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Students, alumni recount experiences with wellbeing at Rice an online exclusive: read at Wednesday evening ILLUSTRATION BY TINA LIU

ICE costumes prompt town hall RISHAB RAMAPRIYAN NEWS EDITOR

McMurtry College’s Diversity Council hosted a public town hall on Tuesday night to facilitate a discussion with the three students who dressed as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers for the Halloween event at Willy’s Pub. The students’ actions drew student outrage and prompted administrators to respond. The three students, Gio Pecchio,

George Huang and Sohil Shah, who are all McMurtry sophomores, had previously issued a statement of apology to the Thresher. An estimated 200 students from across campus attended the event. Magisters and residential associates from various colleges, Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman and other faculty and administrative officials were also in the audience. McMurtry President Joyce Chen opened the town hall by recapping the events on SEE TOWN HALL PAGE 4

Channing wang / THRESHER

McMurtry College hosted a town hall to foster conversation after the incident. At the event, the three students who dressed as Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents apologized.

Maternity leave policy remains unequal between staff, faculty GRACE WEI FOR THE THRESHER

Maternity leave benefits for faculty members are more generous than those for staff members, in accordance with maternity leave policies that have remained unchanged since at least 1993. According to Rice Policy 204, staff members can receive 80 percent of their salary through the William Marsh Rice Short-Term Disability Plan for up to five or seven weeks of their maternity leave, depending on delivery circumstances. Tenure-track faculty members can receive a full semester off at full pay in addition to the benefits received by staff members. As mandated by the government, Rice adheres to the Family and Medical Leave Act. Since 1993, this act has granted all Rice faculty and staff the right to at least 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected maternity leave, according to the FMLA website. There is no available data for maternity leave policies before the passage of the act.

These partially paid weeks only begin after an absence of five work days. In order to receive payment during these five days, benefit time, referring to paid days for personal time off, must be used. Afterward, staff members may take at most five weeks of partially paid maternity leave for a vaginal birth or seven weeks of partially paid maternity leave for a cesarean section delivery. Christine Martinez, associate director of academic advising, said that after the birth of her first son, she made arrangements with her supervisor to take more than 12 weeks off due to the circumstances and obstacles she faced as a new mother. “The first couple of weeks are crucial to the relationship you develop with your child, and you do need time for your body to effectively heal and find a rhythm for the new human being in your life,” Martinez said. Faculty members receive the same benefits as staff members along with a longer period of paid maternity leave due to Rice Policy 204. SEE MATERNITY LEAVE PAGE 2




Crime levels rise but fewer drug violations reported


The 2019 Annual Security Report and Fire Safety Report, published in mid-October, documented an increase in criminal offenses including reported rapes, fondlings and motor vehicle thefts over the past year; at the same time, there was a decrease in liquor and drug violations, according to the Rice University Police Department. The Clery Act, a law designed to provide transparency around campus crime policy and statistics, mandates that all universities receiving federal funding produce this security report, according to the Clery Center website. While the number of reported crimes increased in multiple categories, Captain Clemente Rodriguez of RUPD said that slight changes are to be expected. “With so many variables contributing to the number of reported crimes, it’s not uncommon to see year-to-year differences,” Rodriguez said.

This is not to say that Rice has more incidents of sexual violence, just that students are utilizing the resources available to them. Allison Vogt ASSOCIATE DEAN OF STUDENTS & DEPUTY TITLE IX COORDINATOR A side-by-side comparison using 2018 enrollment numbers and data from the 2019 annual security reports from Duke University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Texas, Austin shows a number of discrepancies between the universities and Rice. SEXUAL VIOLENCE Rice had a greater number of reported rapes per 1,000 students than Duke and UT in the 2018 calendar year. According to its report, Rice had 1.68 reported rapes per 1,000 students, while Duke and UT had 1.07 and 0.29, respectively, though UT does not report off-campus rapes. Among schools with published data, Vanderbilt had the highest number of reported rapes — 4.8 per 1,000 students.

According to Allison Vogt, associate dean of students and deputy Title IX coordinator, investment in programs and offices to address sexual violence on campus has made student reporting of rape more likely at Rice. “When there is access to more resources, reported cases will increase,” Vogt said. “This is not to say that Rice has more incidents of sexual violence, just that students are utilizing the resources available to them.” Laney Baker, the executive director for Students Transforming Rice Into a Violence-Free Environment, said that the number of reported rapes in 2018 shows that Rice is making progress toward a more accessible reporting process. “Prior to CTIS and STRIVE and the campuswide conversations that came out of the 2015 version of the Survey of Unwanted Sexual Experiences, [the number of reported rapes] was zero or one almost every year,” Baker, a Martel College senior, said. Baker said that there are multiple explanations as to why Rice’s numbers would differ from those of peer institutions like Vanderbilt. “It’s possible that they have similar infrastructure to us, but I would also point out that both of those schools are fraternity schools,” Baker said. “We know that sororities and fraternities schools tend to have higher incidences of things that people are more likely to report [incidents] like forcible penetration.” Vogt said that it is hard to make an accurate comparison between Rice and other universities regarding data on sexual violence. “Even among our peer institutions, the procedures for investigating and adjudicating cases of sexual misconduct varies greatly,” Vogt said. “Rice’s process, as it currently stands, is designed to be as non-adversarial as possible, while still adhering to the necessary principles of fairness for the involved students.” DRUGS AND ALCOHOL The number of alcohol and drug law violations also differed between the universities. Rice had the lowest proportion of liquor law referrals and arrests as well as drug law referrals arrests out of all other schools in the comparison. Rodriguez said he has not compared Rice’s drug and alcohol policy to other universities and did not want to speculate as to the effects of different



According to the Rice Primary Caregiver Leave policy, certain faculty who have tenure or on the tenure track are eligible to take a full semester off at full pay in addition to a partially paid short-term disability leave. Aysha Pollnitz, an associate professor of history, said that the maternity leave policy for faculty allows professors, regardless of gender, to maintain their careers if they have children. “This is a really great benefit for faculty because it addresses the disadvantage that [female] professors have faced in securing promotion and tenure if they have children,” Pollnitz said. Other academic institutions like Cornell University have established maternity leave policies that offer similar benefits. Contrary to the policies at Rice, however, both the faculty and staff at Cornell can take advantage of the same maternity leave policies. According to the Cornell Policy 6.2.1, the Cornell Academic Parental Workload Relief — equivalent to Rice’s Primary Caregiver Leave policy — enables both faculty and staff to take one semester off with full pay in addition to a family/medical leave and short-term medical leave. In Canada, universities allow new mothers to take a full year off with 70 percent of their original salary according to

2019 Security Report Data


Calls to RUPD for service and police response

Reported rapes per 1000 students 1.684

Rice Duke Vanderbilt UT

1.070 4.804 0.289

Liquor law referrals per 1000 students Rice Duke

1.825 16.864

Vanderbilt UT

16.605 2.064

Drug law referrals per 1000 students Rice Duke


Vanderbilt UT


5.286 4.889 0.810


Liquor law arrests

Drug law arrests Infographic By Tina Liu

policies at other campuses on their drug and alcohol violations. Duke and Vanderbilt had similarly high rates of liquor law referrals and drug law referrals per 1,000 students. According to Vanderbilt’s 2019 Annual Security Report, the university will impose sanctions for people in violation of the alcohol and other drugs policy, “to underscore the seriousness with which it takes the issue of health and welfare of its constituent populations”. Rice’s Statement of Policy Regarding Drugs, Alcohol, and Substance Abuse, a top Canadian job search engine. Onsite daycares are also available to the new mothers once they return to work. Martinez said that she is grateful for her maternity leave policy because it is a lot more generous than others in the nation. However, she said she still wants more time to spend with her child. “It’s challenging as a first-time mom to try to figure it all out in 12 weeks while also recovering from something pretty major,” Martinez said. While most employees in the nation have access to only unpaid maternity leave, the employees at Rice are part of the 14 percent of workers in the United States who receive some form of paid maternity leave, according to a Pew Research article. Martinez said that in her opinion the maternity leave policies in the United States could be improved across the board. “I think we can do better for working families. It’s heartbreaking to place my daughter in a daycare where I know many of her firsts are happening without me,” Martinez said. Pollnitz said that while other parents may receive even more time off in different parts of the world, in the United States, she hasn’t heard of a more generous maternity leave policy than the one offered by Rice. “It would be great if every working parent in the U.S. and their children could benefit from similar terms to mine,” Pollinitz said.

opens by saying that “all federal, state and local laws applying in Houston, Texas to the possession, use or sale of illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages also apply on the Rice campus and at locations owned or controlled by Rice.” According to Rodriguez, Rice’s policy was developed to meet the campus’s needs. “Rice puts a lot of time and effort into establishing a thoughtful policy that addresses both the health and safety needs of our campus community,” Rodriguez said.

under FMLA, mothers are guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave Rice staff members are able to claim 80% of salary for up to five or seven weeks...

... 5 weeks of partially paid maternity leave for vaginal birth

... and 7 weeks of partially paid maternity leave for cesarean section delivery Infographic By Tina Liu




Prospective voters wait outside the Miner Lounge to cast their ballots in the Houston mayoral election. The polling location was open from around 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Violations observed in RMC during voting period for mayoral election CHRISTINA TAN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Multiple out-of-state students were erroneously asked to provide bank statements or to fill out provisional ballots for the Houston mayoral election today, according to Clara Kraebber and Hannah Kaplan of the Rice Young Democrats. Kaplan, a Duncan College senior, said that RYD began receiving reports in the early afternoon of out-of-state students being asked to produce a bank statement in addition to their home state identification when attempting to vote at the Rice Memorial Center polling location. According to the Texas Election Code, voters who appear on the official list of registered voters but cannot reasonably produce a Texas ID or U.S. passport can still regularly vote by signing a reasonable impediment declaration form and presenting one of multiple forms of identification, one of which is a government document with voter’s name and address. The reasonable impediment form specifies that this government ID does not have to have an address that matches the address recorded in the official list of registered voters. The reasonable impediment form also specifies that voters are required to produce only one form of identification.

It feels like a polling station on a college campus should have clear procedures for situations like this. Sarah Jin DUNCAN COLLEGE JUNIOR The election judge is responsible for the management and conduct of the election at the polling place. Roy Mack, the election judge at the RMC, said that the bill statement was necessary for students with out-of-state ID. “We request the bill statement, but since Rice is unique — most of the people are from out of state — we tried to adjust to that,” Mack said. Kaplan and Kraebber, a Sid Richardson College sophomore, said they began to informally observe the election proceedings after reports of violations from students. They said they approached representatives from Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman’s office who had originally come to make sure that the location was compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act at around 3:30 p.m. Kaplan said that the representatives were receptive to student complaints and spoke to Mack about

allowing registered students with one form of out-of-state identification to vote. After the representatives spoke to Mack, Kraebber said that violations continued to occur, with more students being asked to produce bank statements later in the afternoon. Will Rice College senior Matthew Joss, who is originally from California, said that Mack asked for a bank statement after Joss told him that he did not have his voter registration card. After he provided a statement, Joss said he was allowed to vote. Students who were unable to produce bank statements in addition to their home state ID were then erroneously asked to fill out provisional ballots, which require the voter to visit their local voter registrar’s office within six days of the election and present a valid identification for their vote to count. According to Kraebber, once a student fills out a provisional ballot, they are unable to vote normally — even if Mack were to later rectify his mistake. Duncan College junior Sarah Jin, who is also from California, said she had only her Californian ID upon arriving to vote. She said she was asked to fill out two forms before being told that she would be voting provisionally and would need to go to the county office in six days for her vote to count. “It feels like a polling station on a college campus should have clear procedures for situations like this,“ Jin said. “I’ve been registered to vote in Harris County since fall of my freshman year and I didn’t have these problems when I voted in the midterms last time.” Kaplan said that due to a large number of Rice students being from out of Texas, the Rice polling location gets an unusual number of these cases, which resulted in RYD having to print additional reasonable impediment forms using their club funds to keep up with the number of out-ofstate students voting. “We’ve always had problems with reasonable impediment forms [because] the county doesn’t give enough to Rice,” Kaplan said. “As a polling station, we have a lot more students who vote [from] out-of-state than other polling stations.” Kaplan and Kraebber also said that the polling location opened later than expected, at 7:30 a.m. as opposed to 7 a.m. Mack said that the location opened later than 7 a.m. but earlier than 7:30 a.m. due to problems logging into the system. To accommodate for the later opening time, prospective voters were allowed to get in line until around 7:20 p.m., according to Kaplan. Mack, who said he has been an election judge for 15 years, said this was the highest voter turnout he’s seen. “We never get this many,” Mack said. “I don’t know why, but everybody wants to vote. That’s a good thing. We tried to accommodate as many people as possible.”


4 • WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2019 TOWN HALL FROM PAGE 1 night of Halloween. According to Chen, a fourth student, Ben Collier, who originally dressed as a “stereotypical Hispanic immigrant,” changed outfits prior to going to Pub. Diversity facilitator Tya Epps introduced Pecchio, Huang, Shah and Collier, who then individually apologized. “This is a conversation, not a trial,” Epps, a McMurtry sophomore, said. The four students all said it was a learning experience for them. “I am not proud of my actions, and when I think about my choices Thursday night, it brings me humiliation, shame and disgust,” Huang said. “I ought to have thought about how my actions would have made other people feel.” Pecchio, Huang and Shah then sat facing the audience to answer questions while Collier returned to the audience. They were asked questions such as why they still chose to wear the costumes to Pub after being confronted by members of the Latinx community. “I made the mistake of not listening to a friend who was part of the Latinx community,” Pecchio said. “And then it was too late.” The next section of the town hall opened up the floor to any audience member who wished to speak about how the incident affected them. One student, who identified as a member of the Latinx community, shared how the incident made them feel unwelcome at Rice. Editor’s Note: The student was granted anonymity to minimize harm to both them and their family members who are undocumented. “The problem is not the costume, but what it symbolizes,” the student said. “Every time I see a police officer and every time I see a white truck, I feel fear. The very first thing that I felt [after seeing photos of the costumes] was fear.” This article has been condensed for print. To read it in full, visit

Rice offers free annual flu shots for employees



[faculty and staff] can also get [the vaccine] with their doctor or with one of the pharmacies.”


To combat the oncoming flu season, Rice offered free flu vaccines to Rice staff and employees in seven sessions, the last of which occurred last Friday. Three of these sessions offered free health screenings in addition to the vaccine. According to Rice Public Affairs, the sessions were held in the Cambridge Office Building, Rice Memorial Center, Duncan Hall and Anderson-Clarke Center to be easily accessible to employees. There was no appointment necessary — employees just needed to walk in, fill out a form and a nurse would administer the vaccination as long as employees have insurance. “We have around 1,100-1,200 vaccinations administered every year,” Rosie Gonzalez, wellness manager, said. “The wellness program has around 3,500 people who are eligible for the program … and at least a third of our population gets a flu shot. And those are just the ones that get on campus. Using their insurance

The flu can land people in the hospital, which is really expensive so we want to keep people out of the hospital if we can. Sue Prochazka DIRECTOR OF BENEFITS According to Gonzalez, vaccinations are provided by HealthFitness, Rice’s wellness company. Shots provided are quadrivalent, meaning that the vaccine protects against two influenza A and two influenza B viruses. Funding for this program comes from Rice University through Rice Benefits, as a service to Rice employees.

In addition to vaccinations, free health screenings are also offered. Having fasted for 12 hours, the patient completes a fingerstick test to check for fasting glucose level and cholesterol. Patients are also given a vitals checkup which includes height, weight and blood pressure and complete a health risk assessment, according to Sue Prochazka, director of benefits. Prochazka said that the nature of health screenings have varied throughout the years. “Before I got here we used to do a venipuncture ... the results didn’t come back until a week or a week and a half later,” Prochazka said “The past three years we’ve done the fingerstick so that the time [the patient] is leaving they have all of their results, a printout and information from the health risk assessment, and they actually can sit down with a nurse and talk about [their results].” Prochazka said that other workplaces have been offering free vaccinations to employees for decades. This service helps both the employee and the employer, as it keeps employees healthy and at work. “The benefits are ... keeping the number of people [with the flu] down [and] have people not missing work,” Prochazka said. “The flu can land people in the hospital, which is really expensive so we want to keep people out of the hospital if we can.” According to Gonzalez, although the program is doing great things for the Rice community, she hopes that it will expand in the future. “I would like to see [the service] grow by having more employees [take the vaccine], even though we do at least 1,100 flu shots on average, it would be great if we could get up to 2,000 so that all employees would be getting their flu shot,” Gonzalez said.

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Rice should lead in maternity leave policy Rice has upheld vastly unequal maternity leave standards for its staff members and tenure-track professors for over 20 years. While tenure-track professors are able to take a semester off at full pay, staff members are offered only up to five or seven weeks — depending on delivery circumstances — at only 80 percent of their salary. While Rice is more generous than required by the federal Family Medical Leave Act, which mandates that employers offer at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave, the discrepancy between how Rice treats its different employees undermines the importance of staff. Staff members are extremely vital to Rice and its students. From the offices of academic advising to financial aid, staff at Rice perform the work that makes daily operations possible for students and other employees. Staffers run operations unique to Rice, from Orientation Week to Beer Bike. To compensate them with a fraction of the benefits given to tenured professors is to deem them less valuable. Maternity leave should not be a reward but rather a right. Becoming a new mother is

an experience completely separate from being an employee of Rice. So, why would it make sense to treat maternity leave as if it were some type of compensation that varies based on one’s job? Maternity benefits for any Rice employee should not be a function of the salary or esteem associated with their position at Rice. While Rice is on par with its peer institutions in the United States, this is an opportunity for our university to lead on a national conversation. Maternity leave is a significant contributor to the gender pay gap that exists today. Not only do women miss out on the wages they could have made while taking unpaid or reduced paid leave, but they also may suffer in developing their long-term careers, especially if they need to take more time off than is expected or allowed. In light of investigations that showed female professors at Rice still face lower salaries than their male counterparts, Rice can uphold its motto of being unconventional by actively striving to reduce the pay gap — this includes equal maternity leave for all.

“On ‘wasting’ my Rice degree” “It was difficult to confront the unspoken belief that ‘unconventional wisdom’ is great, but only if it’s being used to obtain conventional success.”



“Asian American men, we need to do better to support other marginalized groups” “Their actions point to overarching patterns of Asian men acting as both complicit bystanders and active participants in systems of oppression.”



“A eulogy to Schedule Planner” “Why Rice decided that an expensive product from an outside tech company is better than a tailor-made interface designed and built by a Rice professor for Rice students makes no sense.”




want to write your own opinion? we take submissions through email at!

Last week, the photo of the Stockton intersection associated with “Auto theft occurs near campus” was taken by Helen Pu.


More than just costumes:

Why this is about complacency, belongingness, and so much more From what we’ve heard, it wasn’t political; it was simply a cruel and insensitive series of choices. The three of them are: my new student, a friend (and McMurtry College Orientation Week advisor), and another fellow Murt. I’m sure we all know what this is about — the students who dressed up as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to the Halloween event at Willy’s Pub. I’m a chair of the McMurtry Diversity Council and an O-Week Coordinator. This year, I coordinated with two of the most capable and caring people, doing everything we could for diversity and inclusion for new students. We explicitly made this our mission. We chose this advisor to carry out that goal, so it disgusts me to think that this not only happened, but that it was done by people I know well, people I am vulnerable with about these very topics. See, I’ve been to the rallies, the vigils in solidarity after another hated-filled shooting, and forced myself to be informed even when it hurt to see the images and face the facts. Since Friday, I’ve been in countless meetings with other Murts and our McTeam. I’ve talked with these students, voicing my outrage and disappointment and have tried to figure out where we go from here. I’ve had so many difficult discussions struggling to claim my right to exist on this campus that I’m exhausted. It’s exhausting to time and

time again have to stop doing work to comfort my friends, plan how to support students hurt by members of the same university, and work with our McTeam because people can’t be bothered to be empathetic. Point is, I’ve done all the work that supposedly makes these things easier and makes me better equipped to help others but it doesn’t feel that way right now.

As a Mexican American and a deep patriot, I can’t ignore the pain of people in my own country, own college, for a costume. But it’s not about me. It’s not even just about them. The choice to wear and defend those outfits singles out marginalized groups such as Hispanics and refugees, plays into hateful rhetoric about immigrants from certain countries (read: the Muslim ban) and ignores the desperate, traumatic situations many come from. It minimizes the complex political circumstances in which ICE exists and deflects from the realities of being undocumented. It is not a light matter. As a Mexican American and a deep patriot, I can’t

ignore the pain of people in my own country, own college, for a costume. Now let’s talk briefly about immigration policy, even though that’s not really was this was about. 1. Seeking asylum is legal. 2. Legal immigration is complicated and appallingly backlogged, expensive, filled with often impossible barriers and what most people want anyway. 3. ICE has serious flaws, even if you believe in its mission. ICE is not just keeping law-abiding citizens safe and keeping criminals out. ICE manipulates people; ICE lies to people about their rights (citizens and not). ICE, above all, is responsible for the death of children. It’s happening in our own state. If you don’t hear this message, I don’t know what to tell you. But, if not wearing a costume because you care about those groups isn’t a good enough reason, if your friends telling you this is a bad idea isn’t enough, at least stop because you know you are hurting your classmates, suitemates and friends. What happened isn’t going away without accountability and long-term change. As the Rice Latinx group chat shows, we won’t let it. But it can’t just be on the students currently processing to demand movement. I’m grateful for my McTeam for their swift action and allyship, empowering student leadership

in these conversations, and their unwavering message that these choices are not unnoticed. I’m touched and overwhelmed by the support I’ve received from my professors too. Still, our drive goes beyond the immediate. Just as their behaviors aren’t in isolation, the sentiments in the now-deleted, anonymous and hateful tweets weren’t from these students and were here before that night. As Latinx students reeling from yet another “incident,” we’re still deciding what structural, campuswide changes we want implemented. Trust us, they’re coming. To everyone who did say something, who checked themselves and stopped or who knew this was wrong and acted, thank you. For all allies, hear us: If you’re silent — if you continue to let your peers say and do problematic things — you are complicit. I don’t want to hear more “wild stories” of a classmate’s incredibly ignorant comments, and then have you tell me you didn’t do anything about it. I don’t want to see more pictures of hallmates next to “ICE agents.”


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FEATURES Students, faculty respond to ICE costumes IVANKA PEREZ FEATURES EDITOR

After three McMurtry College students dressed up as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for Halloween at Willy’s Pub last Thursday, the response in the Latinx community at Rice was overwhelming. Kim Olea, a McMurtry College senior, said that she was about to fall asleep that night when she checked the Latinx group chat and saw a tweet with pictures of the students. After that, she didn’t sleep for hours. “It just turned into this whole thing where we were all up for hours talking to each other about it and trying to figure out what to do,” Olea said. Mezthly Pena, Alexus Arizola and Fernanda Lago were all at Pub that night. When they heard about the costumes, they said they immediately set out to confront the students. For Arizola, the Halloween costumes were especially insensitive when juxtaposed with the Dia de los Muertos event remembering the children who had died in ICE custody. “Literally the next day I was going to be talking about the kids that died in ICE custody, and that just didn’t sit well with me,” Arizola, a Will Rice College sophomore, said. Pena said that after an inconclusive conversation, during which she said one of the students avoided their questions and another minimized their concerns, she said she was shaken. “I just left and I went into the Multicultural Center and I started crying,” Pena, a Duncan College sophomore, said. Lago, who was at Pub with her, was also frustrated. “I think because she started crying, I started crying,” Lago, a Jones College junior, said. “I don’t cry at all, like ever, so it was very hard.” Olea said that hearing about the costumes made her angry because the students seemed to disregard how their actions would affect undocumented students at Rice. Olea said her past experience being undocumented made the pain all too real. “We didn’t sort out any of our legal status stuff until right before I came to college, so I know what it’s like to live in fear that I’m going to come home and my parents won’t be there anymore,” Olea said. “I grew up with that fear, and to me it’s a very, very real fear.” Olea said she was frustrated with bystanders in the situation, who she said allowed the incident to happen. “There also needs to be a way deeper conversation about allyship on Rice’s campus,” Olea said. “The fact that they were able to walk out of McMurtry dressed like that tells me a lot about the students that I live in the same residential college with.” Brenda Venegas, co-president of Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice, also said she was disappointed by the lack of a response from allies of the Latinx community following the costume incident. “Rice really [prides] itself on the fact that it is an ally community, but that wasn’t apparent that night,” Venegas, a Sid Richardson College senior, said. “It was a very lonely feeling to know that people were just moving on.” Drew Carter, the Student Association senator for Jones and Black Student Association president, said he has been working with Lago to respond to the incident as an ally. “You shouldn’t have to be proximate, to have a family member or a friend, [to care],” Carter said. “I can only imagine

what students who directly dealt with intervention from ICE or students who are undocumented, the amount of fear that that would instill.” According to a written statement to the Thresher, ally intervention prevented Ben Collier, a McMurtry sophomore, from going to Pub that night in a costume that may have offended many. Collier wrote that he decided to go to Pub at the last minute and was struggling to find a costume he could quickly put together.

That you were an immigrant doesn’t mean that you are exempt from or aware of the forms of violence that other immigrants experience. Luis Duno-Gottberg BAKER COLLEGE MAGISTER “I went to the room in which the people, including the men in the ICE costumes, were pregaming,” Collier wrote. “People in that room convinced me to go to Pub, but I didn’t have a costume. People began shouting ideas out for a costume. Most of the costumes would have been difficult to put together in the 20ish minutes before we planned on leaving for Pub, but the costume of a caricature depiction of a Hispanic man seemed easy to put together as I am a Hispanic man. In the moment, I was more focused on whether or not I could put the costume together than I was on the offensive nature of the costume.” However, Collier wrote that he soon began to realize the offensive nature of the costume. “Looking in the mirror, I realized that my costume was not in good taste, but I did not realize the extent, so I went to ask people for advice,” Collier wrote. “I then walked back to the room in which people were pregaming to ask if the costume was offensive. People told me it was offensive, so I decided to take it off.” Ultimately, Collier wrote that he made the decision because of how it would affect other Rice students. “I decided to change because I realized the harm that my costume would cause to the community after discussing it with others,” Collier wrote. “Unfortunately, I did not understand the offense that my costume would cause before I put it on, and my actions still hurt many people in the Rice community.” Although she said she is disappointed that another student had worn an insensitive costume on Halloween, Lago said she was glad Collier eventually realized what he had done wrong. Olea published a statement on her personal Facebook page regarding the incident at Pub. According to her and Pena, the fact that students dressed up in these costumes given the current political climate made the situation all the more frustrating. “We know that ICE tends to target a very particular population, this administration tends to target a very particular population, so the ‘we are immigrants’ thing is nowhere near an excuse,” Olea said. Pena added that the comments were insensitive because they showed a misunderstanding of what it means to be Latinx in the United States today. “I think being Mexican and coming from an immigrant family is just different than being from a European immigrant

family just because of the current political climate,” Pena said. “Children and adults keep dying in custody, and it’s just really hard watching that happen to your community.” Luis Duno-Gottberg, professor of Caribbean and film studies, said that in his time studying race relations in the Caribbean, he has noticed that being part of a historically oppressed group doesn’t always guarantee awareness of the oppression that other groups struggle with. “That you were an immigrant doesn’t mean that you are exempt from or aware of the forms of violence that other immigrants experience,” Duno-Gottberg said. “That doesn’t exonerate you [from] the responsibility of being sensitive to people.” The day after the incident, students and faculty gathered for a previously planned celebration of el Dia de los Muertos, honoring the children who have died in ICE custody. Pena said the events of the previous night colored her experience at the honorary celebration. “It was really sad because the altar was [dedicated to] the children that died in ICE custody, and that’s already really painful, but given what had happened the night before, it just hurt a lot more,” Pena said. Immediately after the Pub incident, Venegas and her HACER co-president Laura Vargas contacted Duno-Gottberg, a Baker College magister, asking if he would open his house for Rice’s Latinx community to meet, along with any other students who wished to join. On Sunday night, students discussed the incident and the steps being taken to address it. According to Duno-Gottberg, the house was full for the event. “I think it was a fruitful discussion,” Vargas, a Sid Richardson College senior, said. “A lot of students were able to go and speak about their feelings, maybe

people who hadn’t unpacked it yet.” Lago and Duno-Gottberg both said they thought the students wore the ICE costumes out of ignorance. “I think there’s a lack of education, for sure,” Duno-Gottberg said. “I think if our students, and these students in particular, were to understand the role of Latinos in this country … there would be more respect … because that gesture is deeply ignorant.” Others, however, didn’t believe the action could have been born out of ignorance; instead, many said they thought it was intentional. “[I] don’t buy that they didn’t understand the ramifications. We are in such a tense political climate. I think there’s no way you would be surprised by going out in an ICE costume and people reacting with fear and shock,” Vargas said. “And if, somehow, they actually thought this wouldn’t be bad, the second students started approaching them, they would’ve been like, ‘Oh, okay, I didn’t realize that, I’ll take it off immediately.’” Carter, expressed a similar frustration with the students’ specific choice of costume. “They had a million and one things that they could’ve been for Halloween,” Carter said. “Why do you want to be someone or something that directly is linked to the oppression of people that we have on campus?” Despite the McMurtry students’ actions, Duno-Gottberg said he wants them to have a chance to grow and learn from their mistakes. “I don’t want these people to be ‘canceled,’” Duno-Gottberg said. “I think they should be made to engage their actions and engage [with] the larger problem of immigration.” At time of publication, the three students in question did not respond to a request for comment.

photo courtesy ElHAdji diop

At the Center for Language and Intercultural Communication’s celebration of el Dia de los Muertos on Friday, students honored the lives of children who passed away in ICE custody. The event was planned before the incident on Halloween occurred.



Students study abroad as part of Latin American Studies major SHIYU MIAO FOR THE THRESHER

José Aranda’s office looks like a typical professor’s workplace, filled with books and personal knickknacks. But on his bookshelves sit two Latin Americanstyle wooden statues. This is fitting, because Aranda is a professor of Latin American studies. Latin American studies was only approved in the spring of 2012, making it the second most recent major in the School of Humanities at Rice. The interdisciplinary major is designed to develop further understanding of the cultures, histories, and politics of Latin America as viewed from regional

and global perspectives. The major also requires students to study abroad for one semester with a research question in mind and then complete a capstone course to continue their research after they return. “Students are overwhelmingly enthusiastic in their study abroad experience,” Aranda said. The list of places Latin American studies majors have visited is long and includes Mexico, Cuba, Chile, Costa Rica and more. According to Aranda, wherever they go, students live with a host family, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the culture and communities in that country.


“Students learn so much more about history and culture than just through books,” Aranda said. Bryan Najera Demoraes, a Baker College junior, is a Latin American studies major who will study abroad at Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil this spring. Najera Demoraes said he is familiar with Portuguese, but is a little nervous about using the language in academic settings. “That is definitely different than using the language to order food and talk to the bank teller,” he said. Najera Demoraes said he was initially fascinated by the readings in his history class about Brazilian continuity and change. He said that history professor Alida Metcalf arranged a talk every Friday during lunch in which students discussed a supplemental reading she shared in Portuguese. “I never thought I would be able to do that kind of historical analysis at Rice in the native language that we are studying in,” Najera Demoraes said. “That generates some really strong and engaging and useful conversations about Brazilian history in Portuguese.” Another important aspect of the Latin American studies major is the literature that students analyze in their courses. In one of his courses, Aranda said he teaches the novel “Los Pochos” by Jorge Ainslie, which discusses the difficulties that the Latinx community has faced in the past. “He writes about the difficulty of


Crossword by Grant Lu Thresher Staff













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29 31 34




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Answers will be posted on and on the Thresher Facebook page. Bolded clues and colored squares correspond to the theme.

immigration in the U.S. at that time,” Aranda said. “He picked up the story in the ’30s when the second generation, the children, are now young adults.”

Students learn so much more about history and culture than just through books. José Aranda LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES PROFESSOR Because of the cultural awareness and language skills the major teaches, Najera Demoraes said it prepares students well for a variety of career options. Last semester, Najera Demoraes switched from his original majors of neuroscience and theater to political science and Latin American studies. As for his future career, he also made the switch from pre-med to pre-law, through which he hopes to specialize in immigration and international law. “I can see myself working for a research institute or running for office, working in the bureaucracy or being a Latin American rights advocate,” Najera Demoraes said. “There are different ways my majors could be useful in the future.” Editor’s Note: This is the second installment in Obscure Majors, a features project that explores unique and lesserknown departments at Rice.

ACROSS 1) German surrealist Max, recruiting on campus 11) Chinese dissident WeiWei’s favorite spots on his flight 12) Vietnam veterans org. 13) When paired with 34, a penguin king 14) Teepee component 16) When doubled, a South Asian dumpling 17) Templeton or Remy, for example 20) Leave out 22) Pop artist Andy’s bloodcurdling scream 25) “Charlotte’s Web” author White 26) Mikes’ counterparts 27) It comes in packs of six or eight 29) Colombian painter Fernando’s cyborg fan fiction 31) Pre-med’s pinnacle 32) Where vets are treated 33) Gawk at 34) When paired with 13, a penguin king 35) Mexican American botanist Mexia DOWN 1) Gutter 2) Mexican muralist Diego’s house on a creek 3) Snowden leak target org. 4) “Sweet” Houston suburb, abbr. 5) Representative Lieu 6) Belgian river and battle site 7) The end of your toe 8) Abu Dhabi’s country, abbr. 9) Center’s center 10) Vacancy between F and H? 15) When paired with 24, writer of long books 16) Loaves and fishes event 18) Augmented reality, abbr. 19) Purloin 21) Mead’s theory of the socialized self 22) Hypochondriac’s frequented website 23) Slimy gumbo ingredient 24) When paired with 15, writer of long books 28) Significant others, slangily 30) Suffix for ben or mal



ARTS&ENTERTAINMENT Caffeinated Creativity:

David Buehrer talks incoming McNair Hall coffee shop and more ARIANA ENGLES THRESHER STAFF

Nestled away in the southwest side of the McNair Hall courtyard is a room full of construction, espresso and hope. This is where I met David Buehrer this past Saturday. When I arrived, Buehrer was bustling around the room, talking with his employees and prepping for Audrey’s, the coffee shop that will open in the Jones Graduate School of Business this coming spring. Buehrer’s journey into the world of coffee began in high school at Shakespeare Coffee Bar, a cafe near where he grew up in southwest Houston. Here is where his passion began to brew. “I fell in love with coffee and the community first,” Buehrer said. “Being hospitable, and being a part of people’s day, and learning people’s names. You end up realizing that they see you more than they see a lot of other people so you start forging these really close relationships with everybody.” Buehrer was known as “the coffee guy” in his high school and has since upgraded to being the coffee guy of Houston. In 2009 at the age of 22, Buehrer established Greenway Coffee Company alongside business partners Ecky and Nikén Prabanto. Since then, the team has opened eight other local coffee concepts, including Blacksmith Coffee, Morningstar and Inversion Coffee House. When the Jones School was considering opening a coffee shop in McNair Hall, they hired Buehrer as a consultant to advise them. According to Buehrer, the Jones School was very open with him, and took his feedback

willingly. They ultimately chose to hire him and his team to open Audrey’s. The coffee shop will pay homage to Audrey Moody Ley (class of ’36), and in designing the space with Rice, Buehrer was very inspired by the Audrey ficus. In thinking about the space and functionality of Audrey’s, Buehrer said he has been very intentional. “I want to focus on making this the Rice Blacksmith, I want it to be known as the coffee place,” Buehrer said. He said that the cafe hopes to be transparent in its business operations and equipped to answer any questions students may have about any aspect of the business. “I can tell you how great the mocha is going to be, or how we’re going to do a couple of drinks for Rice specifically, but honestly, that sort of stuff is going to be secondary to the experience that people will have through the foundation of the transparency of the education and the design we’re going to do here,” Buehrer said. His conscientiousness toward transparency and sustainability is the thread among all his coffee shops as he strives to provide a pleasant work environment for his employees and develop strong relationships with the family farms that grow the coffee beans his coffee shops roast. Even though he was already making a name for himself as “the coffee guy,” Buehrer took on a slew of other random jobs throughout high school. Along with his job at Shakespeare’s, he did administrative work for a medical practice, delivered lost luggage for airlines and worked at the shoe


store, Journeys, all at once. Even amid this grab-bag of jobs, coffee remained his primary interest. When he was 19 years old, Buehrer took over a failing doughnut shop near Kemah Boardwalk, marking his first business venture in combining coffee and doughnuts. He opened a second doughnut shop in Clear Lake at the age of 22. David’s big break into the coffee world, however, came when he took over Tuscany Premium Coffee in Greenway Plaza. This marked the birth of Greenway Coffee Company, which Buehrer and the Prabanto sisters have since expanded from an artisan coffee bean roaster into a booming local empire. The team went on to form Thoughtful Endeavors, their business venture think tank through which they’ve formed many of the local cafes that Rice students know and love, including Blacksmith Coffee, Inversion Coffee House, Tropicales, Prelude Coffee & Tea, Morningstar and Coral Sword. They have also partnered with Malk Beverage Company to produce Malk BevBar. Audrey’s

isn’t Buehrer’s only project making waves in the Rice community. Greenway Coffee is opening its newest concept Susu Kopi and Boba at Politan Row food hall this week in Rice Village. The Indonesian teahouse will put Buehrer’s longtime partners, Nikén and Ecky, at the creative helm. After talking to Buehrer, I noticed a common pattern that he himself remarked upon. Buehrer said, “I said yes, and I figured it out later.” This seems to be Buehrer’s approach to business — seize opportunities when you can take them. However, for Buehrer, the “figure it out later” part of his work remains thoughtful. When Audrey’s opens, it will be a space where people can enjoy a unique Rice-oriented experience while enjoying a high-quality cup of coffee. Buehrer and his team’s extensive background in the coffee world, along with their efforts to understand our campus and design an inviting space, will definitely leave an impact on our campus coffee culture.

Bellaire dessert shop emerges from humble beginnings SERENA SHEDORE THRESHER STAFF

Popfancy, a gourmet popsicle shop, celebrated the grand opening of its first permanent location in Bellaire on Saturday. The interior is whimsical, combining modern design with pink and iridescent decorations. Popfancy’s staple menu items are its gourmet popsicles, including flavors such as Thai tea, horchata and pineapple mojito. The new permanent location has expanded the menu to include more creative options, such as mochi waffles. The popsicles are marketed as all-natural and made fresh daily, with frequently changing flavors according to trends and seasons. The founder, Chris Doan, described the beginnings of Popfancy as very humble. “We started this with pennies, no capital, no investment partners … It was all selffunded,” Doan said. “We started out on a tricycle going around town to different events, different neighborhoods, small little soccer games.” This mobile system eventually evolved from a catering model to a food truck and


‘THE HIGHWAY HEX’ Houston-born, Los Angeles-based artist Will Boone takes you east on Interstate 10 with his first solo museum presentation, “The Highway Hex.” Discover the sights and sounds of the Texas-California migration in Boone’s immersive, mixed-media exhibit when it opens this Friday at 6:30 p.m. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston 5216 Montrose blvd.

serena shedore / THRESHER

now, to a permanent storefront. Doan said he had no food experience, but had always loved branding and designing. He wanted something easy to brand, and so he decided on ice cream. “I used to be an architect. [I] hated the corporate world. It was so much different than like what school was, so I wanted to find something to escape the corporate world,” Doan said.

Doan explained that much of the inspiration behind Popfancy was recreating childhood nostalgia. Whether through its unique flavors, such as cereal milk popsicles, or the bright interior design, Doan intended for Popfancy to stand out from other ice cream shops. “I am a big Disney kid,” Doan said. “Walt Disney said this really amazing quote that always stuck with me — you never ever want to design for kids because

adults are just kids grown up, so design for everybody. So I apply that to how Popfancy translates to branding.” Doan’s favorite items include the mangonada, taro and avocado popsicles, as well as the flurry ice cream, which blends favorite childhood cereals with ice cream. “This is a place for us to get creative and think of whatever dessert trends are out there and create them ourselves,” said Doan. I tried two of the gourmet popsicles, the cereal milk and strawberry cheesecake popsicles. The cereal milk popsicle, complete with Fruity Pebbles inside, reminded me of childhood breakfasts — it tastes exactly as its name suggests. The strawberry cheesecake popsicle satisfied my sweet tooth with its rich and creamy flavor topped off with a graham cracker crumble. Combining the classic childhood treat with sophisticated and unique flavors, Popfancy is the perfect dessert spot for anyone, but especially for the nostalgic. Popfancy’s new location, 9393 Bellaire Blvd., Suite A6, is open from noon to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from noon to midnight Friday and Saturday.




This Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of the announcement of the demolition of the Berlin Wall, and Axelrad is celebrating by bringing Berlin-based artist Sofia Portanet together with Houston bands Miears and Pearl Crush from 3 - 7 p.m. Commemorate this historic moment with electro sounds from across the pond and right here at home. Axelrad Beer Garden 1517 Alabama St.

The Filipino Young Professionals of Houston present the 2019 Houston Filipino Street Festival, this Saturday, Nov. 9 in Sugar Land. Enjoy a pre-festival 5K fun run at 10 a.m. and immerse yourself in Filipino culture with food, cultural performances and more from noon to 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 presale and $15 at the door, both including free parking.

This Saturday, enjoy The Giant, a 900-foot inflatable obstacle course, the intergalacticthemed bounce house airSPACE and the World’s Biggest Bounce House. Be a kid again without being surrounded by them with Big Bounce America’s adult-only sessions; tickets are $30 each for three hours of access to all three attractions.

Constellation Field 1 Stadium Drive, Sugar Land

Aveva Stadium 12131 Kirby Drive



R U MAD? New student group dreams big



“Moon Shot” includes an innovative and diverse array of artisitc mediums including an PRIYANSH LUNIA / THRESHER R U MAD core section leaders, from left to right: Elhadji Diop, dance captain and choreographer; Jake Barber, founder, director and lead singer; Laura Fagbemi, lead singer; Tomás Jonsson, lead arranger and pianist/keyboardist.


R U MAD, the Rice University Music and Dance Team, was born with superstardom in its sights. Founder, director and lead singer Jake Barber had his hopes set high from the beginning. “I’m always kind of looking at things on a big scale. I always kind of want to go big or go home,” Barber, a Wiess College sophomore, said. “[When] I watched Beyonce’s ‘Homecoming,’ I was like, this is what I want to bring here. I want to bring the band, bring the dance with the singing. That was definitely the spark.” From there, Barber set out to recruit fellow Rice students with musical backgrounds who shared his vision. Tomás Jonsson, a Will Rice College sophomore, said he was more than willing to be part of a musical group. Majoring in piano performance at the Shepherd School of Music, Jonsson flexes his stylistic capacity for numerous genres such as jazz, funk and Afro-Cuban by orchestrating the new group’s musical arrangements. Elhadji Diop and Laura Fagbemi are the other two core members at the base of R U MAD. The two section leaders were unavailable to comment at the time of interviewing, but Barber and Jonsson describe Diop as the dance captain and choreographer, and Fagbemi as the group’s second lead singer. Before R U MAD steals the halftime show at a Houston Rockets game as Barber envisions, the performance group has a ways to go in establishing a presence on campus. Barber hopes that R U MAD can debut at Africayé, the annual cultural showcase put on by the Rice African Student Association, next January. “From there, once we have our full group or even before then, we’ll probably do some performances in residential colleges and then continue performing at cultural events to raise awareness,” Barber said. Currently, the group is nine performers strong, comprising four dancers, three musicians and two vocalists. Don’t be fooled by these small numbers, though — the group already has musical arrangements and choreography that they practice weekly. The most expansive of the two musical numbers is Jonsson’s arrangement of Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” a Latininfused funk song recently repopularized

by Tori Kelly. The other is an arrangement of “Dose” by rhythm and blues/pop artist Ciara, which Jonsson says relies on a drumline-driven groove. “‘Dose’ is one that we’re really excited about,” Barber says. “That’s our big Homecoming song. It has the drumline; it has the trumpets; it has all that. The energy, hip-hop, up-tempo.” Jonsson and Barber say the next track they hope to arrange is “Made to Love” by John Legend. Jonsson, who balances a busy performance schedule and plans on releasing his own orchestral composition online, composes the arrangements for R U MAD in his spare time. He and Barber explained that they’re fielding brass and string musicians as well as percussionists with their own instruments to fill their ranks of their band section. “Instrumentation is the big push right now,” Barber said. “We are doing our first few performances with core team and rhythm section as the base of the band. And hopefully as it picks up steam, we’ll have more people for more expansive regiments.” The core section leaders all have personal musical backgrounds that they’ve translated across various avenues on campus. Jonsson continues his classical piano training at the Shepherd School and Diop led RiceDance4Charity hip-hop classes at the Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center last semester and continues to dance both on and off campus. Fagbemi is a member of student a cappella group, Basmati Beats, and performed last spring at the Rice Black Student Association’s Soul Night along with Barber, who performed the national anthem at a Rice volleyball game last year and writes music in his spare time. R U MAD, though, is going to bring something completely new that its founders have yet to see among musical performance groups on campus, according to Barber. “It’s gonna bring an intersection of the band, dance and singing in a way that you see on big pop artist tours but you don’t necessarily altogether anywhere else. That’s definitely what we want to bring,” Barber said. “It’s a big vision, but I believe that we have the right people and the right resources to bring it together.” To join or learn more about R U MAD, contact Jake Barber at

Student artists Ashton Drake and Yi Luo created an interactive art exhibit for Homecoming weekend titled “Rice is...” The piece featured a screen with free floating words related to Rice and its community that could be captured within the viewer’s sillhouette as they moved. The unique, motion tracking artwork earned excited participation from alumni who visited the Moody Center for the Arts on Saturday.

BEST OF AUSTIN FILM FEST Biz Rasich Thresher Staff

More than 180 films screened at this year’s Austin Film Festival, which ran from Oct. 24 to 31. Now in its 26th year, the festival is known for its focus on screenwriting and for its solid slate of Oscar-bait films. I waited in hour-long lines and chatted with retired couples, an Airbnb “entrepreneur” and a woman who had once been Woody Harrelson’s temporary bodyguard in order to watch a half-dozen feature films in three days. Here are the indie films that rose above the rest.


THE PLANTERS In a delightfully eclectic film, the reclusive and monotone Martha Plant (Alexandra Kotcheff), considers burying hidden treasure in the desert to be her true calling. One day, her entrenched routine is disrupted by the arrival of Sadie Mayflower (Hannah Leder), a gossamer, Jesus-loving homeless woman with three personalities who becomes Martha’s assistant in her treasure-burying business. Plant and Mayflower bury the treasure in a cookie tin, and days later the tin always contains some cash. The two unlikely friends (or four, if each of Sadie’s personalities might be counted as a friend) are soon joined by Richard Cox (Phil Parolisi), a ditzy waylaid traveler whom Sadie invites to stay at Martha’s house while his car is being repaired. When the cash starts to disappear before Martha can collect it, the crew of lovable misfits works to discover the culprit.

THE BYGONE “The Bygone,” directed by and starring brothers Parker and Graham Phillips, is an engaging neo-Western updated for the modern age. The film opens with Kip Summer (Graham Phillips) visiting a local brothel only to shy away from consummating the act. Instead, he steps in to defend Waniya (Sydney Schafer), a young woman from a Lakota reservation, who is being attacked by a customer. They strike up a sweet romance as he rescues her from the brothel and puts her up at the family’s ranch. Her pimp Paris (Shawn Hatosy), however, has other plans. Paris kidnaps her in a heartbreaking scene that leaves Kip bloodied in a ditch by the side of the road ready to move heaven and earth to find Waniya.

THE OBITUARY OF TUNDE JOHNSON Every day, Tunde Johnson (Steven Silver), a lanky Nigerian American high schooler, makes a pact with his closeted boyfriend Soren (Spencer Neville): to come out. Every day, he sits down with his parents and tells them he’s gay — his mother overflows with acceptance, while his father hesitates. “With unconditional love comes unconditional fear,” he says. Every day, he drives to Soren’s birthday party, buoyed by his parents’ reactions and excited for Soren to come out as well. And every day, he dies, brutally and suddenly, at the hands of the police.

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Rice and UNT play to shutout draw in double overtime Owls earn No. 3 seed in C-USA Championship, to face MTSU on Wednesday


Rice soccer tied the University of North Texas 0-0 after two overtimes on Friday evening, claiming the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Conference USA Championship. Rice holds an overall season record of nine wins, five losses and three draws; in C-USA play, the Owls have six wins, one loss and three draws. Rice’s stalemate with UNT provided each team a point in the C-USA standings. Because the prior No. 2 team, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, lost on Friday to Old Dominion University, both UNT and Rice jumped up one place in the C-USA standings after Friday’s match. UNT will be the No. 2 seed in the championship tournament. The match was Senior Night for the Owls: The seniors on the team are forward Louise Stephens, midfielder Lianne Mananquil, midfielder Erin Mikeska, forward Haley Kostyshyn and goalkeeper Maya Hoyer; four of the seniors are from Will Rice College. This season, every senior for Rice has played in at least 13 games and seniors have contributed 61.5 percent of Rice’s goals. Mikeska said she has enjoyed her time playing for Rice. “It’s a really special time,” Mikeska said. “I think every senior, when it gets this far, they can’t believe it has gone so fast. They’re really cherishing the moment. I think that’s all any of us were trying to do tonight, just take it all in.” Mananquil said she relishes playing as a senior, especially after suffering an ankle injury earlier in the season. “It being my senior year, getting an injury like that was pretty devastating at first, but I’m happy to be back,” Mananquil said. During the first half, UNT’s offensive attack was far more prolific, with the


Freshman forward Izzy McBride dribbles forward during Friday’s 0-0 draw in two 10-minute overtimes to the University of North Texas. McBride has started in six games for the Owls this season, playing both as a forward and as an outside midfielder.

Mean Green attempting 13 shots to the Owls’ two. On the season, opponents are outshooting Rice 249-191. Still, UNT was unable to score a goal past sophomore goalkeeper Bella Killgore, and at halftime the score remained 0-0. Hoyer subbed in as goalkeeper to begin the second half. Hoyer held UNT without a goal during the period, even when Mean Green forward Brooke Lampe hit the crossbar with a shot in the 88th minute of the match. Rice had an opportunity to score in the 90th minute of the match when Kostyshyn fired a shot

on goal, but the shot was saved by UNT goalkeeper Kelsey Brann. Kostyshyn said she was disappointed that she didn’t score the goal. “I definitely wanted to score more than anything,” Kostyshyn said. “Just being in that position was really important at that time. Obviously it didn’t go our way. I just had to try my best.” Neither team was able to score during either of the two 10-minute overtime periods. Rice was unable to force a save from Brann in overtime. Head coach Brian Lee said he believes

the halftime adjustments made by Rice and UNT at halftime increased the likelihood of a draw. “I thought, second half, both teams made some halftime adjustments that kind of evened the game out,” Lee said. The match counts as Rice’s eighth clean sheet of the season. Lee said he was pleased with the play of Killgore and Hoyer at goalkeeper and Mikeska at holding midfielder, where she focuses primarily on aligning the Owls in solid defensive positions. “It was a good game, in a good, continued rivalry,” Lee said. “I thought Maya [Hoyer] made a huge save late. It was an absolutely class save on probably the best chance of the game for either team. And I thought Erin Mikeska had a great game in the second half. She kind of changed her shape a little bit, and played a slightly different role that had a big say in how the flow of the game went.” Rice and UNT will rematch in the C-USA Championship semifinals if Rice defeats Middle Tennessee State University and UNT beats the University of Texas, El Paso. Mikeska said in the case of a rematch, Rice should not make major tactical adjustments from the match on Friday. “I don’t think we need to change anything,” Mikeska said. “I think we did a really good job tonight. We had a couple of really good breakaways where just half a second changes the whole game. I think we really finished the game with momentum so I’m sure we’ll go into the game with confidence if we have to play them again.” Rice will face MTSU on Wednesday in the No. 3 vs. No. 6 seed matchup in the first round of the championship. The match will be played at 4:30 p.m. in Denton, Texas. MTSU has a record of five wins, four losses and one draw against C-USA opponents this season.


Untangling the mess of NCAA’s new ‘name, image, likeness’ proposal Last week, the NCAA Board of Governors voted unanimously to allow student-athletes to “benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.” Now, before you get super excited about playing as the Rice Owls in a future EA Sports video game, it is important to note that while the NCAA announcement is a step in the right direction, it is best taken with a grain of salt. UNDERSTANDING THE CONTEXT To those unfamiliar with the topic: For years, there has been a debate over whether college athletes should be paid in any regard. The NCAA has been staunchly against any form of compensation for many years now, with NCAA President Mark Emmert saying in the past that it would hurt athletes’ education and damage the concept of amateurism in sports. Some have conceded that players being paid directly from the institutions that they attend for their performance on the field might be a bridge too far. That could prompt questions of an employeremployee relationship between the school and the players. However, more recently, advocates of college athlete pay have strongly pressed for athletes to be able to secure outside endorsements and paid opportunities based on their name, image and likeness. For example, a local car dealership could

pay a Rice student-athlete to appear in a Many news publications said in their commercial to promote the dealer. In a headlines that the NCAA will allow different example, a Rice student-athlete players to be paid. These headlines were would be able to sell T-shirts with their misleading and advantageous to the name, image and likeness on it to earn NCAA’s image. Nowhere in the statement did they actually mention that studentsome extra cash. In September, the state of California athletes can be paid for the use of their passed legislation that unilaterally name, image and likeness. The statement allows student-athletes in the state to be only says that they will be able to “benefit.” compensated for the use of their name, What does that even mean? The statement image and likeness without restrictions. also says that the benefits should be The bill would come into effect in 2023, “consistent with the collegiate model.” allowing plenty of time for the NCAA to Well, in the past, the collegiate model potentially craft its own “name, image has meant no compensation for studentathletes whatsoever. Would the definition and likeness” rules on a national scale. The NCAA’s original reaction to of the collegiate model have to change? In the NCAA’s statement, they laid out California Governor Gavin Newsom signing the bill into law was not positive. guidelines for “modernization” of the They threatened to sue California, calling current rules, but there were no specifics the law unconstitutional. They also given about sponsorships and paid threatened to prohibit California schools opportunities. Frankly, the statement that from participating in NCAA-sanctioned the NCAA put out was a first step and a competitions. However, following delaying tactic in response to California. California’s actions, other states such as The NCAA has given themselves a Florida and New York started the process deadline of January 2021 to create and of proposing college athlete “name, implement new rules. Perhaps over the next several months, we will start to see image and likeness” legislation. new proposals coming from the NCAA, but until then their plan to allow studentMY TAKE ON THE ISSUE Considering the NCAA’s stance on athletes to profit seems to lack substance. There is no question that this a step the issue even as recently as a couple of months ago, their announcement last in the right direction, but without the week seems reactionary at best. Looking pressure from individual states, the NCAA at the NCAA’s recent statement on their most likely wouldn’t have done anything. official website, the language they use It’s fair to say the NCAA’s statement is incredibly vague and noncommittal. should be met with a bit of skepticism.

The issue is certainly getting nationwide attention. Politicians are even weighing in, expressing their doubts about allowing athletes to profit. Sen. Mitt Romney said on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that he wouldn’t want to see players drive around campus in Ferraris while others struggle to make ends meet. The percentage of student-athletes across all sports in the country that could earn enough money on their name, image and likeness to buy a Ferrari is incredibly slim. Sen. Richard Burr said that he would propose legislation that would tax student-athletes’ athletic scholarships if they decided to sign endorsements. This would unfairly attack student-athletes compared to other students. Would we also tax the academic scholarship of a violin player who makes money playing gigs or selling their own music? Progress is being made in fairly allowing student-athletes to be compensated for the value that they bring to an athletic department, but we need more details from the NCAA on their actual plan before we praise them for simply taking the first step toward doing the right thing.






Once Upon a Rice...

To celebrate Esperanza’s theme this year, Once Upon a Time, here are some classic fairy tales written by the one and only, Hans Chricetan Backpagesen.


Once upon a time... there

was a diligent student named Canvasella. She really wanted to go to the Ball(sover Street Party) but she had to stay back to work on a group project. Her two evil step-partners planned on attending the ball, even though they hadn’t contributed much at all! Just when all hope was lost, her Fairy Godmother, who for some reason had horns and a pitchfork, appeared on her shoulder. The magical figure told her, “Canvasella, you can go to the ball, too, as long as you submit your work by the time the clock strikes midnight!” and dressed her in her finest crop top. Canvasella was happily persuaded and told herself that she would be on a strict schedule of getting back to her work by 10:30 p.m. She danced the night away to the tune of “Mr. Brightside,” and before she knew it, her phone glowed 11:59! She rushed back to her room and laptop — and even lost a shoe in her haste — but it was too late. She took a heavy late submission penalty. Her shoe did show up on Rice Students Selling Stuff, though.

The Ugly Registruckling

Once upon a time... there was

a duck named Scheduck Planner, beloved by all. Don’t get me wrong — this was no beautiful bird. Nonetheless, many students had grown very fond of its outdated striped yellow feathers and beak dashed with random blocks of color. Unfortunately, the duck was truly very old, so the administration killed it. They didn’t leave the pond empty, though. In Scheduck’s place, they introduced a new, just-as-ugly duckling. The pond-visiting students were rather hesitant — they did not take to the altered ecosystem like a duck to water. But, the Ugly Registruckling did truly swim in a more streamlined fashion. It turns out, the bird wasn’t a duck at all, but rather a Swanner9. It really wasn’t particularly worse or better than Scheduck, just different. The students still complained. Everyone lived neutrally ever after.

Three Blind mICE Once upon a time... there

were three little mice that navigated Rice’s campus with a complete lack of awareness of the social climate. They never read news about the horrific conditions of ICE custody, never saw the Dia de los Muertos altar in Rayzor Hall for children who died in detention and never considered the implications of dressing in an ICE costume with regard to various student populations and staff. They must have been blind! Many other little mice saw their costumes, pre-gamed with them and went to the Mouse Masquerade at Pub with them, yet somehow the three blind mICE wore their costumes proudly at the Mouse Masquerade. They even squeaked back when other mice came up to them and told them they were being insensitive. Because of some tweeting birds, the mice apologized. But legend has it, there are many equally blind mice scurrying in the walls of Rice to this day — these hidden mice are completely silent, and stay especially quiet when the directly affected mouse communities need them to speak up.

The Backpage is satire, written and designed by the Brothers Simm: Simona Matovic and Simona Matovic. For comments or questions, please email



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The Rice Thresher | Wednesday, November 6, 2019  

The Rice Thresher | Wednesday, November 6, 2019  

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