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NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Commentary: A disappointing finish, but more than just a two-and-out

Well, that was quick."Owlmaha" was here, but if you took a break to fret over Willie Randolph or throw out your salmonella-laced tomatoes, you returned to find Rice's College World Series presence replaced by a sickening vacuum. In our seventh CWS appearance since 1997, the Owls choked their way to the program's fourth two-and-out in seven tries, but only its first since Notre Dame bounced the Owls with a 5-3 two-run walk-off bomb in 2002.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Speaker addresses clean election reform

For this election year, political fervor may have gripped many students on campus who look into donating money to fund their favored candidate's election. But Dr. Joan Mandle, president of Democracy Matters, an organization devoted to campaign financing that has 70 chapters in college campuses across the United States, claims these donations may not make a difference for many politicians, who mainly answer to corporate interests and the privileged elite. Mandle, a professor at Colgate University, spoke April 21 in the Miner Lounge of the Rice Memorial Center.Mandle began her talk, entitled "White House for Sale? Do Students Really Have a Voice?" by acknowledging former Student Association President Laura Kelley with arranging for her to come to Rice. Kelley, a Brown College senior, began her internship with Democracy Matters earlier this semester. Mandle said students in the internship focus on reaching out to other students and enacting political change on their college campuses.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Staff Editorial:Parking proposal rejection na've

Earlier this month, President David Leebron reviewed the Parking Committee's decision for next year's parking fees. The committee, which had proposed a return to the tiered-surcharge system and cutting Greenbriar Lot's surcharge by half for students, found its work from the past year largely overlooked when Leebron rejected much of its proposal (see story, page 1). We applaud the committee's willingness to listen to student opinion; earlier this spring, committee members presented their ideas to members of the Student Association, generating positive feedback on the possibility of cutting rates to make Greenbriar Lot more affordable.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Strong opinions brew over Pavilion's opening

Students walking around Robert R. Herring Hall and the Rice Memorial Center may have been surprised when the construction fences cawme down to reveal a glass building containing a coffee bar and lounge furniture. The new Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion officially opened to campus with a dedication ceremony April 24. To kick off the pavilion's opening, the Dirk's Coffee bar inside remained open 24 hours a day during finals, from April 27 to May 2, to provide students moral and caffeinated support for the inevitable all-nighters.The pavilion officially opened to the public April 26. One day later, at the President's Study Break hosted by the offices of President David Leebron and Dean of Undergraduates Robin Forman, the pavilion introduced itself to students by giving away free coffee to study break attendees.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Missing student Matt Wilson found at University of California-Berkeley

Thursday, Aug. 14 - Hanszen College junior Matt Wilson, who had been missing since December, was found Wednesday night in a building on the University of California-Berkeley campus. A UC-Berkeley police officer was patrolling that part of the campus looking for a theft suspect when he came across Wilson alone in a classroom with a laptop hooked up to a projection system. At first, Wilson gave the officer a false name, but acknowledged that he was not a UC-Berkeley student. Later on, he provided police his real name.The laptop Wilson was using was confirmed to be stolen property, and police detained him overnight pending theft or trespassing charges.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

New Owl Days host 500 prospective students, up from previous years

The Rice campus played host to prospective students last month as the Student Admission Council directed three sessions of Owl Days. The new program for admitted student visitation, which replaces previous years' Owl Weekend, took place in three Monday-through-Tuesday sessions, from April 7-8, April 14-15 and April 21-22.SAC Director Claire Shorall said Rice students collectively facilitated Owl Days.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Rice's BoredAt site created

Rice gained a new bathroom wall this April, joining the boredat network with the creation of the boredatrice.net Web site. Boredatrice is one of dozens of anonymous collegiate posting sites, which include juicycampus.com, allowing students to post whatever they want under the protection of anonymity, with themes often trending towards the vulgar. Since the first post on April 10 - a clip of the "Charlie Bit Me" YouTube video - the Rice site has gained over 60 more posts and over 500 responses.Lovett College junior Leah Withers and Baker College senior Tiffany Lee pushed for the creation of a boredat site for Rice in November 2007 by posting on the boredat Facebook request board and received a response on April 2 announcing that the university's site had been created.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Marshall ousts women's tennis in C-USA semifinals

In the realm of sports, effort and talent do not always equate to success and victory, particularly in women's tennis. In this day and age, parity amongst conference rivals leads to any team having a chance of triumphing on any given day. After six hours of grueling play against No. 50 Marshall University, the Owls eventually succumbed in the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament, ending their strong season on a sour note.After closing its season with 10 wins in a row, including a 5-3 shellacking of No. 69 California State University-Northridge, Rice entered the tournament with a first-round bye and began actual play in the second round against the University of Houston. Rice was seeded third in the tournament behind the University of Tulsa and Marshall, while UH came in only at No. 6. Though unranked, the Cougars gave the team a run for its money. The match lasted for over five hours, but the Owls nonetheless pulled away in a 4-3 thrilling comeback victory.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Baseball takes College World Series berth with win over Texas A&M

The baseball team clinched a third-consecutive College World Series berth with a 6-5 win over the visiting Texas A&M Aggies in Sunday's Super Regional game, and while the opponent and result were the same as last year, the late-game heroics were a welcome addition.With two outs and a runner on and his team's 5-4 deficit glowing on the scoreboard in the game's eighth inning, head coach Wayne Graham watched the arm of Aggie reliever Travis Starling fire a pitch towards home plate. He then watched the bat of junior catcher Adam Zornes fire it back over the left field wall for what would prove to be the game-winning home run.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Common Reading Selected

Those who were hoping next year's common reading would be the timely political memoir by Allen Raymond, How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative, may have to wait until the 2012 presidential election. This month the common reading committee reached a decision, selecting Greg Mortenson's memoir, Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time, which they have since distributed to Orientation Week coordinators, advisers, resident associates, college counselors and next year's incoming class.The common reading committee met before winter recess and periodically throughout the spring, and is made up of undergraduate students, including former O-Week coordinators, a faculty member, a graduate student and Assistant to the President Matthew Taylor.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Baseball clinches conference title with sweep of Houston

There were many things to cheer about as the fifth-ranked baseball team played its final home series last weekend. With a sweep over rival University of Houston, the Owls (39-11, 18-3 C-USA) secured the regular season Conference USA crown, marking Rice's 13th conference title in a row dating back to 1996. In addition to the team accolades, two players were announced to be in the running for significant national collegiate baseball awards, and three were honored for their academic achievements this semester. And with the graduations of seniors Will McDaniel and Cole St.Clair last Saturday, the team had even more cause for celebration before the contest against the Cougars.Most pressing on the Owls' minds at the moment, however, is their series against Tulane University, which opened Thursday in New Orleans, Louis., and will continue tomorrow. Tulane (36-15, 13-6 C-USA) is not likely to go down easily; outside of facing the Owls, the Green Wave have dominated conference play. Tulane will rely heavily on the arm of pitching phenom Shooter Hunt, a junior with a 1.97 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 77.2 innings pitched.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Owls defeat Aggies 9-7 in first game of Super Regional

A record crowd of 5,368 spectators filled Reckling Park on Saturday to witness a Super Regional rematch between Rice and Texas A&M University. The Aggies could not prevent history from repeating itself as senior designated hitter Jordan Dodson again played the hero in the Owls' 9-7 win. Mimicking last year's performance, Dodson had the crowd seeing déj? vu as he broke a tie to pull the Owls ahead in game one. On the day, he had four RBIs spread across three hits, an impressive feat considering he entered the game batting .167. He raised his batting average by nearly 30 points by the end of the game.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

One-stop CWS coverage

The Rice Owls are headed to Omaha for the College World Series, and the Thresher's got it covered.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Worker dies after walls collapse at McMurtry College

JUNE 19 - One construction worker was killed and seven others were injured after a number of masonry walls collapsed Thursday afternoon at McMurtry College. The accident happened shortly around 4 p.m., and coincided with the arrival of heavy thunderstorms in the Houston area, Director of News and Media Relations B.J. Almond said. Executive Assistant Chief Rick Flannigan of the Houston Fire Department said four of the seven injured workers were transported to various hospitals in the medical center. The other three were treated on-site. Flannigan said the extent of the workers' injuries had yet to be determined, and their identities were still unknown. The workers were on the second floor of the building when the walls collapsed, and they were trapped in the rubble for a short time before fire and rescue crews arrived on the scene to secure the area. Rescue crews then checked the rest of the site to account for all the workers. Flannigan said an investigation has commenced to ascertain the cause of the collapse, but he maintained that HFD's first priority was ensuring the site's safety. "There's just a lot of work to be done," Flannigan said. "We want to make sure that it's safe, the walls are safe, and the investigative team can have access … to a large area." McMurtry and its counterpart, Duncan College, are scheduled for completion by Fall 2009.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Senior sprinter Heard's emergence highlights men's track's resurgence

Last year the members of the men's track team could count the number of NCAA regional events they qualified for on one hand. This year, however, that hand could be used to count the events that senior Bubba Heard has qualified for all by himself. Add another hand and a foot and maybe we could start counting his individual victories.Facing both collegiate and amateur competition last weekend at the Houston Invitational, Heard qualified for regionals in his third event this season, the 100 meter sprint. Heard was the top collegian in the race, which counts as a victory by NCAA standards, and finished with a time of 10.43 seconds. He improved his mark by .31 seconds from the previous week and moved up to second in the Conference USA event rankings.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Commentary: Return to Omaha just business as usual

Most teams will savor it, every moment of it. The instant where a foot plants on home plate, where the batter whiffs at the final strike, when the outfielder cradles that fly ball like a newborn kitten. Whatever the circumstance of that series-clinching out or final run, winning a championship of any sort results in a mass gathering of jubilance and crushing bodies.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Column: Off-campus student needs require redress

During my time at Rice, I was one of "those people." I lived on-campus for one year, moved off-campus for sophomore year and never came back. I went pretty deep OC my junior and senior years. Spending lots of dead time in the Rice Memorial Center during my three years off-campus has taught me one thing: Rice needs better resources for off-campus students. The first thing that can be improved is food options. Food is expensive - I wince every time I see my total at the grocery store - but additional food options on-campus could help to offset this expense. Currently, if you do not have any sort of off-campus meal plan, your options are to pack a meal, eat at 13th Street, Willy's Pub or Sammy's Cafe or convince a friend with a meal plan to steal food for you from the servery. And even if you do have an off-campus meal plan, it is probably somewhat impractical as the meals do not carry over from week to week. While 13th Street is a big improvement over the sub par Subway that formerly occupied the space in the RMC, there are only so many $5 turkey sandwiches and $5.95 sushi boxes one can take. While Rice cannot realistically support multiple fast-food chain restaurants in its student center like the University of Texas does, Rice needs another food alternative aside from current businesses or the slightly frightening frozen food vending machine in the RMC basement.

NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

In Focus: Cole St.Clair

Whenever a Rice baseball player crosses the plate to tally a run, his teammates immediately head out of the dugout to meet him - a celebration that is tradition in college baseball, and one that highlights the true sense of team camaraderie in college athletics. But fans following the Owls closely this year might have noticed that one of the first players out of the dugout is almost always senior pitcher Cole St.Clair. This Santa Ana, Calif. native has been a driving force for Rice's success whenever he set sfoot on the rubber, and he has been a consistent leader for the team in the locker room during his four-year tenure at Rice.It was then no surprise to Rice fans that St.Clair was drafted in the seventh round by the Cleveland Indians last summer. His accomplishments are numerous and include several school records: 27 career saves, 103 appearances and a top 10 all-time place in both the career and season-best ERA categories. These numbers also share a spot with St. Clair's multiple awards, which include the Dell Morgan Most Valuable Baseball Player for 2006 and the 2008 Bob Quin Award, given to Rice's most outstanding male athlete on and off the field. And that's on top of being named an All-American by Baseball America in 2006 and a freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball in 2005, as well as earning a spot on Team USA in 2006. On the national team, he had a 4-0 record with three saves and an ERA of 0.69 against some of the best athletes in the world.

NEWS 4/17/08 7:00pm

83 graduating seniors to enter Phi Beta Kappa society

This spring, 83 graduating seniors were invited to become members of Beta of Texas, Rice's Phi Beta Kappa chapter. The academic society, which was established in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, honors the top 10 percent of each graduating class. Last year, 86 Rice seniors entered Phi Beta Kappa. She also said the Beta chapter reviews graduating seniors' transcripts each spring. The society accepts members regardless of major and requires that students take at least 10 courses outside of their field of study. McStay said these additional classes emphasize a student's love for learning for the sake of learning.