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Tuesday, August 11, 2020 — Houston, TX °

Opinion


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. 





OPINION 3/23/20 10:22pm

From the editor’s desk: How it feels to say goodbye too early

When the inevitable news broke that classes were moving online and students had to move off campus for the rest of the semester, I started sobbing. Immediately. Through my tears, I wrote the breaking news posts on the Thresher’s social media, and then thought of previous Editor-in-Chief Andrew Grottkau’s riveting column during Hurricane Harvey. It was time for me to write a column like that one, I thought to myself, one that is inspiring and full of hope and captures the emotions of community and strength. 



OPINION 3/10/20 6:42pm

This is voter suppression

On election day, Poe Elementary, the closest polling location to Rice, had wait times upward of two hours. The Rice University Young Democrats, Rice University College Republicans and Civic Duty Rice worked with the administration to provide a Rice shuttle to transport students to the polls.



OPINION 3/3/20 10:04pm

It’s time for Rice Management Company to get serious about a Community Benefits Agreement

On Monday, Feb. 17, the Student Association passed Resolution #8, calling on the Rice Management Company to make the Houston Coalition for Equitable Development without Displacement an equal decision-maker in the negotiation of a Community Benefits Agreement for the South Main Innovation District. The resolution also urges Rice Management Company to publicly release updates and information on their progress with developing and signing the CBA. 


OPINION 3/3/20 10:01pm

Do-err or Don’t-err?

Does anyone really know what the Doerr Institute is? Its website describes it as “a large-scale leader development enterprise at Rice University” that is “committed to the early development of leader abilities in young people,” but what does this actually mean? 


OPINION 3/3/20 9:59pm

Russia tampers with American democracy: The sequel

Since the 2016 presidential election, one thing has become remarkably clear: Russia knows how to make a movie. Featuring then-candidate Donald Trump, Russia churned out massive amounts of disinformation available free of charge on social media that idolized Trump and denigrated his foes. 


OPINION 3/3/20 9:54pm

Clubs need sustainable funding

Basmati Beats, one of the a cappella groups on campus, recently won first place at a national competition, an already impressive feat made only more difficult by the lack of funding received from the university. They’re not alone: most clubs are not consistently funded by the university on a yearly basis except for some club sports and blanket tax organizations, which include the Student Association, the Thresher, Rice Program Council and eight other organizations. 


OPINION 3/3/20 9:22pm

Why I don’t want to be a Republican

Sometimes, I don’t want to be a Republican. This has nothing to do with my personal beliefs: I am someone who is conservative, I am the secretary for the Rice University College Republicans and I volunteer on the Dan Crenshaw campaign. I’m even voting in the Republican primary this spring. Before I go any further, let me clear a few things up. Despite the stereotypes I often hear, I am not racist, I don’t hate poor people and I don’t believe Russia should pick our next president. 


OPINION 2/25/20 9:44pm

Increasing transparency paves the way for change

Two weeks ago, for a Thresher news story, I read a resignation letter from a former custodian at Rice who was employed for just six months. What I read made me contemplate the working conditions of the Rice staff I see on a daily basis, but it would never end up getting published due to the Rice administration. 


OPINION 2/25/20 9:39pm

The dangers of a single Student Association story

When you’re the only media organization in a given space, you have a lot of power. We appreciate the platform the Thresher has given stories like “Black at Rice” and “In Their Own Words” this year — and recognize their meaningful contribution to the campus dialogue. However, speaking from our individual experiences in the Student Association Senate, we think it is important to note that the Thresher presents information in an environment in which there are few external checks on the narratives that it creates. 


OPINION 2/25/20 9:30pm

Primaries are here — and not just for the president

Early voting ends this Friday, Feb. 28 and Election Day is next Tuesday, March 3. If you have the privilege of being registered to vote, get out the vote on behalf of yourself, your communities and everyone who is institutionally excluded from our election processes. Political apathy is rampant in this country and on our campus with only 42 percent voter turnout last year.