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Tuesday, April 13, 2021 — Houston, TX 73°

Opinion


OPINION 8/25/20 8:48pm

Where are the disabled students in Rice’s COVID-19 plan?

In July, Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman sent out an email to the undergraduate student body which highlighted the policies for Rice’s reopening plan for the fall. It is very thorough and we greatly appreciate the work the administration has put into this plan, but we have a lot of concerns about how it will affect students with learning and physical disabilities, as well as students with medical and mental health issues. We urge the administration to ensure that the voices of students with disabilities will be heard and that their needs will be accommodated.  


OPINION 8/25/20 7:50pm

From the Editors’ Desk: How we're handling journalism in a pandemic

Five months ago, we sat in the Thresher office, eating chips, chatting and editing articles along with our fellow staffers. During our last in-office work cycle for the spring semester, before everyone began using phrases such as "these unprecedented times," we were focused on finishing our articles under the wire, wondering how likely it would be for Rice to make classes remote for the rest of the semester. 


OPINION 8/17/20 11:57am

Critical fault lines in our reopening plan

Rice University’s president and provost’s message on July 28 summarized all the steps the university has taken to assure the safety of our community and our ability to fulfill our mission.  As the new academic year is about to begin, however, the rate of new COVID-19 cases is still very high and deaths in Harris County continue to increase. The pandemic is still spreading unabated in a community where approximately 1,500 of our off-campus undergraduates, our graduate students and our staff and faculty will live, dine, shop, party and risk being exposed to COVID-19. The same group of people will then come to campus to attend classes, teach, research, work and potentially infect more people. 


OPINION 8/4/20 4:00pm

Return to campus — but to what end?

“Even at this reduced risk, students and their parents need to know that the campus will not be safe, and the risk to health and lives should be evaluated against potential benefits. Therefore, it is worth examining what these benefits are,“ writes Professor Moshe Vardi.




OPINION 7/24/20 8:15pm

Turning off the NBA: taking a stand against human rights abuses in China

Earlier this month, an amalgamation of NBA players announced that they would be replacing the names on the back of their jerseys for the rest of this upcoming season with NBA-approved social justice-related phrases such as “equality” and “freedom.” These types of phrases should be foundational principles upon which we stand, but the NBA’s decision to let players put these phrases on the back of their jerseys leaves one asking: What about human rights violations in China? Will NBA players be allowed to put “I stand with the Uighurs” or “Free Hong Kong” on the back of their jerseys? The Chinese Communist party has carried out human rights abuses targeting many different minority groups in Xinjiang and has forced groups like the Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps, where they are perpetually surveilled while given little to no rights. 


OPINION 7/24/20 7:57pm

Letter to the Editor: Re-evaluate return to campus

During the past couple of weeks, Rice faculty have received various messages from Rice University administrators that explain in detail how Rice is working to provide a safe and effective learning environment for students in the fall semester. These plans are premised on the physical return to the campus of a significant majority of the undergraduate population. While I am grateful for the efforts of our colleagues in administration, I am also deeply concerned that these measures are not sufficient to provide the level of safety that Rice students and employees should be able to count on. In keeping with Rice’s long-standing commitment to life-safety and the well-being of the community, I feel compelled to convey my concerns.


OPINION 7/13/20 2:40pm

Rice’s Title IX policy-making must be transparent and inclusive

"We are deeply concerned about Rice’s current policy-writing process regarding the release of a new Title IX policy, due August 14. Based on our observations and concerns with the administration's response, we feel there are issues in the following areas: coronavirus accommodations, publication of data, transparency and equitable representation." 





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.