Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Thursday, December 08, 2022 — Houston, TX

Opinion


OPINION 2/15/22 11:18pm

We stand with The Battalion

Last week, the Texas A&M University President M. Katherine Banks gave The Battalion — A&M’s student newspaper — a 24-hour notice that they would have to stop printing despite being self-funded by advertisements, ahead of the paper being rolled into the university’s new journalism department. The administration made these calls without any consultation or even warning to the students or their faculty advisor, informing them that if they chose to remain a student organization, they would potentially lose their office and faculty advisor. 


OPINION 2/1/22 10:47pm

Theatre at Rice must commit to inclusivity

“You need to make your hair bigger” were the director’s words I overheard upon logging into one of my Zoom rehearsals for the department of visual and dramatic arts’ “New Voices” – a collection of scenes from a variety of shows, performed on Zoom in the middle of the pandemic. The sentence wasn’t spoken to me, but I felt discomfort upon hearing them during this dress rehearsal and at some later rehearsals. One of my peers was playing a Jewish character in a different scene; the student was not ethnically Jewish (and many Jewish people aren’t), but the character is explicitly written as Jewish going back for “generations and generations.” As a result, the director asked this student to alter her appearance to fit the Jewish part. 


OPINION 2/1/22 10:45pm

Own your career - no one else can do it for you

As student director of the Peer Career Advisor program with the Center for Career Development, I am passionate about ensuring everyone feels equipped along their career journey. Advising students has made me keenly aware of the anxiety and disappointment stemming from the COVID economy; it has also given perspective on common misconceptions about career exploration and campus resources, one of which is the idea that because a student meets with the CCD, they will automatically get an offer for their dream job. Although offices across campus exist to support students, it is ultimately up to students to take ownership of their own careers. 


OPINION 2/1/22 10:43pm

Alumni: If the statue news upset you, think about why

It has finally happened. After 18 months of protests, Facebook arguments and countless feedback forms, the Rice University Board of Trustees announced last Tuesday that the statue of William Marsh Rice would be relocated to a less central location within the Academic Quadrangle. The decision, viewed as a compromise by nearly everyone, understandably received mixed reviews, including from Rice community members who have long since graduated: President David Leebron said that while some alumni responses were “very angry,” others called the decision “thoughtful.” 




OPINION 1/18/22 11:04pm

White-washing language: ‘Academic’ writing perpetuates division

As is the case with most aspects of our reality, professionalism and academia have been defined by whiteness to a degree that is obvious in their customs, codifications and subtleties. Whiteness is often defined as a latent, systemic ideology in which the customs of the white majority are normalized to a degree that alienates others, sometimes unbeknownst to the white people benefiting from it. Over time, white majorities have established a monopoly on communication, prioritizing their culture-specific vernaculars and language structure, thus creating norms of communication. Through the expansion of this construct, marginalized communities have been actively excluded from academic and professional spaces institutionalized by whiteness. 


OPINION 1/18/22 11:02pm

In responding to camera concerns, claiming ignorance makes it worse

Last Monday, Rice announced that a live video feed of the Academic Quad was available online. Two days later, in response to students raising concerns, Rice announced on Twitter that the camera would be disabled during Baker 13 runs. The next day, at nearly 11 p.m., three days after the initial announcement, Rice again took to Twitter to say that the camera would be disabled as the university reviews student concerns. 


OPINION 1/11/22 10:09pm

How can Rice be more accommodating to Black students?

Being Black in the United States is uncomfortable, often dangerous, and the bubble of a college campus doesn’t offer much protection. While Rice and many similar institutions tout their extensive diversity and inclusion efforts, these institutions often fail at supporting Black students.


OPINION 1/11/22 10:03pm

Dialogues on Diversity course is a move in the wrong direction

As a transfer to Rice and a junior at the university, I had to take this course as a new matriculant. However, I came into the class as a non-cis person of color with a history of student organization and community building surrounding the centering of colonized and exploited identities. This gave me a unique vantage point with regard to observing the way the course was taught and responded to. Rice’s “Dialogues on Diversity” doesn’t address the problem at hand: historically white institutions of higher education fundamentally disenfranchise colonized and exploited peoples through the continual perpetuation of white, colonial, casteist, capitalist violence.


OPINION 1/11/22 10:00pm

We can change our culture around eating

Recently, the Student Association introduced a resolution to structurally address disordered eating at Rice. Although the resolution contains tangible ways to mitigate this issue, we also believe that an important factor to consider is the culture on campus around eating disorders and food in general. Though this culture is not unique to Rice, we have the power to challenge it by being more conscious of how our language surrounding food affects others.



OPINION 11/30/21 11:21pm

It’s past time to bring Chick-fil-A back to The Hoot

For those of you who are seniors, you’ll remember a campus controversy that broke out in April 2019 when The Hoot announced its decision to stop serving Chick-fil-A amid criticism of its donations to three organizations — the Salvation Army, the Paul Anderson Youth Home and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes — that have taken anti-LGBTQ+ stances. When the policy took effect the following fall, I spoke out against the decision in this paper, arguing the secondary boycott was nothing more than token enforcement of an unworkable standard. I still believe that we shouldn’t take into account political considerations when we eat. But The Hoot didn’t budge, and the controversy quickly faded away. I have close friends on both sides of the issue, so I didn’t push the matter any further.


OPINION 11/30/21 11:19pm

We need proactive academic policies

We’re nearing the end of another semester in the COVID-19 pandemic, filled with policy changes requiring flexibility from administration, faculty and students alike. We appreciate the administration’s responsiveness to the evolving pandemic, but the continuous changes are not without consequences. This semester has been hard on many students’ mental health due to insufficient academic accommodations on top of pandemic-related stress. While we understand the necessity in being flexible with COVID policies due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic, administration and professors should recognize the impact this has on students and their mental health, and be proactive in accounting for this.


OPINION 11/16/21 11:11pm

From the opinion editor’s desk: The opinion section is a space meant for the Rice community

As the semester nears its end, it’s time to reflect on the state of the opinion section this fall amidst a near return to normalcy, and to look forward to another semester of opinions. We’ve had a multitude of opinions and editorials published on a wide range of subjects. Still, some people coming to campus for the first time or who did not engage much with our paper while we were working online last year may not be all that familiar with the opinion section. I want to reintroduce the possibilities that the section offers for all of the Rice community.


OPINION 11/16/21 11:10pm

It’s time to talk about Willy

Last week, the Board of Trustees announced that Reginald DesRoches, Rice’s current provost, will be the next president of Rice University. DesRoches will be the eighth president in the history of the university, and the first person of color and foreign-born person to hold the position. We applaud the Board’s selection of DesRoches, and wish him great success in his new role. But because there are seven months left before the beginning of his tenure, we would like to pen one of our final editorials to President David Leebron and the Board of Directors. It’s time to talk about everyone’s favorite subject — one that has found itself in our news section repeatedly — the statue of one William Marsh Rice. 



OPINION 11/2/21 11:10pm

ImagineOne issues are disastrous; they should be addressed now

Since it was implemented this past summer, nearly everyone on campus has been affected in one way or another by the new ImagineOne human resources and finance system. Undergraduate students in charge of organizations are having to literally guess at their budgets and hope that they are spending within their limits. Additionally, graduate students were having issues receiving their paychecks, and faculty could not find their research funds without specific coaching.


OPINION 10/26/21 10:46pm

Revive the Rice University Farmers Market

Nearly a year ago, I reported for the Thresher on how the Rice University Farmers Market was pivoting in the midst of COVID-19. As Rice readjusted to deal with the pandemic in spring 2020, the Farmers Market hosted on campus every Tuesday was one of the things that had to go. I don’t fault Rice for this; it was an uncertain time, and we needed to prioritize limiting the spread of COVID. However, the Farmers Market has not returned. I come with a simple request: Rice, bring the Farmers Market back.


OPINION 10/26/21 10:43pm

Rice should expand its parental leave policy to all

Two years ago, the Thresher extensively covered discrepancies in Rice’s maternity leave policies in regards to their treatment of faculty and staff. Specifically, we called for Rice to equalize its maternity leave policies. In addition, we were reminded that Rice’s maternity leave policy discriminates between tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty, and that the conversation should be centered around parental leave instead of just maternity leave.