Baker College junior Duncan Eddy has officially raised enough money to pay for the Fondren library window. Eddy's posterior was the butt of Baker 13 jokes across campus after his gluteus went crashing through a Fondren window on the Halloween run. Fortunately, the damage is behind us. However, initially the incident was no laughing matter since Eddy was told he owed the university $15,000 if he was to stay enrolled.
The U.S. is currently mired in a challenging fiscal situation — the annual deficit is over eight percent of gross domestic product and the national debt held by the public is almost 70 percent of GDP. As such, it is imperative that U.S. politicians and policy-makers think critically about how to reduce this looming crisis. Broadly speaking, there are two alternate, yet not mutually exclusive, options from which the nation can choose — cutting spending or raising more revenue from taxes. Looking at the current policies in place and those proposed by the Republican presidential hopefuls affords the public a chance to analyze the revenue aspect of the issue.
With the resignation of John Huntsman Jr., yet another one of the Republican primary candidates has thrown in the towel on his presidential ambition. It now seems almost inevitable that Mitt Romney will clinch the nomination, and if he wins in South Carolina it is highly likely the remaining opposition will have no choice but to concede. The campaign is now driving full force out of the farcical circus of last year's colorful contenders and entering the long brutal general election that is the "Super Bowl" of American politics.
In all the discussions that have occurred since the hard liquor probation was enacted, it is easy to lose sight of one of the characteristics that makes Rice University unique: student governance. Students created the Honor Code and inspired large parts of the Student Code of Conduct and Alcohol Policy. The hard liquor probation itself was, in fact, informed and implemented by student leaders across campus. Our tradition of a student-led judicial system means that students, not university officials, hold fellow students to Rice community standards.
Last week, perhaps yearning to be closer to a place I so dearly miss, I logged on to the Thresher's website to see what was new with all of you. The front page told me that Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson had lifted the ban on alcohol, and subsequent editorials trumpeted the pivotal role that student cooperation had played in the university's decision.
Jones College will soon be furbished with biometric fingerprint security to limit access to external and bathroom doors. While improving campus security should always be priority, this proposal fails to significantly enhance student safety for its hefty price tag of $3,000 to $5,000 per scanner. The current proposal plans to place approximately a dozen scanners in Jones, and there are plans to expand the biometric scanners to other colleges with common restrooms. The staggering expense associated with this initiative makes the implementation of biometric security around campus not only unfeasible but simply preposterous.
Rice University has chosen Johnny Whitehead to succeed Bill Taylor as chief of Rice University Police (see story, pg. 1). Whitehead will arrive at Rice sporting an impressive resume which includes university, private sector and public government security experience. He is certainly talented and qualified for the position, and the Thresher is impressed by the positive response he has generated among those who have interacted with him.
Ah, the start of a new semester! With new notebooks in hand and the determination to make this a great semester, our student body attends its first week of classes. While "syllabus week" is one of the most enjoyable weeks of the semester, with the opportunity to shop for classes and limited homework, it does bring along one annoyance: buying textbooks. After most of us have finally decided which classes we will attend, or at least stay enrolled in, it comes the time to dive into the frustrating process of buying the required materials for our next semester of learning.
I am an ardent supporter of President Barack Obama and have often used this space to praise him and his policies. Yet I cannot be a blind supporter; when they err, it is our responsibility to criticize those we admire. As such, today I write to express my fundamental disagreement with the president.
The alcohol policy probation has been lifted effective next semester by Dean Hutchinson after nine months of efforts by student leadership to make the university environment more conducive to safe drinking (see story, pg. 1). The probation rules varied among the residential colleges, but the greatest impact it had on the university party scene was the deprivation of punch and shots at private parties around campus. While the probation seems to have been effective in reducing the ease of binge drinking at private parties, liquor use in private quarters was still quite prevalent. In short, the probation did not seem to stop individual students from drinking heavily if he or she desired to do so; it did, however, serve as a stark wake-up call for students around campus.
Many Rice students from outside the Southern United States can attest to the fact that our university is not exactly the most well-known or prestigious school on the coasts. Indeed, when telling someone from Massachusetts or Oregon about Rice, you are likely to be asked whether it's a small liberal arts school or to receive a blank stare. While there are some who have heard of Rice and a few who know what a great institution it really is, the fact of the matter is that our eventual alma mater simply does not carry the same weight as schools such as Stanford or the supposed Holy Grail known as Harvard. Here's a thought though: so what?
Palestine was accepted into the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as a member state on Oct. 31, 2011. President Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel reacted first, condemning UNESCO's acceptance of Palestine. His policy provoked intense criticism from the Israeli people and the international community. As an act of solidarity with Israel, the United States withdrew its own funding from UNESCO, a sum of $80 million constituting 22 percent of UNESCO's total funding.