Many Americans work hard within our electoral system to shape our country in a positive way. Dismissing their efforts minimizes them and in doing so demonstrates troublesome entitlement. Activism requires a certain amount of time, effort and privilege to work. Not everyone has the resources to engage in activism, but voting is a right, not a privilege, that we must promote.
I like meeting people as much as the next guy. I like it more than the next guy, actually. There's a world of unknown experiences within a new person, and sometimes, learning the story of someone's life can feel like watching art made in real time. It’s amazing that a first impression can feel like that. Spontaneous and beautiful and original — that's how first times should feel. At one point in my life, meeting people almost always felt like that. But socializing at Rice is different.
This week, the Rice Program Council changed the theme for Esperanza, which will take place at the Houston Museum of African American Culture, from “A Night at Gatsby’s” to “A Taste of the Twenties.” The change occurred after the Black Student Association, Rice African Student Association and the National Society of Black Engineers reached out to RPC with concerns that the initial theme was based on a novel that is not racially inclusive and overlooks the contributions of the African American community to culture in the 1920s. By meeting with student leaders and altering the theme, RPC responded in a thoughtful and appropriate way. The discussion that led to the change is an example of honest and critical conversations that we should be engaging in.
In an op-ed in the Oct. 17 issue of the Thresher, Chloe Wilson discussed the cognitive dissonance she sees in progressive Rice students who post political comments on social media but are noticeably absent from phone banking and canvassing events. Unfortunately, her call to action critically omitted an important variable in the conversation about increased civic engagement: the systemic suppression and exclusion of disenfranchised Americans. As a result, I find her framing of the Rice student as busy, privileged and lazy to be too simplistic, deficit-oriented, and homogenizing.
Beto O’Rourke’s campaign to unseat Ted Cruz as U.S. Senator has arguably generated as much buzz on campus as the 2016 presidential election. While it’s clear that Rice students are most politically engaged during election season, students should consider whether electoral politics is the most effective means of pursuing their political goals. We argue that it is not, and that our activism must not be limited to working within a political system that does not always reflect the needs of the people.
The modern college student is almost expected to take some wacky classes during their college career. From Exploration of the Solar System to Beginning Sculpture to Scuba, there is something for practically every student who wants to pick up some skills that they might never use in their career but will have a great time learning. After all, that’s what fun classes are for.
This past weekend, Rice’s volleyball team won two away matches to extend its winning streak to a program-record 13 matches in a row, breaking the old record of 12 set in 1995. This is a historic and extremely impressive accomplishment for head coach Genny Volpe’s team. But almost no one at Rice was able to watch it happen.
Thanks to the glory of social media, I have watched the controversy of NOD vs. EOE with interest for the past couple of years. I loved NOD. It was crucial in my growth as a sex-positive queer individual, and I thought my voice might be useful in this conversation.
Testing for sexually transmitted infections is increasingly important for college students at Rice and across the nation. More STIs were diagnosed among teenagers and young adults in 2018 than in any prior year, according to the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention. With transmission rates higher than ever before, getting tested is the most effective course of action you can take to maintain both your and your partners’ sexual and holistic health.
Last year, Chi Alpha staff member Mathison Ingham commented to the Thresher that Evening of Elegance was meant to provide an environment with “dignity” compared to Night of Decadence. That set off a whirlwind of criticism culminating in a fiery op-ed from then-Wiess College senior Josh Kaye. Chi Alpha did not publicly respond to the criticism.
I have spent a great deal of my time at Rice contemplating what it means to be a man. Over two weeks ago, when Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, I learned a little more about the answer to that question. In light of the Kavanaugh hearings, it seems to me that to be a man is to be given license to lie under oath, to respond to legitimate questions with churlish non-answers, to break norms of decency, civility, and indifference to partisanship central to the survival of our democracy and to override the credible testimony of women with nothing to gain. In sum, it is to live by a lower standard — to be expected to do no more than the bare minimum — and then have that standard lowered again if it ever becomes inconvenient.
In last week’s Thresher issue, Chloe Wilson did an excellent job exhorting Rice students to demonstrate their progressive values not just through Tweets, but through participation in activities that are more likely to bring about real social change. I do not wish to repeat her critique of Rice students’ relative political inaction. Rather, I would like to situate the problems that she describes within some disconcerting trends in the culture of social justice activism. For too many of us, our advocacy as allies of social justice has strayed from the goal of supporting marginalized groups and has become focused on distancing ourselves personally from the oppression that afflicts them.