VOLUME 102, ISSUE NO. 14 | STUDENT-RUN SINCE 1916 | RICETHRESHER.ORG | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2018
SAY WHAT YOU MEAN Precise language crucial for eﬀective social movements
SCALING EVEREST Student startup Everest Capital rides cryptocurrency wave
SNOWY OWL Rice alumnus to bobsled in Winter Olympics
SEE OPINION P. 5
SEE SPOTLIGHT P. 7
SEE SPORTS P. 11
STUDENTS PERCEIVE LACK OF EFFORT BY ADMINISTRATION IN MLK DAY CELEBRATIONS xinyu chen / thresher
Left to right: Brown College sophomore Kiara Charles, Hanszen College junior Olivia Casimir, Sid Richardson college junior Tolu Morohunfola, Jones College sophomore Mark Williams Laforest, Jones College freshman Kyla Barnwell and McMurtry College juniorArese Guobadia attend the ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’ program and vigil held Sunday to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Williams Laforest and other students expressed concerns regarding a perceived lack of support on the part of the administration.
I see Dr. King as the start, but I think a lot of people see him as the finish. Sydney Gibson Graduate Student Association President
EMILY ABDOW NEWS EDITOR / ESA2@RICE.EDU
Students commemorated Martin Luther King Jr. day by participating in two parades and organizing a vigil, but some raised concerns about Rice’s commitment to diversity after riding in a float one student called “dilapidated” and noting the vigil in the Rice chapel was not attended by members of Rice’s upper administration. THE PARADE Yonas Tekola, vice president of Rice’s Black Male
Leadership Initiative, said the float, which is used for both the 40th Annual “Original” MLK Jr. Parade held Monday morning and the Houston Pride Parade, was ripped and dirty when he and several other students began to decorate it at the end of fall semester. Tekola said the float had been stored near the football stadium and Greg Marshall, the director of university relations who is in charge of the float, informed him a homeless person had been living in it. “[The float] was torn in one of the sides and we had to cover that up with decorations,” Tekola, a Jones College
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Planning begins for new Sid Richardson building AMY QIN THRESHER STAFF / AQ5@RICE.EDU
xinyu chen / thresher
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
‘Origin, 135 degrees’ alters the academic quad LENNA MENDOZA A&E EDITOR / LMM10@RICE.EDU
The newest addition to Rice Public Art, Jarrod Beck’s “Origin, 135 degrees,” probably took you by surprise last semester during your regular walks through the academic quad. The sheer mass of the sculpture alone has greatly altered the treed path that passes by Sewall and Rayzor Halls.
Despite its industrial tone, the work finds a strange harmony with its environment — the steel bars and their geometric crossings echo the dark wood and rigidity of the trees surrounding it. “Origin”’s immediate sense of solidity is quickly undermined as the viewer realizes they can enter the work through the large gaps of the frame. Within they’ll find clumps of gray resin clay stuck to the piece, which look
like plastic stone. These spots of clay interrupt the perfect steel bars, the suggestion of manufacturing, and remind the viewer of the human hands that assembled the sculpture — each person who aided in the sculpture’s construction left a handprint in one of the pieces of clay. These traits are characteristic of Beck’s larger body of work.
ORIGIN CONT. ON PAGE 9
After occupying its current site for 47 years, Sid Richardson College is projected to move to a new building in the fall of 2021. Once construction of the new building is completed and Sidizens move out in that fall, the current building will be used for graduate housing, an arrangement that was proposed by Housing and Dining. Sid Richardson Kitchen will be used as a graduate servery. Currently, graduate students have the option of eating in undergraduate serveries by purchasing reduced meal plans. According to Sid Richardson magister Ken Whitmire, the building will continue to be in use for five to seven years as graduate housing, depending on how well it continues to function. Afterward, it will be torn down. The current building is not handicap accessible due to its split-level floors, a setup that does not comply with modern building codes. Any Rice student occupying a wheelchair cannot currently be assigned to Sid
Richardson. These infrastructure problems are mainly due to the building’s age, Whitmire said. As of now, there are no concrete plans concerning Sid Richardson’s current plot of land once the building is knocked down. A steering committee is in the process of selecting an architectural firm for the new building project. Whitmire said that six firms are currently being considered out of the original sixteen. Of the six, four will be interviewed, and one will ultimately be chosen by February to build Sid Richardson’s new home. The committee is composed of Whitmire, the vice president for the administration, a representative from the dean of undergraduates, the university architect and some members from the board of trustees, among others. Once the firm is decided, the process will move into a design stage by fall. Whitmire said the construction start date is unknown, but the construction process could take as little as three to four months. The new building should be completed in the fall of 2021.
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Thresher Backpage draws national backlash
CAMERON WALLACE ASST. NEWS EDITOR / CFW2@RICE.EDU
A fake advertisement published by The Rice Thresher’s satirical Backpage last week with the title “Guilt-Free MLK Day Pass” received national attention after outlets including Fox News, Inside Higher Ed and The Blaze covered controversy surrounding it. The Backpage piece read “Hey there, white people! We know. You have a day oﬀ to celebrate someone who managed to beat your system. Don’t despair — for the low price of eternal shame you can spend these 24 hours doing something productive like beating oﬀ in a sock and wondering whatever happened to your 8th grade girlfriend. You’re disgusting.” Outlets such as Nation One News and The Blaze interpreted the Backpage as calling all white people disgusting. The Thresher responded to the controversy in an editorial, clarifying that the phrase “you’re disgusting” was meant to refer to the phrase “beating oﬀ” and not all white people. A photo of the Backpage began garnering attention on Facebook and Twitter on Friday, two days after its publication in print.
* Illustration does not reflect confirmed administrative plans illustration by esther tang
The new Sid Richardson College building was proposed to be located in what is curently South Colleges Lot. The new commons will be connected to Seibel Servery. The building is projected to be completed in fall 2021. The current Sid Richardson College building will be converted into housing for graduate students.
Plans for new Sid Richardson College building unveiled SID FROM PAGE 1 According to Whitmire, the college’s new location will be in what is currently South Colleges Lot. The new building’s commons will connect to Seibel Servery, which it will share with Lovett and Will Rice Colleges. Whitmire said one advantage of the switch from an individual college kitchen to a shared servery is that the commons will now be occupied on weekends and during holidays. Currently, Sid Richardson’s kitchen closes during those times, causing Sidizens to flood to other college commons and oﬀ campus spots during mealtimes. However, freshman Nia Prince says Sid Richardson’s kitchen contributes to a sense of community in the college. “For most meals it’s like all of Sid is coming together,” Prince said. Currently the smallest college at Rice, Sid Richardson will accommodate more beds in its new building and therefore a larger student population, according to Whitmire; however, the current number of beds is unknown. Several Sidizens said preservation of the college’s high rise architecture is a priority for them. “I think [Sid’s tallness] is very central to a lot of our traditions and cheers, and a big part of our identity,” Sid Richardson President Griﬃn Palmer said. “People were kind of nervous and scared about what’ll happen if that was taken away.” Whitmire said the committee recognizes the importance of accommodating traditions in the new design. “[The committee] realized that was really important to the college,” Whitmire said. “I think that’s the really big one. If that happens, we’re good on most things.” According to Whitmire, however, the exact number of floors depends on the number of students Sid Richardson will accommodate in the future, which has not yet been determined. Palmer said that the new building will
also contain both single and double rooms, in contrast to Sid Richardson’s current layout of only doubles. For reasons of safety and liability, Whitmire said the new building will not feature the open balconies currently found at Sid Richardson. “The views [of the medical center and downtown] are very important to people who live here,” Whitmire said. “An architect would be foolish not to take advantage of that capability.” The need for more kitchen facilities for student use is another factor that is being considered in the planning process, according to Whitmire. Currently, Sid Richardson has only one kitchen space, located in its basement.
People were kind of nervous and scared about what’ll happen if [Sid’s tallness] was taken away. Griﬃn Palmer Sid Richardson College President Senior Youssef Machkas and Prince said the building often experiences plumbing, water heating and stuck elevator issues. “It’s kind of scary to go into the elevator sometimes and know that it can get stuck any minute,” Prince said. “I’ve actually been stuck in the Sid elevator for 30 minutes and it’s just my second semester here.” Machkas said he is ambivalent about the current setup of only doubles, which will change with the new building. “I like that all the rooms are the same format, as incoming freshmen and sophomores don’t get shitty rooms,” he said. “At the same time, it sucks being a senior and getting the exact same room.”
Junior Charis Wang said the architectural traits of Sid Richardson are central to the formation of its culture. “The enclosed floors and floor lobbies at Sid accelerate the forming of friendships and a dynamic college culture,” Wang said, adding that she hopes this feature will remain in the new building. Whitmire and Palmer both said they hope to preserve Radio Free Sid, a college tradition of blasting music across campus each Friday. Whitmire said he is not sure how plans for sustaining Radio Free Sid would translate into architectural planning, but said that a structure similar to McMurtry’s green roof is a possibility. Whitmire said he was hesitant to discuss the cost of the new building, citing uncertainty about its specifics. “I’ve heard a figure. It’s too early at this point to say,” he said. “And that budget will change, depending on how big they decide to build the college.” An eight-person building committee of Sidizens, with two students from each grade, will be formed to solicit comments from peers and provide student recommendations throughout the building process. Prospective members will apply by Jan. 21 and be selected by Sid Richardson’s A-Team, according to Palmer. “One of the purposes of the committee is to be able to use the understanding of what Sid’s culture and traditions are to be able to help shape the building,” he said. Although Sidizens will be moving into the newest structure on campus in a few years, several emphasized their hope for preserving the traditions and values that have characterized the college for almost half a century. “I just hope that we can create a new Sid building that still feels familiar and that if we ever come back to Rice, we won’t feel like there’s nowhere that we can identify with as our home,” Prince said.
This oﬀensive attempt at satire [...] is contrary to our values. Rice University Twitter At 10:27 a.m. that Friday, Rice University released a statement responding to concern from its oﬃcial Twitter account. “Rice … is disappointed w/ this oﬀensive attempt at satire, which is contrary to our values,” the statement read in part. “We support a free press, even if we don’t agree.” The Thresher released a staﬀ editorial response to the controversy later on Friday evening defending the intent of the Backpage. “The purpose of the ‘ad’ in the Backpage was to encourage students to reflect on the meaning of the holiday rather than use it simply as another vacation day without classes,” the editorial said. The editorial expressed disappointment in the University’s response. “Discussion and reflection are often spurred by that which may make us uncomfortable,” the editorial said. “We do not ask the university to stand with our editorial content on every occasion, but we are disheartened that Rice’s administration finds a part of a Backpage intended to target issues of institutional racism and general apathy to be ‘contrary to the values of the university’” Local news station KPRC Click2Houston picked up the story that evening, citing the editorial response by the Thresher, an extended statement sent out by Rice University to news outlets and a statement by Student Association President Justin Onwenu. “Rice really is a place where a wide range of intellectual ideas and cultures mesh together to create a beautiful mosaic,” Onwenu’s statement to KPRC Click2Houston read. “The Thresher Backpage is studentcontrolled and is often used as a place for satire that sometimes misses the mark, as is the case here. However, Rice students are committed to principles of diversity, tolerance and inclusion.” Inside Higher Ed, The Blaze and Fox News published stories on the Backpage on Monday. On Monday night, Fox News shared the article on their oﬃcial Facebook page. Afterwards, the oﬃcial Rice University Facebook page received a number of low ratings and angry comments aimed at the Backpage.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2018
THE RICE THRESHER
Students across campus fined, warned by H&D for disabling door closers ANNA TA NEWS EDITOR / AXT1@RICE.EDU
As students at Will Rice College returned from winter break, many found themselves charged with substantial fines and stuck with room doors that swing shut behind them. At other colleges, Housing and Dining checked for carded doors and disseminated warnings, according to students. Students living in Will Rice’s old dorm have traditionally disabled automatic door closing mechanisms despite language in the housing contract prohibiting tampering or disconnecting door closers, according to Will Rice senior Helen Wei. The housing contract states the corresponding fee is $200, which is “assessed either directly to the individual responsible or if there is doubt in culpability, [...] assessed to the college.” Housing and Dining divided fines amongst the students living in each room, leaving students in single rooms with the full fee, and students in doubles or triples with lessened costs. H&D representatives could not be reached for comment by the time of publication. Wei said one of the primary reasons why she changed the mechanism is because she is in a single room for the first time. “For me, a big draw of Old Dorm is the hall culture, and being able to keep our doors open so friends could walk through helped me adjust to not having my friends as roommates,” Wei said. “But it’s really unfortunate for me, then, that the fine is $200 per room rather than $200 per person, making me pay much more than someone in a double or triple.” According to Will Rice senior Juan Saldaña, some doors were fixed without a fine and others were not fixed but fined. (Saldaña is editor-in-chief of the Thresher.) “Unscrewing a single bolt doesn’t really hurt anyone but the $200 could be really detrimental to some,” Saldaña said. “Many of the door closures have a sticker that says tampering with it will result in a 25 dollar fine plus parts and labor. Considering we’re all down $200, I promise you the single screw or the 30 seconds it takes to put back in does not cost $175.”
Wei said that this is the first instance she knows of where students were fined for this oﬀense, despite the history of door disabling. “The explanation that they provided to us was that this year, a lot more people were changing the door mechanisms, which would pose a safety concern or fire hazard,” Wei said. “I don’t know the exact numbers and I won’t pretend to know, but based on my three years of living in Old Dorm I haven’t seen that drastic of a change.” According to an email from magisters Bridget Gorman and Michael Reed, H&D requested a meeting with them after they performed the checks during the break and were adamant about distributing fines. Students who were discovered to have disabled their door closers were required to attend a meeting with the adult team, college government members and RUPD representatives. “While we were told it wasn’t going to be a lecture, it definitely felt like one,” Wei said. “But I appreciated Captain [Clemente] Rodriguez’s attempt to try and understand our side. I know that the magisters meant the meeting to be diﬀerent, and I definitely appreciated how understanding Mike and Bridget were, and how they listened to our concerns and said they’d help advocate for us concerning the fines.”
Now that our rooms are not carded, many of my friends have stated that they feel more isolated. Mackenzie Flanagan Duncan College Sophomore Students were warned at least twice previously, in an email from college coordinator Casey Okabayashi on Aug. 24, 2017 and by chief justice Alan Wang on Sept. 12, 2017, that H&D had noticed the door disarmings and emphasized that it was a fineable oﬀense. Despite warnings, students developed
xinyu chen / thresher
Students commonly taped their doors to prevent automatic locking. Traditionally, students at Will Rice College Old Dorm do not have automatic locks but have unscrewed automatic door closers. Some students said the change has altered the culture at their residential colleges.
a culture of keeping doors open in order to create a common space out of hallways and individual rooms in response to the lack of communal spaces in old dorm, according to Will Rice freshman Simona Matovic. “I understand that the safety hazard aspect of it takes precedent over the social aspects associated with it, but the social element is very real,” Matovic said. “Door stops aren’t quite the same because having open doors as the default makes a significant diﬀerence. Closing the door had always been an active choice, therefore it became fairly rare, which helped to establish a very open community.” In the mandatory meeting, students also complained of the level of pressure of the automatic door closers, which rendered most door stops ineﬀective. According to Wei, another Will Ricer bought a door stop but it would not keep the door propped. “One of the biggest reasons why we didn’t just buy door stoppers was because no one did in the past, everyone just changed the door mechanisms, and didn’t have to pay any money for it,” Wei said. “It was easier than having to go out and buy a door stopper and making sure that
it would be able to prop open our door.” Students at other colleges, such as Martel, McMurtry, Duncan and Brown, were warned at the beginning of the semester by their student maintenance representatives that H&D noticed increases in carding, the disabling of automatically locking doors, across campus. Additionally, Baker College senior Alejandro Akerlundh said he was fined for carding after the break and freshman Franklin Briones said H&D performed surprise door checks on fourth floor at Brown College this Monday. Students at Duncan received an email from their SMR that public bathrooms would be uncarded, and that those with personal rooms and closed suite doors would be fined if they were not uncarded by the following Friday. “I think that uncarding public bathrooms is a completely unnecessary safety measure,” Flanagan said. “People already need to swipe into the residential colleges, which should be enough of a deterrent to non-students. Also, most of the personal belongings in the public bathrooms are inexpensive toiletries, so the risk of theft is low.”
DOORS CONT. ON PAGE 4
Students voice concerns over Rice’s commitment to diversity after MLK celebrations MLK FROM PAGE 1 sophomore, said. “We didn’t want to give the impression of our float being raggedy, like we didn’t care as much about devoting time and resources to the event.” Jan West, assistant director of multicultural community relations in the Oﬃce of Public Aﬀairs, said the current float has been in use for 10 years, since the Pride Parade in the summer of 2008. According to West, the previous float was built on a trailer borrowed from another department, and because that department would strip oﬀ float additions, University Relations in the Oﬃce of Public Aﬀairs bought their own trailer and built a permanent float in 2008. West said Rice Athletics allows the University Relations oﬃce to park the float in a “secure storage area” at the stadium. Marshall said the University Relations oﬃce continues to fund the floats annual upkeep, redecoration and repairs, and also paid entry fees for the parades and for the rental convertible used in one of Houston’s two MLK day parades. Josiah Yarbrough, a Black Student Association member who helped decorate the float, said he was also disappointed in the condition of the float. “The side panels were tattered, and it made me wonder about how enthusiastic Rice was about showing support for things like social justice,” Yarbrough, a Will Rice College senior, said. “However, it was nice to see the completed project, especially with regard to the sentiment: many people in the Rice community came together to support the preparation of a display that honors civil
rights and those who fought for them. And I think that shouldn’t be ignored.” Tekola was in the 40th Annual “Original” MLK Jr. Parade, which included the float along with nine students, five alumni and Associate Provost Roland Smith. Mark Williams Laforest, who serves as secretary of both the BSA and BMLI, participated in the 24th Annual MLK Grande Parade, which he said involved a rental convertible, nine students and four alumni. Stephany Marchany, a member of the Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice who participated in the 40th Annual “Original” MLK Jr. Parade, said it was important for Rice to demonstrate it values civil rights through having a float. “I’m not really sure what else [the administration] could have done besides observing the holiday by canceling classes and letting those who wanted to participate in the parade do so,” Marchany, a Brown College freshman, said. BMLI president and Hanszen College sophomore Jeremiah Murrell, who participated in decorating the float, said he believes there is an administrative lack of eﬀort towards MLK day festivities, which is symbolic of how the Rice administration treats issues of diversity. Williams Laforest said issues involving Rice’s multicultural center are another sign of what he sees as a larger issue. “The administration that’s not part of this culture doesn’t really stick its neck out to engage with it,” Williams Laforest, a Jones sophomore, said. “It’s just something that they delegate so they can keep up that sort of pristine Rice image of diversity and inclusion.”
THE VIGIL Williams Laforest said he was disappointed President David Leebron did not attend the MLK vigil held in Rice’s chapel on Sunday evening. “White faculty don’t really make an eﬀort to deal with multicultural matters and they kind of just push it to minority faculty,” Williams Laforest said. “In terms of people who actually organize things it’s only the minority faculty, so tell Leebron to actually do something.” Leebron said he has attended the MLK vigil and program in the past when he was invited and his schedule allowed him to do so. He said he commended both the BSA and the Association of Rice University Black Alumni for organizing the vigil and looked forward to attending in future years, schedule permitting.
It’s just something that they delegate so they can keep up that pristine Rice image of diversity and inclusion. Mark Williams Laforest Jones College Sophomore “Unfortunately, I was not directly contacted about the event this year to request that I speak or otherwise attend, nor did my oﬃce receive a timely request to reserve the date,”
Leebron said. “As the vigil was not held on Martin Luther King Day as it was last year, I had made other plans for Sunday.” West said BSA President Missy Lollis resigned just before the MLK vigil and parade. Lollis, a Sid Richardson College junior, could not be reached for comment at time of publication regarding her reason for resignation. “The BSA was scrambling to pull everything together especially since the holiday fell a little earlier this year,” West said. “The event turned out well, however, in the midst of everything as an oversight the group failed to invite President Leebron.” The MLK vigil and program held Sunday at the Rice Memorial Chapel by the BSA, the BMLI and Multicultural Community Relations in the Oﬃce of Public Aﬀairs, was titled “Where Do We Go From Here?” Nhedrick Jabier, a 10-year-old and thirdplace winner of the 2018 MLK Jr. Oratory Competition, delivered “A Salute to Dr. King,” asking those in attendance to listen as he shared his dream for today’s world. Following Jabier, a panel of Rice professors, student leaders and Pretta VanDible Stallworth from the Houston Community College Board of Trustees shared their thoughts. “The way I see Martin Luther King is like a spark,” Sydney Gibson, panelist and president of the Rice University Graduate Student Association, said. “I see him as the start, but I think a lot of people see him as the finish, as the goal, like we made it. I see Dr. King as the momentum moving forward.”
THE RICE THRESHER
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2018
Waitlists, incentives for overcrowding end for spring housing CLAIRE CARPENTER THRESHER STAFF / CCC13@RICE.EDU
In a turnaround from the fall semester bed shortage, every residential college has reported open beds this spring. A total of 62 beds are available across campus as of Jan. 12, according to Housing and Dining Senior Business Director David McDonald. McDonald said this semester’s number of open beds is on par with past spring semesters and may still change as the semester goes on. In the fall, H&D faced difficulties providing enough beds to new students because of the unusually large size of the most recent incoming class. To open more beds to freshmen and transfer students, the university offered free housing to upperclassmen to overcrowd rooms. Thirteen students across the university overcrowded to open up seven extra beds, McDonald said. By the end of the fall semester, McDonald said 40 beds became unoccupied. As of Jan.12, there are 2,794 used beds. On-campus housing numbers constantly change throughout the semester as students move on or off for a variety of reasons. “It’s a moving target from O-Week on,” McDonald said. With no overcrowding incentives this semester, only three students will continue overcrowding, McDonald said. “I was always under the impression that we had to overcrowd the whole year,” Osmond Wen, a Will Rice senior, said. “It definitely wasn’t made clear in the original email that we had the option to not overcrowd the second semester. Fortunately, my living situation has been awesome, so I probably wouldn’t have changed anything for this semester.” In the fall, after learning of the large incoming class size, Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson said he asked residential colleges to freeze their waitlists of upperclassmen seeking on-campus housing in addition to H&D’s request for overcrowding. “I was No. 43 on the waitlist for oncampus housing for the fall semester
DOORS FROM PAGE 3 Duncan SMR Nick Liesle said the university saw a need for stricter enforcement after noticing an especially large percentage of students carding their doors in particular locations on campus. “I can’t speak for other colleges, but I have not noted a particular increase in door carding at Duncan,” Leisle, a senior, said. “With that said, though, I don’t generally push on random doors to check their locking status. So it’s really hard for me to tell.” Leisle said it appears that most, if not all, disabled doors have been uncarded for the time being. Duncan sophomore Mackenzie Flanagan said she understands why H&D wants the doors uncarded, but that the overall impact is detrimental to student life. “Now that our rooms are not carded, many of my friends have stated that they feel more isolated,” Flanagan said. “I feel that H&D should allow students to make the decision to card their doors and, by making that decision, students would assume responsibility of that aspect of their safety.”
BEDS FILLED & AVAILABLE Despite long waitlists and overcrowding for on-campus housing in the fall, every college now has no waitlist for the spring semester. Not all colleges could provide data for the number of beds currently available, which fluctuates throughout the semester.
NUMBER OF BEDS FILLED (OUT OF 2856)
BEDS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE Sid Rich Martel Wiess Brown
* Data subject to change and representative of colleges with available data. One bed icon = one bed available
IN SUMMARY • Out of the 13 overcrowds in the fall, three decided to remain in the spring, despite no H&D incentive
Fall 2017 start
Fall 2017 end
Spring 2017 start
* Data includes 13 overcrowds for fall 2017 and three overcrowds for spring 2017
• The total number of empty beds increased to 62 from 40 at the end of the fall
infographic by christina tan
but unfortunately did not make it on campus,” Ashton Duke, a Duncan College junior, said. “The first 23 did.”
We need to be very strategic about what we try to do with buildings and remodels to see if we can bring more beds on line. David McDonald Housing and Dining Senior Business Director Duke will live at Duncan in the spring, and according to Duncan Legislative Vice President Greg Van Kirk, the college has
managed to offer housing options to all students on the spring waitlist. At Sid Richardson College, college coordinator Lisa Galloy said there are five open beds this spring. This is a common trend for Sid Richardson where fall waitlists average about 16 students and spring waitlists are typically short or nonexistent, Galloy said. Coordinators across several colleges said spring waitlists are shorter than fall waitlists. December graduates account for about 30 bed vacancies each spring, McDonald said. These graduates, along with students studying abroad, fall exchange students, students who take leaves of absence, withdrawal or transfer and suspensions and rustications, lead to the opening of beds in the spring. Even with new transfer students, returning study abroad students and new exchange students, McDonald said
spring additions never increase occupied beds in the spring to fall levels. Despite this year’s large freshmen class, McDonald said overcrowding in fall semesters is nothing new to Rice. During McDonald’s 10 years at Rice as a part of Housing and Dining, occasional overcrowding has been necessary. McDonald said what is new to Rice is H&D’s new mission to accommodate 80 percent of undergraduates. Currently, only 73 percent of enrolled undergraduates can stay on campus. “We need to be very strategic about what we try to do with buildings and remodels to see if we can bring more beds on line,” McDonald said. “A new Sid will help because it will have more beds than it currently does, so that will be a partial way there, but not all the way there. We haven’t decided what to do next, after that, but right now we’re focusing on building new Sid.”
SNOW DAY ON CAMPUS
juan saldaña / thresher
Rice University closed Tuesday and Wednesday due to icy road conditions following wintery precipitation and below-freezing temperatures. Some students stayed indoors, while others braved the cold for snowball fights.
Open doors should be encouraged, not fined Housing and Dining has fined students at Will Rice College $200 per room for disabling the door closing mechanisms, which has sparked fears of a crackdown on door propping and “carding” (preventing automatic locking) at other colleges (see p. 3). Door propping is like underage drinking: The university technically doesn’t allow it, there might be some associated risks, and yet a large portion of students do it anyway. Given this situation and the widespread nature of door propping, sudden enforcement of large fines seems both unfair and likely to spark further backlash from the student body. Enforcement is also arbitrary — whether a student is in her room when H&D checks the door can determine whether she owes the university $200. The use of fines introduces inequity in punishment: The financial resources available to students vary and lower-income students are more heavily aﬀected.
While there are logical reasons for the existence of door rules — reduction of theft, prevention of intruders into students’ rooms — students should be given the freedom to make this tradeoﬀ between risk and convenience. If a pair of roommates decide to card their door and jeopardize their belongings, that should be their choice. As college students who should be learning to “adult,” these are the kind of decisions we should be allowed to make. It’s true that there are circumstances where a student’s choice to prop a door might aﬀect others, in which the university’s hands are tied — in particular, fire safety rules fall into this category. Aside from those situations, however, H&D should drop its paternalistic attitude toward door propping and carding and legitimize the already wellestablished practice. Editor-in-chief Juan Saldaña recused himself from the writing of this editorial.
Correction In the Jan. 10 issue of the Thresher, the op-ed “A student artist’s response to the culture erasing our names” was written by Ana Paula Pinto-Diaz. In the news article “Breaking even: Residential college budget breakdown,” Duncan College has this year’s highest operating budget, not Wiess College. OP-ED
KISS M(e): Keep It Simple, Social Movements All too often, I see my peers discourse about important issues with jargon and buzzwords that sound nice but don’t explain their viewpoints. We talk and write about “oppression,” view things as “problematic” or “complicated,” and use buzzwords like “intersectionality” or “patriarchal.” When attending rallies or reading articles, we constantly hear “disrupt the system,” “engender a mindset shift” or “smash oppressive structures in society.” But what do these words actually mean? If your answer is (1) you don’t know, or (2) whatever one interprets them to mean, then there is a lack of eﬀective communication. If people cannot understand one another, they merely talk through and not to each other. This imprecise, jargon-y language also makes it extremely diﬃcult for those in social movements to engage with others. It turns these movements into elitist organizations where only the welleducated can participate in “conversation.” The success of any social movement is founded on its ability to allow a critical mass in society to subscribe to its beliefs and sway public opinions as a force for change. Epistemic communities exist on many college campuses where student advocates interact only with people of their own intellectual status, but for social change to succeed, people from all walks of life need to come together to advocate for change. Movements have to be open to all — from parents, to service workers, to small business workers, to everyone in between — to succeed and thrive. It is self-defeating if the words we use to combat exclusion in
STAFF Drew Keller & Juan Saldaña* Editors in Chief Jasmine Lin* Managing Editor Shannon Klein Business Manager news Emily Abdow* Editor Anna Ta Editor Cameron Wallace Asst. Editor
society are themselves exclusionary. Regardless of what side of the political spectrum you’re on, it is worth noting that our democratic institutions allow us to assemble, speak and use the press to aﬀect our communities on issues we are passionate about. However, good intentions are not enough. Don’t just stop on generalities; explain exactly what we should care about and why. A good example would be Rice’s Critical Thinking in Sexuality workshops that actually define what sexual assault is so students understand how to avoid specific behaviors. It’s easy to default to using cookie-cutter phrases when discussing social issues — I admit that I too fall prey to calling issues “problematic” to avoid talking about specifics. Precise language is extremely important to communicate actionable change and to build broad-based movements across society. I acknowledge that the phrases I speak and write — this piece included — aren’t flawless specimens of English usage. Nevertheless, to communicate eﬀectively and be good advocates of political and social change, we should not be so quick to use buzzwords like “oppressive,” “bigoted” or “deplorable,” but actually explain how we see the term. So KISS M(e): Keep It Simple, Social Movements. JEFFERSON REN
Jones College Freshman email@example.com
opinions Julianne Wey* Editor arts & entertainment Lenna Mendoza* Editor backpage Joey McGlone Editor Isaac Schultz Editor photo Sirui Zhou Editor Charlene Pan Editor
spotlight Elizabeth Rasich Editor
copy Sarah Smati Editor Catherine Soltero Editor
sports Andrew Grottkau* Editor Michael Byrnes Asst. Editor
online Charlie Paul Web Editor Alice Liu Digital Content Editor
Rice throws student organizations under the bus. cartoon by esther tang and areli navarro magallón
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Let’s be honest about student philanthropy We are overwhelmingly thankful to attend Rice University. After three and a half years, we have learned, grown and experienced more than we ever dreamed was possible. Additionally, we could not be more diﬀerent. Albert is an economist from Russia, and Margaret is a chemical engineer from Tennessee. However, we’ve been brought together by a shared feeling of privilege to attend this university in both senses of the word: privileged because it has been an incredible experience and honor to attend this university, and privileged because it is only due to the generosity and kindness of those who came before us that we have been able to attend Rice. Our shared gratitude led us to volunteer for the Annual Fund, which was unfortunately misrepresented three separate times (article, editorial and cartoon) in last week’s Thresher. So let’s take a step back, check the facts and reflect on why philanthropy, why the Annual Fund and ultimately, why Rice.
Your $2 donation may translate into millions for the university from other sources. Why philanthropy? Philanthropy encompasses time, energy and money. Someone helped you get to where you are now, whether it was your parents, a teacher or a coach who invested in you and taught you confidence, or a Rice donor you’ve never met who helped fund your time here. We believe in philanthropy and in paying it forward to the next generation of Rice Owls even as we continue to benefit from the generosity of others. Why the Annual Fund? In addition to raising vital resources for scholarships, the Annual Fund provides for aspects of our undergraduate experience that tuition alone doesn’t completely cover: residential colleges, club sports, Alternative Spring
design Christina Tan Director Sydney Garrett News Designer Marlena Fleck Sports Designer Ellie Mix A&E Designer Tina Liu Spotlight Designer Areli Navarro Magallón Illustrator Esther Tang Illustrator business operations Tom Wang Advertising Manager Sara Lopez Marketing Manager Joey Castro Distribution Manager Greg Campo Distribution Manager Sanvitti Sahdev Business Designer *Editorial Board member
Breaks and more. There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding the Annual Fund, so we’ve broken down one simple reason to give to the Rice Owls Give Back annual campaign. Large ranking systems, such as the U.S. News & World Report, use metrics like giving participation to measure a school’s “success” rate. If students and alumni donate to the school, then they likely had a good experience there. Moreover, charitable organizations use these national rankings to distribute funds to various “successful” universities. Essentially, your $2 donation may translate into millions for the university from other sources. Why Rice? BEER BIKE! But in all seriousness, everybody has their own personal reasons for attending Rice. Albert chose Rice for the cultural opportunities of a metropolitan city and the generous financial aid package. Margaret chose Rice because it’s (typically) warm in Texas, and because of the unique competitive yet collaborative environment of the engineering school. Three and a half years later, we both still think we made the right choice. At the end of the day, the Annual Fund is one of the few organizations on campus that unilaterally positively aﬀects everyone. There is no mandate or sentiment that you “must” give back to Rice. We fully acknowledge that not every member of the Rice community has a level of disposable income such that they feel comfortable donating. But let’s be honest — for many of us, donating $2 is more likely to set us back one boba instead of one tuition payment, as last week’s Thresher cartoon suggested. We feel passionately about philanthropy and the Annual Fund because we were able to attend Rice only because of the generosity and kindness of those who came before us. Let’s all do our part, however big or small, to support future generations of Owls. Albert Nabiullin McMurtry College Senior Margaret Roddy Wiess College Senior
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
content and length and to place letters on its website. Editorial and business oﬃces are located on the second floor of the Ley Student Center: 6100 Main St., MS-524 Houston, TX 77005-1892 Phone (713) 348-4801 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.ricethresher.org The Thresher is a member of the ACP, TIPA, CMA, and CMBAM © Copyright 2018
REMS: Who you gonna call? ELIZABETH RASICH THRESHER STAFF / EAR4@RICE.EDU
At first, the Rice University Emergency Medical Services faced skepticism over whether it would be a substantial asset to the campus, given that it sits right across the street from the largest network of hospitals in the world. A Jan. 26, 1996 article in the Thresher — almost four months after REMS had been established — said that “some questions have been raised about the overall benefits to the Rice community.” At the time, REMS still lacked university funding. However, REMS has since proven itself — and gained funding from a variety of sources, including the university and a KTRU grant for EMS education. In 2017, REMS responded to 627 emergency calls. 250 required transport to a healthcare facility, and REMS treated the other 377 on-site. Response times are between two to three minutes, according to REMS director Lisa Basgall.
With some patients, I can’t help but worry about their status after we transfer them to the ambulance. Brenda Zhou EMS In-Charge Basgall, who has been director since 2009, said that REMS plays an important role in ensuring health and safety on campus. “Rice EMS members come from the
campus community, most especially the undergraduates, and this builds trust in the service that is provided and in those who respond to emergencies,” Basgall said. Doing this work takes a significant time commitment. Basgall said that most members work 24 to 48 hours of unpaid REMS shifts a month. That’s not counting the extensive training they receive before and after they join. REMS members first have to take an Emergency Medical Technician certification class that lasts about 150 hours and includes practice in the emergency room and ambulance responses in addition to time in a classroom. Even once they are members, they have to maintain their certification with at least 48 hours of additional training every two years. Many REMS members also go on to achieve higher levels of EMS certification, including the highest level: advanced EMT. “REMS takes training seriously,” Basgall said. “We oﬀer several classes monthly for current members and alumni to make sure providers are ready to go for any emergency.” “In-charges” go through even more extensive training. In-charges are the on-duty REMS members who direct the emergency response and oversee all of the team’s decisions while caring for the patient. Beyond being skilled in emergency medical care, they have to be prepared for larger incidents, like hurricanes. Basgall said in-charges also build partnerships with campus resources such as RUPD and the Rice Wellbeing Oﬃce. Brenda Zhou is a current in-charge. She started in EMS training three years ago, as a freshman. “I was really attracted to the fast problemsaving and patient communication that
PARTY PATROL: RISKY BUSINESS sports designer
spotlight editor asst. sports editor
BIZ R. MICHAEL B.
FOOD & DRINK
MUSIC & DANCING
Kinda felt like my old high school gym dances sans streamers and balloons.
Got there before anyone else and bee lined towards the unopened pizza boxes.
Not many recognizable songs. Dancing would have been better without that one couple making out behind me the entire time.
A Loved the costume dedication, especially from the North College kids who trekked through the cold weather in their boxers.
Overall: An equally fun but much less sweaty Sid 80s.
A+ I was surprised by how nice it smelled in Will Rice commons (fresh laundry?)
A Standard fare for a public. Grabbed a big fistfull of cheese puﬀs on the way out.
No one was making out with the DJ, which is a win in my book.
B+ Absurdly cold to walk over, but was warmed by the glow of 1980s nostalgia.
This would be an A+ if it were named Risky Bizness.
B Distinct dearth of riskiness: not enough poor life choices made to justify the hype.
A I ate like half a slice of pizza at some point and it was pretty decent.
Unless we’re talking about my dancing, in which case this grade gets changed to a solid D-.
B It was too cold outside, especially considering my lack of pants.
To be honest, I don’t remember most of it, but I’m pretty sure I had fun. INFOGRAPHIC BY TINA LIU
PHOTO COURTESY LISA BASGALL
From left to right, REMS in-charges: Sid Richardson College senior Ben Singh, Hanszen College senior Brenda Zhou, Hanszen senior Austin Cao, Sid Richardson senior Yida Liu, Hanszen senior Evan Shegog, Biosciences and Health Policy Masters student Sai Chilakapati and Hanszen senior Gabriela Barrios.
are required for the role,” Zhou, a Hanszen College senior, said. She loves the adrenaline rush when she gets a call, but her true passion is teaching other EMTs. As education lieutenant for REMS and a teaching assistant for the EMT class, she helps future REMS members learn the skills they will need for their own shifts. For her, the most diﬃcult part of the shift is not, surprisingly, staying awake. It’s that she can only take care of some patients until they’re taken to the hospital. “With some patients, I can’t help but worry about their status after we transfer them to the ambulance,” Zhou said. This year, training the future class of incharges is especially important since all seven of the current in-charges will be graduating at the end of this semester. “Rice EMS has been operating smoothly for over 20 years due to a highly regulated and well-functioning system of institutional
knowledge, aka the brain of our EMS director, Lisa Basgall, so I do not think it will suﬀer [from all the graduations] at all,” Zhou said. Hanszen junior Abigail Tucker is one of the REMS members who will take over as an in-charge midway through this semester. To prepare, she has several courses ahead of her which will give her additional experience with emergency room shifts and ride-outs on ambulances as well as leadership training. Tucker said she became involved in REMS because it was a tangible way to give back to the Rice community, and because it’s a hands-on opportunity to learn about emergency medicine. “The best part of being involved in REMS is being able to see the manifestations of my volunteering eﬀorts right in front of me,” Tucker said. “Whether it be bandaging someone’s hand or splinting someone’s ankle, it is so rewarding to see how thankful patients are.”
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2018
THE RICE THRESHER
Rice freshman’s cryptocurrency trading startup Everest Capital posts huge initial returns LAVINA KALWANI THRESHER STAFF / LLK1@RICE.EDU
EVEREST CAPITAL Started by: Joel Abraham (Hanszen ’21), Kevin Zheng, Hunter Spron, Etan Ginsberg Founded: November 2017 Goal: Use algorithms to predict critical fluctations in cryptocurrency value Funding: > $100,000 pledged How does the typical Rice freshman spend their time? Probably a healthy(ish) mix of skillful procrastination, stressing out at Fondy, and finding out how much free food it takes to no longer want free food. But if you’re Joel Abraham, you’ve added one major accomplishment to a unique freshman experience: You’ve cofounded a startup, and have investors already knocking at your door. Abraham, a mathematics and computer science double major at Hanszen College, started the beginnings of his “alternative asset management fund” just three months ago alongside Kevin Zheng, Hunter Sporn and Etan Ginsberg. Zhang and Sporn are current students at Princeton University, and Ginsberg is spending a gap year working at a private equity firm on Wall Street. The company, Everest Capital, uses social media analytics to invest in cryptocurrency. And it all started at a hackathon in November. “We met at HackPrinceton 2017, and decided to work on a project together,” Abraham said. “Due to our [skills] in quantitative finance, and due to the burgeoning cryptocurrency hype, we ended up building a primitive trading strategy that leverages social media analytics to predict cryptocurrency prices.” After the event, a judge came up to the students and expressed interest in the code they had written. Seeing the potential of their work, Abraham and his co-founders started a conversation about turning their code into the basis for a company. “The mission of Everest Capital is to meet a need in the cryptocurrency marketplace for strategic portfolio management,” Sporn said. Cryptocurrency is any digital currency that operates on a blockchain (a digital ledger). A blockchain is a collection of independent transactions where is
transaction, or block, is timestamped and linked to the previous one, creating a chain. The continuous links between blocks and chains create a transparent system where every person can view any transaction, and the linked nature prevents the ledger from being manipulated. The system of cryptocurrency works similarly to a debit card, allowing monetary transactions to occur electronically. The diﬀerence is that cryptocurrency is decentralized, so there is no central bank, government or even computer system that issues the currency or controls its value. The most popular form of cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. Other cryptocurrencies include Ethereum, Litecoin, and the meme no one should be using at this point, Dogecoin. “Cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile,” Abraham said. “It’s not uncommon to see the price of Bitcoin fluctuate thousands of dollars in a few hours. This volatility means that there are plenty of opportunities to make a large profit by buying when the price is low and selling when the price is high, since our algorithm allows us to predict when these critical points occur.” According to a Wall Street Journal article published Jan. 10, Bitcoin’s value has increased 1,446 percent since the end of 2016. The rapid fluctuation in value can create higher risk, which is the main reason traditional hedge funds are hesitant to enter the market. Everest Capital tailors their strategy to be “highly risk averse,” allowing the potential for higher profit without the risk of an irreversibly bad trade. Even with the risk, it’s not hard to see why Abraham and his co-founders are eager to venture into the world of trading cryptocurrency. The Everest Capital website proclaims that “now is the time to act.” “Most hedge funds trade very stable equities (e.g. stocks) and thus generate annualized returns of [less than] 100 percent,” Abraham said. “According to extensive backtesting, our algorithm generates returns of 232 percent over the past 50 days, significantly beating the market.” Algorithm-based trading, while not new, is an alternative to the traditional, human-based Wall Street model that dominated for almost exactly 200 years. From the time algorithm-based trading was first introduced in the early 1970’s, it has become one of the top ways to sustain management funds. To Everest Capital, it’s all about the computers. Abraham said Everest Capital “synthesize[s]” social media analytics, machine learning, neurobehavioral analysis and financial indicators in their trading.
PHOTO COURTESY OF
PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH PAN
From left to right: Everest Capital founders Kevin Zheng, Hunter Sporn, Joel Abraham and Etan Ginsberg. Zheng and Sporn are freshmen at Princeton University, Ginsberg is taking a gap year and Abraham is a Hanszen College freshman. They aim to use algorithmic trading to profit in the cryptocurrency market.
INFOGRAPHIC COURTESY OF ETAN GINSBERG
The algorithm Everest Capital uses and analyzes social media content, like Tweets, to determine the feelings of people writing those Tweets. Those feelings then become an indicator of public confidence in cryptocurrency. The algorithm combines this with research on how people’s responses to the market price of cryptocurrency changes the price of the currency itself. The continued analysis of all these patterns allow the algorithm to “learn” how to predict trends without any explicit code. Social media analytics are especially critical for Everest Capital, since most cryptocurrencies have a limited supply and price is greatly influenced by public opinion. The Everest Capital website cited an article by Business Insider as evidence of the eﬀectiveness of social media analytics. “A recent article published by Business Insider this October concluded that there is a 91 percent correlation between the volume of Google search inquiries about Bitcoin and its market value,” the website said. Although Everest Capital has been seeing a lot of early success, a startup between five undergraduates across state lines brings about its own set of logistical challenges. Keeping up with new projects, investors, and ideas amid already busy schedules brings diﬃculty in maintaining communication. Fortunately, the benefits of technology has kept this startup alive, and the students call, text, and video chat regularly. “[O]ur relentless determination to materialize our ideas has propelled Everest Capital forward,” Sporn said. For now, Everest Capital engages in proprietary trading, where the firm trades using its own money. However, they are
working aggressively on their investor base, and already have more than $100,000 in pledged funding.
Our algorithm generates returns of 232 percent over the past 50 days, significantly beating the market. Joel Abraham Hanszen College Freshman
Abraham sees big plans in the future of Everest Capital. The startup is a regional finalist for the TigerLaunch entrepreneurship competition and will advance to the Finals Competition in Princeton to compete for $30,000 in prize money and the opportunity to pitch to venture capital firms. They are also one of 32 semifinalist for Student Startup Madness, a competition for college startups. The top eight startups in Student Startup Madness will present to judges at South by Southwest in March. And after that? “In one year, I see our company fully established under a quasi-hedge fund model, with in-house servers and additional employees,” Abraham said. “In five to 10 years, I hope that we’d be established as a Limited Partnership, manage a multimillion dollar fund, and expand our company beyond cryptocurrency trading.”
‘The Post’ champions the free press MADDIE FLAVIN THRESHER STAFF / MF37@RICE.EDU
THE POST Running time: 115 minutes Rating: PG-13 Genre: Political Thriller
courtesy jerald’s secret
In ‘Black Mirror’ season four episode two ‘Arkangel,’ parents implant chips in their children.
‘Black Mirror’ season four continues to question technology’s role in society AMELIA CALAUTTI THRESHER STAFF / AMC35@RICE.EDU
BLACK MIRROR Episode length: 44 - 89 minutes Rating: TV-MA Genre: Drama/Sci-Fi
“Black Mirror.” Whether you’ve watched the gripping series or not, you’ve definitely heard about it. With a new season released on Netflix on Dec. 29, “Black Mirror” is all people can talk about this new year — and for all the right reasons. The series, created back in 2011, takes place in the future, where technology is more advanced and usually comes with a price. The title itself reflects on humans’ obsession with electronics, as staring at a black screen of a device acts as a “black mirror.” This fixation reveals a dark reflection of mankind, whether it’s murder, exploitation or manipulation, all done by the hand of technology. Most importantly, “Black Mirror” brings important social commentary to the stage. Although the series is captivating for its disturbing content in a fictitious world, this world is not as far out as it may seem. “Black Mirror” could be the future of our world, where technology is already overpowering and getting more and more complex. And perhaps that is why the series is creating such an enormous buzz — within it hides the terrifying truth about our future. Season four consists of six episodes, varying from 40 to 65 minutes. What makes “Black Mirror” so easy to watch is the fact that it’s an anthology series, meaning you can pick and choose episodes without
any confusion. One of the few consistent similarities is a futuristic setting. To add to the sense of an ominous future, sometimes writers even carry minor details across episodes, such as company names or products, merely for the viewer’s pleasure and without plot relevance. Additionally, each episode contains a psychological or thrilling twist at the end that heightens the disturbing and fascinating eﬀects of the episode, leaving viewers thinking. Take “USS Callister,” the Star Trek
With twisted storylines and outstanding artistry in representing the future, ‘Black Mirror’ evokes terror, fascination and reflection in every episode. themed season four opener that blurs lines between simulation and reality. In fact, what is stopping us from creating our own reality through technology? The episode revolves around Robert Daly, the chief technology oﬃcer of “Infinity,” a multiplayer virtual reality game that works by placing a chip at your temple, completing submerging your consciousness into any scenario you can imagine. Yet, Daly does not receive his coworkers’ recognition for his incredible coding. He is awkward and quiet, ignored by the women he pursues and overshadowed by his business partner. To compensate for his unhappiness and weakness in his real life, Daly creates a secret code for “Infinity” that puts him in an alternate space-themed universe as a heroic space captain who is obeyed and loved by his crew members. What sets apart Daly’s altered “Infinity” is his ability to
BLACK MIRROR CONT. ON PAGE 9
THE WEEKLY SCENE
This Saturday, enjoy an evening of dance, song, spoken word and more courtesy of the Rice African Student Association. Tickets are $7 presale and $10 at the door, and include a dinner of East and West African cuisine. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Curious about the relationship between the body and music? This interactive exhibit brings together installations and experiments from an “acoustic bed” to “sonic tables” to explore this linkage via a wide range of perspectives. Tickets are $10.
RMC Grand Hall
The Health Museum 1515 Hermann Dr. thehealthmueseum.org
“Before Watergate, there was the Pentagon Papers.” This was the first sentence of the summary for a screenplay, titled “The Post,” on the 2016 Black List, an annual compilation of the movie industry’s best unproduced scripts. The story follows the Washington Post’s role in revealing a damning classified study about the Vietnam War to the public. Written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer and directed by paragon Steven Spielberg, “The Post” milks its timeliness and tells how one woman’s bravery led to a major First Amendment victory for America’s journalists. In 1971, Katharine “Kay” Graham is the first woman in charge of a major American newspaper. A widow with no previous experience as an executive, she struggles against the gender politics of the era and her own insecurities to make her voice heard at company meetings and in the boardroom. When The New York Times reveals the government has been lying about the war in Vietnam, the executive editor of The Washington Post, Ben Bradlee, calls most of the shots for how they will handle the information they have. Before long, a furious President Nixon uses his governing powers to bar the Times from further story publications, which presents a major opportunity for both Kay and the Post. This is their chance to stand up for the First Amendment by continuing the Times’ work. But as the head of the Post, a position she could never have envisioned, it’s ultimately Kay’s call on whether to publish. In the role of Kay Graham, Meryl Streep is one heck of an inspiration. Her ability to keep the viewer rooted in Kay’s emotions at any given moment makes genuinely palpable the transformation Kay undergoes,
from self-conscious and doubtful to assertive and confident. Kay makes the switch in a remarkable sequence — the camera close up on her face, her stammering switch to complete seriousness as she says, over the phone, “Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s publish.” Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee strikes a perfect balance between supporting player and leading man. He captures Bradlee’s infectious passion for the power of journalism as well as his determination to quickly but accurately get the truth out. He wants everyone to play their part in contributing to a bigger picture, and that extends to Kay. He knows she’s got the fire to lead the paper, and he’s not afraid to respectfully push her to help her see it. And, when she finds it, he’s happy to step aside to give her space on the pedestal. As Ben’s wife, Tony Bradlee, Sarah Paulson gives a wonderful fleshed out performance despite her limited screen time. The glimpses of Tony depict her as a woman who keeps herself in the know and makes her own decisions, while remaining supportive and understanding. Hannah and Singer’s screenplay is wonderfully inclusive in its representation of gender. Each character, from Kay to Bradlee’s young daughter, feels like a flesh-and-blood human being with a past, a present and a future. The characterizations are respectful of everyone’s humanity, both the good parts and the parts to improvement. The pacing keeps us engrossed, even if we may already know the outcome. The story is ultimately optimistic because it shows the heights we’re capable of reaching when we use our gifts to make the world a better place. When Steven Spielberg read the unknown screenplay, he said the story had to be brought to the screen immediately. In the movie business, a rushed production often leads to a poor-quality picture. But, in this case, striking while the iron was hot led to an almost-certain Best Picture nomination and the emergence of Hannah and Singer as brilliant new screenwriters. At the showing I attended, the almost-full theater burst into applause at the end, a reaction I have not seen toward a non-blockbuster movie in a long time. Educational, thought-provoking and uplifting, “The Post” is some wickedly good cinema that’s worth setting aside time to see.
courtesy fox movies
‘The Post’ follows Washington Post Publisher Kay Graham and Executive Editor Ben Bradlee’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers.
BETWEEN LOVE AND MADNESS
IRANIAN FILM FESTIVAL
Organized by Rice students and professor Christopher Sperandio, exhibition “Between Love and Madness: Mexican Comic Art from the 1970s” features small genre comic books with political themes. Admission is free, the exhibition opens Thursday at 6 p.m.
The 25th Annual Iranian Film Festival begins this Friday and lasts through Feb. 3. The festival features nine films from a wide range of topics and genres, shown mostly at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and Rice Cinema. Student tickets are $8 and the full schedule is available online.
Lawndale Art Center 4912 Main St. lawndaleartcenter.org
Various locations mfah.org
THE RICE THRESHER
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2018
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
WHAT’S HIP RIGHT NOW TECHNOLOGY:
Google Arts & Culture App
FOOD: Tide Pods
ARELI NAVARRO MAGALLON THRESHER STAFF / AMN9@RICE.EDU
TRENDING: Flat Water Bottles
courtesy hello magazine courtesy digital trends
courtesy hello giggles
In a phrase: Maybe you can special register it for a D1 credit? Where to find it: Your local Art Hoe’s phone
In a phrase: The forbidden fruit Where to find it: The laundry rooms’ vending machines
A recent feature of the Google Arts and Culture app matches users’ selfies with Google’s archived works of art, which has made the app one of the App store’s most popular downloads this weekend. The matches can yield surprisingly accurate results although unfortunately it cannot use already existing selfies; The average user comes out looking more like Mona Lisa than one of Franz Winterhalter’s portraits. In a cruel twist of fate, despite Houston being a fine arts hub and housing one of the nation’s largest art museums, the feature can’t be used in the city. I’m not salty, you are.
BLACK MIRROR FROM PAGE 8 scan clones of real people into his alternate universe using their DNA, collected from their trash. Somehow these scanned copies retain all consciousness from their lives before “Infinity” and therefore feel like their true selves, just stuck in a game. Daly collects DNA from any co-worker who has wronged him, trapping them in his virtual reality and forcing them to obey by his rules using torture. The rest of the episode revolves around the clones attempting to outsmart Daly and escape his sick alternate reality or else endure a virtual life of subservience at the hands of a game coder. Still, not all of season four is about maliciousness. Episode four, titled “Hang The DJ,” centers around singles Frank and Amy, who enroll in a dating technology which boasts a 99.8 percent success rate in finding ultimate matches. The process keeps participants in a closed oﬀ community, matching them with each other and assigning an expiration date to their relationships, varying from mere hours to years. Couples must live with each other in the community for that whole time, sometimes enduring a painful lack of chemistry that the technology uses to gain data. Couples may go through dozens of relationships before finding
ORIGIN FROM PAGE 1 On his website, he describes his artistic interest in “us[ing] materials on vast scales to overwhelm peripheral vision and to increase potential points of contact for the viewer.” Past works have also shown tendencies toward natural materials and minimalist structures, especially in Beck’s previous public art pieces. Erected late October 2017, “Origin, 135 degrees” is the first piece in the Rice Public Art “Platform” series, which invites artists to respond to “artworks, architectural structures, and research at Rice University” with temporary, site-specific public art projects, according to the Moody Center for the Arts website. As its title indicates, “Origin, 135 degrees” responds
Will Twitter ever disappoint? Not only does it house an alt-right sect of mouth-breathing pricks who do not understand the basic concepts of satire or power structures, but! It has given rise to a fascinating new phenomenon. Evolving from memes about drinking bleach, somewhere, someone, realized how enticing detergent pods truly are. The memes have escalated from there and Tide™ has grown concerned despite the fact that only that one weird kid that ate glue in elementary school has actually munched on one. A few news stories later and it’s getting harder and harder to defend the internet everyday. their perfect match, spending years and years isolated from reality. After many failed relationships, Frank and Amy lose faith in the program. They ditch the system to pursue their love for each other, determined to escape the community, which is against the rules of the matching game. What makes “Hang the DJ” so enrapturing isn’t just its futuristic version of forbidden love, but also a surprising ending that will have you question what’s real and what’s not. With twisted storylines and outstanding artistry in representing the future, “Black Mirror” evokes terror, fascination and reflection in every single episode of season four. Whether it’s electronic dogs that will stop at nothing to kill thieves in “Metalhead,” a chip implant for children that totally redefines “helicopter parent” in “Arkangel,” or the sale and extraction of consciousness in “Black Museum,” season four never fails to convince viewers to reconsider technology — or fear it. “Black Mirror” is just what we need to remind us how technology aﬀects us, how it changes our interactions and human experiences. And it might just influence you to put your phone down, shut oﬀ your TV, close your laptop and take a look at yourself and the world as you know it. to Michael Heizer’s 1984 sculpture “45°, 90°, 180°,” located in the engineering quad. In fact, Heizer’s sculptures can be seen through “Origin, 135 degrees” from one side.“Origin, 135 degrees” also had a performance component, a procession carrying a large swath of fabric between the sculpture and its inspiration, which took place on Nov. 11. The sculpture will be on view until May 31. After its disassembly, the materials will be transported to and reassembled at Beck’s West Texas ranch, where it will become further weathered, according to a Rice News release. But even when “Origin, 135 degrees” leaves Rice to continue its life elsewhere, we can still look forward to the rest of the Rice Public Art “Platform” series.
In a phrase: Just MAYBE it’s a problem Where to find it: Your next hook up
With the #TimesUp movement’s exposure of rampant sexual assault/ harassment in the film industry, the conversation surrounding women’s testimonies and society’s responses to them has piqued. Recent allegations incriminate actor Aziz Ansari for his advances toward an anonymous woman who recently came forward with her story. Although not a Weinstein horror story, her account of an uncomfortable night with Ansari is equally as important; paying attention to verbal and nonverbal cues of active, comfortable consent is a conversation that is never irrelevant, particularly on a college campus. Engaged communication, folks, that’s what’s hip. Listening and assessing are the most hip and always necessary.
In a phrase: G e o m e t r y Where to find it: Amazon As we enter the third week of January, the window of opportunity for pursuing an actually attainable new year resolution is rapidly closing. If the optimistic “I won’t skip any classes” or “Not all my tetra will be spent on Coffeehouse this semester, I swear” is quickly becoming more of a dare than an aspiration, do not despair. The tried and true “drink more water” resolution is always there to lessen your shame. Achieve this New You in style with these ~hip~ rectangular water bottles that lay flat and flush in your bag, making unsightly, lumpy backpacks a thing of 2017.
WHERE ARE THE OWLS NOW? CATCHING UP WITH FORMER RICE ATHLETES ANDREW GROTTKAU SPORTS EDITOR / ABG4@RICE.EDU
The Rice Sport Business Society hosted its second Gamebreakers event in November, an annual workshop for local high school athletes designed to educate them about transitioning to college athletics. Members of the club worked with professors, local businesses and former Rice athletes to put together workshops on topics like personal branding and balancing schoolwork and sports. The Thresher caught up with some of the former Rice athletes to talk to them about their experiences after leaving school.
BASEBALL: JON DUPLANTIER
TRACK AND FIELD: LENNIE WAITE
Then: Pitched three years at Rice. 2016 Conference USA Pitcher of the Year, third round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016 Now: To say Jon Duplantier had a successful year in 2017 would be a monumental understatement. The 23-year-old Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospect tore through his competition in his first full season of professional baseball. Between stints with the Single-A Kane County Cougars and the High Single-A Visalia Rawhide, Duplantier posted a 12-3 record with a 1.39 earned run average. His efforts earned him the MLB Pipeline Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award from Major League Baseball. Duplantier said his mentality was key to his success this year. “A lot of stuff [went right this year],” Duplantier said. “I never felt the pressure to perform like a third rounder who should have been drafted higher. I felt free and easy. Then, all of a sudden, I started throwing strikes, which I didn’t do here at Rice that much. Throwing strikes helped a lot.” On All-Star Weekend, Duplantier earned a trip to the MLB Futures Game, which showcases baseball’s top minor league prospects. He is currently listed as the No. 2 prospect in the Diamondbacks system and the No. 96 prospect in baseball by MLB. com. According to Duplantier, he has had far more time to perfect his game now that he is fully focused on baseball. “I have less stress and I get more sleep than I did in college,” Duplantier said. “There’s no classes. You have more time to devote to your craft if you’re willing to do it. I learned a lot about myself and what I can do when I have a ton of time on my hands. Instead of reading about East German film, I can look up and talk to guys about pitching, which has made a world of difference.” Next year, the lefty is expected to begin the season in Double-A. He said he is hoping to maintain the momentum he built from this year’s campaign. “The biggest goal for me is to not try to replicate what I did in terms of results and successes and awards and numbers,” Duplantier said. “If I do all the little things right, treat my body right and stay healthy and I can throw good pitches at good times and be consistent, then the numbers will come. This offseason is all about preparing to do the little things again.”
Then: Track and Field studentathlete from 2005 to 2009, 2009 C-USA Champion in the 3000-meter and the mile, also played soccer for the Owls in 2004 Now: It was a long journey, but Waite accomplished a lifelong goal in 2016 by qualifying for the Summer Olympics for the first time in her career. She represented her home nation of Great Britain in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, running the 3000-meter steeplechase. It was not the first time Waite had attempted to become an Olympian. While finishing her doctorate in psychology in 2012, Waite attempted to qualify for the steeplechase in the 2012 London Olympics but finished fourth in the Olympic trials. She said she made a decision after that setback to fully devote herself to running. In her second try at qualifying for the Summer Olympics, Waite succeeded. In 2016, she earned the right to compete in the 3000-meter steeplechase in Rio by reaching her qualifying time after months of trials. According to Waite, it was a long but ultimately rewarding process. “It was a roller coaster of a year,” Waite said. “It took me a long time to get my qualifying mark, but when I got it, I was super excited.” However, Waite said her experience at Rio did not go as planned. “I was running the best that I had ever run and then I got a tear in my plantar fascia,” Waite said. “I showed up at the training camp for the Olympics unable to walk. It was like a dream and a nightmare all rolled into one.” Ultimately, though, she was able to compete. Waite said she was not going to let anything get in the way of accomplishing her dream. “They said I could run but I might rupture my plantar fascia and have to be stretchered off the track,” Waite said. “Of course, I went to the start line. I wasn’t going to go all the way to Rio and not race. I ruptured my plantar [fascia] at, like, the first jump, but I finished the race and I smiled coming down the straightaway because I knew the journey I had been on.” Currently, Waite works with the Rice track team as an assistant coach and sports psychologist. She continues to train, often with the Rice team, and competes in international events.
FOOTBALL: BRIAN NORDSTROM
Then: Former football walk-on who developed into a starter and First Team All C-USA Defensive End his final year Now: Nordstrom surprised some in the football community when he turned down a fifth year of eligibility in football to take a job in engineering. A member of the first-team all-conference as a redshirt junior, he was expected to be a force for the Owls as a senior and had NFL potential. Instead, he opted to take a job with an oil and gas company in the Houston area. According to Nordstrom, it was easy for him to forego a potential NFL career to pursue engineering. “Being a walk-on, I came to Rice for academics,” Nordstrom said. “I was a student first and an athlete second. When I finished my degree, that, to me … I had done everything I came here to do.” Nordstrom said the chance at being an NFL player never motivated him in the way it motivated most elite athletes. “If you talk to NFL players, NBA players, and you ask them what their life was when they were younger, they never say they thought they wanted to be a professional athlete,” Nordstrom said. “That was how it was for me. I liked football, but I didn’t love football. What I loved was the competition. I never was set on being a professional.” In 2014, he appeared on the Capital One Academic All-American second team for his 3.63 GPA in civil engineering. Having graduated with one year of football eligibility remaining, he said he knew it was time to leave the sport. “For me, it was, I could come back and face the same challenge over again, or I could go onto my next challenge and see what that was going to be,” Nordstrom said. “I was ready to go onto my next challenge.” Nordstrom graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He now works for Occidental Petroleum as a project engineer, supporting eﬀorts to build new pipelines and pumping facilities in the southwestern United States.
SOCCER: LAUREN ‘LO’ HUGHES
Then: Four-year starter on the Rice soccer team, two-time Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year, three-time First Team All-Conference-USA, all-time Rice leader in goals (39) Now: Hughes spent one year playing professional soccer in Iceland before returning to the United States to work as a sports minister. She currently works with the Houston Baptist University Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Hughes said she enjoyed soccer but could not justify continuing to play professionally. “I’m glad I did it but I’m glad that it’s over,” Hughes said. “I’m really proud to have made it that far but I’m even more proud to have walked away on my own accord. It was a big adjustment going from Rice and doing academics, athletics and extracurriculars and then going to Iceland and just having soccer. There’s only so much soccer you can play in a day so the days were really slow.” Hughes said she enjoyed being in Iceland but wished she had more time to explore the country. “Iceland is a very beautiful country, but because we were in season and you have to take care of your body, there’s only so much you can do outdoors,” Hughes said. “After you play a game you have to let your body recover, then you have another game in a few days. Maybe one day a week you can do something cool outside, which we did.” Hughes now works with Christian HBU athletes just a few miles down the road from where she attended college. She said her experiences with FCA at Rice motivated her to pursue her career in sports ministry. “I got to intern with FCA at Rice my senior year, so it was through Rice FCA that I ended up getting the job at HBU’s FCA,” Hughes said. “I really started a relationship with Jesus at Rice through FCA and then felt God tell me I should work with FCA.”
photos courtesy rice athletics
THE RICE THRESHER
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2018
MCGUFFIE HEADED TO OLYMPICS
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TENNIS TEAMS BEGIN 2018 SPRING SEASONS Freshman Sumit Sarkar winds up for a forehand during the Rice men’s tennis season opener on Sunday at George R. Brown Tennis Center. In his Owls debut, Sarkar won both of his doubles matches and one of his two singles matches at the No. 1 position. The Owls fell in the first match of their doubleheader, 4-3 to the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley before winning their second match of the day 6-1 over Prairie View A&M University. They are now 1-1 to open the season.
MICHAEL BYRNES ASST. SPORTS EDITOR / MEB18@RICE.EDU
martin zhang / thresher
Owls struggling to find footing
I’m happy I get to represent Rice University and the city of Houston.
SPENCER MOFFAT THRESHER STAFF / SM114@RICE.EDU
Despite a career-high 30 points from junior guard Connor Cashaw, the Rice men’s basketball team dropped the seventh game of their last eight as the University of North Texas defeated Rice on Saturday, 85-78. In their previous game, the Owls defeated the University of North Carolina, Charlotte by nine points. Sophomore guard Ako Adams and freshman forward Malik Osborne both recorded career highs in scoring, with 18 and 20 points respectively. But before the win against the Charlotte 49ers, the Owls had lost six games in a row: three by doubledigits. Their last win prior to the six-game losing streak came against St. Edward’s University, a Division II school.
Sam McGuﬃe United States Olympic Bobsledder
We have to do a better job of learning from our mistakes. Connor Cashaw Junior guard Rice is currently 4-14 on the season and 1-4 in Conference USA play, which puts the Owls in a tie for 12th out of 14 teams. The top 12 teams qualify for the conference tournament each year. The Owls still have 13 games remaining in the C-USA season. Despite the team’s record, some leaders have emerged in recent games. Entering Saturday’s contest against the North Texas Mean Green, Cashaw was averaging 15.9 points on the season and 6.7 rebounds per game, an improvement over last year’s eight points and 5.3 boards per game. Among others, Adams also increased his scoring this year, from averaging three points per game last season to averaging nine points per game this season. For much of Saturday’s loss to North
Former Rice football player Sam McGuffie (Class of 2013) was named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic men’s bobsled team on Monday. He will compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, both in the four-man race as a member of the push crew and in the two-man as the brakeman for driver Codie Bascue. With his selection to the national team, he will become the first former Rice athlete to compete in the Winter Olympics. McGuffie was a prep standout at Cy-Fair High School in Cypress, Texas, where he was a four-star recruit whose highlight reels racked up hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. He then played for the University of Michigan for one year before transferring to Rice following the 2008 season. At Rice, he competed both as a running back and a wide receiver from 2010 to 2012, becoming the first Owls player to total over 1,000 yards in both rushing and receiving and accumulating almost 2,300 all-purpose yards in his three years as an Owl: his 102 career receptions rank him 11th in program history. He was also a prolific track and field athlete at Rice, competing in six different events and medaling in the long jump and heptathlon at the Conference USA championships in 2009 and 2012, respectively.
vidya giri / thresher
Sophomore guard Ako Adams pivots during Saturday’s 85-78 loss to the University of North Texas at Tudor Fieldhouse. Adams and teammate Connor Cashaw combined for 46 points, but the Owls could not overcome the Mean Green’s 17 3-pointers. The Owls have now lost seven of their past eight games.
Texas, the Owls were unable to guard against 3-point shots. The Mean Green made 17 3-pointers on 35 attempts, with 10 of them coming from sophomore guard Roosevelt Smart. According to Cashaw, making adjustments is essential to tightening the defense beyond the arc. “We [have] to do a better job of learning from our mistakes in game and not making the same mistakes,” Cashaw said. Assistant coach Mark Linebaugh said North Texas’ offense benefited from spacing the floor. “They stretched us a little bit,” Linebaugh said. “We were just a step slow.” The Mean Green’s largest lead of the night came in the second half with 11
minutes and 46 seconds left, after Smart hit a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 12. Though the Owls clawed back, cutting the lead to only three on a Cashaw layup with two minutes and 36 seconds left in the game, the Owls could not complete the comeback as the Mean Green handed the Owls their 14th loss of the season. When asked about the team’s comeback, Linebaugh said he was impressed with the players’ effort. “I’m proud of our guys for fighting and keeping themselves in the game,” Linebaugh said. The Owls will look to learn from their game against North Texas and improve defensively as they head to the University of Southern Mississippi on Jan. 18 to play the Golden Eagles at 7 p.m.
After landing a spot at training camp with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, McGuﬃe bounced around the league on the practice squads of the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots without appearing in a game. He then spent a year in the CFL with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers before finding himself out of a job in early 2015 after being cut from the roster. It was then, following the advice of his former Rice track and field coach Casey Thom, that he first ventured into the world of competitive bobsledding. After impressing at a preliminary combine and quickly progressing through a series of trial events, he was selected as a member of the 2015-16 USA Bobsled National Team. Since then, he has competed in three World Cups and two World Championship races, medaling five times, including a gold medal received at the 2017-2018 Two-Man World Cup in Lake Placid. In a statement released by Rice Athletics, McGuﬃe said he is proud to be the school’s first winter Olympian. “I’m happy I get to represent Rice University and the city of Houston wherever I go, but especially at the Winter Games,” McGuffie said. “Rice is family. Rice has been behind me when I started out on this crazy adventure in 2015. Hopefully I can represent the university and fellow alumni well. I’m just [really] excited for this opportunity.” McGuffie will compete in the twoman race on Feb. 18-19 and in the fourman on Feb. 24-25, both at the Olympic Sliding Centre in Pyeongchang.
THE RICE THRESHER
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2018
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. P/T, F/T WORKERS For special needs behavior/learning program. Private behavior/ academic learning program for children ages 2-12yr, primarily those with autism, in Museum District seek university students to learn our unique program combing behavior & social skills training with Montessori methods, Call 713-528-2343 or send resume to Director at email@example.com GARAGE APARTMENT, 11 blocks from campus, furnished, all utilities (electric, gas, cable TV, WIFI) paid. $750 monthly. $750 security deposit. Minimum one year. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org PART-TIME WORK available immediately. Candidate will have experience with Mac
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