Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Saturday, April 01, 2023 — Houston, TX

Opinion



OPINION 2/22/22 11:33pm

Retracting Seth Huston’s statement is a start to challenging transphobia on campus

On January 21, 2022, the swimming news organization SwimSwam published an article including remarks by the Rice University women’s swimming coach, Seth Huston. Huston stated that trans swimmer Lia Thomas and other trans athletes should “compete as what [they] were biologically born until we get to a point where we’ve expanded opportunities.” He defined expanding opportunities as potentially “creating a third division, a transgender division, or whatever.” He further stated he thought it was “wrong” of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America to “suggest Lia compete at NCAAs” in reference to their support of Lia Thomas competing at the Women’s NCAA Championships in March. We urge that Huston retract his statement, we urge Rice to take this opportunity to change internal processes that harm trans students, and we urge readers to bring the facts about trans women athletes to the conversation when others espouse similar sentiments.


OPINION 2/22/22 11:27pm

A tribute to Kelley Lash from Student Media alumni

Many people see student media and think the students are running the show – the reality is, none of it would have been possible without Kelley. Kelley remembered things that other people didn’t. She was never afraid to tell it exactly how it is, to both students and administrators alike. Kelley would deliver a blisteringly honest critique with a smile and some freshly baked cupcakes, because she cared so, so, so much. And she never stopped caring, even as students graduated and budgets got squeezed and years passed. It’s incredible to see the number of people she impacted. I will miss her dearly. 


OPINION 2/22/22 11:23pm

Transpeople’s humanity is not up to ‘respectful discussion’

While I wasn’t able to attend the Senate meeting on Feb. 7, I read the minutes of the meeting and am severely disappointed in the Student Association’s response to the comments of Rice Swim coach Seth Huston on the “controversy” surrounding transgender athletes. I’m attempting to share my perspective on the situation as a trans student and former athlete/coach. The University must actively denounce transphobia and other forms of bigotry in the future if it wishes to uphold a value of equity on its campus.


OPINION 2/15/22 11:21pm

The Rice track should be open to all Rice students

The other day I (Rutherford) broke Rice’s rules — at least that’s what the security guard in the golf cart told me. Growing up as an avid runner near another small, private university in Texas, I, like much of my community, ran frequently on the university track. Hoping to maintain my fitness in college, I jogged to the on-campus Rice track early one morning through the open gates, and after barely finishing two laps was stopped by security. “You can’t run here,” he said. “The track is for Rice athletes only, and the gate should’ve been locked.” Why it’s a problem for a Rice student to run a few minutes on the empty Rice track, I don’t know. But rules are rules, and I politely exited the track to make way for the non-existent athletic practice.


OPINION 2/15/22 11:19pm

Vote. It’s not that hard.

After last year’s Student Association election saw less than a fourth of the student body turnout to vote, we penned an editorial calling on students to engage further with the SA and its elections. As we approach another election — voting opens next Wednesday — we feel it necessary to reiterate our call. For anyone who has tried to raise student awareness of an issue, aired a grievance against the administration or tried to spur change on campus, now is the time to cast your ballot for who you want to represent the student body and fight for the issues that matter to you.


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.