Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Thursday, December 08, 2022 — Houston, TX

Opinion


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. 


OPINION 9/13/22 11:07pm

Start your service on the ground

Rice undergrads often treat "community service" as a box to tick for graduate school applications or a story to impress interviewers. It is easy to conduct our service within the Rice bubble – researching and designing solutions without venturing beyond the hedges to the community members we are trying to help. However, to truly make an impact, students need to identify community needs and find service opportunities that act with, and not on, the community. As we enter the school year and begin scouting volunteer opportunities, we want to share an experience that taught us the value of grassroots involvement.


OPINION 9/13/22 11:04pm

Re-evaluate priorities of college committees

Residential college life is often considered the cornerstone of the “Rice experience.” Just look at any Rice admission materials or listen to the chants at Beer Bike. College governments, then, play an integral role in representing and serving the students within their residential colleges. From Brown to Wiess, residential colleges host a plethora of committees, including the standard committees across campus and ones that stand out in their singularity like with Hanszen’s cheese committee.


OPINION 9/6/22 11:13pm

Shadows of anonymity: Fizz should fizzle out

Shortly after arriving at Rice for the fall semester, I noticed a piece of purple paper peeking out beneath my room’s door frame. “An app just for Rice Students!” announced the cardstock. The ad was for Fizz, a social media app launched by two Stanford University students my equal in age at their university just one year ago. Wary but curious, I downloaded the app. 


OPINION 9/6/22 11:11pm

The new meal swipe plan needs to be clarified

Over the summer, Rice Housing & Dining announced significant changes to the dining schedule and meal plan that went into effect at the start of the semester. The most notable change was the addition of a new meal time, affectionately known as “munch.” The other adjustment implemented the following change: “Re-entry to ANY servery requires a student to swipe to receive up to two entree plates again.”


OPINION 8/30/22 10:37pm

Will a new student DJ please stand up?

Rice DJs are dead. Long live the Rice DJs. Seeing the first Texas Party since Fall 2019 happen is both a joy and a solemn reminder. Yet another public has come and gone and yet no student DJ has risen to prominence. It may not seem like a problem, but this is critical. Rice DJs play an integral part in campus social life, but they cannot survive and thrive without the help and advocacy of campus socials and the boldness of potential DJs rising to the challenge.


OPINION 8/30/22 10:35pm

Don’t let paid wristbands become the norm at publics

Three years ago, in the pre-COVID world, there were only three public parties that charged for admittance. NOD and Y2K needed the money to hire extra security, and Architectronica charged because it wasn’t funded by a college and depended on the money from ticket sales to cover event fees. Now, we fear more colleges will charge for entrance to publics, a poor practice we urge socials to avoid.


OPINION 8/23/22 9:23pm

Let’s show our gratitude for campus staff

“If Seibel serves PAOW one more time, I’m dropping out.” It’s all too common for Rice students to gripe about the food and facilities. I know I’ve been guilty of it. In my experience, complaining sometimes becomes an easy bonding opportunity amongst students: lulls in the conversation are frequently filled with hyperbolic jokes about food at North being inedible or about dorms the size of shoeboxes. I don’t want to dismiss the legitimate difficulties that students with dietary restrictions or accessibility needs face at Rice. However, the majority of complaints I hear seem to come from students who expect luxury but overlook the employees who work so hard to provide for our every need. Rice’s campus staff is incredible and I urge us all to show them more respect and gratitude.


OPINION 8/23/22 9:21pm

We love Rice. We hope our work this year reflects that.

Each year, past editors in chiefs have penned welcome letters to the Rice community about their goals for the upcoming year. Many of them have urged the community to trust the Thresher in our pursuit of accurate, thorough reporting and storytelling. We enter this year with a similar goal, but we don’t have an ask of our community or our readers. Instead, we are calling on ourselves to reach out to the Rice community as a whole and meet the standards of journalistic integrity that our community deserves and that we expect of ourselves.


OPINION 8/23/22 9:19pm

New semester offers new beginnings for students, admin

Every August, as Orientation Week wraps up and the fall semester begins, it feels as if the campus is rejuvenated with new life. That feeling is especially prevalent for students this time around, as this is the first semester to start with fully in-person classes since January of 2020. But what many students might not realize is that this year is also a fresh start administratively. In addition to welcoming a new president, Rice announced the hiring of five new vice presidents and a new provost. 


OPINION 8/23/22 9:18pm

Let’s progress together

This is my first column for the Thresher as Rice’s new president, and the opportunity fills me with a sense of awe and gratitude. Rice is a remarkable institution of higher education, and I am honored to lead and serve our community.


OPINION 5/12/22 4:05pm

The Wellbeing Center should be transparent about its true confidentiality policies

Before you attend a counseling session at the Rice counseling center, you will be told that “the RCC maintains strict standards regarding privacy.” You will find statements from the university that your mental health record will not be shared with anyone outside of extreme situations of imminent harm, and only then that your information will be shared with only the necessary officials. This sounds great, except that these assurances bear no teeth whatsoever — no enforcement agency ensures that Rice follows its public confidentiality promises, and there are no penalties for Rice if they break them. The Wellbeing and Counseling Centers should more directly communicate the limits of their confidentiality policies when compared to unaffiliated counseling centers, and students in sensitive situations should take the necessary precautions to protect their information.


OPINION 4/19/22 11:11pm

We’re in student media to learn

This week marks the last issue of the Thresher for the year, and for the seniors like myself, our last issue ever. I have been a part of the Thresher since freshman year. And it would not be an exaggeration to say it has defined my Rice experience. As someone pursuing a career in journalism after graduation, there has been no better place to learn than at this paper.


OPINION 4/19/22 11:02pm

Philanthropy doesn’t excuse slavery

In January, the Rice Board of Trustees announced plans to move the Founder’s memorial to another area of the academic quad as part of a whole redesign, adding additional context of his “entanglement” with slavery. This comes despite continual calls from the student body to not have the enslaver displayed in the quad regardless of the context provided. It would be just for these calls to action and the majority of the Task Force Committee who voted to not keep it there that the Board of Trustees decide to not keep the memorial prominently displayed in the quad at all.


OPINION 4/19/22 11:01pm

Don’t let college culture die

Last year, the Board of Trustees announced that Rice would be increasing the undergraduate class size 20 percent — nearly 800 more students — by 2025. The quick rollout of this decision has left current students with a fracturing academic and social experience. Going forward, the administration needs to better plan for maintaining the small school benefits and residential college culture.


OPINION 4/12/22 11:04pm

Rice must reconsider its partnership with Aramco

On March 21 in a recent press release, Rice University enthusiastically announced it had approved a five-year, $10 million bid for Saudi Arabian Oil Company’s (Aramco) involvement in Carbon Hub, a university-led research initiative committed to accelerating the energy transition toward sustainable hydrocarbons. In this same announcement, Rice’s Matteo Pasquali, a chemical engineer who directs Carbon Hub, construed the development in a positive manner, expressing his unequivocal excitement to “welcome the Aramco group” as “great partners” for facilitating a more sustainable future. 


OPINION 4/12/22 11:03pm

COVID outbreak could have been mitigated with proactive testing

On Dec. 26 of last year, President David Leebron and future president Reginald DesRoches sent an email to the Rice community regarding plans for this spring semester. The email proclaimed that Rice had “entered a new and different phase of the pandemic.” Specifically, the email stated that the university would “begin to shift our policies to a posture that recognizes COVID-19 as endemic and facilitates our ability to deliver the best education and opportunity to our students, while still taking reasonable precautions.” 



OPINION 4/5/22 11:11pm

Beer Bike Coordinators – Thank you for Beer Bike

After three years and much anticipation, we finally had a normal Beer Bike. None of the past week’s events could have been possible without the hard work of every Beer Bike coordinator, bike captain, chug captain and every student, staff and alumni who played a role in making Beer Bike 2022 the spectacular event it was.