Harris is poised to become the first woman, the first Black person and the first South Asian person to hold the office of vice president.  


OPINION 11/3/20 9:02am

The Election’s effects go beyond Tuesday — academic accommodations must reflect this

Students have heightened anxieties during this time, regardless of who wins — for their safety, for their futures, for other people, for their families, for the rest of the world. With all this going on, no midterm break to properly rest, and an increasingly worsening pandemic without proper academic accommodations to account for it all, we need time to rest and check in with one another. Whatever outcome, election night will be hard; the days following may be worse. Be gentle with us — we’re trying. 


OPINION 10/27/20 10:09pm

Admin must make winter break housing accessible

Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman sent out an email on Oct. 2 with announcements and updates regarding the semester. In the email, she mentioned the petition that will come out “later this month” for students “who would need to remain living on campus over winter break.” Four days later, Gorman sent out a midsemester survey officially announcing the exploration of extending winter break by up to two weeks. That option has since been implemented.


OPINION 10/27/20 10:01pm

Don’t miss your last chance to vote — and make history — this year

Texas has continuously shattered voter turnout records since early voting started in the state on Oct. 13. Through Monday, Oct. 26, after 14 days of early voting, 7,802,505 people had cast their ballots in Texas. That is almost 50 percent of the total number of registered voters in the state. For reference, around 8.5 million votes were cast in Texas in 2016 in total — this number includes ballots cast through the entire early voting period and on election day. 



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.