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Sol LeWitt’s legacy returns to Rice



Two works by pioneer conceptual artist Solomon “Sol” LeWitt have found a home at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies in partnership with Rice Public Art. On Monday evening, members from the Rice community gathered at the Anderson-Clarke Center to “solebrate” the acquisition and completed installation of LeWitt’s “Wall Drawing

#1115” and “Wall Drawing #869A.” LeWitt, who passed away in 2007, did not install or create the artwork himself. Instead, his art is intended to be interpreted and created by others, who follow the conceptual artist’s vague instructions to develop unique manifestations of his ideas. Alone, the vague clinical titles do not encapsulate the drawings’ explosive vibrancy. “Wall Drawing #1115” is a kaleidoscopic mosaic of brightly colored panels arranged in rings. The drawing

adorns the south wall of the Dean’s Commons of the Anderson-Clarke Center, immediately catching the eye of entering visitors. After witnessing the awe with which guests gazed upon the hypnotic work, it’s almost impossible to imagine the wall being blank. “Wall Drawing #869A,” installed in the second floor lobby, is more subdued with layers of thin, meandering lines of red, blue and yellow. A crowd of alumni, donors and trustees, artists and students gathered

in the Dean’s Commons Monday night to marvel at the works. President David Leebron spoke to the audience’s diversity in his opening remarks, emphasizing how the concurrent presence of seemingly disparate entities represented the university’s values. Leebron went on to underscore the vitality of art on campus and how the Glasscock School, which he cited as one of the most visited buildings on campus, is the perfect exhibition space for the drawings. SEE SOL PAGE 8

Football ends winless streak SA narrowly approves new MADISON BUZZARD SPORTS EDITOR

Rice football won its first game of the season, defeating Middle Tennessee State University 31-28 on Saturday in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The Owls are 1-9 on the season and have lost 19 out of 22 games for the last two years with Mike Bloomgren at the helm. Rice now stands at No. 6 in Conference USA’s West Division. According to Bloomgren, redshirt freshman Wiley Green was unavailable to play at quarterback against the Blue Raiders (3-7, 2-4 in C-USA) due to an unspecified injury suffered in the game against Marshall University. Graduate transfer quarterback Tom Stewart received all reps under center and delivered, completing 18 of 23 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns.

Much of Stewart’s passing yardage came in the first half. Early in the second quarter, Rice took a 17-0 lead after Stewart’s second of three touchdown passes to junior transfer Brad Rozner. Rozner, a wide receiver, snagged eight receptions for 130 yards. Stewart said Rozner was a huge key to the victory. “It was an incredible game by Rozner,” Stewart said. “I’m really fortunate to play with all these really talented teammates. But [Rozner] has a unique skill set and he’s someone I’m fortunate to play with.” Although the Owls achieved zero offensive scoring production in the second half, Rice’s defense made the 31-14 halftime hold up. According to junior defensive back George Nyakwol, the defense’s worst concession came while allowing a 90-yard passing touchdown in the first half. SEE FOOTBALL PAGE 10

Campanile editors-in-chief AJAY KUMAR FOR THE THRESHER

The Rice Student Association voted Monday night to approve Phoebe Dang and Amy Zhang as the official Campanile editors-in-chief. The SA narrowly reached the two-thirds majority required for approval, with 16 votes in favor and seven votes against. Dang, a senior at Lovett College, and Zhang, a senior at McMurtry College, had been operating in the interim role for nearly seven months following Martel College junior Sahana Prabhu’s decision to resign from the position after being elected last year. Her resignation

prompted the SA to launch a discussion as to whether Campanile intentionally subverted the constitutional requirements for the election. According to the SA and Campanile constitutions, a candidate for editorin-chief must have served on staff for at least one year. They can then submit an application to the Campanile executive board; if they receive a two-thirds majority approval, they will earn a spot on the ballot for SA elections. In late January, Dang submitted a joint application with an unnamed staff member for approval from the Campanile executive board. SEE CAMPANILE PAGE 2




Students receive ‘sextortion’ scam email IVANKA PEREZ FEATURES EDITOR

Hackers sent “sextortion” scam emails to 68 students in the past three weeks in which they threatened to release inappropriate videos, according to Marc Scarborough, Rice’s chief information security officer. In these emails, the attacker threatened to release students’ personal information to all of their contacts unless they sent $720 to the sender within 36 hours of opening the email. “I injected my code to this device and I started to monitor your activity,” the attacker wrote in the emails. “My first idea was to block and encrypt your files. And [then] I would ask for a small fee to release them back. But [then] one day, You visited some dirty websites. You know what I mean naughty thing. And I silently activated your front camera and recorded You. Yes! You were playing with yourself. What a funny video.” The name “sextortion” refers to threats of releasing videos or personal information, usually related to pornography, according to Scarborough. “These particular scam emails take it a step further by claiming they have recordings of unflattering webcam feeds and internet activity, usually involving pornography,” Scarborough said. “The goal of the scam is to extort a payment

to prevent this embarrassing information from being released to friends, family, professional colleagues and other people in the recipient’s contact lists.” Scarborough said that students receiving these emails should disregard these threats. According to Scarborough, these types of scam emails have become increasingly common. “An attacker uses online databases of exposed usernames, email addresses and passwords in an attempt to trick people into believing their accounts and computers have been hacked,” Scarborough said. Will Rice College senior Maya Pai was one of the students who received the scam email. Pai said that when she saw the subject line of the email, which suggested her email was hacked, she was worried because she had previously been targeted in a recent breach of the textbook rental and homework help company Chegg. The breach resulted in over 130 Rice email addresses and passwords being exposed. Pai said that once she opened the email, the wording of the email made the threats seem false, but she was concerned that the email appeared to be sent from her own email address. “It says … [that they] sent this email from your own email, which means [they] have access to your account,” Pai said. However, Scarborough said

Illustration by Yifei Zhang

the sent address doesn’t indicate that the student’s email address was hacked, and was likely modified as part of the scam. “The ‘From’ address in an email is changeable in most email clients like Thunderbird, Apple Mail and Outlook,” Scarborough said. “The ‘From’ address is like the old ‘Return Address’ on a postal letter; the person sending the letter writes their own return address on the letter.”

According to Scarborough, the Office of Information Technology has received reports of this scam email since around Sept. 23, with the last report coming in on Nov. 6. Nicole Koonce said she received the same email two days after Pai received hers. “I wasn’t completely surprised by the content of it since I had already read [Pai’s],” Koonce, a Will Rice senior, said. “I was a little stressed at first about



“The other person hadn’t really shown a whole lot of dedication in the yearbook before and he was very behind on meeting deadlines, so [the board wasn’t] sure if he was a good fit for editor-in-chief,” Dang said. “[They] rejected the application.” The executive board rarely rejects applications, according to Dang. Because the application had been rejected, the executive board planned to delay their ballot to the second round of elections and select a new set of candidates to place on the second ballot, but was informed by the director of elections at the time, Morgan Gillis (Baker College ’19), that that was no longer an option, according to Zhang. Freddy Cavallaro, Student Association parliamentarian, said that Campanile received the same amount of time as every other position to submit their petition for the first election and that the second round is more of a failsafe and not guaranteed to happen. “There is an assumption that there will be one general election for all positions,” Cavallaro, a Will Rice College senior, said. “Campanile may have expected this option but I don’t think they should have assumed it to be their best option.” Short on time to submit a ballot by the Feb. 4 deadline, Prabhu said 2018-2019 editors-in-chief Charis Wang and Matthew Franklin approached her and asked if she would be interested in the position. “I was like ‘I think I’d be interested’,” Prabhu said. “But it had still only been a year since I was in the yearbook so I knew I was going to ask Phoebe to do it with me.” After the board denied her initial application, Dang, who was studying abroad last semester, said she had been considering her options to run again. She


Former Campanile editor-in-chief-elect Sahana Prabhu (left) and incoming editors-in-chief Phoebe Dang (right) and Amy Zhang (middle) took part in a discussion at the SA office prior to the Senate vote.

said she was unaware that Prabhu was also interested in the same role. “Kelley [Lash], our adviser, had reached out to me before to say that I can either decide to run individually or I can get someone else to run with me,” Dang said. “I asked Amy if she wanted to run with me and she said yes.” However, Zhang, who was also abroad during the deadline, said that the executive board already approved Prabhu for the ballot. “The day the [2018-2019 editors-inchief] sent out the official vote was Feb. 5. [The executive board] voted electronically and got the two-thirds vote,” Zhang said. Although Prabhu was already officially elected through the SA elections, the 20182019 executive board referred to Prabhu as a placeholder for Dang and Zhang, according to Prabhu. “The outgoing editors-in-chief were like ‘Oh since there’s another team interested,

you’re just a placeholder and when they come back it’s gonna have to be me against them,’” Prabhu said. According to Zhang, the use of the term “placeholder” resulted in a miscommunication regarding Prabhu’s intentions as editor-in-chief. “I didn’t know that she was truly interested,” Zhang said. “If I had known that, I don’t think that I would have tried to run.” Prabhu decided to step down from the role of editor-in-chief in late April, allowing Dang and Zhang to serve in the role together for the 2019-2020 year. Prabhu said that because she is a junior, she still has time to become more involved and pursue other positions. “There have been multiple times where people who have expressed interest in running decide not to run that year because there are seniors who want to do it,” Prabhu said.

getting the email since I thought I would have to reset all my passwords.” Scarborough recommends reporting any suspicious emails to the Information Security Office and the OIT. Scam emails can be reported to the Information Security Office at security-incident, or to the OIT help desk at or 713-348-4357 (HELP).

According to Cavallaro, the switch in leadership following Prabhu’s step down created the concern that the Campanile had violated the requirements of the student body election. “The highest ranking official is required to be voted on by the student body, and that was Sahana [Prabhu],” Cavallaro said. “There was a concern that Campanile either intentionally or unintentionally subverted this requirement, by spreading the notion that ‘the real Campanile’ election could happen after the student body election by having that person resign and then fill the vacancy internally.” Hanszen College President Landon Mabe was one of the seven voting members who voted against approving Dang and Zhang. “The Campanile board subverted the results of a student-wide election by installing editors-in-chief who were not Sahana,” Mabe said. “By voting to approve unelected editors-in-chief, the Senate is giving the Campanile a pass to run their organization without having to be accountable to the student body.” Dang said that she hopes this issue will not affect the future operations of the Campanile in any way, given they are a blanket tax organization. “I understand why the fact that we get a lot of money would be concerning to the SA, but I feel like we’ve always been responsible with it,” said Dang. “We don’t really want this to impede the production of this year’s book.” After tallying the votes, SA President Grace Wickerson said that the conversation about the election processes would still continue. “I think we should shift the conversation before us to blanket tax organizations, related to handling how they operate in the organizations,” Wickerson said. “This is not the end of the conversation.”



Students protest in response to Pompeo’s visit RYND MORGAN ASST NEWS EDITOR

About 20 students participated in protests organized by Rice Left Friday morning in response to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. The organizers of the die-in also cited the new five-year, $30 million cooperative agreement between Rice University and the U.S. Army as an aim of their protest. After dipping their hands in a mix of water and red food coloring, protesters taped flyers to Coffeehouse doors and laid down on the floor in front of Coffeehouse at 10:50 a.m as a die-in protest. At 11:08 a.m., an officer from the Rice University Police Department arrived on the scene, approached a protester and told them that the protest was not registered and was causing a blockage in the hallway. When he said that the protesters needed to leave, they did not respond. The RUPD officer walked toward the Information Desk but did not leave the Rice Memorial Center. According to Rice University Policy 820 titled “Campus Demonstrations, Protests, and Organized Expressions of Opinion,” activities such as protesting and installing posters are allowed as long as they do not violate local, state or federal laws. RUPD Chief of Police James Tate said the officer arrived at the scene of the protest following a complaint they received. “Someone actually complained to us and said, ‘Hey, is this allowed? Do we really have to accept this?’” Tate said. “And no, we don’t. So that’s when our officers asked the kids to get up and they moved — no issues at all.


About 20 students took part in a die-in protest outside of Coffeehouse in the Rice Memorial Center, where they laid down on the floor at approximately 10:50 a.m. on Friday.

And what I’m looking at here [at the Baker Institute], this is very peaceful.” At 11:10 a.m., one of the organizers for the protest announced that the die-in was over. The protesters headed back to the Multicultural Center together, where they departed at 11:25 a.m. to head to the Baker Institute. According to McMurtry College junior Arija Forsyth, Rice Left produced flyers regarding Pompeo’s foreign policy and civilian deaths in countries with U.S. military intervention before the protest. The flyers had been stamped for approval by the Info Desk and posted to the RMC bulletin board, but taken down within thirty minutes of being posted, according to Forsyth. Hania Nagy, a Martel College senior, said she felt like the protesters were being

babysat by RUPD, and that demonstrations should take place in populated areas where they can be seen. “Isn’t the point of a protest being disruptive and jarring people enough to make them walk out of their daily bubble?” Nagy said. “How are you supposed to do that if they put you in a bubble that’s separate from the fucking islamophobic and violent imperialist bubble [where Pompeo is]? It needs to be in the same space.” Hannah Meeks, a Hanszen College junior, said the protest was civil and nonviolent. “I think the concept of having to register protests is silly because then it no longer becomes a protest, it becomes a sanctioned gathering,” Meeks said. At 11:30 a.m., the protesters gathered on the sidewalk between the Central Quad and

the Baker Institute, on the Central Quad side. Almost immediately, the protesters were approached by RUPD officers, who told them that they had to stand within the roped-off area in the Central Quad that had been designated for protests. The protesters did not respond directly to RUPD. Soon after, RUPD officers told the students that as long as they stayed on the Central Quad side of the street, they were “good to go.” At 11:37 a.m., President David Leebron exited the Baker Institute and walked toward the students after they called out to him. The students handed Leebron copies of the flyers Rice Left produced regarding Pompeo’s foreign policy and civilian deaths in countries with U.S. military intervention. At the scene, Leebron said that students are entitled to voice their opinions, but that the locations of protests taking place need to be discussed beforehand with the Secret Service and others when prominent political figures visit campus. “We do want to make sure that the rules are an appropriate accommodation between safety and the freedom of speech on campus,” Leebron said. Drew Carter, a Jones College sophomore at the protest, said that Pompeo’s position as secretary of state does not necessarily qualify him for the speaking engagement. “I think the most important takeaway is that there are a good number of students who refuse to turn a blind eye to injustice whether it’s domestic or abroad,” Carter said. “We shouldn’t be bringing bigoted speakers to campus in the name of solely respecting the office they’re in if they don’t deserve it.”

Pompeo makes ‘quid pro quo’ visit to Baker Institute RISHAB RAMAPRIYAN NEWS EDITOR

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke about the “natural hunger for human freedom,” criticized the Communist Party of China and fielded questions regarding U.S. foreign policy in countries such as Syria and Mexico as part of his Friday visit to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. Outside the event and in the Rice Memorial Center, students staged demonstrations in response to his visit. Pompeo previously served as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency from January 2017 to April 2018. More than 300 people attended the event, including a handful of undergraduate students, some of whom raised concerns about the exclusivity of the event. James A. Baker III, the honorary chair of the institute that bears his name, introduced Pompeo. Baker, who served as the 61st secretary of state under President George H.W. Bush, noted the dramatic nature of current U.S. foreign policy. “As someone honored to serve as secretary of state, I fully understand the sometimes agonizing difficulty of prioritizing U.S. interests and values in a geopolitical setting where the United States possesses immense but still limited power,” Baker said. Pompeo opened his brief 15-minute remarks by describing his visit as a “quid pro quo” arrangement with Baker, a reference to the language currently being used on Capitol Hill in the ongoing impeachment proceedings. Besides his “quid pro quo” comment, Pompeo did not directly address the proceedings. Pompeo said he invited Baker to visit him at the CIA headquarters upon being appointed as secretary of state, a visit Pompeo said has greatly helped him in his role. “[Baker] said ‘Here’s the deal, you have got to come to the Baker Institute’ and I’m now upholding my end of the quid pro quo,” Pompeo jokingly said, eliciting laughter from the audience. “You’ve got to have fun along the way.” Pompeo’s speech highlighted the “natural hunger for human freedom” and

recounted the fall of the Berlin Wall, a segment of which currently stands outside the Baker Institute. Pompeo remarked that America has a responsibility to assist all those around the world seeking human freedom. “We should never forget what a force for good that America was in the [fall of the Berlin Wall],” Pompeo said. “We see the same fight for freedom. We see it in the people in the Islamic Republic of Iran, we see it in the people in Venezuela and we see it in the people of Hong Kong and we should never devalue their deep desire for personal freedom and for their personal liberty.” Jefferson Ren, a Jones College junior in attendance, said that he was invited directly by the Baker Institute, since he works there as a research assistant. “I thought that the speech was generally structured to be inoffensive as Pompeo gave broad platitudes about how the U.S. stands for democracy and freedom,” Ren said. Following the speech, Pompeo took part in a Q&A session moderated by Warren Tichenor, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who asked Pompeo a set of questions including those submitted by the audience. The questions spanned U.S. foreign policy across five continents, with topics ranging from America’s role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to U.S.-Mexico relations. Ren said that many students, including himself, wished there was time for more questions. Despite Pompeo’s relevance in the ongoing impeachment proceedings, Tichenor did not ask any questions about either the proceedings or former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was coincidentally testifying before the House Intelligence Committee that same morning. Pompeo has been sharply criticized for failing to support Yovanovitch, who was abruptly fired by President Donald Trump earlier this year as part of an alleged smear-campaign. Rice Young Democrats President Maddy Scannell, who was in attendance, said she had submitted a question about the impeachment proceedings, specifically about the nature of Pompeo’s instructions to Gordon Sondland regarding Ukraine


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took part in a Q&A Session moderated by Warren Tichenor, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who asked Pompeo a set of questions.

policy. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, has lately become embroiled in the impeachment proceedings after being named in the whistleblower complaint on the Trump-Ukraine scandal. Scannell said she was directly asked by the Baker Institute to submit questions for Pompeo and said she was disappointed that her question on Ukraine was not asked and that the impeachment proceedings were not discussed beyond Pompeo’s comment. “Friday’s event demonstrated that the Baker Institute seems to prefer bringing big names to campus to satisfy donors, rather than critically engaging powerful people and holding them accountable for their actions,” Scannell said. Pompeo had strong words for the Communist Party of China, specifically with regard to what he saw as General Secretary Xi Jinping’s failure to uphold the “one country, two systems” principle in Hong Kong. “For an awfully long time, America has not done enough [about China],” Pompeo said. “We’ve said repeatedly to General Secretary Xi, ‘Honor that commitment you promised there would be one country, two systems.’” The Q&A shifted to the events of the Middle East. Pompeo defended the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw

troops from Northern Syria as well as the administraton’s support for Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, a major event in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. “America should be proud of what we achieved [in Syria],” Pompeo said, in reference to the fight against ISIS. “We still have significant forces in Syria.” Students have expressed concerns regarding the exclusive nature of Pompeo’s speech, as well as that of other recent highprofile speaker events at the Baker Institute. According to Scannell, only a few students, all of whom are part of the Baker Institute Student Forum, were initially invited to attend the event. Scannell said she conveyed her concerns to Vice President for Administration Kevin Kirby, who reached out to the Baker Institute to advocate on her behalf and secure tickets for more students, including Baker Institute interns and student leaders of political organizations. Ben Stevenson, the Baker Institute’s director of operations and planning, said that the Baker Institute has held events open to a greater number of students in the past, and cited former Vice President Joe Biden’s talk in September 2016, which 3,500 students, faculty and staff attended in Tudor Fieldhouse. Stevenson said that certain events have space constraints, limiting the number of students that can attend.



Schedule Planner removal prompts complaints BRIAN LIN THRESHER STAFF

Whether filtering courses for major requirements or aimlessly scrolling through a list of interesting classes, users of Schedule Planner might miss the now-defunct website after it was shut down Nov. 1 due to noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and replaced with Ellucian’s Banner system. With add/drop happening this Wednesday morning, the Spring 2020 registration session marked the first time, aside from Orientation Week registrations, that students were unable to use Schedule Planner. According to Diane Butler, Office of Informational Technology director, the university decided to phase out Schedule Planner because the technology stack upon which it was developed was declared end of life by Microsoft in 2019, in addition to ADA noncompliance. “To comply with federal law and to protect student data, the university had to decommission what would have soon become a vulnerable system; it will not be coming back,” Butler wrote in an email. Butler declined to comment on which specific features of Schedule Planner were in violation of ADA policy. “Not being ADA compliant is all that is needed,” Butler said. “Specifics aren’t as important as it isn’t compliant.” Registrar David Tenney (Sid Richardson College ’87) cited the increase in the registration success rate after Banner was implemented as an indication of its benefits. “After processing the courses selected during the two-week Course Request Period, the numbers show a significantly higher number of successful course registrations [this cycle],” Tenney said. “Because students

are making their course selections within ESTHER, the new interface checks for required prerequisites and registration restrictions.” According to Tenney, following last Friday’s registration request period, 1,200 students received 100 percent of their requested courses in Spring 2020 compared to 660 in Spring 2019, and only 10 students in the Spring 2020 registrations received 0 courses, compared to 31 students in Spring 2019. Franklin Briones, a Brown College junior and peer academic advisor, said he began circulating a Google Form survey on student sentiment toward Banner. He said he found some repeated keywords and comments among the survey’s 88 respondents. “Some of the criticisms of the new system are ‘it’s slow,’ ‘it’s unintuitive’ and ‘you have to click in too many windows to get to where you need’,” Briones said. “If [the administration is] choosing to use the new registration system without taking into account student concern, [the students expressed] worry this may be a trend for our future in terms of school administration.” Robbie Foley, a Brown College senior who wrote an op-ed last week on the topic, echoed this student concern and the downside of being unable to add classes to a roster. “In terms of administration, at best, I think it shows that they don’t really understand the way that students sign up for classes,” Foley said. “Students spend a significant amount of time just messing with their schedules. I’ve talked to a friend who said, you know he might be exaggerating, but said ‘I would not still be at Rice it if weren’t for Schedule Planner.” Nick Lester, a Baker College junior, said he disliked Banner’s inability to save classes without registering for them and the scrolling needed in the three-paneled interface.

Illustration by Yifei Zhang

“The big advantage of Schedule Planner was how you could select courses and then easily click the show/not show button, which would make it so that you could easily try out different courses in different configurations,” Lester said. Alison Drileck, a Sid Richardson junior and PAA, said the complaints about Banner are overstated. “Yeah, we miss Schedule Planner. Yeah, we wished Banner had features that Schedule Planner did have,” Drileck said. “However, Banner is really not as bad as people make it out to be. It just students don’t like change.” Following Schedule Planner’s shutdown, students took to various methods to express their dissent, including a Facebook event entitled “Wear Black to the Academic Quad to Mourn Schedule Planner” which surfaced online shortly after the shutdown. The event, complete with eulogies and a styrofoam tombstone, was attended by around twenty people, including Schedule Planner creator and Rice professor Scott Cutler, according to organizer Lauren Biegel.

“It was like ‘Oh, what if we just had a funeral’ and then it kind of spiraled into deciding to have a public event in the academic quad,” Biegel, a Wiess College junior, said. “This guy just walks up ... and was like, ‘I’m Cutler’ ... that was special. The fact that the guy who invented Schedule Planner came made us all very happy.” OAA Director Aliya Bhimani spoke on the focus group of around 60 Peer Academic Advisors who gave feedback on Banner last semester before its first public release for O-Week Fall 2019. Some of Banner’s current features were implemented in response to PAA request during this focus group. For example, the three-paneled layout, according to Bhimani, came after students asked if everything could be on one screen. “We’ve launched [Banner] for all the continuing students, we’re in the midst of that right now. So will feedback come? Yes,” Bhimani said. “It hasn’t come in big strides right now, we’re right in the middle of that process.”

College Republicans drop out of BISF biannual debate SERENA SHEDORE


Due to a lack of College Republicans, the Baker Institute Student Forum canceled their annual fall debate between the Rice Young Democrats and Rice College Republicans. The Rice Republicans informed BISF that they would not be able to participate on Nov. 10, three days before the debate was set to happen on Nov. 13, according to College Republicans chairman Anthony Saliba and BISF president Madison Grimes. BISF officially cancelled the debate around 5 p.m. that same day. Grimes said BISF had sent out an initial email about the debate on Oct. 9 and announced the topics to both sides by Oct. 23. According to Grimes, the debate, which was going to cover healthcare policy, was canceled because the College Republicans could not find debaters for their side. The question topics, which had been made available to both teams around a week in advance, included pharmaceutical drug prices, healthcare infrastructure and medical research. Saliba said that members of the College Republicans debate team were unable to participate due to previous commitments. “I had been rather looking forward to debating, but I think it would have been a disrespect to both BISF and the Young Dems if we had gone to the debate without a full team of our very best,” Saliba, a

Channing Wang / THRESHER

The Baker Institute Student Forum hosts the annual fall debate, which was canceled this year, between the Rice Young Democrats and Rice College Republicans.

Duncan College junior, said. Grimes said that BISF initially tried to find other students outside the College Republicans who could fill in on behalf of the team in a last-minute attempt to prevent event cancellation, but they were unable to find any students. “I am disappointed that we were not able to hold the debate this semester as it is one of BISF’s most important events,” Grimes, a Hanszen College senior, said. “Still, we have already started discussions with both the Democrats and Republicans for the debate next semester, and I am looking forward to having a productive debate in the spring.” RYD president Maddy Scannell said she had hoped the debate would be an

opportunity to engage the Rice community by presenting policy material in a more dynamic format. “Our hope for the debate was to engage in a discussion of healthcare policy and distinguish progressive goals for healthcare from conservative aims,” Scannell, a Martel College junior, said. According to Scannell, the RYD and College Republicans do not interact much besides the BISF debate each semester. “This is not for lack of trying; for the past few years, we’ve invited them to participate in bipartisan voter registration efforts, but they have not deigned to participate,” Scannell said. Saliba said he has been working with RYD and Civic Duty Rice to organize voter

awareness events for the Houston mayoral runoff elections. “I think the op-ed that the leaders of the clubs recently wrote together speaks to this renewed spirit of cooperation,” Saliba said. “I don’t think the Republicans and Democrats at Rice should be or need to be enemies, and I look forward to building a positive working relationship with President Scannell and other members of the Young Dems leadership over the upcoming year.” The BISF debate topic last spring was energy policy, and the topic last fall was felon voting rights. According to Grimes, BISF had restructured the debate this year to make it more similar to presidential or primary debates, with questions prepared for members of both parties and some questions specific to each side. Wiess College sophomore Alissa Kono, who debated last year for RYD and had been planning on debating for them again this year, said said she was disappointed to hear about the cancellation, as she had been excited about debating on this particular topic. Saliba said that he has brought up having two BISF debates in the spring but is unsure of whether that will happen. “I’d like to apologize to our peers in BISF and the Young Dems for this unfortunate happenstance, but hopefully this will mean everyone is twice as energized in the spring,” Saliba said.

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Baker Institute Student roles need proper compensation, support events too exclusive

Last Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Rice. While students protested outside, only a select few students, such as Baker Institute for Public Policy interns, were invited to attend the event — and that was only after specific petitioning by Rice Young Democrats. The aura of exclusivity around Baker Institute events perpetuates inequalities in accessibility that are commonly seen in the political sphere but should not take place on Rice’s campus.

Student leaders are required to compete with high-profile donors for access to events. In order to receive an invitation to attend events with high-profile speakers, such as former President Barack Obama’s and Vice President Mike Pence’s speeches last year, students are often obligated to already be involved in highprofile political organizations, student government or student media on campus. The last high-profile event hosted by the Baker Institute and open to all students was in 2016, when then-Vice President Joe Biden came to give his Moonshot speech. Three years later, student leaders are required to compete with high-profile donors for access to events — Baker Institute Roundtable members, for example, who pay up to $25,000 a year. The increase in protests and discourse surrounding political events on campus indicates that interest in politics at Rice is growing beyond these structural organizations and their limited number of leaders. Students who might not have the time to dedicate to being an executive officer of a political organization, or students who shy away from strict political identities should also be given the opportunity to attend such events and engage in critical conversations about politics. The Baker Institute, which raised $5.4 million from its 25th anniversary gala alone, could take serious strides in increasing the accessibility of these exclusive events to the students on the campus that it shares. Ticket subsidization, giveaways and watch parties are just a few strategies to ensure that all students on campus have the opportunity to engage.

Corrections The photo of Sarah Nowaski was incorrectly attributed; the photographer was Helen Pu. Our editorial last week wrote that SSI’s food pantry is only open three hours a week — it is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. Sheryl WuDunn was Rice’s commencement speaker in 2016, not 2017.

Every year, 33 students sacrifice 10 months to plan Orientation Week, a pivotal institution of Rice. Assuming an O-Week coordinator puts in 20 hours of work a week and qualifies for the maximum stipend allowed ($2,500), they would be making a meager $3.13 an hour to help pull off one of the university’s most advertised, unique programs. Often sold as “student autonomy,” the labor that Rice students perform for their community is underappreciated, undersupported and often unpaid. Certainly, Rice students benefit greatly from the ability to direct and plan many aspects of their culture and community. But intangible benefits such as a brief resume line or “leadership development” are often not enough to incentivize truly inclusive leadership on campus, and often don’t come close to sufficiently compensating for the value this work adds to the university. Financial support and autonomy are not mutually exclusive, and it’s time we begin to reallocate resources accordingly. We can’t denounce unpaid internships and in the same breath, continue to perpetuate the inequalities that exist on our own campus. One of the most-talked about aspects of unpaid student labor is the insidious barrier to entry that it creates. Low-income

students, for example, have far less ability to rate. Second, more investment into the participate in unpaid activities, as their time support structures for these roles: more staff could instead be spent working for pay. This hired and with higher compensation. And creates a cycle where privileged students are third, recognizing blind spots that exist and the ones most able to participate in roles that filling in those gaps: increasing institutional can drive change, and low-income students support for programs that have none by either must be content with the status quo hiring dedicated staffers to assist students or sacrifice significantly to join the system. who take on these invisible burdens. It is not impossible to provide these For students of marginalized groups, this labor is amplified — they are often expected resources on campus. Through strategic to be the first to take strides toward diversity financial and capital investments, Rice and inclusion, asked to continually educate should begin properly compensating the others and make necessary improvements structures that provide so much intrinsic to Rice’s culture. This is seen most clearly value to our campus. Our endowment is $6.3 in student government, where unpaid and billion. It’s time to give some of that back to untrained leaders in student government the people who make Rice run. This opinion has been shortened for are often tasked with developing panaceas to a host of problems: forming inclusive print. To read the full version online, visit communities, handling alcohol, uplifting marginalized voices, coordinating room draw and much more. The Doerr Institute for New Leaders’ new program, which provides a stipend for students who qualify for financial aid, is a CHRISTINA TAN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF great start to addressing the issue of free labor DUNCAN COLLEGE SENIOR on campus. However, much more could be done to uplift and support the efforts made on this campus. First, substantial financial support to jobs like O-Week coordinating — beyond stipends and housing, a flat hourly


Embrace sustainable careers at Rice and beyond Environmentalism is not a trend. It is not a movement that we can opt out of. If we understand the real meaning of sustainability — the active effort to sustain life on Earth — we must embrace sustainability as an inherent value and practice in our professional careers. Imagine how much change our community could make if we applied our success-driven minds to the cause of sustainability, either by directly applying for positions with “sustainability” in their title, or by taking environmental initiatives in any chosen career path. While Rice does offer opportunities for students to explore sustainable careers, university rhetoric does not emphasize the intrinsic necessity of evoking sustainability in all careers. We are more apt to pursue careers that guarantee financial success, and we risk abandoning our responsibility to the environment in the process. Too often we ask, “How can a career serve me?” instead of considering how we can use our career to shape our world’s future. If we prioritized sustainable careers, we would uphold our university’s doctrine of Responsibility, Integrity, Community and Excellence by continuing our role as environmentalists beyond the hedges. It is difficult to visualize career paths within the rapidly evolving field of sustainability. The Center for Career Development’s current resources are limited to Handshake’s infrequent postings of sustainability job offerings, and the ones that do currently exist are arbitrarily scattered across the website’s “career clusters.” Beyond this, environmental jobs follow no standard

recruiting timeline, and there is a lack of visibility at career events. At the CCD’s Career Expo, there were few environmentalist booths, and the Expo’s sponsorship by companies that have previously brought harm to the environment, such as Shell, Chevron and BP reveals where Rice’s values truly lie. The ambiguity surrounding “green” careers already discourages students from recognizing and pursuing green careers. Meanwhile, commonly pursued career paths provide stable, clear-cut opportunities. In following the enticements of mainstream industries, students should also consider environmental implications as a component of their career. Rice must provide resources and opportunities for students to navigate the ambiguity of non-linear career paths such as those focused on the environment and sustainability. This is especially important for young professionals tackling big, global issues like climate change. As students, we can help drive this conversation. For example, our project team from professor Richard Johnson’s class, Environmental Issues: Rice Into the Future approached the CCD with resources to enlighten students on “green” careers. The resource package, now housed under the “Jobs & Internships” page on the Rice Sustainability website, offers a compiled list of external sources on job search and selection, guidance for “green” career timelines, nuanced stories and advice from alumni and suggestions for incorporating sustainability in any career path. But our efforts will not end with this class. In the

future, we want to further bridge the gap between Rice Sustainability and the CCD. This goal of sustainability is not one we should take on alone. As a university and community, we must collectively rewrite “success” as a goal contingent on accepting responsibility for our future environment. Administration must set the precedent by honoring sustainability in our mission statement of Responsibility, Integrity, Community and Excellence. Our professors must further integrate environmental literacy into our curriculum, regardless of discipline. As an individual, take the time to explore your values and seek the necessary one-on-one guidance from Rice’s professional academic and career advisors. Set the example by pursuing your unconventional passions and spark discussion about what causes are important to you. Whatever professional narrative you choose, always mind your own ecological and moral footprint, and help others define sustainability for what it is: the ability to sustain our future livelihood, personally and environmentally.


STAFF Christina Tan* Editor-in-Chief Anna Ta* Managing Editor

OPINIONS Elizabeth Hergert* Editor

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PHOTO Channing Wang Editor Haiming Wang Asst. Editor COPY Vi Burgess Editor Bhavya Gopinath Editor Phillip Jaffe Editor ONLINE Ryan Green Web Editor Priyansh Lunia Video Editor

DESIGN Tina Liu* Director Dalia Gulca A&E Designer Joseph Hsu Features Designer Katherine Hui Sports Designer Anna Chung Ops Designer Dan Helmeci News Designer Yifei Zhang Illustrator Chloe Xu Illustrator

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.

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Kate Nezelek, Hanszen College senior and swimmer, loves everything about Coffeehouse, except for one thing: Their coffee, she says, has ruined all other coffee for her. “I go to Starbucks now, and I’m like, ‘You’re telling me you’re going to give me a drink that’s worse for twice as much money?’” Nezelek said. Nezelek says Coffeehouse is one of the things she’ll miss most when she graduates. “I’m going to miss Coffeehouse because I basically live there,” Nezelek said. “I sort of want to stay in Houston [after graduation] just so I can keep coming to Chaüs.”

Every person that I talked to here was so weird and passionate about something. Kate Nezelek HANSZEN COLLEGE SENIOR Although Nezelek, who’s completing a bachelor’s degree in English, isn’t sure where she’ll end up after graduation, she’s hoping to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing. As far as Nezelek can remember, she’s always been writing. “When I was in second grade, I was writing my own chapters of [the ‘Warrior Cats’ series],” Nezelek said. “That’s the

earliest I can think of where I was like, I want to tell stories.” For her senior seminar class in the English department, Nezelek is currently writing a novel. Although she enjoys it, she says the project isn’t without its challenges. “I am doing a longform fiction project, which has been so fun and so stressful at the same time because I’m literally just pumping out thousands of words,” Nezelek said. “I think that’s probably what I’ll end up wanting to do — novel writing. Because I’ve tried short stories, and … it’s a different beast, for sure.” When she isn’t writing, Nezelek can be found in the pool. A member of Rice’s swim team, Nezelek has been swimming since she was about 4 years old. Her parents — a swimmer and a professional baseball player — decided to put her in swimming after she kept them up at night, unable to fall asleep. “They threw me in swimming because they knew it was really hard,” Nezelek said. “They were like, ‘This is going to tire her out.’” Nezelek jokes that although athletics may be in her genes, so is something else: shoulder injuries. Like her father, who tore part of his rotator cuff as a pitcher, Nezelek faced shoulder injuries after her junior year of high school. The injuries were so severe, she needed surgery. After her sophomore year at Rice, she had another surgery, this time on her elbow. “I’ve been chronically injured since I came in [to Rice],” Nezelek said. Nezelek says her decision to swim in college was a natural one. “I just kind of assumed that I would,” Nezelek said. “Once you hit high school, I think most people just kind of assume.” Once she reached the college recruiting


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phase, Nezelek began getting calls from coaches, discussing scholarship opportunities and meeting teams. When making her official visits to colleges, Nezelek says, her visit to Rice was her least interesting trip. “Rice was actually my most boring recruiting trip, by far,” Nezelek said. “We went bowling, and I was like, ‘What am I doing here?’” But ultimately, she says she chose Rice because of the students she met and the connections she made. “Every person that I talked to here was so weird and passionate about something,” Nezelek said. “I feel like when I talked to a lot of other girls on other teams, or other students at other schools, they just didn’t have that spark … Even though I had more fun on those trips sometimes, I just felt like I connected so much more with the girls on the team and this school.” Although Nezelek’s experience as a studentathlete struggling with injuries hasn’t been easy, she says she’s grateful for the responsibility that it has taught her. “That’s kind of helped me [learn] that there are things that you just have to muscle through,” Nezelek said. “When some days just suck … I can skip class [or] I could not turn an assignment in. But when you’re on a sports team, that’s not

optional. You can’t just not show up to practice.” Some of Nezelek’s favorite memories at Rice are the moments she’s spent with her swim team — at practice, between meets and just hanging out. “It’s just the little moments — like we’ll do a training trip every year … [or] everybody sleeping on the bus together on the way back from a swim meet,” Nezelek said. “I think I value those little bits more than any measurable achievement.” Editor’s Note: This is an installment in Senior Spotlights, a series intended to explore the stories of graduating seniors, who are chosen at random to participate.

ACROSS 1) small bumps of skin on a turkey neck 10) Asian tree and essential oil fodder 12) 14 + 15 13) Dunc____ 14) prefix to lala and long 15) universal donor genotype 16) pres. No. 35 18) patch of dark hair on a male turkey’s chest 22) hands-on-hips standing style 24) skeptical or triumphant outburst 25) male turkey 28) a young turkey 31) Sundance Festival state 32) “Great” canines 33) ____ Atsume, addictive catraising game 34) founding father who wanted turkey as the national bird

DOWN 1) __ Twombly 2) haughty and distant 3) former Indian Prime Minister Narasimha ___ 4) last card warning cry 5) WWF or MSF, e.g. 6) suffix that changes adjectives to nouns, such as vacant 7) follows estre and pae, in Spain 8) turkeys can hear despite lacking an external ___ 9) red ornament that grows from turkey’s forehead over its bill 11) Viscous gunk 14) Mimosa ingred. 17) big ______ (honcho, top dog) 18) sexuality descriptor 19) typeface unit 20) universal recipient genotype 21) core and tooth descriptor 23) “_____ Reacts,” Ellen segment 26) Professor and mentor to Ash 27) Ohm reciprocal 28) many a HW submission format 29) water slicer 30) disapproving tut 31) sea urchin gonads



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

Photo Courtesy Kate Nezelek



New students on the block

Transfer students talk credit hour struggles, new opportunities


Omar Moussa Pasha, a Martel College sophomore, described transferring to Rice as his “dream come true.” Moving to Houston from Saudi Arabia in the last year of high school, it was too late for Moussa Pasha to apply for universities and he had no option but to go to Houston Community College, which had a later application deadline. Moussa Pasha enrolled in the honors program at Houston Community College, excelled in all of his classes and was looking to challenge himself in a four-year college. Rice gave him that opportunity. Annie Zhang, a Lovett College junior, transferred to Rice after one year at Johns Hopkins University. “I sort of knew throughout the whole year at Hopkins that I wanted to end up at Rice and that I wanted to be as happy as Rice students were,” Zhang said. When Zhang first got accepted by Rice in her senior year of high school, she couldn’t afford to come, so she chose Hopkins, which offered her generous financial aid and scholarships. However, Zhang soon discovered that Hopkins was not a great fit for her. “The school [has] a very, very competitive environment. [People there were] constantly trying to tear other people down in order to make themselves the best,” Zhang said. After some struggles with mental health, Zhang decided to apply for transfer to Rice, which she believed to be a land of happiness and care. This time, Zhang got accepted with a full scholarship. And Rice did not let her down. “I [felt] welcomed at Rice from my day one of [Orientation] Week. There truly is a culture of care here,” Zhang said. “Coming into O-Week and having a group of upperclassmen dedicating that much of their summer and that much effort to make you feel at home is really amazing.”

I [felt] welcomed at Rice from my day one of O-Week. There truly is a culture of care here. Annie Zhang LOVETT COLLEGE JUNIOR Zhang enjoyed her O-Week experience so much that she wanted to pass the tradition forward, and became an O-Week advisor at Lovett this year. Even though Zhang still struggles with mental health problems at Rice, she said the Rice community has helped support her in her recovery. For Harry Liu, a Martel senior who transferred in last year, his decision to transfer schools stemmed from academic considerations. “[I was] looking for a larger platform for jobs and research,” Liu said. Liu’s former school, Bucknell University, is a liberal arts college located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. “Most of the professors [at Bucknell] spend their time preparing for classes, but they don’t conduct that much academic research, so it is hard for an engineering student like me to gain [hands-on] experience,” Liu said. “In comparison, Rice is more evenly split between education and research.” Just like for Zhang, the transfer application was not Liu’s first attempt at getting to Rice.


“Rice had always been my dream school,” Liu said. “I applied early decision for it in my senior year of high school but didn’t get in. Then I figured I should try again.” Liu said he is now thriving at Rice. Originally a mechanical engineering major at Bucknell, he picked up a new major, computer science, at Rice, and is now double majoring. Liu also got his dream research opportunity; currently, he is working under the direction of professor Geoff Wehmeyer to research nanoscale heat transfer. “Rice broadened my perspectives,” Liu said. Despite having a lot of respect for the academic rigor at Rice, Moussa Pasha said he was frustrated that some departments would not accept any credits from two-years programs, and other departments would only accept his credits on conditions. “[The chemistry department] told me if I pass my organic chemistry class then they’ll take my [general chemistry] credit,” Moussa Pasha said. Like many other transfer students who came to Rice in their junior year and faced problems getting all credits transferred over, Moussa Pasha has to postpone his graduation by one year. Zhang reflected that transfer students didn’t have much support in figuring out how to get transfer credits approved. “Transferring academically is really much more stressful than it needs to be,” Zhang said. Moussa Pasha also expressed disappointment at the current Transfer Students Association and administrative efforts to help transfer students adjust to their lives at Rice. “I wish Rice could have [paid] more attention to transfer students during O-Week,” Moussa Pasha said. “Adding transfer student O-Week advisors or at least a [transfer student peer academic advisor] would help.” Moussa Pasha said he plans to get more involved with the Transfer Students Association to make more things happen for future transfer students. Currently, Moussa Pasha is hoping to talk to the director of admissions about holding transfer student information sessions. Liu expressed concern about transfer students’ social lives in general. Currently over the credit limit with 20 credit hours, Liu said that transfer students generally take more classes to make up for the loss of transfer credits and face more imminent pressure on finding jobs and applying for graduate schools.

“I am a very outgoing person so I’ve made a good number of friends. But even for me, it is hard to maintain a decent social life with all these pressures from school,” Liu said. “My biggest advice for transfer students is to go out and make friends. Otherwise you’ll be crushed by the heavy workload and mounting [academic] pressures.” Zhang said she has built a support system with the help of friends,

professors and other adults in the college, which has helped improve her mental health. “Rice is still really academically rigorous and people here are really, really smart,” Zhang said. “I still [struggle] with mental health. It [hasn’t] disappeared. But I’ve been able to handle it so much better than I had at Hopkins, just because I have a great support system that I never thought I would have in college.”





Last Sunday, 20 student organizations came together for International Night Fall 2019, an event celebrating the cultural diversity of the Rice community hosted by the Rice University Student Association and Rice International Student Association. Visitors enjoyed performances from Rice Lions (pictured), Mariachi Luna Llena, K-pop and hip-hop dance group BASYK, Bollywood fusion dance team Rice Riyaaz and traditional Korean percussion ensemble Woori.

SOL FROM PAGE 1 Alison Weaver, executive director of the Moody Center for the Arts, took the podium next. “Every great installation has a story,” Weaver began before chronicling the weeks-long process of the drawings’ installation. “Like a musical score, [LeWitt’s instructions] can be interpreted differently by different artists.” “Wall Drawing #1115” was installed by four draftspeople over the course of a month after being permanently acquired by Rice Public Art from H. Russell Pitman (Hanszen College ’58). Gabriel Hurier, a lead installer at LeWitt Studio, oversaw a team of three local artists including David Krueger, head exhibit preparator at Rice’s Moody Center for the Arts, and Cat McCaully and Jacob Villalobos, who have both contributed to Moody exhibit installations in the past. Cathy Maris, director of the Sol LeWitt project at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, showed a time lapse video which featured the draftspeople treating each panel of color seven times until finally the finished drawing radiated vibrant color. As the first conceptual artwork in the Rice Public Art collection, “Wall Drawing #1115” invites the Rice Community to contemplate a new genre of art on campus.

The installation of “Wall Drawing #869A” was even more collaborative in its installation. According to Maris, the Glasscock School wanted to involve a wider range of Rice community members in the exhibit so the Paula Cooper Gallery agreed to loan #869A since it’s a “copied lines” drawing.

Rice is certainly a community that shares LeWitt’s celebration of ideas and his collaborative, inclusive spirit. Cathy Maris DIRECTOR OF THE SOL LEWITT PROJECT This type of drawing essentially makes it possible for anyone to participate — the lines didn’t even have to be straight. John Hogan, installations director for the LeWitt Estate, trained a team of installers who completed this “copied lines” drawing over three days from Nov. 4 to Nov.

6. A team of 36 people participated which included seven Glasscock students, two Glasscock studio art instructors, six Rice undergraduates from visual and dramatic arts and architecture, two VADA faculty and a mix of Rice alumni, Glasscock staff members and other stakeholders and community members. Because this is the first time this wall drawing has been installed anywhere in the world, everyone who participated in the project will be included in the Sol LeWitt wall drawing “catalog raisonné,” a digital record of the more than 1,200 installations of LeWitt’s wall drawings. Maris said that the contrast of the two drawings helps viewers understand the potential of LeWitt wall drawings. “You go upstairs to see Wall Drawing #869A and are forced to reconsider the essence of a LeWitt wall drawing,” Maris said. “Is it a painting? A drawing? … A precisely measured shape? A series of organic lines that unfold in unpredictable ways? In the end, a wall drawing can be all of these things.” Wall drawings #1115 and #869A mark an extension of Rice’s longstanding relationship with LeWitt. The late artist was commissioned by Rice Gallery in 1997 to create the site-specific “Glossy and Flat Black Squares,” which was recreated in 2017 as the concluding

exhibition of Rice Gallery which closed that same year. “Sol figured out how to make art eternal. That was his genius,” said Kim Davenport, founding director of Rice Gallery, said. In his 1967 “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art,” LeWitt wrote, “the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work … the idea becomes a machine that makes the art.” These words are intensely relevant to the acquisition of wall drawings #1115 and #869A, as the ideas of collaboration, education and accessibility propelled installation forward. “The single most common word I’ve heard applied to LeWitt is generosity,” Maris said. “His artwork is grounded in a generous approach to making. He viewed his draftspeople as collaborators and trusted that they would honor his ideas and implement them with integrity. Rice is certainly a community that shares LeWitt’s celebration of ideas and his collaborative, inclusive spirit.” You can view “Wall Drawing #1115” in the Dean’s Commons of the AndersonClarke Center at any time as it is a permanent piece in the Rice Public Art collection. “Wall Drawing #869A” will be on view on the second floor of the center for the next three years.


DAYLIGHT Rice Dance Theatre will present “Daylight” Nov. 21-23 at 7:30 p.m. Witness your fellow owls glide across the dance floor in a diverse array of dance styles and musical genres in addition to guest performances by dance groups BASYK and Funkonomics. Student tickets are $3 for Thursday and $5 for Friday and Saturday. Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center 2nd Floor Dance Theater

CINEMA CRAWL This Saturday, celebrate local filmmakers at Cinema Crawl, a free all-day event that is part of Houston’s 27th annual Artcrawl. Sounds of Cinema, a KTRU specialty show dedicated to movie soundtracks, is hosting a day of art markets in collaboration with Canal Street Studios starting at 11 a.m. Local films will be shown outside the studios at 6 p.m. followed by a screening of the 1966 yakuza film “Tokyo Drifter” at 7 p.m. Canal Street Studios 5210 Canal St.

DHAMAKA 2019 Join Rice’s South Asian Society for Dhamaka, their annual showcase of South Asian culture, this Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. Marvel at musical performances from student groups and artists before enjoying a catered Indian meal after the show. Presale tickets are available until Nov. 22 for $10 (non-SAS members). Tickets at the door will be $12 if available. rice memorial center grand hall

INDYMEDIA ENCUENTRO Rice Cinema is hosting the 20th anniversary celebration of Indymedia, a citizen journalist movement that encourages unconventional participation in media. The celebration will run from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 and will feature screenings of films and newsreels as well as panel discussions with prominent members of Indymedia. See the full schedule of events at rice media center



KTRU Hip-Hop Night returns, gives platform to student artists

PHOTO courtesy vikram nayar

Rapper JMRRL (Jeremiah Murrell) performs in Lyle’s, in the Lovett College basement, at KTRU Hip-Hop Night on Friday, Nov. 15. The Hanszen College senior gave a lively performance as he engaged with his audience of peers and fellow artists.


Lyle’s, the basement in Lovett College, experienced an exciting makeover last Friday as flashing red, green and blue lights lit up the stage for KTRU’s Hip-Hop Night. The lineup consisted of student musicians and dancers and a KTRU community DJ who played chopped and screwed remixes, a genre whose origins stem from Houston’s early ’90s hip-hop scene. This was the first year that KTRU hosted Hip-Hop Night. Previously hosted by the Rice Beatbox Club, the event was discontinued last year, according to Varun Kataria. Kataria, a KTRU DJ who hosts KTRU’s hip-hop specialty show, said that attending Hip-Hop Night was one of his favorite memories from freshman year, and that he wanted to revive the event to provide a platform for hip-hop artists and performers to showcase their skills. “Someone had played a rap song on their violin,” Kataria, a Lovett junior, said. “There [were] a bunch of beatboxers, varying types of dance performances. So I had that intention when I was approaching the event that I wanted it to be diverse.”

With dance performances interwoven with fast-flowing rap as well as melodic singing, the audience got to experience a wide range of what hip-hop can encompass. The event kicked off with a performance by Christina Lee, a Lovett junior who danced to Ari Lennox’s “BMO.” Her sharp and precise movements made for an impassioned start to the show. Lee was followed by Josiah Jones, whose stage name is Jo Panda, who ramped up the energy. “I’m going to remember y’all as my first people, because this is my first time performing ever,” Jones, a Lovett sophomore, said before confidently asking the audience to form a mosh pit in front of the stage. Six audience members answered his call, although they did not end up moshing as much as enthusiastically swaying. But when Jones started rapping, his energy and cadence masked the fact that this was his first performance ever. He seemed to be running on pure exuberance as he rapped over crashing, grimy beats of his own composition with fervor. “If you don’t know this is Mercury retrograde season,” he said before delivering a final heartfelt track. “That shit fucked me up badly, so this is my therapy.”

Jones was followed by Amy Doan, Karen Wang, Linda Liu and Victor Song from student dance group BASYK, who performed a smooth and flowing routine to 5 Seconds of Summer’s song “Youngblood” and later to Beyonce’s “Partition.” Next, rapper JMRRL, Hanszen College senior Jeremiah Murrell, delivered an enthusiastic live performance. Murrell’s zeal was contagious as he jumped around stage and playfully called out the seated audience to be more responsive.

If you want these artists to flourish, take them seriously and give them credit for their music. Varun Kataria LOVETT COLLEGE JUNIOR After a few songs, Murrell was joined by Hitori, or Derrick Kagwanja, a Will Rice College junior who delivered a soulful solo performance of his original music. Hitori was followed by Alexander Slinkman, or

Slink, who kept up a rapid flow throughout his four tracks without missing a beat. The Duncan College sophomore’s confidence seemed to grow with each song, as his performance became more animated and passionate. The last rap performance was by Fay Z, or Zain Aziz (Lovett ’18), who slowed down the pace of the night when he launched into a series of lo-fi tracks dealing with themes such as troubled relationships. Singer Jonathan Ubalijoro, a Lovett junior, upheld this atmosphere with a heartfelt rendition of Steve Lacy’s “Love 2 Fast.” Halfway into his performance, Ubalijoro jumped down from the stage and threw his jacket to the side, finishing the song with a graceful freeform dance. Following Ubalijoro, community DJ Javier Lopez encouraged the audience to dance as he played a series of chopped and screwed remixes of hip-hop music. The event came to a close with two impressive dance performances: Baker College senior James Warner breakdanced to the “Baby Shark (Trap Remix)” to the audience’s delight before Elhadji Diop, a Duncan College junior, ended the night with velvet-like choreography to Drake’s “Behind Barz.” KTRU’s Hip-Hop Night brimmed with pure delight and appreciation as many performers thanked the audience for attending, showing how much their friends’ and fellow students’ support meant to them. Kataria said that Rice musicians will collectively benefit if students take their art seriously and show continuous support for each other’s work. “Often when people make music at Rice, you’ll give it a listen but then it’s overlooked beyond that,” Kataria said. “If you want these artists to flourish, take them seriously and give them credit for their music and actually play it, show it off to your own friends. It really gives them chances as artists to expand.” The artists’ original music can be found on Soundcloud under the usernames jopanda585 (Jones), jmrrl (Murrell), user482500407 (Kagwanja), the_slinkyman (Slinkman) and fayz (Aziz).

Rice Players’ ‘Hi, Brain’ confronts mental health RISHIKA CHIDANANDA FOR THE THRESHER

In a quiet building detached from the usual chatter of college life, a young girl sees her world falling apart. She can barely comprehend, much less express, the chaotic emotions that weigh her down. So, she turns to the only person who can understand her deeply-rooted anxiety: her brain, Brian. “Hi, Brain” is a new theatrical show written and produced by student-led theater organization, the Rice Players. The play centers on the life of Alice, a young woman who works at a neuroscience lab and struggles with anxiety. After a sudden accident that ends in a head injury, Alice begins hallucinating her own brain, who she names Brian. While having deep and intimate conversations with her own brain, Alice begins a journey of understanding her own mental illness and learning how to cope with it. The Rice Players chose “Hi, Brain” from the Fall 2019 Playwriting Competition, a biannual playwriting competition established by the theater group last year as a place where students could see their creative works come to life on stage, according to Martel College senior Matt Pittard. “A year ago, [the Rice Players] decided that we wanted to offer a platform for students to present their own original theatrical works,” Pittard, producer of “Hi, Brain,” said. “We started a playwriting competition where we would accept submission from current students and other folks in the Rice community, with the possibility of giving a piece stage readthroughs or full productions.”

channing wang / THRESHER

Wiess College freshman Alejandra Wagnon (left) plays Alice, a neuroscience student who struggles with mental health in the RIce Players’ production, “Hi, Brain.” Alice begins to hallucinate her brain as a person, played by Lovett College sophomore Caleb Dukes (right).

Kelsey Sanders said she submitted her screenplay for “Hi, Brain” to the competition with no expectation of it being chosen. “It doesn’t feel like I did something all that special. I just started writing,” Sanders, a McMurtry College senior, said. “Every time I felt stressed or overwhelmed, I would pick it up and keep writing it until all of a sudden I had something. I didn’t set out to write anything in particular, it was just a big mess of what I was feeling.” The often abstract theme of mental health physically manifests in the character Brian. Throughout the play, Alice is in direct confrontation with her brain as she grapples with her anxiety. The frequent arguments

between Alice and her brain bring to stage a visual demonstration of the dialogue one must have with their own mental health. Alejandra Wagnon, a Wiess College freshman who plays Alice, spoke on the benefit of having a physical representation of mental health. “I think a lot of [Rice] students suffer from a mental illness but don’t always feel as though they can reach out,” Wagnon said. “There may be students who come see the show and experience some of the same emotions as my character Alice. And so hopefully in seeing that and her own journey, they can find inspiration to reach out to others in their own life.”

Pittard said that the uplifting and relevant messages present in plays like “Hi, Brain” are one of the reasons why student art continues to be an integral part of campus culture. “The student-written shows are not only a real showcase for what writers can do but also a way for the Rice population to communicate within itself and bring to light new ideas and possibly start new dialogues,” Pittard said. “Hi, Brain” opens this Thursday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. Subsequent showtimes are Nov. 22 and 23 at 8 p.m. All performances will take place in Hamman Hall. Admission is free for everyone. Donations will be accepted at the door.






You may know sophomore guard Haylee Swayze from her role as a key contributor to Rice’s successful women’s basketball team, but she’s also a talented multi-sport athlete with passions in both academics and faith that guide her life off the court. Swayze’s basketball experience started at an early age, when she competed in the local youth sports league. “I started young playing in the YMCA,” Swayze said. “My dad was my coach and it was always super fun.” As Swayze grew into adolescence, she continued to play basketball while also excelling in several other sports. On the softball field at Purcell High School, Swayze helped lead her team to a 2017 Oklahoma state championship. Swayze also competed in cross-country and was a standout track athlete, winning five individual state

championships: tw0 in the 300-meter hurdles, and one each in the 100-meter hurdles, 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash. In 2018, Swayze’s 55.68-second winning performance in the 400-meter state championship meet set an Oklahoma 3A high school record and was the fastest time across all divisions. During her senior year, she was an AllState selection in all four sports. According to Swayze, choosing to pursue basketball over other sports at the collegiate level was not an easy decision, due to her love for different sports. “I enjoyed playing all those sports in high school and one summer I sat down with my parents and decided to do travel basketball, travel softball and some track meets and just to find out which one I loved more,” Swayze said. “I fell in love with basketball and had some success and wanted to pursue it at the collegiate level.”

Swimming to face UH in last meet MADISON BUZZARD SPORTS EDITOR

When Rice swimming challenges the University of Houston in the Phill Hansel Invitational this Thursday to Saturday, the team will be competing in its first tournament of the season against UH. Rice will face the Cougars twice more: during a Quad Meet held at UH from Jan. 31 to Feb. 1 and in the First Chance Meet on Feb. 15. In the First Chance Meet, teams prepare for conference play. But in Rice’s early season showdown against UH this week, the Owls will look to bounce back from a loss to Texas A&M University. Rice has three wins and one loss in dual meets this season. Additionally, Rice earned victories in two early-season open tournaments: the season-opening College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America Open Water National and the fiveteam Rice Invitational. The Phill Hansel Invitational, held at the UH Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, will be a meet featuring both preliminary and final competitions. Senior Claire Therien said the meet will feature a myriad of events, including several distance events such as the 400-yard individual medley. The race could prove difficult for Rice given that UH fields a 400-medley team which broke its program’s record in March; one swimmer on UH’s record-breaking 400-medley team is senior Laura Laderoute, who is a UH record-holder in four events. Becca Brandt, a junior transfer from UH,

said she favors racing for Rice. “While I am excited to see some old friends from UH, I am also going into this meet knowing that I made the right decision in transferring and that Rice is definitely the right place for me,” Brandt said. “I am extremely proud to be a Rice Owl and I am excited to see some great racing between the two teams.” Therien said the Owls are mentally preparing to face UH. “We are going over race day scripts, which basically makes us think through the hours leading up to the race — so that when the time comes, we can execute the race perfectly,” Therien said. Junior Brittany Bui, who swims in the butterfly and individual medley and holds Rice records in five events, said she is more focused on contributing to the team rather than succeeding as an individual. “That’s not really the mindset I have approaching my swims,” Bui said. “I have always found myself performing best when I compete for my team and when I’m relaxed and having fun.” Bui said that accepting her times as a swimmer makes her successful. “I don’t like to set expectations for times and placing on my races because it puts a lot of pressure on myself causing me to overthink,” Bui said. “I like to focus on things within my control like how I’ll execute my race, and that’s when I have my best swims.” Following the Invitational, Rice will not swim until the Owls host the University of North Texas on Jan. 10.

Even though Swayze became confident she wanted to play basketball at the collegiate level, she said she did not initially consider playing basketball at Rice, thinking she wanted to stay in Oklahoma. “[Rice was] the first school to start recruiting me and I kind of pushed it on the backburner,” Swayze said. “I didn’t know much about it, but they were very consistent.” Swayze said ultimately, Rice’s academic opportunities and successful basketball program proved to be too much to pass up. After averaging only 4.3 points per game as a freshman last year, Swayze reintroduced herself to Rice fans this season by scoring 22 points in the team’s season opener against Nicholls State University. Her scoring output on 7-14 shooting helped guide the Owls a 71-47 win. Swayze said that she has developed as a basketball player during her time at Rice. “Going from last season into this season FOOTBALL FROM PAGE 1

I knew I had a lot to learn about the game still,” Swayze said. “I had to develop my skills offensively and defensively.” According to Swayze, she strives to improve off the court as well. Swayze is a kinesiology major concentrating in health sciences, and was awarded the 2018-19 C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal for her academic achievements. In addition to her athletic and academic pursuits, Swayze also said her faith has been a guiding principle in her life. She is on the leadership team for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which is a Christian ministry with a chapter at Rice. “Faith is a big part of my life so it is super cool to have that outside of basketball because [life] is bigger [than that],” Swayze said. “I’m not just a basketball player.” This week, Swayze will return to her home state when the Owls face Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma on Nov. 23.

with a 24-yard run on 3rd and 11 with two Nyakwol said Rice’s defense must use its minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. According to Bloomgren, his team had room improved on-field communication . “With the guys out there on the field, for improvement even in the win. “Obviously, there are a few things we you kinda know each other’s tendencies,” Nyakwol said. “Watching film of the other want to correct, and that’s great to have team, you know their tendencies as well. So those when you have a winning locker room you prepare for where you’re going to be if you can walk into this room on Monday and this, this and this happens. I guess it’s kinda still talk about all those things we need to correct and how the process doesn’t change,” like chess.” Bloomgren said he feels a “monkey” Bloomgren said. “Treat victory and defeat as the imposters that coming off his back they are.” with the win. Rice last The Owls next face went winless in 1988, the University of North when the team finished Texas, which holds with an 0-11 record. Obviously, there are a a 4-6 overall record “I thought we few things we want to and 3-3 mark against played with a ton of correct ... the process Conference USA foes juice,” Bloomgren and sits at fifth place said. “Getting that doesn’t change. Treat first win on Saturday victory and defeat as the in C-USA West, one place above Rice. felt really good. I’m so imposters that they are. According to Stewart, proud of our players the Owls do not feel and coaches, the way Mike Bloomgren like underdogs. they stayed in this, the FOOTBALL HEAD COACH “I think there’s way they kept fighting, preparing. To see them enjoying it in that definitely a boost to morale and everyone is thinking we can [win],” Stewart said. winning locker room made it all worth it.” UNT boasts the No. 3 ranked scoring According to Bloomgren, Rice won because of improved execution on offense, offense in C-USA. According to Bloomgren, defense and special teams, especially in the UNT quarterback Mason Fine poses problems for Rice’s defense. first half. “When you watch the film, it’s not too “You really saw good production in all three phases in that first half,” Bloomgren much different than last year in terms of the said. “It’s the best half of football we’ve talented guys that [UNT] have on the field,” played [all season],” Bloomgren said. “I Bloomgren said. “We’re going to prepare for guess it makes the top three [as a Rice [quarterback Mason Fine] because we think he’s as good as it gets in this conference.” coach].” Rice now needs one more victory to reach Bloomgren said graduate student running back Aston Walter sealed the game its total from last season.




Freshman Grace Forbes finished sixth at last weekend’s cross-country NCAA South Central Regional Championships, qualifying for the NCAA championship meet this Saturday, Nov. 23. Both the men’s and women’s cross-country teams placed fifth in their respective races, marking the conclusion of the teams’ seasons. At the regional meet, held at the University of Arkansas, the men ran a 10-kilometer race while the women ran six kilometers. In cross-country, the position of each teams’ top five runners contributes to the team’s final placement. Overall, the women’s team placed fifth for the second consecutive year, while the men’s team dropped one spot from last year’s fourthplace finish. Forbes became just the second freshman, the first being Marissa Daniels in 2004, in Rice women’s cross-country history to qualify as an individual for the NCAA Championships. Forbes finished sixth overall, and was the top finisher not from the University of Arkansas, whose team is ranked No. 1 in the country in the NCAA’s coaches’ poll. Jim Bevan, women’s cross-country head coach, said Forbes’ performance at the meet was special. “[Forbes was] the brightest star of the race on Friday,” Bevan said. “She competed with the experience of an upperclassman and was patient and struck when the time was right ... It is extremely hard to qualify as a freshman at a longer distance than in high school against older and more experienced runners. This is a testament to her tenacity and desire.” In addition to Forbes’ historic effort, several other runners from both the men’s and women’s teams put in strong performances. Junior Hociel Landa was the fastest Owl on the men’s side. Landa bested his 10k time from last season’s regional meet

by nearly a full minute, placing 33rd with a time of 31:21. Redshirt freshman Ace Castillo and senior Connor Meaux were the Owls’ second and third fastest runners, placing No. 35 (31:23) and No. 48 (31:39), respectively. Sophomore Andrew Abikhaled (No. 51) and redshirt senior Adolfo Carvalho (No. 53) were the Owls’ final two scoring runners. According to Jon Warren, men’s crosscountry head coach, Meaux played a significant part in the team’s top-five finish. “Meaux really came through having what might be his best cross-country race of this college career,” Warren said. On the women’s side, senior Khayla Patel (No. 22) received all-region honors for the second consecutive year. Bevan said Patel has been a strong contributor to the team during her entire time at Rice. “Khayla Patel has been rock solid for us for four years,” Bevan said, “She is an outstanding runner, an outstanding student, an outstanding person and an outstanding leader. We will truly miss Khayla.” Sophomore Alyssa Balandran (No. 40), junior Lourdes Vivas de Lorenzi (No. 54) and sophomore Ashley Messineo (No. 63), rounded out the rest of the team’s top five. Bevan said the women’s team peaked at the right time. “We accomplished most of our goals,” Bevan said. “The University of Houston, Arkansas State [University], Stephen F. Austin [University] [and] Baylor [University] all beat us earlier in the year and we were able to beat them at the most important time: the Regional Championships. This is what you are hoping for, to be at your best at the end of the year.” Warren said this season has been one to celebrate for the men’s team. “This has been a very good season,” Warren said. “Starting with a win at the Rice Invite and then finishing with both a top-3 finish at C-USA’s and a top-five finish at the NCAA Regional meet is a very good place to be for the year.”


Redshirt senior Adolfo Carvalho runs in Rice’s home invitational on Sept. 13. Carvalho was the men’s team’s fifth scoring runner in his final collegiate cross-country meet, with a time of 31:52.



The Backpage is usually fairly critical regarding what’s going on around campus. But, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, we wanted to switch gears and open up about all of the things we appreciate here at Rice. So, in honor of the holiday, here’s…

What the Backpage is Thankful For:

fo Ric o w tba e i n l S on ure, stre nin l’s g e lon w it’s ak a i in gest n, bu stre : thi st t t ak w re h s ou e ca seas ak w at’s of 20 r 2- n ev on! e h the 18 11 en M av -19 re o ay e no thou — cor ne-u be t. gh st d f p gra We’r , pro atist rom i tw for L tefu e es babl cally ee ee l, t pe y loc tin br ho cia ke g t on ugh lly r r he qu , o the om ende ote t vi ar “h chan eam deo ing oe tin of sm g ad !”

Irrationally angry comments on the Thresher Facebook: We’re just happy that the ridiculously incensed alumni, community members and strangers with absolutely no stake in what’s going on at Rice can have some outlet for their poorly managed emotions. Really, Dave (class of ’88), are you that enraged about students’ peaceful protest, or is your marriage falling apart?

ice Pr ll ks: ly. Fu oo real rice t B P e , no Half we’r l ell u , W ith sing atef gr ve t w lo Bu ks c o be e ha ss o Bo ing t hat w e gla Half th at try w for d see ot th ks l oo an d an ice B ed — r pi ll — P cu alf fu an oc h h as er t pty. h rat lf em ha

T este he e spe ake med R r i r ce st he es: c res Bak hosts hat Th n pie ntent, High a -pro er Inst t the inio heir co r the fi c i t o p l e u ntro O or t vers guests, te: n fo ity of s p f e e v t o No eally e divers make wor ple ma ial polit even wi ic ki r th ld t f a r e o h o le er, w t som them we live ng decis s, are th p i c e t i prin t. Rath l is tha hottes that is rema in, so ha ons in t h a h v “ r i e i e g a k n c o cces able h u g ac to b tho so spe n get t chest s ep Insti ringing s” is bas . Unfort cess to s a e r p c i k tut un e o ac ica s ly ent ff th ve to seve e’s gues ardboa lly equi ately, stud takes o n’t ha mplete ted r va ts ra d oppo l towns to a Tha cutout lent of hey do em co nrela n o o n i t r th gu intel tunity t ver. That ksgiving f the that eating durin nch or n o ’s di virtu lectua e rep mpted s at lu es. Eve to l dis ngage i because nner ally n o r n c n o s r e i th u o e onex any vere urse unp versat of lect er hav th actu e i l s y w t e I i g l i f n i t nt o mite your co back o lon ent w n t h them al d the , you n argum her boomer abiliy to op of st is date u a a r ay n ter to T unt bro ttend. I dents’ bet me you an I pl ” whe h m u ? a g agi ht “C cate just be a nksgiv fra sked ing, h Pompe ne: vo , it’s d a i m o e e’d s abou peac ity il’s u’r urel as t h dev actual ion yo d t m h y once en e in — n t at lea opin shame r s u o a t B t at aker yo htly the In slig of. last stitute wee k!

Professors that cancel Wednesday classes the week of Thanksgiving: Take note of how badly no student wants to take notes that Wednesday. Please let them go home. And if they can’t go home for Thanksgiving, at least don’t add insult to injury by making them go to class while their residential colleges are empty and their friends escape the hedges.

The Backpage is satire and written and designed by Simona “the wobble song but instead it’s gobble baby gobble” Matovic. For comments or questions, please email



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 RICE ALUM HIRING TUTORS for Middle & High School Math, Natural & Social Science, Foreign Language, Humanities and SAT/ACT prep. Reliable transportation required. Pay is based upon variety of factors. Contact 832-428-8330 and email resume to

LOCAL TUTORING COMPANY, KSCHOLASTIC is hiring tutors for all subjects and a social media manager. Tutors must have a car, work until May 31st, and pay starts at $28 hourly. Please contact Karla Machado at for more details.


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The Rice Thresher | Wednesday, November 20, 2019  

The Rice Thresher | Wednesday, November 20, 2019  

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