VOLUME 102, ISSUE NO. 7 | STUDENT-RUN SINCE 1916 | RICETHRESHER.ORG | WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2017
read the RICE RECS pg. 7 - 10
see Rice's picks for the best places around town
Athletic Director discusses state of Rice sports
CTIS IN REVIEW Students reflect, express
concerns as workshop ends
JUAN SALDAÑA EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / JDS15@RICE.EDU
As midterms roll around, new students can cross one item oﬀ their academic checklists: the Critical Thinking in Sexuality workshop. The mandatory workshop, based oﬀ a proposal by Student Association President Jazz Silva in the fall of 2015, was administered to all new students over the course of four sessions. Director of Sexual Violence and Title IX Support Allison Vogt and Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson both said they were impressed with the course’s success this semester. However, reflecting upon the course's first iteration, some students voiced concerns regarding student engagement in the course, the time slots oﬀered, oﬀ-campus instructors and class structure. “Everybody was participating at a satisfactory level, which is phenomenal,” Hutchinson said. “I think [it] is a strong testament both to the quality of the people that come to Rice but also the quality of the proposal that was put forward by the Student Association as being something that students were interested in and committed to.” The mandatory workshop will result in a satisfactory or unsatis-
factory designation for students. To complete the course satisfactorily, students were required to attend every session or request an alternate assignment from their instructor. Students who did not complete the course satisfactorily will be given a registration hold until they complete all of the required sessions. COURSE STRUCTURE The CTIS workshop covered topics including gender, sexual communication, consent and bystander intervention, according to the course syllabus. The curriculum was designed to cover topics mandated by law and engage students in a discussion-based class, Vogt said. Will Rice College freshman Xander Spriggs and McMurtry College freshman Carolyn Daly, both of
SPORTS EDITOR / ABG4@RICE.EDU
whom said they had previously received sexual education in school, said they did not learn new information in the course. Spriggs said the main value of the class was in bringing attention to pertinent issues for students. “There wasn’t much, at least for me, that I hadn’t already learned or heard,” Spriggs said. “It’s definitely something that is not always in people’s minds throughout the days, so it does make you think about society." According to CTIS workshop instructor Saralyn Hernandez, the value of CTIS is in approaching the topics in the form of a discussion. “As educators we know that the thinking, the critical part, is going to come from discussing with your peers, hearing what other people have to say, and learning from the group atmosphere not just from someone standing and lecturing,” Hernandez said. Hernandez said class-wide conversations were rare, but students seemed to feel more comfortable discussing amongst small groups during the activities. She said a lack of discussion could be attributed to a number of factors, from the 25-person maximum class size to students not feeling comfortable with each other yet.
CTIS CONT. ON PAGE 4
ILLUSTRATION BY ESTHER TANG
Students propose replacement for LPAP EMILY ABDOW NEWS EDITOR / ESA2@RICE.EDU
Student Association members proposed replacing the Lifetime Physical Activity Program with a wider range of classes at the SA Senate meeting on Monday. Related legislation, which may change as student feedback is gathered, will be introduced on Nov. 7, according to SA President Justin Onwenu. The proposal outlined in the current version of the legislation advocates for the creation of a one credit hour graduation requirement in Lifetime Enrichment. Students could choose to take courses in financial literacy, cultural enrichment, leadership and civic engagement, as well as in the existing LPAP category, which would also include mental wellbeing courses. “The rationale behind our idea is that the current university requirements don't allow students to understand what they lack in basic skills, whether that be community service or civic engagement or adulting, and so we want to expose students to a wider range of opportunities without
the burden of an extra requirement,” Juliette Turner-Jones, one of the creators of the Lifetime Enrichment proposal and a Duncan College senator, said.
I don't buy that the LPAP requirement suddenly makes everyone these athletes. Juliette Turner-Jones Duncan College Senator Onwenu, who created the proposal with Turner-Jones and five other SA members, said he had planned to introduce legislation at the Monday Senate meeting, but decided instead to have Turner-Jones and Brown College Senator Grace Wickerson lead a discussion on the proposal to allow more time for SA members to gather feedback. In its current form, the legislation would create a 12-member Lifetime Enrichment Task Force chaired by Turner-Jones
and Onwenu and including all the proposers. The group would work with oﬃces such as the Doerr Institute for New Leaders and the Center for Civil Leadership to develop the Lifetime Enrichment Program and present the program's details to the Senate by the end of the 2017-18 term. The proposal is another of recent eﬀorts to reform university requirements, following Faculty Senate approval of lower distribution requirements in April and the introduction of the new student Critical Thinking in Sexuality workshop first proposed in SA Senate legislation in 2015. “Although the idea that we have is in my personal opinion the best idea to address [needs in undergraduate education], we really want to get more input in terms of what people think would be better alternatives,” Onwenu, a Sid Richardson College senior, said. “We'll decide in the near future if we want to just present the proposal as is and say, ‘Do you want this,’ or if we want to talk about it more.” Brown President Santiago Avila said he hoped those proposing the legislation keep an
open mind about other proposals and not become too committed to one idea. “If we're going to make something like this happen, which I would say is a fairly transformative change to our education, the process is what is going to be most important moving forward,” Avila, a senior, said. Baker Senator John Michael Austin could not attend the SA meeting but had a proxy member read his concerns. “I think [the proposal] will result in more students not pursuing physical activity at Rice,” Austin’s proxy said. “Is that the price we're willing to pay so we can ensure these new classes are taken? Because right now they exist, but people just don't know about them.” Turner-Jones said she did not think reforming the current curriculum would have a significant impact on most students’ physical activity. “I just really don't buy that the LPAP requirement suddenly makes everyone these athletes,” Turner-Jones, a sophomore, said. “If I'm not someone who is phys-
LPAP CONT. ON PAGE 4
The comment section on the Thresher Facebook page for Madison Buzzard’s opinion piece titled “Rice football must build a winning culture” was something to behold. It all began when Stephanie Marten-Ellis commented, “I feel like this is only an issue because we’re in Texas. Does [the Massachusetts Institute of Technology] even have a football team? [Editor’s note: It does.] Who cares.” Then there was Judy Ybarra, who said, “Something has been lost because many colleges are focusing more on football than academics. I remember when players went to college on scholarship in order to get an education.”
There just aren't very many Reed Colleges out there that have no athletics. Joe Karlgaard Athletic Director And for every Marten-Ellis and Ybarra, there was a Mario Destephen commenting, “Many people miss the importance of a strong college football culture, and sports culture in general.” When Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard read through these comments, he chuckled at some and gazed more seriously at others. After about three minutes of reading, he looked up. “I think in general you could treat any of these perspectives as valid,” Karlgaard said. “I think it’s a choice that the institution has made. It’s almost an expectation that as an institution of higher education in the United States you’re going to have some kind of athletic program. There just aren’t very many Reed Colleges out there that have no athletics.” Karlgaard has been Rice’s athletic director since fall 2013. Since he was hired, the Owls have won conference championships in nine diﬀerent sports. He has overseen the construction of the Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center, the new stands at the Wendel D. Ley Track and new team space at Tudor Fieldhouse. He was named to the Sports Business Journal’s “40 under 40” in 2014 during his first year at Rice. Karlgaard said when he accepted the job, his goals were clear. “When I came to Rice, it was with the assumption that we were going to make a go of it at the [Football Bowl Subdivision] level,” Karlgaard said. “We were going to see if we could really strengthen our programs. We were going to see if we could make our way into a Power 5 conference. We were going
ATHLETICS CONT. ON PAGE 15
Students back alumnus’ school board campaign CLAIRE CARPENTER
FOR THE THRESHER / CCC13@RICE.EDU
Students and alumni spent this past Saturday knocking on doors to campaign for Rice University faculty member and alumnus Robert Lundin’s run in the Houston Independent School District school board election. Lundin (Wiess ’00), who is running for HISD District VI truee, has taught a course on Contemporary Issues in Education (EDUC 202). “Rice oﬀered me the jumping oﬀ point in which I have felt inspired [and] empowered to start a life in education,” Lundin said. “It started with [teaching] only 22 kids and now to a position where I could potentially be serving 220,000. That couldn’t have happened without this place.” Early voting for the six HISD trustee positions up for election is from Oct. 23 to Nov. 3 and election day is Nov. 7. If elected District VI trustee, Lundin would join eight other trustees from the nine singlemember districts of Houston in the HISD school board. With a debt of $100 million and news reports that special needs students and second language learners are not receiving the services they are legally obligated to receive, HISD is at a crucial juncture, according to Lundin. “There are a lot of challenges that are being experienced at the school level,” Lundin said. “If we don’t fix them right now, it’s going to be ten times worse later on. If
HISD and its 283 schools aren’t working well for students, it doesn’t just aﬀect the kids in the school, it aﬀects the entire city.” The Rice Young Democrats emailed out volunteering opportunities for Lundin’s campaign to their listserv.
I would rather this ripple [of change] come from a person of integrity, whose heart is in this for the students and not for the name recognition as some of his opponents are. Alex Nunez-Thompson Sid Richardson College Alumnus Maurice Frediere, Rice Young Democrats co-president, said he supports Lundin’s decision to address the lack of services to special needs students and second language learners. “I view those two issues as the most critical facing the district in the next five years, and Robert’s experience and platform indicate that he is prepared to bring about change for students,” Frediere, a Duncan College junior, said. “It’s a tremendous moral failing of our community that we’re leaving behind kids who have the same aspirations and determination as traditional students.”
Danial Syed, a Will Rice College senior, participated in the door-to-door campaigning and encouraged others to volunteer at Will Rice’s student government meetings. “By supporting [Lundin], I really think that Rice students can have a good impact on Houston’s community by improving the way Houston serves low-resource kids,” Syed said. Lundin said the position of trustee would have the power to shape the longterm path for the school district. “When you literally hold the future of more than 200,000 students in your hands, every decision you make needs to be anchored on what’s in the best interests of students and their families,” Lundin said. “It’s setting the school on a path by which will not only be sustainable, but successful in the long term.” Alex Nunez-Thompson (Sid Richardson ’16) who currently teaches physics at YES Prep Brays Oaks, created Lundin’s campaign website and many of the campaign logos. “While my school does not fall under the Houston Independent School District, as the 7th largest school district in the nation, and the largest in Texas, what happens in HISD has a ripple eﬀect in the area and across the nation,” Nunez-Thompson said. “I would rather this ripple come from a person of integrity, whose heart is in this for the students and not for the name recognition as some of his opponents are. I believe that person is Robert Lundin.”
Syed said he feels that Rice students have learned more about the community and ways to become involved after Hurricane Harvey and hopes it will continue, regarding the HISD school board election and beyond. “A lot of Rice students went out and volunteered [after Harvey], and I think that was a positive change for Rice students because they got to see more of the outside world,” Syed said. “Even after that crisis, I’m hoping that Rice students will continue to serve Houston and continue to learn more about Houston because it’s an important thing to do.”
courtesy robert lundin for hisd facebook
After year of lunch shuttle, ridership remains low KIMMY SCHUSTER FOR THE THRESHER / KFS1@RICE.EDU
The Rice Village lunch shuttle celebrated its one-year anniversary of providing students and staﬀ with access to oﬀ-campus lunch options on Sept. 26. Rice University Transportation Manager Elizabeth Gbordzoe said ridership has increased, though it remains lower than that of other shuttle services. The shuttle service gave a total of 4,453 rides in the last year and is now a permanent addition to Rice’s transportation services, according to Gbordzoe. The Rice Village Saturday shuttle provided a total of 14,915 rides in the same time period, and the undergraduate shopping shuttle gave a total of 7,735 rides, Gbordzoe said. Working with the transportation oﬃce, Gbordzoe said she designed and implemented the shuttle service over the summer and fall of 2016, and has monitored the service over the past year. Currently there is one lunch shuttle running on the new route every 15 minutes from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday from the Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center. Students and staﬀ can use the Rice bus tracking app RideSystems to track the lunch shuttle’s times and location. “Many segments of the university, including students, requested repeatedly
that we provide a shuttle to Rice Village during the week,” she said. However, shuttle driver Michelle Scott reports that the ridership has been relatively constant and consistently lower than other shuttles that she drives. “There is consistently a few people on this shuttle every day during the week,” Scott said. “Many students often take it as an alternative method of transportation to their oﬀ-campus apartments. This shuttle’s shorter time frame and lessened publicity definitely cause a large diﬀerence in ridership between shuttles.” Scott also said she sees many of the same faces among her passengers throughout the week. Brown College freshman Rynd Morgan said she had not known about the shuttle’s existence. “If I knew the shuttle existed, I think I definitely would have used it more. But in my two months here, I have never heard it mentioned even once,” Morgan said. Morgan also said that if the shuttle was better publicized, it could be a great resource for those who often get food delivered to campus or those who do not have meal plans. According to Gbordzoe, there have been various emails to advertise the service that have been sent to the community throughout the last year. Additionally,
the transportation department explored other avenues of publicity such as a video explaining the service in order to help advertise the shuttle. Sid Richardson College senior Youssef Machkhas said he was unaware of the shuttle. “I think that students like myself who have a car on campus would not take advantage of this service even if they were more aware of it,” Machkhas said. “But even more than that, Rice students so often have tight schedules or classes right after lunch and that could be a
common problem in terms of the shuttle’s use on campus.” Brown junior Amani Ramiz said she has taken the shuttle before when needing to travel to Rice Village for a purchase. However, Ramiz said she discovered the shuttle on her own and did not hear about it through any publicity from the university. “The transportation department is optimistic about continuing to increase ridership and awareness in the future,” Gbordzoe said. The Rice Village lunch shuttle is one year old as of Sept. 26. In its year of operation, the shuttle has provided 4,453 rides to the Rice community,
THE RICE THRESHER
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2017
Former employee sues Rice for unlawful termination EMILY ABDOW
NEWS EDITOR / ESA2@RICE.EDU
A former Rice University employee has filed a lawsuit against the institution alleging that her employment was terminated after she requested leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. “The University denies numerous claims in the lawsuit, but we cannot elaborate because Rice does not comment to the media on personnel matters or pending litigation,” B.J. Almond, Rice’s senior director of News and Media Relations, said. Cylette Willis-Sass was terminated on July 7, according to the lawsuit she filed on Aug. 15 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. Willis-Sass alleges she requested FMLA paperwork for “a serious medical condition” from Marian Phillips, human resources benefits specialist, and also notified Rebecca Gould, Rice’s director of employee relations, of her request. Gould and Phillips could not be reached for comment. The FMLA requires employers to provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid,
job-protected leave for reasons including a serious health condition that prevents employees from performing their jobs, according to Rice’s human resources website. “All Rice employees are welcome and encouraged to discuss an FMLA leave with a human resources benefits specialist, who can assist them in understanding their rights, options and how to request such a leave,” Almond said. Willis-Sass’s lawsuit alleges she was fired as a result of requesting FMLA leave, and not for a legitimate business reason. The lawsuit further claims a Rice news release announced Willis-Sass’s promotion from program director to senior academic design advisor of Rice Online on July 1, six days prior to her termination. While there is no available July news release in Rice’s archives announcing Willis-Sass’s promotion, a May 19 news release states Willis-Sass would be promoted on July 1. Rice’s Department of Human Resources would not confirm whether WillisSass had been promoted on July 1. Willis-Sass alleges that Rice never provided her with disciplinary action or placed her on a performance improvement plan prior to her
termination. In addition, Willis-Sass claims Rice had not performed an evaluation of her in the last three years. Houston-based employment attorney Clayton Craighead said the outcome of the case will hinge on the legitimacy of Rice’s reason for terminating Willis-Sass’s employment. Rice has not filed a response to Willis-Sass’s allegations. “If the plaintiﬀ’s complaint is true that this employee didn’t have any sort of write-ups or disciplinary history, I would suspect the reason for termination must have been a pretty good reason. Because ordinarily you don’t just mess up once and get fired unless it’s something really, really bad,” Craighead said. Willis-Sass’ lawsuit asks for actual damages, as well as back pay, front pay and benefits and compensatory damages for mental anguish. Craighead said that FMLA provides liquidated damages to a plaintiﬀ who prevails in a lawsuit, which doubles the amount of damages awarded to the plaintiﬀ. The court entered an order on Oct. 11 for Willis-Sass to present evidence that she has served Rice, which consists of notifying Rice of the lawsuit through an individual with the
TIMELINE OF LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
authority to deliver legal documents. Rice has no obligation to appear in court until it has been served with the lawsuit, Craighead said. The order states failure to serve Rice by Nov. 13 will result in the dismissal of the case. The order also reschedules the initial pretrial conference for Dec. 18. Craighead said it is uncommon for the pretrial conference to be scheduled before the defendant files an answer to the plaintiﬀ. According to Craighead, the complaint filed by Willis-Sass is the beginning of a process which is likely to take at least a year and a half and be resolved out of court. Willis-Sass’s attorney, Ellen Sprovach, had not replied to emails or a phone call at time of print. Craighead said Sprovach’s silence may be strategic. “Let’s just say there’s some really egregious conduct on the part of the university,” Craighead said. “[Sprovach] might have a bargaining tool to say, “Hey, you guys don’t want this information to go public, and so you need to resolve this case.” Whereas if she comes out strong now and makes all these public releases, it could reduce the school’s desire to settle to the case.”
*Alleged by Willis-Sass in filed lawsuit
JUL 1, 2017
JUL 7, 2017
AUG 15, 2017
OCT 11, 2017
NOV 13, 2017
DEC 18, 2017
Willis-Sass promoted to Senior Academic Design Advisor*
Rice University terminated Willis-Sass after medical leave request*
Willis-Sass filed lawsuit against Rice University in district court
Order by court for Willis-Sass to prove Rice was served with lawsuit
Deadline for Willis-Sass to prove service or case will be dismissed
10 a.m.: Initial pre-trial conference for both parties to meet infographic by sydney garrett
Students, faculty weigh in on engineering school’s future AMY QIN FOR THE THRESHER / AQ5@RICE.EDU
The School of Engineering is creating a new strategic plan that will shape the direction the school takes over the next five years after appointing Reginald DesRoches as the new dean of engineering this year. According to DesRoches, a draft for the new strategic plan is projected to be completed by the end of 2017, and the final plan will be completed in the spring. The last strategic plan was developed six years ago with the appointment of DesRoches’ predecessor. “I believe it is important to develop or refresh strategic plans every few years since engineering education is constantly changing,” DesRoches said. “If you look at Rice, we have seen a shift towards more students interested in engineering, with approximately 40 percent of the students enrolled in one of the majors in the School of Engineering.” According to Bart Sinclair, a senior associate dean in the engineering school, the
growth in the number of students is a major aspect to be accounted for in the plan. “We would like to preserve our reputation and our commitment to high quality undergraduate education,” Sinclair said. “We need to figure out how, with the numbers that we have, we’re going to accommodate that.” The plan is still in its formative stages, with most of the eﬀorts directed toward soliciting feedback from students and staﬀ. Last month, students, staﬀ, faculty and alumni of the engineering school received an email link to a survey asking for their input on the strengths and weaknesses of the school. Gigi Rill, a student representative for Rice’s chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, said that she is impressed by improvements in the mechanical engineering department since the department’s town hall in November 2016, but still sees area for improvement. The town hall was initiated to address student frustrations over the lack of funding, a shortage in tenured professors, and underresourced labs, as the Thresher previously reported.
“[Mechanical engineering] students especially feel that there aren’t a lot of options being brought to campus for careers other than oil and gas,” Rill said. “I have been incredibly impressed with the amount of work that has gone in transforming the department,” Rill, a Martel College junior, said. “While not all issues have been fully addressed, the department has taken issues to heart and worked to improve them.” Emily Braverman, a computer science major, said the size of the department poses a challenge. “I think the current state of the CS department is great,” Braverman, a Jones College junior, said. “The only thing is class size is getting larger for the intro classes, and I think some professors seem to be struggling with that.” Braverman also said she hopes the administration will incorporate student wellness into their plan, citing a conversation she had with a professor in the computer science department over two exams scheduled for the same day.
“I brought up mental health, and the professor just got so infuriated — like I was tossing this phrase around as a joke or an excuse,” Braverman said. “I think the engineering school should start taking some responsibility for students’ mental health, seeing as that is the school with the most credit requirements and the school that students most frequently spend long hours of the night stressing over.” Angela Zhang, a bioengineering major, said she hopes for more collaboration between engineering majors in the future, citing this year’s lack of interdisciplinary teams in senior design, the capstone course for all engineering majors. Zhang also said that the school should introduce a required engineering design course for freshmen. “This would help students know if they really want to do engineering or not and get an idea of what various engineering disciplines are before they’ve essentially committed to a major during their sophomore year,” Zhang said.
Rice Management Company buys out Sears’ land lease RISHAB RAMAPRIYAN FOR THE THRESHER / RR41@RICE.EDU
Earlier this month, Rice Management Company bought out the remaining 28 years of Sears’ lease on Rice’s six-acre property in Midtown Houston, and acquired about three additional acres of contiguous land previously owned by Sears, according to an oﬃcial statement from Rice Management Company. “The acquisition will kick oﬀ a period of careful planning for how the property may eventually be used, and the Rice Management Company will be leading the planning eﬀort,” Rice Management Company President Allison Thacker said. Rice University has owned the six-acre Midtown property for over 75 years, as part of a portfolio of endowment investments,
according to the statement. Rice Management Company manages the university’s $5.8 billion endowment, which is the single largest revenue source to Rice’s operating budget at 40 percent, Thacker said.
The acquisition will kick oﬀ a period of careful planning. Allison Thacker Rice Management Company CEO “The newly acquired Midtown land will be part of our portfolio of directly managed real estate,” Thacker said. “Our mission remains to support the Rice University
mission through enlightened stewardship of the University’s financial resources.” According to the statement, Rice now owns a total of 9.4 acres at the Wheeler Transit Station in Midtown, encompassing the original Sears store, which will close within the next five months, and the accompanying parking lots, as well as the Sears Automotive Center site on Eagle Street between Fannin and San Jacinto streets. Rice’s property also includes the Fiesta Mart store located at 4200 San Jacinto St., but the store is not expected to be aﬀected by this sale during the two-year remainder of its lease, according to the statement. According to Rice University President David Leebron, the use of this newly acquired property has not yet been decided. Leebron said that Rice Management Company will work with diﬀerent groups to
make their decision. “Rice Management Company plans to use the next year to gather information and input that will enable it to study a number of options and make decisions about the best use of the property,” Leebron said. “We will be seeking input from various actors in the city, including nonprofits and city oﬃcials.” Leebron specifically named the Urban Land Institute, city of Houston oﬃcials, and Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research as groups that will be consulted in this process. Leebron said that this acquisition reflects Rice’s overall enthusiasm for engaging with the city of Houston. “Our goal is to find the best use of the property that both provides an adequate return to the Rice endowment and that serves the strategic goals of Rice and Houston,” Leebron said.
NEWS CTIS FROM PAGE 1
CTIS workshop instructor Brad Blunt said his greatest challenge was fostering an environment conducive to discussion. “The degree of engagement varied from section to section,” Blunt said. “I attempted asking fairly open-ended questions and there would frequently be long silences.” Spriggs, one of Vogt’s students, said he felt the workshop was not very discussion-based. “The whole idea of the five-week [course] is that you have more discussion but there wasn’t really any,” Spriggs said. “It could work better in a two- to three-[hour session].” Daly said she felt the way content was presented limited much of the course’s potential. “People didn’t want to focus on a bunch of definitions and didn’t feel like even if they did care about the topic, they were learning anything important about how to actually improve the situation at Rice,” Daly said. STUDENT ENGAGEMENT Vogt said students have been participating heavily in the course and have shown interest in the material. “Most of our students have made it really easy on us by attending and doing what they were asked,” Vogt said. “It’s phenomenal.” However, Spriggs said a minority of the class engaged heavily. “I know some people in my class didn’t even pay attention,” Spriggs said. “They would just like be on their phones or what not and sit in the back of the class.” Brown College freshman Sunskruthi Krishna enrolled in the LPAP version of the workshop, which is semester-long and covers broader and more in-depth topics. “In my class, [everyone was] very attentive and immersed in the conversation,” Krishna said. “Because I attended the LPAP CTIS, all the people who joined chose to be there rather than it being a mandatory course.” Hernandez, who taught seven sections of the workshop, said she felt her students paid attention throughout the course and did not
THE RICE THRESHER see those issues with student participation. “You have students who maybe aren’t as outgoing in class,” Hernandez said. “I don’t think that means that they’re not getting something out of the material.” SCHEDULING According to Vogt, a weekend schedule was implemented for CTIS to reduce potential timing conflicts. Sessions were held on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. However, some students expressed concerns with the scheduling of CTIS. “We should have the conversation whether there are alternative ways to oﬀer the course so that it doesn’t land on weekends,” Hutchinson said. Augi Liebster, a McMurtry freshman, said the weekend timing was a burden. “It is unrealistic to expect students to be interested in a class on the weekend as this is their time to relax and rest after rigorous weeks,” Liebster said. However, Spriggs said he preferred the weekend classes. “There are definitely a lot of time slots,” Spriggs said. “Sunday worked fine for me and didn’t present any obstacle. Obviously, not everybody wants to do it on the weekend but I feel like it was actually the best time to do it.” INSTRUCTORS According to Vogt, instructors for CTIS came from the Title IX Oﬃce, the Wellbeing Center, the Counseling Center, academic advising or oﬀ-campus partners. “I really haven’t heard that many — or any complaints really,” Vogt said. “I feel like the instructors had a really good time, the students really liked their instructors.” According to Hernandez, working at the Wellbeing Oﬃce allowed her to better engage with her students. Liebster said while she was passionate and informed, the instructor not being a part of the Rice community led to less discussion. “She struggled to spark an engaged debate
about the material,” Liebster said. “I think a big role was that she was not aﬃliated with Rice. This led to an inability to create a sense of trust that is vital with such a vulnerable, sensitive subject.” Daly said her instructor’s lack of familiarity with Rice prevented her from engaging with the class. “Some people told me that they felt like she didn’t have as much authority and they didn’t feel it was as important to pay attention to her,” Daly said. Ty David Lerman, a therapist, was one of the two oﬀ-campus instructors, according to Vogt. Lerman said not being Rice-aﬃliated increased his learning curve but did not feel it aﬀect the quality of the class. EFFECTIVENESS According to Vogt, CTIS is helping improve Rice’s culture regarding consent. Krishna said the LPAP version of the course has bettered her Rice experience. “I think the course made me feel safer on campus, knowing that it is mandatory for every incoming student,” Krishna said. Daly said the material taught in the mandatory workshop was not impactful. “Pretty much everyone I heard from, no matter how much they cared about these issues, did not feel that it was very useful,” Daly said. Hutchinson said the course’s importance is in its ability to improve Rice’s culture. “It’s going to take us a while before we know whether that has been successful,” Hutchinson said. However, Vogt said there is currently no feedback mechanism for the course. Daly said the course has potential to better Rice but needs changes before it can. “The sentiment is there,” Daly said. “It was a good idea. I think the execution was struggling this year but hopefully in the future it will be better.” This article has been condensed for print. Read the full story online at ricethresher.org.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2017 LPAP FROM PAGE 1
ically inclined and I take a swing dancing class I’m not going to go be a swing dancer for the rest of my life. If we’re going to be concerned about something that Rice students don’t have, what about mental health? The culture of business, the culture of overwork, I think this is something that needs to be addressed more than physical activity.” McMurtry College New Student Representative Sanat Mehta said he was concerned about maintaining the quality of courses if many are added at once. “I would want to make sure that these new courses that come in, if we add many of them at once, we would want those to be of good quality,” Mehta, a freshman, said during Senate. “You wouldn’t want them to be fluﬀy, and that is a little bit of a danger when you have a one-credit course.” Onwenu said there are already classes at Rice which could fit into the categories in the Lifetime Enrichment proposal such as visual and dramatic arts classes that could satisfy the cultural enrichment component. In addition, Onwenu said several groups would be willing to implement courses. “I talked to Tom Kolditz with the Doerr Institute, and he said he within a weekend could develop a one hour course curriculum executive leadership type of course,” Onwenu said. “I talked to Kathy Collins, the vice president of finance, and she has wanted to teach students how to be financially literate for the longest but hasn’t had an avenue to do that.” Onwenu said his goal is to have student support to expand the one-hour LPAP requirement by the end of his term. “I’m trying to tell students that we have a lot more decision making power than people think we do,” Onwenu said. “We just need the approval from students to be able to say we want more options, and then 10 years down the road there may be 30 LPAPs and 30 others.” Sanvitti Sahdev contributed to this report.
Open discussion needed to improve CTIS
It’s inevitable that an initiative on the scale of the Critical Thinking in Sexuality workshop won’t be flawless in its first iteration. Based on the accounts of some freshmen finishing the class (see p. 1), CTIS certainly has problems: lack of student engagement, scheduling issues and diﬃculties connecting with instructors. It’s vital to try and resolve these issues to make CTIS a success in future years, but that can’t happen if we don’t first acknowledge that problems exist. While new student feedback calls into question whether CTIS is eﬀectively serving its purpose, many administrators and student leaders seem to have more optimistic opinions on the course. The disconnect between new students and campus leaders is stark; Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson claims that students have been enthusiastic and attentive during CTIS sessions, while some new students say most were disengaged. Campus leadership is correct that CTIS has the potential to have a major impact on campus safety, but this makes it even more important that student feedback is used to improve the course. Rather than trying to
enforce an overly positive, unrealistic view of the class’s outcome, both administrators and student leaders should create an open forum for new student feelings, suggestions and complaints about the course. It’s only through such a discussion that CTIS could reach its potential. For next year’s class, administrators should take an especially hard look at several factors: the scheduling of weekend sessions, large class sizes, instructors from outside Rice and a curriculum that focused more on definitions than on discussions. All of these issues and more should be openly raised and considered now, while the memory of the class is still fresh for new students. At present, there is no formal feedback mechanism through which new students can share their opinions about the course. This must change. Failure from the Student Association, Dean Hutch and the Title IX oﬃce to recognize these issues and to promote an open and honest discussion of the course will prevent CTIS from eﬀectively educating incoming students about sexual assault prevention.
LPAP changes a step in the right direction Rice is constantly evolving. When I came to Rice, there was no such thing as a “magister,” no Critical Thinking in Sexuality course, and no on-campus meal plan options for Saturday dinner. For new students, this is the norm. But for upperclassmen, things have truly changed. The other day, I came across a quotation by Irish playwright Bernard Shaw, who posited, “Progress is impossible without change.” These words ring true for our university, especially considering the notable strides we have made with student well-being and low-income accessibility. But is all change necessary? If it isn’t broken, should it be fixed? It was with this skepticism that I approached the Student Association’s discussion on changing the Lifetime Physical Activity Program to the more holistic Lifetime Enrichment Program. I have heard only positive reviews about LPAPs — from people stepping outside their comfort zone and learning a unique dance style for a semester to students enjoying their hour every week playing a fun sport. LPAPs are the one truly nonacademic requirement at Rice, and for this reason, are a needed change of pace from the rigors of our coursework. Why should we not mandate a course that encourages a lifetime of fitness? However, this got me thinking: What other areas of personal development should students be exposed to during their tenure at Rice? A course directed by the Doerr Institute for New Leaders could be valuable to students who have not had significant training or exposure to leadership. A class under the Center
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‘Love your body’: Hard advice to follow
for Civic Leadership’s jurisdiction could prove meaningful for non-Houstonians who have a desire to engage with the local community. Basic financial literacy could provide practical knowledge for Rice students going directly into the workforce. The added flexibility of choosing a course to fulfill this university requirement will ensure that students are taking a class that is actually beneficial to their growth. For instance, it is not practical for a student-athlete that practices 20 hours per week to take a physical fitness course, just as it does not make sense for an experienced leader to take an introductory leadership seminar. However, a student without access to a physical education class prior to Rice may find a conventional LPAP course rewarding. For these reasons, I fully support a transition from the LPAP to the Lifetime Enrichment Program. This broader requirement will provide Rice students the freedom to choose a one-credit hour enrichment course based on their distinct backgrounds and experiences. While a change from the norm may seem daunting at first, I have full faith that this proposal will supplement the progress that has been made toward the betterment of the Rice undergraduate experience. ROHAN PALANKI
Jones College Junior Student Association Academics Committee Co-Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
I think it is unfair to ask everyone to love their own bodies. For some of us, that truly seems like an impossible feat. As someone who used to have an eating disorder, my default setting for years was to hate my body. I generally feel very detached from the common discourse surrounding body positivity. “Love your body!” “All bodies are beautiful!” These are great, inspiring phrases, but I suﬀered from a mental disorder for years — the patterns and thought processes of which have left some lasting marks on me. No one can or should expect me to accept myself in the blink of an eye. Do I love my body? No, I definitely do not with any sense of that word. Do I hate my body? Not anymore. And that is what matters. I once hated my body enough that I normalized unhealthy cycles of fasting and binging just to try to lose some weight. I wasted time and energy for years hating my body. I kept my eating habits as secretive as possible, yet fervently recorded every detail of what I ate. It was my obsession. I am sure I am not the only person who is immensely proud of the progress they have made with their own self-image, though much remains to be done. More often than I should, I still self-police what I eat and how I exercise. I still sometimes opt for less comfortable clothing because I look “less fat” in it. I still feel like my self-confidence can often be too closely linked to my body image. But I know these are unhealthy things now. Unlike in high school, when I tried to normalize all of these things for the joys I assumed would come with losing weight, I now recognize them as unhealthy and self-harmful, and I try my damndest to keep them in check. Those voices have
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quieted over the past few years, but I don’t know how long it will be before they cease completely. Perhaps never. If someone tells me “love your body,” it honestly means next to nothing to me, though I recognize the intention. I have zero reference for what “loving your body” looks like. Should I be considered a failure in the eyes of the body positivity movement? No. I know just how far I have come. Progress has not been linear, straightforward or quick. But I can honestly say that I do not hate my body as I once did. I will admit that I do not love my body either — and, for right now, I am fine with that. I want this for myself one day, and for everyone else who is not at that point yet. But I will not deceive myself by saying that reaching the point of self-love will come easily or soon. So, to anyone else reading this who feels that loving your body seems insurmountably diﬃcult, I want to tell you there is nothing wrong with that. If you are on a road toward self-love — that nonlinear, complicated, long road — then that alone is worthy of celebration and pride. Do not feel pressured to love your body right now. The journey you have taken to get to this point is enough. I hope that it ends with a complete, self-suﬃcient, amazing love of yourself and your body. But, for now, I congratulate you on how far you have come.
McMurtry College Senior email@example.com
The Rice Thresher, the oﬃcial student newspaper at Rice University since 1916, is published each Wednesday during the school year, except during examination periods and holidays, by the students of Rice University. Letters to the Editor must be received by 5 p.m. the Friday prior to publication and must be signed, including college and year if the writer is a Rice student. The Thresher reserves the rights to edit letters for
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SPOTLIGHT ‘ALL DIFFERENT, ALL ONE’
Hispanic and Latinx cultural organizations on campus celebrate music, food and shared experiences.
Left: This map depicts the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries and territories in the Americas. Right: Students gather for the Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice’s festival in celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15). Sept. 15 marks the celebration of Independence Day in five Latin American countries: Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile also declared independence in mid-September.
LIZZIE BJORK THRESHER STAFF / EM23@RICE.EDU
Twenty-two flags adorn the tables in the Rice Memorial Center courtyard, their bright colors representing every Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking country and territory in the Americas. Arroz, pupusas, empanadas and agua frescas oﬀer a culinary window into Hispanic and Latino cultures, and Latin pop music fills the air. The Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice held a festival on Friday to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. This is the first year they have celebrated with a festival. HACER Cultural Awareness Chair Brenda Venegas said the event was intended to showcase the variety of Latin American cultures. HACER Co-President Alberto Maldonado said HACER has improved at representing diverse cultures during his time at Rice. “Before I got here, HACER was known as the Mexican club,” Maldonado, a Lovett College senior, said. “There are a lot of diﬀerent looks to being Hispanic and Latino at Rice, and that’s something HACER has really tried to focus on over the past [few] years.” Venegas conducted research to ensure a diverse playlist and food selection. Although many Hispanic cultures have similar music and cuisine, Venegas said it can be hard to ensure representation. While authentic Mexican food is cheap and readily available, food from smaller countries like Venezuela is harder to find. “This year, we’d wanted to do an event that was a little more inclusive of other Latin American countries, especially those that are less apparent at Rice,” Venegas, a Sid Richardson College sophomore, said. The diversity among HACER’s oﬃcers has helped the group represent diﬀerent cultures, Venegas said. She said HACER and her Rice experience helped her understand the diversity of the Hispanic community. “Even though the majority [of my high school] was Hispanic, there was minimal diversity to what being Hispanic meant because the majority was Mexican,” she said. According to Maldonado, Hispanic is not considered a single race because it includes many diﬀerent races. “Hispanic means a lot of diﬀerent things,” Maldonado said. “People might be half Hispanic, they might be full Hispanic
INFOGRAPHIC BY TINA LIU, COURTESY NATI SALAZAR
but not speak Spanish or Portuguese. Or they have light skin and nobody would ever guess that they’re Hispanic even though they speak way better Spanish than I do.” Venegas said Hispanic Heritage month is a chance to celebrate diversity within the Hispanic community. “We’re all diﬀerent, but we’re also all one,” Venegas said. To showcase this diversity, HACER collaborated on a photo campaign with Humans of Rice University Facebook page, Venegas said. “I love my Hispanic culture,” said Lovett College junior Arlen Suarez in her post. “It means great food and sweets made by my grandma. It means valuing sacrifice and humanity over materialistic excess. But most of all, it means home.” Martel College freshman Ashley Phillips reflected on her memories of Venezuela, which she has not visited in seven years despite spending every summer until she was 11 visiting family. “I have a multitude of memories from my time in Venezuela, from the arepas, empanadas, and cachapas that filled my young tummy to exploring the country with my family and friends,” she said. “These are memories I will hold onto until the day I can return to my home away from home.” Humans of Rice University photographer Helen Wei said HACER Co-President Karen Vasquez contacted her about partnering on a photo campaign. “I am a product of Mexican culture, a product of ‘illegal immigration,’ a proud tortilla eater, and I love being brown,” said Vasquez in her own post. “If you see me today, I will proudly tell you I am Mexican.” HACER sent a form asking people to share their stories, and Humans of Rice University followed up with the respondents to take their pictures, said Wei, a Will Rice College senior. “I think everyone was very proud to be able to share their stories,” Wei said. “It was truly in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.” Humans of Rice University published a photo and the complete blurb of all the students and faculty members who filled out the form, according to Wei. Vasquez also interviewed Hispanic members of the Housing and Dining staﬀ for the photo campaign. In total, the Facebook page published 10 stories.
Wei said she thought the photo campaign was eﬀective in raising awareness about Hispanic Heritage Month and starting conversations. “I had no idea that Hispanic Heritage Month was Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, and if I hadn’t done the series, I wouldn’t have known anything about it,” she said. Maldonado said he had never celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month before Rice.
I am a product of Mexican culture, a product of ‘illegal immigration,’ a proud tortilla eater, and I love being brown. Karen Vasquez HACER Co-President “Rice opened up my eyes to what being Hispanic really is,” he said. “I’d never realized how important it was to me. For Sonia Torres, a Hanszen College junior and executive adviser for Mariachi Luna Llena, Hispanic Heritage Month serves as a tool to expand people’s understanding of Latinx culture. “Often, our portrayal in media and politics reduces what it means to be Latinx in a one-dimensional and damaging way,” she said. “We are not just your ponchowearing, taco-eating meme. We are a complex, dynamic group of individuals who prides themselves in a rich diversity, and this month allows us the chance to share our cultural intricacies and showcase the potential of our diverse people.” Torres has been a member of Mariachi Luna Llena since her freshman year and served as president last year. Andrea Galindo, who has been a member of Mariachi Luna Llena since it began in 2013, said the group provides a venue for students to play music and celebrate Hispanic culture. “It’s a chance to see other parts of the city and learn about a new culture for the nonHispanic to learn about another culture,” she said. The band performs most weekends during the semester, and the majority of
their events are oﬀ-campus at events like weddings, quinceaneros, anniversaries and even two funerals. “A lot of people really like mariachi music, and for me it’s really moving when we see people crying because they feel the music so strongly,” Galindo said. Although Galindo had not previously played mariachi music before joining Luna Llena, she comes from Guadalajara, Mexico, which she said is also the birthplace of mariachi music. “It’s in my blood,” she said. “I grew up with it and it’s part of who I am.” Galindo is now the coordinator for Rice’s Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences. Mariachi Luna Llena raises awareness about mariachi and Hispanic culture at Rice, according to Galindo. Most of the members are not Hispanic or Latinx but all enjoy the music and culture of mariachi. For Torres, it provided an opportunity to continue playing music and to stay in touch with her Latina culture. In addition to celebrating Hispanic culture, HACER also participates in political advocacy. “Even though we do love displaying the cultures and being known for having good food, we are shifting in a way that makes us more socially aware,” Venegas said. Recently, HACER has pursued social issues with more intensity, Maldonado said. It held a discussion about DACA on Sept. 5 after President Trump repealed it. “It’s kind of hard to ignore political issues now because so many board members have been aﬀected directly by Trump’s decision to terminate DACA,” he said. “In the past, HACER has kind of shied away from politics because Hispanics are so diverse and not everybody agrees.” Venegas said that HACER has yet to encounter political issues that have caused significant disagreement among the board. Maldonado said he thinks HACER is and should be a source of support for people who are aﬀected by changing immigration policies or who want to engage politically with immigration policies. “Especially for immigrants, it’s really important to have that group that you connect with,” he said. This article has been condensed for print. Read the full story online at ricethresher.org.
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We asked the Rice community to tell us their favorites in dining, entertainment and service. We’ve tallied the votes and now it’s time to share the winners. Every Rice student has been told time and time again to explore “outside the hedges” and this guide makes it easy. Whether you want to try a new restaurant for Saturday dinner to break the monotony of servery food, or find the best local coffeeshop to grind out all the homework you left until Sunday, this insert will guide you to some of Rice students’ favorite options. Now that you know where to find the best brunch and best outdoor space (check out pg. 9) there’s no excuse to not take a mental break, eat good food and enjoy the short-lived fall weather in Houston. Not sure where to take the hottie in your Gen Chem class on your first date? Having trouble deciding where to go for a night out? Flip through this year’s inaugural Rice Recs insert for inspiration. After all, the recommendations of your fellow Rice students can’t be wrong. We hope that this insert encourages you to explore more of this beautiful city we live in!
Known for their far out flavors and creative crush-in’s, Amy’s Ice Creams will not disappoint. Next time you are looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, hit up Amy’s to soak in some quirky Austin vibes. If you’re super lucky, you might get to see scoops soar while you wait in line!
Free samples. Quality food. Huge beer and wine selection. Delicious private-label products (think Trader Joe’s but more Texan). Most out-of-staters may never have heard of H-E-B — all-Texas with a subsidiary in Mexico — but they’re actually among the top 20 largest privately-held companies in the country. You wouldn’t know it as you walk down their salsa-filled aisles, though; their range of products is broad and quirky enough to oﬀer diﬀerent experiences for everyone.
Play it classy for your first impression by taking your date to Houston’s pride and joy: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Basic? Maybe a little, but not as much as Agora. Just don’t forget that while the light tunnel may seem like the best place to make the first move, there’s totally a docent watching you the whole time.
photos courtesy of Amy’s Ice Cream, CBSNews and PaperCity
THE RICE THRESHER
8 RICE RECS
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2017
THE HALAL GUYS
Spreading from a mere Manhattan food cart on 53rd and 6th, The Halal Guys brings that authentic “greasy but not too greasy” feeling that only comes from a food cart. Located conveniently close to campus, it oﬀers a great late-night food opportunity and is an excellent option regardless of your dietary preferences. Rest assured - the gap that was left in the the plaza on Lexington and Greenbriar — and in our hearts — has been wonderfully filled by the Halal Guys and their incredible white sauce.
Regardless of which side of the New York Style vs. Chicago Deep-Dish pizza debate you stand on, Star Pizza has some of the best pies in Houston. This laid-back pizza parlor serves up an impressive array of pizzas, Italian specialties, and craft beer that can be enjoyed either inside or outside on their trademark wraparound patio, which is perfect for large groups. With a pet-friendly attitude as well as whole-wheat and gluten-free crust, there is no excuse not to try out this special spot.
Sure, what’s most notable about President Leebron’s backyard barbeque during O-Week is his strangely clammy handshake. But the Goode Company Barbeque food served at the event is a close second. It’s even better at the restaurant itself, decked out in old west decor. Unlike Leebron’s handshake, there’s nothing weak about the brisket or ribs. Make sure to grab a piece of jalapeño cheese bread, too. Once you’ve finished your main course, top the meal oﬀ with a slice of pecan pie, and you’ll leave feeling even better than good.
This fast food restaurant might be the only thing Texans love as much as Texas. It’s rare that you find something so cheap and close by that also happens to be open 24/7. Head to the Shepherd or Holcombe locations near campus and you’ll likely to run into a few Rice students on a late night food run. It’s hard to go wrong with your order, but frequent favorites include honey butter chicken biscuits, patty melts, shakes and (of course) burgers.
Though known for its sports-centric atmosphere, you don’t have to be a sports lover to love SportsClips. The staﬀ is always friendly and capable, and the haircut is always spot on. For sports aficionados, there are televisions at every haircutting station, so you don’t have to worry about missing the game. SportsClips is a great value for anyone looking to get a quick and eﬀective haircut in a fun and friendly atmosphere.
OH MY GOGI An odd, but lick-your-fingers good combination: salty, spicy kimchi beautifully meshed in quesadillas and tacos. Whether you’re going for a late night dinner or a 3 a.m. drunken snack, Oh My Gogi is ready to serve you mouth-watering Korean-Mexican fusion that is inclusive of both carnivores and vegetarians with their bulgogi burger and kimchi fries. The food comes out fast, flavorful and filling — just what you need for your midnight munchies.
photos courtesy of Whataburger, The Halal Guys, Star Pizza, Goode Company BBQ, Amazon, Oh My Gogi!, Yelp, Teahouse, Good Eats Houston, Houstonia, VisitHouston, Local Foods, Houston Chronicle and Co
THE RICE THRESHER
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2017
Curling up with a good book at Agora is akin to stretching out in your own bed - with the added bonus of a really good chai latte and its complimentary biscuit next to you. The natural lighting and cushy armchairs make the space cosy and warm, although the cafe slash wine bar has larger tables for spreading out or group work. Finding an ideal space can be diﬃcult - during the day you’ll find plenty other Rice students getting ahead (or catching up, really) on work and as the sun sets, you’ll overhear plenty of date night banter. Expect to turn into a regular after a couple evenings spent here.
The Chinese food scene around Rice might be weak, but the Sichuan spice level at Mala Sichuan is anything but. With locations in both Montrose and Chinatown, Mala Sichuan is readily available for your Saturday dinner needs. Infamous Sichuan peppercorns will give you a spicy experience found nowhere else. Come for mouth-numbingly good fish, tofu, popcorn chicken and cold noodles. Stay for the intimate ambience and proximity to decent boba that’s not Teahouse.
Truly the perfect place to go if you want to experience the Great British Bake Oﬀ, but in real life. Common Bond’s cafe space is light and airy, and the food is well suited to the trendy, aesthetic environment that this café and bakery serves up. Come to Common Bond for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and then stick around to snap some hip polaroids for your hipster Instagram. Pro tip: If you order the “bread board”, they’ll literally just give you a platter of bread, butter and jam. It’s the dream.
Boasting a variety of locally sourced ingredients in every dish, Local Foods oﬀers a gourmet selection of sandwiches that can be enjoyed amidst the restaurant’s trendy, hipster ambience. Ranging from the popular “Crunchy” Chicken sandwich to tasty vegetarian options like the Garden Sammie, the wide assortment of sandwiches pairs wonderfully with their seasonal sides and soup. Although it’s a little pricey, the freshness of ingredients, savory pretzel buns and (relatively) guilt-free dining experience are enough to justify the cost.
Hop on board the Hermann Park Railroad to get in touch with your inner child or stroll around the gardens, including the Japanese Gardens and McGovern Centennial Gardens, and of course, don’t forget to admire yourself in the Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool, which reflects the iconic Pioneer Memorial obelisk. Hermann Park is perfect for a jog with friends or a romantic stroll (another classic date idea: take out a paddleboat in the park’s lake). Be sure to pack a picnic and attend a musical or theatrical performance at the park’s Miller Outdoor Theatre.
As apt for the final stop of your night as the first, Little Woodrow’s charmingly saloon-ish atmosphere juxtaposes well and welcomely with the young crowd it attracts. Special promotions every evening, thirty beers on tap and a social front deck with plenty of space make this a great spot to dip your toes outside the hedges while not going so far as leaving an area still tattooed with the name “Rice.” You’re not gonna get a $2 Bud, but that means you’re probably not drinking Bud (go you), and the vast selection of $5ish and under beers should satiate your need for intoxication if you’re too afraid to hang out with grad students at Valhalla.
nd Conny Ramirez
When it’s too late for coﬀee and a smoothie seems too healthy, it’s time for boba. You may know Teahouse as every club’s favorite fundraiser, but it’s worth a trip to one of their many Houston locations to try some of their more interesting varieties, including rose lychee, pina colada and brown sugar ginger tea.
BURGER HOPDODDY Even out-of-staters know this name. Not only is it home to beautifully fluﬀy brioche buns, succulent beef patties bursting with flavor and of course, the famous parmesan truﬄe fries, but it also serves margaritas and beers to go with your decadent meal. Next time you’re craving a little indulgence, be sure to stop by to bask in the hip, outdoor spacing as you chomp down on the best burger beyond the hedges.
THE RICE THRESHER
10 RICE RECS
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2017
HOUSE OF BLUES
If you ever need to remind yourself that vegetarianism does not doom you to an eternity of shoveling just handfuls of raw spinach in your mouth, Local Foods is there for you! Featuring tree-hugging hippie favorites such as quinoa, kale and good old-fashioned veggies and bread, everything is made from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and is chock-full of plant-based (and some non-plant-based) deliciousness.
As far as concert venues go, one can only hope to find good acoustics, appealing line-ups, and an enjoyable atmosphere. House of Blues Houston, characterized by its intimate ambience, fills its calendar with great artists and while you unwind to the music you can also take advantage of their food and drink options. The venue often holds happy hour before their shows, and if you like performing better than standing in the audience you can show oﬀ your talents at one of their open mic nights.
Even if you’re not crazy about tacos, Torchy’s might change your mind with its tasty and interesting taco combos. It’s hard to go wrong with any order here and with its variety of tacos you will find the one that fits best with your appetite. It also has great vegetarian options and the chips & queso is a plus. Maybe soon enough Torchy’s will become your No. 1 motivation to go to some on-campus events.
Regardless of whether or not you’re a Texas native, there’s nothing better than great Tex-Mex. And there’s no greater Tex-Mex in Houston than Chuy’s. Known partly for their signature creamy jalapeñno dip and quirky, eclectic decor, this Houston favorite serves up all your favorite Tex-Mex classics: sizzling fajitas, cheesy enchiladas, giant burritos and more, all made with their handmade tortillas. With it’s unmistakable retro neon sign and crazy flavors, Chuy’s is impossible to ignore.
While the price is prohibitive for a casual Saturday night dinner, Uchi’s innovation and quality is unbeatable and a great place for celebrating a special occasion (just make sure you make reservations in advance). The award-winning sister restaurant to Uchi Austin is truly fine dining, with carefully presented dishes whose appearance rivals taste. Alternatively, make it in time for happy hour to check out a selection of sushi rolls and small plates that won’t completely break the bank.
We’d be lying if we said that we went to Bodegas for the food. The options are abundant, even if pricey, but what gets hoards of Rice students to illegally ride the METRORail to the museum district station is the margaritas. Sold individually or in pitchers that are ready to be shared with friends, the margs can be bought on the rocks or frozen. The outdoor seating is plentiful and great for large parties and truly meant for that Saturday night pregame before your real pregame.
Whether you are a traditional glazed donut lover or a more adventurous, sausage-cheese-jalapeño kolache kind of person, Shipley Do-Nuts is the perfect place to satisfy your donut and kolache cravings. With options ranging from the cinnamon sugar donut to the Devil’s food donut, it will be hard to decide what to complete your dozen with. Their quick service, convenient drive-through and 10 p.m. closing time make it simple to get donuts at any time without even having to change out of your pajamas.
photos courtesy of CultureMap Houston, Wayne Wendel, Torchy’s Tacos, BizBash, Uchi, Houston A-List and Shipley Do-nuts
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2017
THE RICE THRESHER
Senior attends Forbes Under 30 conference SERGIO SANTAMARIA
COURTESY HOUSTON ROCKETS
LAVINA KALWANI FOR THE THRESHER / LLK1@RICE.EDU
When he’s not volunteering for the Rice All-Stars or brainstorming entrepreneurship ideas, Sergio Santamaria is living and breathing (but not always playing) sports. “Honestly, for me, everything is sports. Everything is sports,” he said. As the president of the Rice Rally Club and a double major in sport management and data science (a major he designed), Santamaria is clear about who he is and where his interests lie. Duncan College senior Dhruv Madhok describes Santamaria as “in love with” sports. “He brings incredible energy to Rice sports games and is one of the founders of Rice Rally – a club that’s been trying
to fight student apathy for Rice sports,” Madhok said. Santamaria, who is a senior at Duncan, has spent the majority of his time at Rice in sports-related activities, albeit in a variety of applications. “What I’ve learned from being in a school like Rice is that you arguably learn even more from people with different perspectives and different experiences,” he said, while playing with a fidget cube. One of Santamaria’s unique experiences was an invitation to the Forbes Under 30 summit. Santamaria was selected to attend the conference in Boston after a competitive application process. The conference, which includes alumni such as Kendrick Lamar and Lindsey Vonn, oﬀers scholarship programs to allow talented students to attend. Leading up to the conference, his excitement was evident. He spoke passionately about the social connections he was looking forward to making. “I can’t tell you how cool this person’s going to be or this person’s going to be, but I can tell you that I’m going to learn a lot from everyone that I come across,” he said. After the conference, Santamaria said he was not disappointed. The conference, which took place Oct. 1-4, provided Santamaria with the impactful conversations he sought. “I’ve never found it easier to find deep and substantial conversations with quality people,” he said. “After those three days, it felt like I’d known the people I met there for months.” While Santamaria’s passion is sports, he enjoyed learning about the ways successful people impart positive change through their own talents and passions.
“It sounds cliché, but every once in a while it helps to hear the thought processes of extremely successful people that, although all different in their own way, share the motifs of pursuing a higher purpose and objective through the mediums that mean the most to them,” he said. Duncan senior Jacob Behling is unsurprised by Santamaria’s success. “He seeks out opportunities and takes advantage of them,” Behling said. “Regardless, though, his FIFA skills could still use some work.” Moving forward in his senior year, Santamaria continues to focus on the business side of sports, and even student government. He’s involved in the Rice Sport Business Society, and is a representative for student-athletes in the Student Association. He himself is not a student-athlete. As a student-athlete representative, Santamaria feels that student-athletes are not always included or viewed the same as the rest of the student body. In his time at Rice, Santamaria has noticed a divide between student athletes and non-athlete students that he likens to the difference between architecture or music students and non-architecture or nonmusic students. “What I think people fail to understand sometimes is that everyone at Rice is a certain level of gifted, but they’re all in different ways, and it can be difficult at times to relate to someone that’s gifted in a different way,” he said. He said he feels the largest divide is that between athletes and non-athletes “because the type of gifts that they have are so different.”
As an SA representative, Santamaria is committed to finding solutions that lessen the tension between athletes and the rest of the student body within the Rice campus. One goal he has is to give student athletes priority registration for classes. On a broader level, he is working toward changes in the ways student athletes and non-athlete students perceive and interact with each other. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s a two-way street,” Santamaria said. “Studentathletes need to buy into this the same way that I would like regular students to do. You gotta start somewhere, so why not start with both?” Santamaria sees himself extending his enthusiasm for sports into his career — specifically, basketball. “I hope to work in basketball. It always comes back to basketball for me,” he said. Santamaria sees himself as a leader and entrepreneur in the world of sports — not as a player, though. “I’m five-foot-seven,” he laughed. With a three-season internship for the Houston Rockets, Santamaria got the experience he needs to go into the world of sports business. “I may go into consulting, I may go into basketball operations, I may work more in the business operations side of a sports ownership entity,” he said. “I expect to find myself in a role where I find actionable and very ambitious results with very constrained resources.” And right after college? Santamaria plans to keep his options open. “No matter where I end up, I’ll be pursuing things that I’m passionate about,” he said.
Sequel ‘Blade Runner 2049’ expertly executed MICHAEL VERMUELEN THRESHER STAFF / MAV6@RICE.EDU
BLADE RUNNER Episode length: 163 minutes Rating: R Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi
COURTESY FOCUS FEATURES
‘Victoria & Abdul’ explores a covered-up historical friendship MADDIE FLAVIN THRESHER STAFF / MF37@RICE.EDU
VICTORIA & ABDUL Running time: 112 minutes Rating: PG-13 Genre: Drama/Biography
When it comes to withstanding history’s eternal test of time, the “winners” go on to influence endless numbers of future generations while the “losers” are swept under the rug and banished into the dust of oblivion. Until 2010, the story of Abdul Karim seemed destined to be one of the latter. “Victoria & Abdul,” the cinematic presentation of his unlikely 14-year friendship with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, aims right for the heart to tell a warm, uplifting story about the unexpected places friendship can take us. In 1887, Abdul Karim, a clerk at a prison in Agra, India, is selected to participate in the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria at Windsor in England. Assigned to present the gift of a ceremonial coin to the world’s then-longestserving monarch, he is repeatedly reminded of his place as a second-class servant of the crown. That is, until he catches the Queen’s attention at dinner when he makes eye contact with her during his presentation. She immediately elevates him to the position of personal footman. By the time she declares
THE WEEKLY SCENE
him a Munshi (teacher) who will give her Urdu lessons and get his own personal assistant, it becomes clear to the Queen’s household that this is not an ordinary royaland-commoner relationship.
The film opens with a title card that reads, “Based on true events … mostly.” Dame Judi Dench is predictably charming as the Queen. An imperial hostess who knows how to expertly shut down disobedience and criticism with razor-sharp quips, the Queen is also worn down and lonely. Her responsibilities weigh on her and, the more she outlives her deceased husband, King Albert, the more she loses her will to live. Her Majesty slouches, goes about her daily routines mechanically, and appears to be in a constant state of sleepiness that indicates she’s not entirely present in the moment. But as her relationship with Abdul changes her, Dench uses mannerisms to convey the return of the Queen’s vitality. As Her Majesty, Dench’s eyes light up, she becomes more energetic and less tense. Because of the rejuvenation Abdul gives her, Victoria becomes more assertive in how she wants things done and will not let anyone stand in her way, whether it’s the jealous servants or her greedy son, Bertie. Ali Fazal is infectiously captivating as Abdul. A man who only ever envisioned a lowly existence for himself given the time and the place he was born into, Abdul treats
his time with the Queen as a kind of oncein-a-lifetime adventure and doesn’t take it for granted. A devout Muslim, one of his go-to Quran verses is about finding purpose in serving others. During his 14 years in England, he embodies this verse in his relationship with the Queen. Abdul becomes protective of the Queen to the point that he won’t leave England until one or the other dies. When her time comes, his devastation is heartbreaking, and the broken heart it gives him leads to his own death eight years after hers. The film opens with the title card, “Based on true events … mostly.” This immediately establishes that the film won’t take itself too seriously, as historical biopics tend to. Therefore, neither should the audience. The film just wants the audience to sit back and enjoy the show for what it is. “Victoria & Abdul” turns out to be incredibly funny a majority of the time, milking the awkwardness of moments of the royal household’s intolerance and ignorance for laughs. At the same time, however, the film doesn’t forget how tragically everything crashes down for Abdul in the end, those particular scenes being potent with loss. When Queen Victoria died in 1901, the royal household immediately expelled Abdul and destroyed all evidence of their relationship. It would be another 109 years before proof of Abdul’s existence would re-emerge. While the cinematic adaptation of those discoveries in “Victoria & Abdul,” may be too lightweight for some, given the context of its imperialist time and place, it nonetheless succeeds in showing how shared happiness can be a true lifesaver.
In the 35 years since its theatrical release, “Blade Runner” has become a cult classic. This story of a detective hunting down four escaped androids (called replicants) in a dystopian future Los Angeles revolutionized the sci-fi genre with both its poignant, heady themes and its neon, lived-in aesthetic. Now, “Blade Runner 2049” returns to the original’s unforgettable world with an enthralling story that builds upon that of its predecessor in epic fashion and immediately cements itself as one of the finest sequels ever made.
If Deakins does not win this year’s Academy Award for Best Cinematography, it might be the biggest snub in the show’s history. Set 30 years after the original, the film centers on Oﬃcer K (Ryan Gosling), who undertakes a mysterious investigation after discovering a secret that makes him question his entire existence. While that synopsis might seem vague, giving away any more would undermine the film’s carefully-crafted surprises. The movie’s characters are all very interesting, largely due to the depth that the actors give them. Gosling carries the film as the stoic K, portraying a lonely, confused soul to wonderful eﬀect, just as he does in the modern classic “Drive.” Ana de Armas is captivating as his love interest Joi, whose arc brings many of the story’s most emotional thematic dilemmas. Sylvia Hoeks is intimidating and ferocious as Luv, the replicant assistant to Jared Leto’s Niander Wallace. Leto does not have a lot of screen time, but he gives a bold performance that suitably demonstrates his immensely powerful character’s God complex. Robin Wright and Dave Bautista are also quite good in their limited appearances, providing complexity that might not have been on the page.
BLADE CONT. ON PAGE 13
COULD BE LOVED OPENING
BECK PUBLIC PERFORMANCE
The SITE Gallery makes use of its unique space, a converted rice storage facility, to bring 20 sculptural artists together. Admission is free. The exhibition opens Saturday at 6 p.m.
“Could Be Loved” features the work of local artist Lindsey Varisco and Rice student Huidi Xiang, which tackles the cute and the crude. The event, this Friday at 7 p.m., is free and will have food and live music from DJ E$ as well as drinks for those of age.
This week Rice Public Art kicks oﬀ their series of temporary public art pieces. Come watch artist Jarrod Beck’s collaborative performance that responds to Michael Heizer’s 45°, 90°, 180° (1984). The event is this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
This Friday, grab a bud and head to TEA+ART for an instructor-led art project by candlelight. Light bites are included. The lesson is $75 for a couple and preregistration is required.
SITE Gallery 1502 Sawyer St. sculpturemonthhouston.org
JuiceBOX Units Alumni Drive & College Way events.rice.edu
Moody Center events.rice.edu
Tea+Art Gallery 613 1/2 W 19th St. teaplusart.com
OCTOBER DATE NIGHT: SUSHI PLATTER
THE RICE THRESHER
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2017 BLADE FROM PAGE 12 Finally, Harrison Ford is terrific as Rick Deckard, the protagonist of the first film. Deckard does not show up until about an hour and a half in, but by holding off on revealing the franchise’s former hero, the film makes his appearance all the more compelling. Weathered and beaten by time, Deckard is even more interesting here than he was in the original. Deckard’s plot exemplifies the film’s strength at taking the original story and crafting a new tale that expands the world while simultaneously serving as a loyal sequel. To this end, the movie develops at a slow, steady pace, which is extremely rare among big-budget films nowadays. In an era where series like “Transformers” have hyperactive, incoherent editing, “Blade Runner 2049” allows the audience to take in and process the story. Thanks to its ambitious plot and all-time great visuals, the film never bores despite its 163-minute running time. Ridley Scott’s original is one of the most beautiful films ever made, and Denis Villeneuve’s sequel somehow tops it. The effects are superb, as every dollar of the film’s $150 million budget seems to have been put to good use. Furthermore, Roger Deakins once again validates his status as arguably the best cinematographer ever, creating a visual landscape of framing, colors and shadows that is absolutely impeccable. If Deakins does not win this year’s Academy Award for Best Cinematography, it might be the biggest snub in the show’s history. Overall, “Blade Runner 2049” is a marvel of a sequel as well as a must-see big screen experience. A sci-fi epic of this caliber does not come out with any sort of regularity, so it should not be missed while it can be experienced in the way it was meant to be. Go see “Blade Runner 2049.” You won’t regret it.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
‘Rick and Morty’ season 3 delivers KATHERINE COHEN FOR THE THRESHER / KPC3@RICE.EDU
RICK AND MORTY Episode length: 22 minutes Rating: TV-14 Genre: Comedy
It’s the crude nihilistic sci-fi comedy show that countless have been talking about. The season three finale of “Rick and Morty” aired Oct. 1, leaving behind multiple loose ends. What ever happened to Evil Morty? Is Birdperson going to reappear in the show? Does this show’s continuity even matter? However, season three was well worth the nearly two-year wait. Warning: Multiple season three spoilers ahead. “Rick and Morty” follows a young Morty and his brilliant and irreverent grandfather Rick. For the most part, each episode is self-contained. A story begins and ends within 20 minutes of animated chaos in which a world is saved or destroyed, an adventure to some distant planet or timeline ends, and some twisted conclusion is drawn with a quick existentialist punchline. Other characters in the show, including Morty’s sister Summer, his mother Beth and his father Jerry, are often involved in the scientific escapades of the two main characters. Some storylines continue throughout the show, and fans are dedicated to trying to predict the resolution of these storylines. In particular, there is the recurring antagonist
of Evil Morty, as well as the threat of a resurrected Birdperson who was killed in the season two finale. This season continues this pattern of vignette-style episodes, kicking off the season with Rick’s “Inception”-like escape from intergalactic prison. The episode is a promising start, filled with clever twists and the destruction of two entire civilizations in just a few minutes. It also features the apparent end of Beth and Jerry’s marriage. The majority of the episodes in the season delve into the effects of the divorce on Summer and Morty, as well as Jerry’s rapid descent into isolation. The season is studded with creative plots and hilarious premises. Notable moments from the season include Rick’s action-adventure as a pickle, an episode-long potshot at the “Avengers” franchise and an exploration into the daily life in the Citadel of Ricks after
their government is destroyed in the first episode. This season balances new adventures with some classic premises from the first two. Following the patterns of the “intergalactic cable” episodes, season three includes a fresh take on the idea with “Morty’s Mindblowers.” Though the season was filled with great episodes, viewers were expecting the season finale to more satisfyingly resolve certain conflicts. Instead, Beth and Jerry’s marriage is resolved, and Rick is clearly emotionally attached to this timeline of his family, a big change from the previous seasons. In a show known for its shameless commitment to fourth-wall breaks and dedicated existentialism, viewers should have expected an ending sprinkled with cliffhangers. Though there are no clues as to when season four will return, based on the previous seasons, we’re in for a long wait.
Swimming deserves more attention
Senior Madison McDaniel goes up for the block during Rice’s home win over Middle Tennessee State University two weeks ago. The Owls have won six straight matches to move to 16-5 overall and 6-1 in Conference USA play this season.
There is no athletics team on campus that I have more respect for than Rice Swimming. After living with swimmers Alicia Caldwell and Kaitlin Benjamin during my sophomore year and watching their dedication to waking up at 5 a.m., morning and afternoon practices, volunteer work and academics, I have little doubt that the swim team is one of the hardest working teams on campus. But they are constantly overlooked and their meets poorly attended. Just taking a quick scroll through Rice Rally Club’s 82 events, swim has only one, and it’s a joint event with both basketball teams. This is unacceptable. A recent Tweet by the Rice Athletics Twitter posted a list of athletic events for the first weekend in October. Soccer, volleyball and football were present, but swimming’s home meet was forgotten. (This has been since deleted after a swimmer’s complaint.) When Rice Athletics rebranded, a Facebook video teasing the rebrand featured footage from every Rice team … except Rice swimming. After frustrated comments from swimmers’ parents, the video was taken down. Instead of simply removing posts, Rice Athletics needs to acknowledge that the scope of its advertising does not extend to Rice Swimming and must be improved.
Just taking a quick scroll through Rice Rally Club’s 82 events, swim only has one. This is unacceptable.
Thrilling wins add to volleyball’s streak MICHAEL BYRNES FOR THE THRESHER / MEB18@RICE.EDU
Just when it seemed like its winning streak was over, Rice’s volleyball team fought back for the ultimate comeback victory. Sunday’s five-set thriller against the University of Alabama at Birmingham saw Rice respond to an 0-2 deficit by reeling oﬀ three straight set victories to secure a 3-2 win, making it six consecutive wins for the Owls. Their last loss was almost a month ago. Since then, the team has seen nothing but success. After notching three home wins in a row against conference opponents, their road trip this weekend included victories over Marshall University as well as UAB, pushing their overall record to 16-5 (including 6-1 in Conference USA). Rice is currently tied for second in the conference, trailing only the three-time defending conference champion Western Kentucky University. Sophomore Grace Morgan and freshman Nicole Lennon starred in Friday’s win over Marshall by notching 18 kills each, and senior Madison McDaniel added 44 assists. The Owls led the match 2-0 before Marshall battled back to even the score at two sets apiece, but Rice nixed the comeback with a match-clinching victory in the final set. Sunday’s comeback win over UAB saw four Owls hit double-digits in kills, led by 17 from senior Portia Okafor; her nine blocks
also paced the team. McDaniel added her sixth double-double of the season – 53 assists and 20 digs – and Lennon notched her 11th, with 17 digs and 17 kills. When asked to explain the team’s success, Morgan said its close-knit nature is a focal point.
People are stepping up each match and helping the team find a way to succeed in some tough situations. Genny Volpe Volleyball Head Coach “Our team is really close: We’re all really good friends,” Morgan said. “We all trust each other, which really helps on the court.” Head coach Genny Volpe said that one of the team’s key strengths this season has been its depth. “One thing that has impressed me is that for most of the season we have not been 100 percent healthy,” Volpe said. “Diﬀerent people are stepping up each match and helping the team find a way to succeed in some very tough situations.” According to Morgan, though, the team
isn’t resting on its laurels despite its recent hot streak. “We can always get better: There’s always improvements that can be made,” Morgan said. “We’re definitely working on being more consistent with our play.” Due to the team’s recent success, Rice’s players have been honored with conferencewide awards in the past few weeks. McDaniel was selected as the C-USA Setter of the Week set — her seventh career Setter of the Week honor – for the week of Oct. 2, on the strength of her two double-doubles and nearly 11 assists per set. Morgan also earned an award for the same week, earning the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week as she piled up 13 blocks over eight sets. This is her second award of the season — she was named the C-USA Oﬀensive Player of the Week just two weeks prior. She said she attributes much of her success this year to her teammates. “I have an awesome setter [McDaniel] who’s been really giving me [opportunities],” Morgan said. “My teammates support me, and I couldn’t do it without them.” Up next, Rice will host two conference rivals at Tudor Fieldhouse this weekend. They play the University of Texas at San Antonio on Friday at 6 p.m. before facing oﬀ against the University of Texas at El Paso on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The irony, particularly given how extensively Rice football is advertised, is that Rice swimming is really quite good. They have been Conference USA runners-up for the past three years and were the champions for the three years preceding that. Last year, six of their swimmers — Marie-Claire Schillinger, Kaitlyn Swinney, Kiley Beall, Kate Nezlek, Sarah Nowaski and Lauren Rhodes — qualified for the Olympic trials. Schillinger also qualified for the NCAA tournament. And they aren’t just good athletically. Eighteen swimmers qualified for the 2017 C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll. They consistently uphold Rice’s high academic standards while excelling in athletics. What student-athletes do is essentially work a full-time job on top of their studies, and these girls do it best. Next time you consider attending a Rice athletic event, I strongly urge you to go to a swim meet. They deserve the recognition and respect of our student body and of Rice Athletics. I’ll be hoping to see you there.
Wiess College Senior email@example.com
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2017 ATHLETICS FROM PAGE 1 to see what kind of brand equity we could realize with our athletics.” Four years into his tenure, those goals have not changed. But Rice, according to Karlgaard, is in a peculiar position in the landscape of college athletics: It is the only school ranked in the US News and World Report top 20 that has Division I athletics and is not in a Power 5 conference. Until 1996, Rice competed in the Southwest Conference against schools like the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and Baylor University. For the past 21 years, however, Rice has bounced between the Western Athletic Conference and Conference USA, two middling conferences in Division I. Karlgaard said Rice’s position is an awkward one. “[Because of] our history of being in the Southwest Conference through 1996, there’s an expectation among many of the Rice alumni that that’s really who we are,” Karlgaard said. “And for whatever reason, politics or something, we didn’t capture the moment 21 years ago and get into the Big 12 or make our way into some kind of power conference. It’s almost like we’ve been in the wilderness for 21 years trying to figure out what’s possible.” Last year, the Big 12, one of the Power 5 conferences in Division I, revealed it was hoping to expand. The league opened up an application process to any school wishing to join. Rice made a bid to join the conference and made the list of 11 final candidates. Ultimately, though, the conference elected not to add any schools. Despite losing out on joining the Power 5 conference, Karlgaard said the application process was valuable. “I think we learned that we are still very much a valued brand in the world of FBS athletics,” Karlgaard said. “People like being associated with us. They’d like being associated with us a bit more if we were consistently successful, particularly in football and men’s basketball, which captures so much of the value from a television perspective.” Among the reasons Karlgaard said schools want to be associated with Rice were the facts that it has never committed a major NCAA violation and graduates student-athletes in a variety of majors. While stressing his respect for Rice’s fellow C-USA schools, he said he hopes Rice can find a way to move on to a new conference in the near future. “It’s not just about Conference USA, and it’s not just about the money either,” Karlgaard said. “It’s about an alignment with institutions that are more like Rice. I love my fellow athletics directors and the presidents of
THE RICE THRESHER Conference USA, but we are the only private institution, we are the only institution in the top 100 of US News, we’re the only [American Association of Universities] school. We’re just unlike many of the others in so many ways.” If it were to find a way into a Power 5 conference, Rice athletics would instantly gain national brand recognition. According to Karlgaard, having a more recognizable athletic program would have positive impacts far beyond the scope of the athletic department. “When I first interviewed for the job, I knew two things about Rice: I knew that it had a longstanding commitment to financial aid … and I knew that it had great baseball,” Karlgaard said. “That’s one of the reasons I think that we have to really try and make the Division I thing go. I think it’ll expand our footprint from a student recruiting standpoint, I think it has the potential to expand our donor base and I think it has the potential to expand the attractiveness of the institution to incoming staﬀ and faculty.” However, due largely to the recent
It’s almost like we’ve been in the wilderness for 21 years trying to figure out what’s possible. Joe Karlgaard Athletics Director struggles of the football team, Rice has struggled to promote its brand. In going 3-9 last season and 1-5 this season, the Owls have fallen completely out of the national spotlight and into the basement of the conference. Karlgaard said Rice football will have to find success if Rice hopes to be recognized. “That’s your highest profile sport,” Karlgaard said. “That’s the one that’s going to get you noticed the most. When I got here and we won our first conference championship, we’re on ESPN and USA Today is writing about us and everybody’s talking about our graduation rates and the American Football Coaches Association recognition and it’s all these wonderful things that help our brand. They don’t matter as much if we’re 3-9 or 1-5 because nobody cares.” According to Karlgaard, Rice cannot make excuses for its football program’s struggles. “I think we have an unbelievably unique and powerful story to tell, but we have to win
read it online at ricethresher.org: Soccer still undefeated in C-USA
for people to hear it,” Karlgaard said. “If we constantly retreat to, well, it’s okay if we don’t win, if we’re not successful, because we have real students and we graduate our students and they go on and do great things, all of those things are important, but if you don’t win, nobody pays attention to them.” Among those seemingly losing some interest are Rice’s fans. Karlgaard said season ticket sales for football were down this year for the first time since he took over as athletic director, though Rice still sold the secondmost season tickets of any year in his tenure. Ticket sales make up part of Rice athletics’ revenue. Other major factors include donations from the Owl Club (the athletic department’s main fundraising arm), money from Rice’s athletics-specific endowment, television revenue, money from the NCAA, sponsorship deals, parking and concessions. In all, Rice athletics has a budget of about $27 million annually and generates about half of that itself. The other half of the budget comes from the university. Karlgaard said the athletic department works hard to make sure to meet its financial goals regardless of team success and ticket sales. “[If ticket sales are down], we may need to work harder signing a new sponsor that can bring in some money,” Karlgaard said. “We may need to make an extra appeal to our Owl Club donors for a little extra money. Conversely, if ticket sales are going well, that takes pressure oﬀ the other areas.” Student attendance does not aﬀect finances, but it does aﬀect the atmosphere of games. At each of Rice football’s two home games, the student section has been nearly empty. According to Karlgaard, however, the issue of student attendance is not as bad as it seems. “What I’ve told people all along is, when you’ve got 3,800 undergraduate students, you have to hit for really high percentages to demonstrate that your students are engaged with varsity athletics,” Karlgaard said. “If [the University of] Wisconsin has 10 percent of their student body show up for a football game, they’ve got 5,000 people there. 5,000 students can make a diﬀerence. If we have 10 percent show up, it’s 380 students. Then people are asking me questions about why there aren’t more students there.” Karlgaard said he believes the key to getting people to show up to games is simple: Schedule meaningful contests. “My overarching belief is that you have to play games that matter, that have some impact, that will resonate with the average student,” Karlgaard said. “And you have to
be successful in those contests. You have to be competitive. You don’t necessarily have to win them. I remember playing Stanford [University] in women’s tennis my first year here. We had just come oﬀ a year where we made the Sweet 16 in women’s tennis and Stanford had won the national championship. You put those two things together and hand out free pizza and we had a bunch of students.” Last year, some of the most highly attended events were men’s basketball games. Head coach Mike Rhoades led the Owls to their best season since joining C-USA. But Rice lost Rhoades and six of its best players to other schools, so new head coach Scott Pera is taking over a brand new roster. He might not be the only new coach in a high-profile sport next year, as baseball head coach Wayne Graham and football head coach David Bailiﬀ each have expiring contracts. With new hires coming in and the constant inflow and outflow of student-athletes, Karlgaard said he’s come to expect a great deal of change in his time working in college athletics. “I think there’s a constant churn; I don’t think you ever get settled,” Karlgaard said. “There will be people who retire, there will be people who leave for other jobs, there will be people who you have to part ways with, and you just have to be prepared for all of those inevitabilities. I think we already look quite a bit diﬀerent than when I got here, and I’m certain that a year or two years from now we’re going to look diﬀerent again.” That uncertain future is one Karlgaard, the most powerful man in Rice athletics, will play an integral role in shaping.
JOE KARLGAARD courtesy rice athletics
THE RICE THRESHER
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2017
the Backpage Presents: The Tragedy of the Commons
Ah, EcoNODmics at Wiess College. The only discipline where you’re excited to boom and bust. You don’t need to be a D2 major to know that when liquidity is involved, things are gonna get wet. On the big day, you’re gonna see a lot of emerging markets. A lot of deregulation of the clothing variety. A lot of moral hazards. Time to trim your hedge funds and dive into that human capital. Please remember: You can’t spell clitoris without “C-T-I-S” and despite inebriation, property rights still apply.
CASE STUDY: Supply/demand analysis of RHA condoms on the night of NOD
Demand for condoms up, supply responds accordingly, but you’ll notice that usage does not change at all. Like, worryingly so. I mean, if getting a bunch of college kids (and that’s what you are; don’t try and delude yourself into thinking you’re a grown-up. Grown-ups don’t do this kind of shit, and you know that, you immature ignoramus) naked in a room can’t get you laid, then you know what, you probably do belong here at Rice.
The Boxer-Tent distribution
Well, I haven’t seen a setup like this since sleepaway camp, and the dollars you dropped on that ticket aren’t the only form of hard currency in the room. Make sure to give everyone a wide berth, and to keep your eyes at respectable levels (Besides, who can tell inferior from normal goods through boxers and the compression shorts?). Whatever you do, just don’t get too excited or you might experience some premature trickle-down economics (It didn’t work in the ‘80s and it’s not going to work now).
Senior’s cost/benefit analysis of hooking up with a freshman COST BENEFIT • • •
Any economist can tell you that everybody faces trade-offs. But that reality is never as apparent as it is on the night of NOD. As this curve shows, if you consume alcohol to a point where you get too inebriated, then you effectively sacrifice any chance of hooking up. You may not know it, but every intoxicant you consume has an associated “opportunity cock” (i.e., the “cock” – or sexual organ of the MPS – that you sacrifice playing around with as you continue to get drunker and drunker).
Reputation down 3 points Might be their first time (awk.) Have to explain to your friends that you hooked up with a freshman Wonder if they ever even watched The Wild Thornberries “... You’re definitely 18, right? Or, by Texas law, 17 and no more than three years younger than me?” You’re their advisor They’ll probably wake up at 8 a.m. the next day because their bodies are still good at digesting alcohol
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Blood flow up 10 points Definitely your first time They only inquire because they notice a very conspicuously torn open condom wrapper right on the coffee table. And wouldn’t you know it, you invited them over for coffee. How forgetful you are! You can say “SMASHING!” while you’re smashing, and they’ll think you’re just being original and goofy (though probably not very sexy) You’re abiding by the law. And just, ya know, not being a douchebag. It’ll be slightly less weird when they’re calling you Daddy You’ll be able to return to your desolate life of solitude. A life where the window blinds are always closed, and you change your bed sheets once a year, when you buy new ones on move-in day. A life where “sex” is nothing more than a biological classification, and “love” is the emotion you feign for your childhood dog Mr. Woofles, because face it, even that fire stopped burning years ago.
The Backpage is satire by Joey McGlone and Isaac Schultz. This week, Lizzy Kalomeris, Ben Baldazo and Amelia Calautti helped get the room hot with their sultry content contributions. For comments or questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEACH FOR TESTMASTERS! Dynamic and Energetic teachers wanted. Starting pay rate is $20 to $32 per hour. Flexible schedules. We provide all training, all training is paid, and we pay for travel. Email your resume to email@example.com. RICE ALUM HIRING tutors for Middle & High School Math, Natural & Social Sciences, Foreign Language, Humanities, and SAT/ACT prep. Reliable transportation required. Pay is based upon variety of factors. Contact 832428-8330 and email resume to sri.iyengar@ sriacademicservices.com ONLINE TUTOR WANTED Tutor on your own schedule and earn great money anywhere anytime. Help students of your own college, of other colleges, and of high schools with homework, SAT/ACT, and college applications. Set your own price. Apply at www.upbreeze.
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PART TIME PROCTOR POSITION - $12 per hour. Applicants must be friendly, detailed-oriented, reliable, and punctual. Exam proctors must oversee the entire test administration process. Exams are administrated at our oﬃce near
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