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Policy requires Beer Bike guests to register



Guests at Beer Bike this year must register and buy visitor-specific shirts in order to partake in college activities due to a new policy aiming to increase visitor accountability. Only registered alumni can have access to college areas such as dorms, commons and quads on the day of Beer Bike before noon; afterwards, unregistered guests will be allowed access into college areas except for dorms. Victor Nguyen, a Lovett Beer Bike coordinator, said that the changes come in response to the behavior of some visitors and returning alumni during past Beer Bikes. “They broke some rules and also some actual physical things within the college were damaged,” Nguyen, a sophomore at Lovett, said. “That led to a campus-wide initiative led by the magisters and the college presidents [who] for the most part supported this.” Quinn Mathews, outgoing McMurtry College president, said the list of registered guests will be shared with every magister and Beer Bike coordinator and used to hold guests accountable. Guests must register with a host student who has signed a waiver on their behalf.

17 perfect home 13-0 record perfect Conference15-0 USA record C-USA #1 recruiting class game win streak


#6 2,606 #24 #1

scoring defense Tudor Fieldhouse attendance record Associated Press Top-25 ranking Conference-USA tournament seed All rankings national unless indicated otherwise


Computer science adapts to rapid growth ANDREW GROTTKAU EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

The number of undergraduates studying computer science has more than doubled since 2014, an increase that department head Luay Nakhleh said will require an investment in the department. “The university can invest in CS,” Nakhleh said. “That’s something the university can do and should do, and they are doing to a certain extent now. We are making the case to them that we need to grow more. Growing and hiring more faculty, that’s something that’s not against the culture or any philosophy of Rice.”

Students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in computer science increased from 155 in Fall 2014 to 329 in Fall 2018, according to the Rice Office of Institutional Research. These totals only reflect those students who have already declared a major in computer science. In spring 2014, when the department first began teaching only one section of COMP 182, a freshman-level computer science major requirement, there were 119 students in the course. The class, which is only offered in the spring semester, reached a peak of 225 students in spring 2018 before lowering to 208 students this semester, spring 2019. Nakhleh said the classes have become almost unmanageable.

“This is a big issue because students come to Rice for a different style,” Nakhleh said. “If they wanted to go to a huge [class] maybe they would have gone to [the University of Texas], Austin. But what can we do? These are the resources we have. I cannot copy myself or create 15 versions of myself or anything like that.” According to Rice’s Student Achievement website, about 80 percent of Rice computer science students who graduated between 2013 and 2017 are currently employed while only three percent are searching for jobs. The rest are split between graduate school, entrepreneurship, the military and other or nontraditional career paths. SEE COMPUTER


I appreciate [they] are working toward making Beer Bike a safer event, but I think one thing I liked about Beer Bike was us sharing the tradition with people outside of Rice. Jayson Taylor BEER BIKE COORDINATOR “The registration allows for a way for visitors and alumni to be held responsible if they do something on Beer Bike,” Mathews said. “For instance, if a visitor breaks something, we have no current way of fining them. This process will mean the host takes responsibility for the guests and will be the one fined.” Mathews said that the policy change also includes a requirement that all visitors purchase wear specific, recognizable $25 T-shirts, which is in response to outside individuals coming on campus unnoticed. “The T-shirts also allow the magisters and RUPD to pick out who is supposed to be around the colleges because there have been incidents of people from outside the Rice community sneaking around the colleges uninhibited on Beer Bike,” Mathews said. According to Rebecca Artall, one of the two campus-wide Beer Bike coordinators, the new system was requested by the magisters and implemented by the college presidents like Mathews. Nguyen and coordinator Jayson Taylor said that the change does add some difficulty to their jobs as coordinators for Lovett. SEE BEER



2 • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 2019


Short of faculty, computer science continues to grow

250 200







225 208

100 50 2013

infographic by sumin hwang

COMPUTER SCIENCE FROM PAGE 1 According to the database, the top employers of Rice graduates since 2013 are Microsoft and Google, according to the database.



Shaquille Que, a McMurtry freshman, said he believes the lucrative career opportunities coupled with the fact that computer science is a broad and rapidly developing field help to drive students to the major.



“Even managing the TAs now is a full“First is income-wise, CS is known to have really good income,” Que said. “It’s time job,” he said. Kutub Gandhi, a Sid Richardson College a dream for people to go to Silicon Valley and work for Facebook or Google and get junior, said he believes the changes the paid really, really well for that. Second is department has made to accomodate the that today, a lot of our world is powered by number of students have been effective. “I think that if you had told me coming new technologies. CS is at the forefront of that, it’s changing the way we do things.” into Rice that hey, you’re going to have In response to the influx of students, class sizes of 200 filling Herzstein Hall, I six new faculty members have joined the would’ve been intimidated by that because computer science department in the past two I would’ve felt like I wouldn’t get a lot of years, and Nakhleh said he expects to hire individual attention,” Gandhi said. “But COMP 140 and COMP 182, the two big intro more for the upcoming academic year. Even though the faculty is growing, classes, are managed pretty well. I actually the number of students has been difficult think [the department’s] been doing it surprisingly well.” for the department to Still, Nakhleh said he deal with, according believes improvements to Nakhleh. With the can be made to limit size of the classes Today, a lot of our class sizes. He said that comes a wide gap in world is powered by although the university knowledge between new technologies. would not allow it, he the most prepared and would suggest that Rice least prepared COMP [Computer science] force students to stay students, according is at the forefront of within the academic to Nakhleh, which he that, it’s changing school they indicate said makes teaching the way we do things. on their application in challenging. order to prevent students “Many of [the Shaquille Que from social sciences, students] are taking MCMURTRY COLLEGE natural sciences or [computer science] the humanities from because of the jobs at FRESHMAN the end and now that’s creating a situation switching into computer science. “[Forcing students to stay within one where students did not come prepared for CS to Rice,” he said. “This becomes so academic school is] against the culture hard because who do you teach the course of Rice,” Nakhleh said. “Anyone who for? Of course not the top [student], but I shows up with a form to sign [to major cannot just slow down the course to a very in computer science], I will sign it. All painful pace because one student might they need to do is do well in the courses ... Respecting what the student wrote on otherwise get lost.” Students, too, have noticed the effects their application is an option, but I don’t of the increasing class sizes. Mary Haws, see that happening at Rice.” The alternative, according to Nakhleh, a Duncan College freshman, said she struggled to get one-on-one contact with is for Rice to make a concerted effort to teaching assistants in COMP 140, an support the computer science department. Despite the large classes, Nakhleh introductory-level computer science course. “You’d go to office hours and there said the computer science department would be 20 people and one [teaching routinely scores among the highest in the assistant],” Haws said. “There was one category ‘satisfaction with teaching’ on time in McMurtry [College] Commons the senior exit survey. Harrison Brown, there were back-to-back office hours, my a Lovett College senior and computer friend and I went to both of them and science major, said he thinks Rice’s computer science department has been didn’t get any help the whole time.” Nakhleh said the department is effective in preparing him for his future. “I think the curriculum here is attempting to deal with the ballooning class sizes in a variety of ways. COMP really good and we get to have close 140 and COMP 182 now employ 50 and interactions with faculty,” Brown said. 34 TAs, respectively, and large classes “I know there’s a lot of strain on the are assigned co-instructors. However, department with all the students, but according to Nakhleh, the volume of TAs overall I think the department is doing a can create new challenges for the faculty. good job.”


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 2019 • 3

heard AR



KUTUB GANDHI Sid Richardson College junior

Reflecting on life as a computer science major


“Did I make other grammatical errors? I’m not great at spelling things.” SA president while presenting legislation


NICOLE IADEMARCO Basketball Senior Forward

“It’s been a long time, but each season flies by. The older you get, I feel like the faster it goes.” After her last home game for Rice women’s basketball

HARRISON BROWN Lovett College senior

Dean of Social Sciences Antonio Merlo to leave Rice for NYU ANNA TA NEWS EDITOR

“Never trust a [computer science] class that says it’s four hours.”

ARIANA ENGLES Lovett College junior



“I’ve only had to pull two [true] all-nighters, which I guess isn’t that bad compared to some people.” Reflecting on life as a computer science major (part two) infographic by sydney garrett

After two years as Dean of the Rice School of Social Sciences, Antonio Merlo will leave the university at the end of spring semester. Merlo will begin his new position at New York University as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science this summer, according to an email sent to faculty by the Office of the Provost announcing his departure. Merlo first came to Rice in 2014 as the chair of the Economics department. Before that, he received his PhD in Economics from NYU. After earning his Ph.D., he taught at NYU, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Minnesota. “Antonio has brought both energy and innovation to the School of Social Sciences, positioning Rice well to address the complex problems the world faces,” Provost Marie Lynn Miranda said in a university press release. “We wish him well as he returns to his alma mater.” During his time as dean, Merlo contributed to the creation of the Patricia Lipoma Kraft ’87 and Jonathan A. Kraft Hall for Social Sciences, which is being built on what was formerly Intramural Field 6. The building will house other projects Merlo helped to implement, such as the creation of the Texas Policy lab. “In the midst of increasing social, political and economic complexity, the Kraft Hall for Social Sciences will stand

as a beacon, broadening our research visibility and impact while connecting our students and faculty to the resources, leaders and spaces that will turn policy into practice,” Merlo said at the time of Kraft Hall’s groundbreaking. He also founded and is currently the director of the Rice Initiative for the Study of Economics, a multiyear, university-level plan focused on dramatically enhancing research and teaching in economics at Rice, through reforming the undergraduate curriculum and increasing faculty within the department. According to Miranda’s email, the administration is beginning to plan interim leadership as well as the process for finding a new dean. “We will certainly miss Antonio’s leadership and energy at Rice and wish him the very best in his new endeavors at NYU,” Miranda wrote in an email.

Dean Antonio Merlo broke ground for the new social sciences building during a September ceremony. christina tan / thresher

Beer Bike change aims to improve safety by identifying guests BEER BIKE GUESTS FROM PAGE 1 According to them, because of Lovett’s mud fight before the races, people would typically buy an extra shirt to change into afterwards so they didn’t have to go to the races dirty, but that this is no longer possible because the change only allows one shirt per individual.

All of this money goes back to the college, and considering the visitors are using the college resources ... this is a way to have the visitors help pay for the event. Quinn Mathews OUTGOING MCMURTRY PRESIDENT “The whole visitor policy now enforces that we only sell one T-shirt per person regardless of whether they are an alumnus, current student or random visitor,” Nguyen said. “So that really complicates our job due to the fact that college tradition usually has us buying two.”

Mathews said that the $25 for the visitor shirts is used to pay for the guests’ expenses during events. “All of this money goes back to the college, and considering the visitors are using the college resources like eating our food, this is a way to have the visitors help pay for the event,” Mathews said. Mathews said that all visitor shirts will have the same design and layout campuswide, but the color of the shirt will match the college of the person that brought the visitor. Taylor said that the changes now make it more difficult to bring visitors to this event. “I appreciate [that] the magisters and the college presidents are working toward making Beer Bike a safe event,” Taylor said. “But I think one thing I liked about Beer Bike was us sharing the tradition with people outside of Rice.” Mathews said that the changes are a “good halfway point” between having no regulations and banning visitors entirely. “Some sort of visitor registration made sense because the day of Beer Bike, there are hundreds more people on campus than normal and even if just from a population perspective, those types of numbers are good to know,” Matthews said.

jiayi lu/thresher Guests will now need to wear special shirts to participate in morning activites at the colleges before the races on Beer Bike, such as the annual water balloon fight in Founder’s Court.


4 • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 2019

Khan Academy founder talks origins JIM ZHANG THRESHER STAFF Salman “Sal” Khan, founder of the online education non-profit Khan Academy, told the story of Khan Academy, which included a surprise donation from a Rice alumna, as part of the Rice University President’s Lecture Series. According to a survey sent out by the university prior to the lecture, over 78 percent of Rice students who responded have used Khan Academy sometime in their educational career. Of the 78 percent, 95 percent of students found it useful. Leebron said that he believes all students owe a great debt of gratitude to Khan, who gives a “great sense of optimism for the future of education.” THE ORIGIN STORY Khan began his talk by addressing Khan Academy’s reputation as a tutorial service, emphasizing its growth throughout the years to expand beyond simple YouTube videos. According to Khan, the organization began in 2004 while he was working as an analyst in an investment firm after he offered to tutor his young cousin in math. According to Khan, more and more family members began asking for assistance, so he began posting his videos online through YouTube. “I found myself everyday after work trying to help them with math, science and whatever else,” Khan said. “And I saw a pretty consistent pattern … they were struggling not because they weren’t able to learn it, it was because they had gaps from fifth grade, sixth grade or seventh grade.”

At this point, Khan was still working as a hedge fund analyst, but increasing support for his videos led to him considering managing Khan Academy full-time. “I really let myself dream, and I sat down with my wife — we were saving money to buy a house … but it felt like ‘Hey, let’s just give it a shot,’” Khan said. “So I took the plunge. You have to start with delusional optimism.” But, as Khan said, leaving his job to start a non-profit proved to be taxing.

I would literally wake up in the middle of the night and think, ‘what have I done? My career, my family ...’ It was a tough time. Salman Khan KHAN ACADEMY FOUNDER “It was incredibly stressful,” Khan said. “I would literally wake up in the middle of the night and think ‘What have I done? My career, my family …’ It was a tough time.” Khan recalled how, at times, he nearly felt compelled to return to his former career until he received a sudden $10,000 donation from Rice University alumna Ann Doerr (Jones ‘75). Doerr soon invited Khan for lunch, asking about his longterm plans for the non-profit.

“So I said: A free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere,” Khan said. “And Ann said, ‘That’s ambitious.’” Following their meal on his drive home, Khan received another donation from Doerr. The donation was accompanied by a text, according to Khan, which read: “You really need to be supporting yourself. I’ve just wired you $100,000.” “So that was a good day.” Khan said. “It was the beginning of a whole series of crazier and crazier — in a very positive sense — of events.” PRESENT AND FUTURE Khan said he does not intend for Khan Academy to ever replace face-toface education. “[But] it can liberate the physical classroom to do more interactivity, to do more simulations, Socratic dialogue, peer-to-peer tutoring,” Khan said. Khan then explained his views on the current, traditional model of education, noting it can be unaccommodating in resolving small, but potentially fundamental gaps in knowledge. “Even though we can identify those gaps, the whole class is forced to move on to the next concept,” Khan said. “But those gaps keep accumulating as you’re pushed ahead in the system.” Khan concluded by expressing his hope for a more adaptive, accessible approach to education for students moving forward. “You allow people to tap into their potential,” Khan said. “And bigger and bigger and more and more positive things will come about.”

NEWS IN BRIEF SA advocates for intro language classes to retain DI credit CAMERON WALLACE SENIOR REPORTER The Student Association Senate unanimously passed a resolution Monday night to express support for the reinstatement of introductory language courses as DI distribution credit. Introductory language classes are scheduled to become ineligible for distribution credit in May 2019, though classes already taken for distribution credit will continue to fulfill the requirement. Students first began receiving DI credit for introductory language courses in 2015. The change came after the accrediting body for Texas schools, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, recommended that the School of Humanities remove DI credit for firstyear language courses. The SACSCOC only requires students to take one course in each of the three distribution categories. Therefore, Rice may be able to satisfy SACSCOC requirements while offering introductory language courses for DI credit if students take one DI course that is not an intro language, Eliza Martin, outgoing Baker College president, said. “The idea of humanities is that it should be open for all and we should all be well-rounded individuals,” Martin said. “So I think it’s more of trying to create well-rounded individuals across the board.”

NEWS IN BRIEF Senate proposes procedural reforms inspired by Cavallaro RISHAB RAMAPRIYAN ASST NEWS EDITOR The Student Association Senate proposed two bylaw amendments and one constitutional amendment aimed at removing ambiguous and redundant positions during Monday’s SA Senate meeting. Two of the changes had been previously proposed by SA Presidential Candidate Freddy Cavallaro in his #DismantleTheSA platform. The three pieces of legislation would eliminate the director of external affairs and associate vice president positions, consolidate the temporary student committees and broaden the standards for sponsorship of legislation. The proposed constitutional amendment, which the SA Parliamentarian Nicholas Jerge and SA Internal Vice President and Presidentelect Grace Wickerson introduced, would broaden the sponsorship standards for SA legislation. According to the amendment legislation, the current SA Senate constitution requires all legislation to be sponsored by at least one voting member of SA Senate. According to Jerge and Wickerson, this requirement restricts opportunities for students not involved in SA Senate to express their opinions. Jerge said that he believes any student should be able to propose legislation to the SA Senate. “As a parliamentarian, I do believe that it’s completely rational to remove the requirement that legislation has to be sponsored by at least one voting member of [SA] Senate,” Jerge, a Sid Richardson College sophomore, said. “People who do have ideas in mind should be able to put them forward. This lowers the barrier for students get involved in [SA] Senate.” Cavallaro, a Will Rice College junior, had proposed the same change in his SA reform platform.

“[We should] remove this constitutional restriction so that anyone who is invested enough in proposing legislation can do so,” Cavallaro said in his platform. “This will increase inclusion and participation of nonvoting members of [SA] Senate in the [SA] Senate meetings.” Bylaw Amendment No. 7 aims to consolidate temporary student initiatives into working groups and task forces, and this legislation was also introduced by Jerge and Wickerson, a Brown College junior. Student Initiative Committees share a similar purpose to other temporary committees such as working groups and task forces, which are research-oriented and action-oriented, respectively. “We are still addressing things that come from the student body, but now in a one-stop shop,” Jerge said. Outgoing Hanszen College Senator Tessa Schreiber, a sophomore, proposed Bylaw Amendment No. 8 to eliminate the director of external affairs and associate vice president positions. Scheiber referenced the SA’s 2018-19 goal of institutional effectiveness and said that the roles and responsibilities of these positions are vaguely defined in the bylaws. “Poorly defined roles make accountability, oversight and delegation challenging,” Schreiber said. “While the two holders of the position this year have been effective, there is no way to maintain that throughout the years and remain consistent.” Schreiber’s amendment was also a component of Cavallaro’s recent platform. “These positions were created by past presidents as ways to give positions of power to friends without an election,” Cavallaro said in his platform. “These positions do not have distinct or welldeveloped charters or responsibilities and the [SA] Senate would benefit from their removal.”

N THE RADAR PRESIDENT’S TOWN HALL March 6 at 9 a.m. // RMC Grand Hall

Join President Leebron at the spring town hall meeting Wednesday, March 6. The discussion will take place in Rice Memorial Center’s Grand Hall. This is an opportunity to hear from President Leebron about important campus issues.

2019 RISE LECTURE: CHRIS SIMS March 21 at 5 p.m. // Duncan Hall

On Thursday, March 21 in Duncan Hall, the Rice School of Social Sciences is hosting Chris Sims, the 2011 winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences to deliver the Rice Initiative for the Study of Economics lecture series.


March 19 @ 6:30 p.m. // Baker Institute The Baker Institute Student Forum will be hosting its spring debate between the College Republicans and the Young Democrats in the International Conference Facility of the Baker Institute on March 19. Pizza will be provided at 6:30 p.m., and the debate will start at 7 p.m.


March 22 @ 2 p.m. // Brochstein Pavillion

Join the departments of history and medieval and early modern studies 2 - 4 p.m. for an exhibition of living history. Enjoy medieval battles brought to life before your eyes as these historians, artists and athletes take the field to show us exactly how they use research.

AN EVENING WITH MARGARET ATWOOD April 5 @ 7:30 p.m. // Jesse H. Jones Hall

Atwood will speak on a wide range of issues relating to literature, social activism, political engagement, the creative process, the artist’s role in society, technology and art and, of course, her own accomplished body of work. infographic by sumin hwang


5 • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 2019


Next SA should open doors

Every election cycle, candidates push to increase the diversity of ideas that make their way from the student body to the Student Association Senate. As newly elected leaders take their positions at both the college and the SA Senate level, we have several significant changes — outside of constitutional reform — that we believe would increase the flow of ideas from the student body to its leaders. Our first suggestion is that the SA Senate consider a “flipped-classroom” model to increase the amount of time spent discussing legislation and working group findings. A typical SA Senate meeting involves several presentations, and these presentations are often followed by limited discussion either due to time constraints or an audience unable to prepare questions. We believe SA Senate meetings would be far more productive if presentations were sent out beforehand to those on the SA listserv in addition to the legislation that is already sent out. Then, time typically spent on the presentation itself could be dedicated to discussion and debate, which ultimately allows for a greater breadth and depth of ideas. A second change involves increasing the transparency of meetings outside of SA Senate. Senator meetings are intended to be open, according to SA President Ariana

Engles. However, the SA constitution defines an open meeting as one where the “date, time and location is announced to members of the SA at least 24 hours” in advance. There is no mention of senator meetings on the SA listserv, website, calendar or emailed SA Senate meeting minutes — the only approved media for announcing an open meeting. In addition, the current president meetings are not clearly defined or advertised as open. When senators and presidents meet privately and separately, they are more likely to arrive at SA Senate with monolithic opinions that stifle debate. To hold senators and presidents accountable to a standard of nuanced discussion that avoids groupthink, meetings of all senators and all college presidents should be well-advertised as open to the public and the press. Otherwise, students miss the opportunity to challenge ideas before voting members establish their opinions on matters. Finally, we believe the president should avoid a strict cap of one hour on SA Senate meetings. Of course, no one wants a threehour long SA Senate meeting. But in the case of impassioned debate on important issues or a lengthy agenda, there is no need to cut critical discussions short for the sake of leaving right at 10 p.m.


CompSci: Standing room only

cartoon by dalia gulca


The silenced experience at Rice This op-ed has been a work in progress for a few weeks. There is so much we could write about, given recent events that have occurred at Rice. We have met multiple times to discuss the points we wanted to discuss in this piece, and each of those meetings has felt like a firehose to the face. So many issues surround the Black experience at Rice that we doubt an entire edition of the Rice Thresher could do it justice, never mind a single piece. However, we make do with an oped, one which has already been slightly controversial. There have been people telling us how important this piece is. We’ve also gotten the subtly passive-aggressive “Oh, that’s nice.” But the most popular response we’ve gotten is “Why?” To us, that question provides the answer. The why is more than anger towards a month-old email from President David Leebron drafted to be as tepid and inoffensive as possible in addressing the recently rediscovered, blatantly racist images of blackface, minstrels and the Ku Klux Klan’s presence on campus in older volumes of the Campanile. This piece is meant to serve as a call to action for administration and students alike to have honest dialogue regarding awareness of Black student issues on campus. From the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Pass on the Thresher’s Backpage last year to a recent incident in which unidentified white people driving a truck tormented black students with racial slurs on campus, there is a dire need for the Rice community to reevaluate how we celebrate different cultures at Rice. Even though this year’s Black History Month was marked by the rediscovery of past racist behavior of Rice alumni, this is an opportunity for us to productively discuss race; more specifically, race as it pertains to Black students on this campus. We must start talking about the Black experience and how other students’ actions impact it. Because the percentage of Black people at Rice (7 percent) is nowhere near representative of the U.S. population (14 percent), Rice and its students have a responsibility to make sure that black students feel as valued as any other demographic group on campus. The everyday words and actions of students — making comments about black hairstyles, singing along to racial slurs in popular music, saying things like “I don’t see color” — are microaggressions that contribute to the overwhelming feeling of “otherness” among Black students at Rice. When you then add in the dispersed nature of the residential college system and the fact that a significant percentage of the Black population is comprised of studentathletes, this makes the Rice experience feel much more isolating for Black students. As a community, we must recognize and correct our actions in order to ensure that residential colleges are safe spaces for Black students. In order to create these safe spaces, we must push for more diversity among faculty on campus and the adult

leadership teams in each college. Right now, a pathetically small fraction of the Rice faculty is Black. The Rice experience will always feel isolating for black students if they barely see professors, resident associates or magisters who look like them. Once these safe spaces are created, events such as Martel College’s Black Experience Panel are more likely to become a reality for other colleges. Furthermore, Black students shouldn’t be the only people to attend these events. A misconception on this campus is that it is up to only Black students to participate in Black-centered events. In order to make the Rice experience more fruitful for Black students (and all other students too), we need allies of all races to lean in and engage. This even extends to the administration in their efforts to address the egregious actions of Rice community members. Moving forward, the administration should reach out to the the Black community — in a town hall or a meeting with Black student leaders — when situations occur that directly affect us. This same protocol should occur for any group of individuals who feels that their existence is undermined. How can the administration speak about an event that has significantly impacted a group of people without asking their thoughts and feelings on the events that occurred? The statement makes suggestions to the Rice community concerning what non-Black students can do to be supportive of the group harmed by this situation. However, to truly help Black students on campus, they should have asked us what we need from non-Black students. This piece isn’t meant to direct blame towards one group or another, but rather to make people more aware of the proliferation of microaggressions towards Black students. Currently, people aren’t comfortable discussing these topics or issues either with Black students or among themselves. Whether we acknowledge them or not, these problems exist and affect the wellbeing of students and community members. If Rice really champions the phrase “diversity and inclusion,” then as a Rice community, we need to rethink how we go about reflecting these words in the actions, events and conversations we have with one another within our community. It’s not enough to just have people from various backgrounds attend Rice. How we appreciate those backgrounds and experiences matters too.









STAFF Emily Abdow* & Andrew Grottkau* Editors-in-Chief

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Christina Tan* Editor & Designer

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BACKPAGE Simona Matovic Editor & Designer

SPOTLIGHT Elizabeth Rasich* Editor Ella Feldman Asst. Editor SPORTS Michael Byrnes* Editor Madison Buzzard Asst. Editor OPINIONS Eric Stone* Editor

PHOTO Charlene Pan Editor Sirui Zhou Editor COPY Vi Burgess Editor Bhavya Gopinath Editor ONLINE Ryan Green Digital Content Editor Charlie Paul Web Editor Nick McMillan Video Editor

DESIGN Sydney Garrett Director Sumin Hwang News Designer Jennifer Fu Features Designer Tina Liu Sports Designer Dalia Gulca Opinions Designer Esther Tang Illustrator BUSINESS OPERATIONS Mai Ton Social Media/Marketing Manager Isabella Gandara Distribution Manager Karoline Sun Business Manager Prad Biswas Advertising Manager

*Editorial Board member

The Rice Thresher, the official student newspaper at Rice University since 1916, is published each Wednesday during the school year, except during examination periods and holidays, by the students of Rice University. Letters to the Editor must be received by 5 p.m. the Friday prior to publication and must be signed, including college and year if the writer is a Rice student. The Thresher reserves the rights to edit letters for content and length and to place letters on its website.

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6 • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 2019

FEATURES BLACK @ RICE summar mcgee Black at Rice is a series within features intended to highlight and celebrate Black voices on and off campus. Email with inquiries or to nominate someone. ELLA FELDMAN ASST FEATURES EDITOR

For most of her life, Summar McGee didn’t envision herself attending a school like Rice. “I always joke that I still don’t know how I got here,” McGee, a junior at Hanszen College, said. McGee is from a town called Edwards, located in the Mississippi Delta. The region is one of the most economically impoverished in the country, but it’s also an area rich with culture — the Delta is one of the most prominent origins of blues, jazz, soul food and other aspects of Black culture. “People are surprised that when I talk about Mississippi, I have overwhelming pride in where I’m from,” McGee said. “But there’s duality in my home that I feel like a lot of people don’t understand.” McGee loves her community more than anything. But she said that growing up, she was very aware of the challenges her state faced. “You don’t not notice that [your state is] 50th in education,” McGee said. During her sophomore year of high school, McGee was admitted to the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science — a boarding school for academically gifted high school juniors and seniors — and moved three hours away from Edwards to Columbus, Mississippi to complete her last two years of high school there. “I still say that’s one of the best choices I’ve ever made, because it opened my life up to a lot of opportunities and experiences,” McGee said. That’s not because she wouldn’t have been qualified for such experiences, McGee said. But she would never have applied to elite universities like Rice, would not have known how the application process worked or how she stacked up against the rest of the country had it not been for the encouragement she received from teachers at that school, she said. “Excellence is not necessarily tied to resources, it’s not necessarily tied to

prestige and that kind of thing,” McGee she feels like people often perceive her said. “People don’t realize that affluence, as combative and aggressive — they act money, wealth, those kinds of things differently around her. “I am saliently Black in the way that really do make a difference in where I look. I have very dark skin, I have very people end up.” Moving from Columbus — population coarse hair, I have a very deep voice. 24,041 — to Houston was a huge change Everything that you would think of when for McGee. She said adapting to Rice’s you think Black, I am that,” she said. “It literally behooves me that me engaging, culture is continuously difficult. “I’ve had a lot of experiences at Rice me speaking to people, me being my whole where it’s palpable in what ways I am out self, me using the mannerisms that are of place,” she said. “If I were to go into natural to me, me using the intonations a servery and eat things the way that I that are natural to me, is offensive, and was taught to eat certain dishes, people makes you defensive.” Informed by those experiences, McGee would look at me like my head had fallen off my body and rolled across the servery. has made it a priority of the BSA to create But why should you be ashamed of who spaces where Black students can exist without constantly you are and where compromising who they you come from and are to make others more the mannerisms and comfortable. customs that you Why should you be “My goal [in becoming have, right?” ashamed of who BSA president] was to At Rice, McGee is create a space within pursuing a degree you are and the Rice where somebody in sociology. She is mannerisms and like myself would president of the Black customs that you have somewhere that Student Association, have, right? reminded them of home,” a member of Rice’s she said. “Somewhere speech and debate Summar McGee where they can put down team, a Mellon Mays HANSZEN COLLEGE JUNIOR that third wall and stop Undergraduate Research Fellow, a co-founder of the Rice existing with two consciousnesses.” McGee said she’s done this partially Islamophobia Resistance Campaign, and a contibutor to TEDxRiceU and R2: The through forming relationships with students like her — students who come Rice Review. In all she pursues, McGee said she from similar regional, cultural and looks for ways to connect what she does socioeconomic backgrounds. “I can steer them towards a community, back to her community. “I don’t want to study sociology for I can steer them towards resources, I can the sake of studying sociology. I want to give them insights and let them know that study sociology for the sake of making it they’re not alone in that experience,” she applicable to people in the real world,” said. “You can’t fix it, which is one of the McGee said. “I think what makes people most heartbreaking things — to have a comfortable is leaving [issues like] freshman who is like you talk to you about voter suppression and gentrification] these experiences and these struggles that in the academic realm. But it’s not just you remember so saliently and not be able to fix it.” academics.” One of McGee’s own support systems In her classes, McGee said she’s often felt the undue burden of having to carry has been Shannon LaBove, associate conversations about race and ethnicity director of the speech and debate team. forward, of having to explain racial McGee said that LaBove, who is a native concepts to her peers. Along with that, Houstonian, was one of the first Black

faces she saw at Rice. When McGee mentioned she missed Mississippi food, LaBove brought her cornbread. Last year, when McGee fainted at three in the morning and fell down a flight of stairs, LaBove took her to the hospital. “It’s like, we’re bonded by blood, literally,” McGee said. Where McGee comes from, community is extremely important. Although she’s found Rice to have a generally individualistic culture, she said LaBove and the speech and debate team have given her a family. They’ve also given her a platform to speak about issues on which she sometimes feels silenced in other spaces. “I’ve been able to use speech and debate as a way to reclaim my voice,” she said. In addition to speech and debate, McGee said that the never-ending support she receives from her community keeps her going in the face of the challenges Rice presents her. Often when she goes home, she said, people she doesn’t know tell her they’re proud of her. People ask McGee to talk to their nieces, their sons, their granddaughters — to show them what they’re capable of. “At the end of the day, I don’t do what I do for me,” McGee said. “I do what I do for people like them.” Although she doesn’t think it’ll happen anytime soon, McGee hopes that one day, there will be more than one unspoken definition of what a Rice student is. “What I see at Rice is a construction of what a Rice student should be,” McGee said. “A Rice student should be like, Willy Week, boba and bagels. This is what Rice students like, and we’re all equal because we’re all Rice students.” To McGee, that mentality stifles diversity. She said she wants to see people bring their entire experiences to Rice, rather than mold themselves to fit a predetermined one. “I don’t want to check Summar from rural Mississippi at the door. That’s who I am,” McGee said. “I want to be able to bring that into this space and help create what it means to be a Rice student.”


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 2019 • 7

From Screw to ‘I love you’



a half years together, both Murley and Isakson admit that they wouldn’t have gotten together if not for Screw — or if they had, it would’ve been much later. “It would’ve taken at least another year, I u Ry bet,” Murley said. F o r Murley and Isakson, S c r e w sped up the inevitable, enabling them to start dating sooner. For Lovett junior Hannah Wei, however, Screw meant something different — it gave her a chance to see past a bad first impression. Wei met her now-boyfriend Jay Ryu, a senior at Duncan, at a private party one week before Screw. They only spoke f o r a few moments, but the exchange was tense enough Emily to leave Wei with a bad impression. “I thought he was creepy,” Wei said. “So then I flipped my hair and I just walked out, and he thought I hated him.” When Wei arrived at Screw a week later and saw that he was her date, she was dismayed. Unfortunately, Screw wasn’t any better than their first meeting. Ryu, not knowing what to say, stayed silent the entire night. After the date, he abandoned her to hang out with his Orientation Week group, which only cemented Wei’s opinion that he was a jerk. But afterward, Ryu contacted her and asked for another chance. With some convincing from Ryu’s friend and the offer

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of going to dinner, Wei accepted. From there, things took off. Without Screw, neither of them think they would have gotten together for Hanna various reasons. Ryu thinks that they probably would not have met again. But Wei said that even if they had, she wouldn’t have gotten over her first impression of him. “I’m pretty opinionated and I always remember how I feel about people,” Wei said. “We had such a bad first meeting that there was no way I could change that opinion.” Natalie Croitoru was just looking for a new friend her freshman year when she attended Screw. But that was where she met her now-boyfriend, Patrick Gilliam. “I just taped a sign to myself that said ‘Bunny’ and Pat was dressed in orange as a carrot,” Croitoru, a Brown College senior, said. “I remember thinking he was just so easy to talk to and kind and didn’t make me feel awkward at all. We had a lot of random things in common and had a good date, but I think neither of us thought anything romantic of it.” She and Gilliam, a Baker College senior, did not begin dating right away. Instead, they reconnected in the spring semester, and it was then that they realized they wanted to be more than friends. “I feel really lucky; Pat has been a huge blessing,” Croitoru said. “I never expected any of it but I’m so glad that it happened.” The couple is still together three years later, approaching graduation. All of these couples found love through Screw, but none of them were looking for it. For most of them, Screw just gave them the chance to meet someone new, go on an awkward blind date and maybe dress up as a cowboy.

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Dressing up in costume, finding a stranger in the crowded Grand Hall, going on a blind date — only Rice would combine these three things into one event, Rice Program Council’s Screw Yer Roommate. And probably only Rice students would go to an event like Screw, which gives students the rare kson Isa opportunity to go on a date without a c t u a l l y having to ask someone out. Screw is reminiscent of a rom-com meet-cute, and for a few students, that rom-com becomes their real life. Jones senior Emily Shen and Carey Wang (Will Rice ‘18) both came into Screw two years ago simply wanting to meet someone new. Shen, however, already knew a bit about Wang before meeting him in person. Due to a miscommunication, her roommate accidentally found her two Screw dates, so Shen looked them both up on Facebook to help decide. Although her roommate ended up making the decision for her, Shen came into the date knowing more about Wang than he knew about her. “I had already stalked this guy on Facebook,” Shen said. “I kind of knew everything about him. I felt kind of nervous.” But after talking for a couple hours, Shen and Wang quickly became comfortable with each other. After they took a picture together, Wang asked for her number so he could send it to her, then bragged about how smoothly he’d gotten her number. She found his teasing endearing. “I was like, ‘Oh, this guy’s so playful,’” Shen said. Without Screw, Shen said she doesn’t think they would have gotten together.

“I wouldn’t have been able to get to know him,” Shen said. “It would’ve been a ‘Hi, my name’s Emily’ and move on.” Like Shen and Wang, Martel senior Jordan Murley and Jones senior Grace Isakson also went into Screw two years ago looking to meet new people. Unfortunately for them, their friends had different plans. Murley and Isakson met freshman year through the Marching Owl Band and became good Jordan friends. Then sophomore year came around, and Murley slowly developed a crush on Grace. “I thought I was very sly at liking Grace,” Murley said. “Apparently not, though — everyone [else] knew.” Isakson, however, was harder to read — none of their friends could tell whether she liked him back. So, Murley ng Wa said, their matchmaker f r i e n d s decided to find out by setting them up for Screw. When they arrived for the date, things got awkward quickly. The couple spent the evening silently wondering whether it was a date or just friends hanging out. “I think we were both also kind of a little bit mad at our friends for putting us in this situation,” Isakson said. But after Screw, Isakson talked to her friends, who revealed that Jordan liked her. Ecstatic, Isakson told Murley that she liked him too, and they started dating two weeks later. Now, after two and




8 • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 2019


New music: Weezer, Solange The new year has broken several musical hiatuses, and we’re reviewing album releases as they come. See more on



The Rice Philharmonics perform at Acappellooza, an annual showcase of a cappella groups on campus including the Phils, Nocturnal, Basmati Beats, Low Keys and the Apollos. stephany marchany / thresher


CAMH Presents ‘Shapeshifters’: Art imbued with teen spirit KATELYN LANDRY SENIOR WRITER

In the generation where digital interconnectedness is religion and the Parkland tragedy is reality, versatility of mind, body and heart is less of a skill to put on your resume and more of a superpower. “Shapeshifters” is a triumph of teenage intensity and adaptability that brings the experiences of modern youth to the forefront of the mainstream Houston art scene. “Shapeshifters” is the 11th biennial youth art exhibition curated by the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s Teen Council. Young, Houston-area artists submitted over 700 creations in response to the questions: “What forms you and/or your generation? How do you define your space? Can you change shapes?” These questions prompted several different interpretations of what it means to be a shapeshifter. Some artists focused on architecture and effects of the physical world on their experience, while others aligned the concept of changing shapes with their ability to adjust internally and emotionally. The exhibit saw an impressive turnout for its opening night on Friday, March 1. The excitement and nerves of featured artists in attendance cultivated an atmospheric electricity that attracted enough people to nearly fill the Nina and Michael Zilkha Gallery to capacity. This

exhibition made for teens, by teens seemed to captivate spectators of all ages in very different ways. For instance, one piece that features a projection of a glitching Tumblr page may seem comfortingly familiar to some audiences but completely novel to others. The differences in reaction between the older and younger spectators was interesting to observe and further underscored how this generation’s definition of art is perpetually evolving, increasingly inclusive of new mediums. “Shapeshifters” thrives on its extensive range of mediums and its embrace of the ever-nostalgic coming-of-age narrative. The diversity of the pieces, ranging from photography and painting to sculpture and interactive digital media, showcases the innovation of artistic expression, especially among young, emerging artists. One piece features an old-school desktop computer that spectators are welcome to sit down at and explore. With stickers, movie DVDs, music CDs and a flip phone à la 2005, this piece seems to indicate the dawn of modern technology as a significant factor in teenagedom. Another piece presents an audio track, available for spectators to listen to through headphones attached to the gallery wall, which lurches from sounds of skidding shoes on a basketball court to a dozen rounds of gunfire, and then to President Donald Trump’s remarks following the tragic school

katelyn landry / thresher

shooting in Parkland, Florida. This powerful and sobering piece communicates the prevalence of gun violence in the daily lives of students everywhere and its position as one of the most significant issues impacting modern generations. The CAMH Teen Council is responsible for the theme, title and artworks featured in “Shapeshifters” as well as its design, organization, printed exhibition catalogue and related programming. According to the museum’s website, the council is comprised of 14 dedicated high school students who work for CAMH in a collaborative, creative environment in order to create programming and introduce emerging artists and art enthusiasts to professional museum settings and the dynamic Houston art scene. Every year, the council works to

organize programming for their peers such as art exhibits, film screenings, fashion shows and more. “Shapeshifters” brings youthful zeal and passion to CAMH with its celebration of teenagers and their nebulous state of being that is stretched and branded by a tumultuous, changing world. Each piece communicates something different about the struggle to find identity, acceptance and happiness. Nonetheless, the celebration of adolescence and all its volatility shines through the entire exhibit and leaves audiences with a new appreciation for teenage artistic expression. “Shapeshifters” is on view at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in the Nina and Michael Zilkha Gallery until June 16. Admission is free.


SPEAKEASY Lawndale Art Center will host “SPEAKEASY feat. House of Kenzo” on Saturday at 8 p.m. The event will include a 20-minute performance exploring movement and hydrology. Suggested donations are $20. Lawndale Art Center 4912 Main St.

SUSANNAH Join the Shepherd School Opera and the Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra for Susannah, a two-act opera by Carlisle Floyd tonight and Friday at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for students. Wortham Opera Theatre Alice Pratt Brown Hall

AT LEAST I HAVE YOU, EGG. Visual and dramatic arts students Julia Casbarian, Anna Fritz, Helena Martin and Abbey Perez will open their exhibits at the Rice Media Center Gallery on Thursday from 6 - 8 p.m. There will be free food and drinks, and admission is free. Rice Media Center

SHE’S REAL GONE Celebrate International Women’s Day with Insomnia Gallery. The gallery will host works by 13 women artists on Friday from 7 - 11 p.m. Proceeds from the $5 cover charge will go towards local organization Menstrual Flux. Insomnia Gallery 708 Telephone Rd. Ste. C


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 2019 • 9


To the Beat: Featuring senior percussionist and math major Sophia Zorek SUNNY LIU SENIOR WRITER

The percussion practice room at Shepherd is where Sophia Zorek can be found, tapping out a notes on the marimba, its tones resonating from the wooden bars in soft, precise patterns. For Zorek, her love of percussion began in middle school. “Once I started percussion, I was like, ‘This is it,’” Zorek, a Jones College senior, said. “It’s very active — that’s what I love about it. There’s something very mathematical about percussion too. It’s very precise.” Before attending Rice, Zorek was set on pursuing two bachelor’s degrees — one in mathematics and one in music. Now, almost four years later, Zorek is two months from graduating with those very degrees. “I love music — it’s my passion and I cannot imagine myself doing anything else,” Zorek said. “And I like math. I think it develops [my] thinking in a certain way and can also be applied to music. It kind of makes [me] a little more employable just in case I need to get a side job while auditioning for orchestras.” According to Zorek, she was initially drawn to the Shepherd School of Music because she wanted to take classes under Associate Professor of Percussion Matthew Strauss, who she names as one of her inspirations. Zorek said she spent most of her childhood surrounded by music. For her, pursuing a music career was never a question. “My mom went to school for opera,” Zorek said. “She didn’t end up pursuing art

Jones College senior Sophia Zorek applies the pattern analysis skills she’s learned in mathematics to her percussion studies. charlene pan / thresher

professionally, but it’s always kind of been a part of my life. I played piano and cello growing up and it’s always been a part of me.” Zorek described her creative approach to new pieces as mathematical, a skill she said she has gained in her major. “I try and break it down, and that’s something the math has taught me to do,” Zorek said. “I like to listen to [the new piece] before and analyze the harmony or voicing and try to break it apart to find different patterns. It will help [me] retain it and memorize it faster. Math has made me more aware of finding patterns, but as a musician, you always do that to some extent.”

Xiaolongbao is a Chinese soup dumpling where the meat and hot soup are both placed, cooked and served inside the dumpling. It is a must-try in any restaurant that serves them, so four Rice students set out over the weekend to search for Houston’s best xiaolongbao restaurant.

student reviewers

martel senior

jacob reinhart

3.5/5 9310 bellaire blvd

one dragon restaurant

Great consistency in the taste; pork was evenly distributed throughout the soup, which I appreciated. The only problem here is that the buns were super thin, so my dumplings kept breaking down before I could eat them.

2.5/5 9889 bellaire blvd

fu fu cafe

The buns were huge, thick and had lots of meat but were skimpy on the soup, which is a shame because the soup was incredibly flavorful in its own right. I just don’t see the bang for the buck here.

4/5 5135 w. alabama st.

e-tao asian eatery

These buns were by far the easiest to handle; they weren’t too large or too thin. It tasted like they cooked the soup in the pork to create a smoky taste. While this smoky taste might have been intentional, I’m not sure that I enjoyed it. Again, much more meat than soup, but the smokiness kinda made it consistent. Overall, the texture was like the savory version of a Fruit Gusher.

3/5 2708 bagby st.

wanna bao

If you’ve never tried xiaolongbao before, this is probably the safest bet on flavor. The taste was okay — inoffensive but nothing special. Also, they provide mini-tongs so that the chopstick-impaired are less likely to break open the buns.

While Zorek’s learned a lot over her four years at Rice, one of the biggest skills she has gained has been overcoming failure. “[I] had to somehow figure out how to separate [my] playing ability and the critiques that come with that from [my] self worth,” Zorek said. “It’s a part of college where I think I really learned how to do that, but it can still be a struggle.” Beyond graduation, Zorek will be up against challenging obstacles and possible failure as she navigates the professional music world. “My mom understands the struggles that [I] go through,” Zorek said. “It takes a really

long time to master music and to even get an orchestra job. It’s not uncommon for people to get a second master’s degree or stay in school until you’re 27 before you get a job. I want to get a master’s degree for music and eventually, maybe a D.M.A. [doctorate of musical arts], which is like a Ph.D.” Outside of academics, Zorek said she’s recently started a duo — still yet to be named — with her friend, Sid Richardson College senior Olivia Spencer. “[Olivia] and I — she’s a singer here — we’re starting our own duo,” Zorek said. “We’ve gigged a little bit. I think I’d like to pursue that, too.”


XIAOLONGBAO mcmurtry senior

carlin cherry

3/5 Soup broth was particularly good, but the wrapping was thin and fell apart as soon as it was picked up, which made this xiaolongbao relatively difficult to eat.

4/5 A+ for authenticity; the menu design reminded me a lot of the menus in Shanghai; the outer xiaolongbao exterior was a little thick, and I thought the meat:soup ratio was slightly off, but they tasted lovely. I also appreciated the proximity to nearby tea and dessert places. Come for the experience!

4/5 I have nothing but rave reviews on taste. The soup was a little creamier than standard, which added a layer of complexity to the flavor. The meat also had a smokey, creamy and rich taste. I also loved the speed of service. I’d order this for delivery, but probably wouldn’t go to the restaurant itself unless I was already in the Galleria area because parking is difficult (and who wants to eat in the Galleria?). Great taste, but I wouldn’t call it a destination.

3.5/5 The xiaolongbao itself offered a very standard flavor profile — nothing special — but it was hard not to love the fun, Asian-fusion, slightly upscale atmosphere. A fun place to go out with friends or on a date.

mcmurtry senior

graduate student



simone bergsrud

The broth was light, fresh and warm, but I can’t say the same about the ambiance. There’s just not much to do in the surrounding area, and I’m not sure the place is destination-worthy.

4/5 Good first date place, in a great area near other fun foodie destinations. Much easier to handle for chopstick newbies, but with so much meat and so little soup, it tasted more like a pork bun than a soup dumpling.

3/5 Liked the speed, but the location is unfortunate and the price was questionable. If you’re in the Galleria looking for quick Chinese food, go for it — it can sustain you if you have a long day of shopping, but I wouldn’t call it an experience. Enjoyed the texture, but the smoky flavor threw me off. Glad I tried it, but not something I’d do again.

3.5/5 Loved the proximity to Rice. The whole experience felt cute, trendy and very Instagrammable. It looked like there were great fusion-y options on the menu, but the xiaolongbao itself was not a must-eat. The soup was at just the right temperature, but the overall flavor seemed bland.

john sun

Refreshing taste, not super oily, which was nice. Service was a bit of a problem; they put the fault on us for not reminding them to check on our order.

4/5 The meat wasn’t evenly distributed in the soup, and the dumpling overall felt oily and puffy, but if you want something resembling a “traditional” Chinese ambience, this one is pretty solid. The server spoke perfect Mandarin and was more than willing to help. When asked why our food wasn’t ready after a ~10 min wait, she explained with patience that steaming the dumplings takes time and kindly asked for our understanding.

4/5 Price was high, but understandable in the Galleria. It came out really fast, so we didn’t have much interaction with the server. Interestingly, the outside of the bun didn’t really look like xiaolongbao; it almost looked like it didn’t have soup inside. I found the taste to be more smoky, which is unusual but I was cool with it. I also thought it needed more soup. Unlike the other places where you have to share the vinegar and ginger, here you get your own.

4/5 The decor isn’t traditional, but it didn’t bother me; it’s like a modern Chinese restaurant you can see in China. The soup doesn’t taste like meat soup or really even like soup. The texture was nice; the buns were thin but easy to handle. The service was very Americanized: when we told the server that we were looking for the best xiaolongbao place in Houston he said he’d like to know what we find.


10 • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 2019


within striking distance of first place, day three proved to be even better. Parish finished first in the 200-yard freestyle while two other swimmers tied for second in the event. Schillinger also had a first place finish as she finished with a final time of 59.68 in the 100-yard breastroke. Even though Rice outpaced FIU in first place finishes, the Owls remained in second place after day three. While Rice was not able to pull ahead of FIU on the fourth and final day, the Owls set multiple records on day four. Schillinger’s aforementioned first place victory. As Schillinger heads off for her final collegiate swimming tournament, Huston said although she has accomplished much, she still has room to grow.

We stayed focused on ourselves and no one else and made the meet far more interesting than anyone had expected. jordan foreman / courtesy conference usa

Rice’s swim team poses for a picture after securing a second-place finish at the Conference USA Championships on Saturday. Despite not featuring a dive team, Rice’s strong performance in the swimming events pushed them ahead of all teams but championship-winning Florida International University. If diving points were not counted, Rice would have won the meet by more than 100 points.

Swimming finishes second in C-USA SPENCER MOFFAT SENIOR WRITER

After four straight days of swimming at the Conference USA Championships in Atlanta, Rice narrowly finished second behind a Florida International University team that won its fifth straight C-USA Championship. However, the Owls left Atlanta with their fair share of accolades. Senior Marie-Claire Schillinger added to her already impressive collection of hardware in her Rice career. Schillinger qualified for her fourth straight NCAA Championships appearance by winning the 200-yard breaststroke, where she finished with a finals time of 2:09:67, which set a new Rice program record.

Head coach Seth Huston said he was proud of the team’s second-place finish. “We stayed focused on ourselves and no one else and made the meet far more interesting than anyone had expected,” Huston said. Rice finished the meet with 872.5 points, 63 points behind first-place FIU. The gap between Rice and thirdplace University of North Texas was 350.5 points, greater than the difference between UNT and last-place Old Dominion University. The Owls began day one of the C-USA Championships with a second place finish in the 200-yard medley relay with a finals time of 1:38.70 behind FIU. In addition to a strong performance in the 200-yard medley relay, the Owls outperformed

all of the competition in the 800-yard freestyle relay after a final time of 7:07.77, which was also a Rice record. Sophomore Ellery Parish and freshman Becca Evans highlighted the Owls’ performance on day two after finishing first in their respective events. Parish won the 500-yard freestyle with a final time of 4:44.09. In the 50-yard freestyle, Evans tied for first with a swimmer from the University of North Texas after both finished with an identical time of 23.08. The Owls also dazzled in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Rice’s team was anchored by Schillinger, who helped the relay team to a first place finish with a final team time of 1:31.10. While the Owls posted impressive times in day two to pull themselves

Seth Huston SWIMMING HEAD COACH “Marie-Claire is just beginning to find out how great she can really be,” Huston said. Parish also added her name to the Rice swimming record books as she swam an Owls record time of 1:56.75 in the 200yard backstroke. The Owls had three of the top four finishers in the 200-yard butterfly. Sophomore Lindsay Mathys led the way for the Owls, with her first-place showing in a time of 1:58.59. Mathys’ mark was the second-best 200 fly time in Rice swimming’s history. Huston also walked away with a coaching accolade, winning his fifth C-USA Coach of the Year award. According to Huston, the team deserved credit for the award, not him. “While we did not win the meet, the [coaching] award was a bit of recognition to how well the team competed this weekend,” Huston said. The Owls will now return to Rice’s own competition pool to prepare for the CSCAA National Invitational, which begins March 14 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Baseball beats two top-25 teams at Shriners Classic MADISON BUZZARD ASST SPORTS EDITOR

Rice baseball ended its five-game losing streak against ranked opponents and bounced back from a loss on Friday to Texas State University by defeating No. 15 Baylor University and No. 19 Texas Christian University (DI Baseball) in the annual Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic held at Minute Maid Park. On Sunday afternoon, Texas A&M University defeated the University of Houston to clinch the Aggies’ 3-0 record in the six-team, Texas-only tournament. With A&M’s win, the Owls were denied the opportunity of winning their fourth College Classic title. But Rice head coach Matt Bragga said his team’s run-rule demolition of TCU in the final game of the tournament, 12-2 in seven innings, provides a stepping stone for growth. “After Friday, these guys knew they had to be better and this wasn’t good enough,” Bragga said. “We are not there [yet], but it’s a step in the right direction. But [now] we are playing with a sense of urgency.” Neither team could muster a run until the seventh inning of Rice’s loss to Texas State, when the Bobcats pushed across an unearned run that would eventually win

the game. Bobcats junior Nicholas Fraze, home runs slugged by senior outfielder who was named Most Outstanding Player of Andrew Dunlap and junior designated the tournament, matched Owls junior Matt hitter Rodrigo Duluc resulted from correct Canterino over seven innings and bested plate discipline. “[Our batters] had better approaches Rice’s ace in strikeouts, 12-9. Canterino’s season record dropped to 0-2 in three starts and did a better job,” Bragga said. “They despite conceding only four earned runs in laid off pitches they couldn’t swing at 18 innings pitched. According to Bragga, which put them in a better spot.” For its final game in the College Classic Rice’s key area for improvement is plate against TCU, Rice discipline. donned pinstriped “If you play that white pants to way, you aren’t going compliment their to beat anybody,” After Friday, these guys sharp navy jerseys, Bragga said. knew they had to be which displayed a The Owls started better and this wasn’t woven American senior pitcher Evan Kravetz on the good enough. We are not flag across the letters mound for Saturday there [yet], but it’s a step R-I-C-E sprawled on the chestplate and afternoon’s clash in the right direction. a Shriners insignia against the Baylor patch on the lapel. Bears. Kravetz Matt Bragga Senior Owls delivered, tossing BASEBALL HEAD COACH pitchers Jackson nine strikeouts and Parthasarathy and surrendering only Jackson Tyner stole the show from the three runs. Baylor entered the College Classic Horned Frogs. Parthasarathy and Tyner undefeated, having surrendered only combined to toss eight strikeouts and 22 runs in eight games, but lost its first allow only two runs, one of which was game to Texas A&M and stumbled upon earned, in the seven inning game. According to Bragga, the pitching trio a resurgent Owls lineup. Rice blasted two homers to take an early 4-0 lead before of Canterino, Kravetz and Parthasarathy cruising to a 6-3 win. Bragga said the forms a trustworthy rotation which allows

him to reserve junior hard-thrower Addison Moss for late-innings work. “The bottom line is that our pitching has been good all year but our hitting has been better tonight,” Bragga said. “By the third or fourth inning I was like, ‘Uh, should we or should we not [replace Parthsarathy]?’ but [assistant] coach [Cory] Barton said we should stay with him. All I [have seen] of Jack has been really good. His fall was good, his spring was good and he has been phenomenal since we put him in the rotation. He is really throwing some nice pitches.” According to Bragga, sophomore catcher Justin Collins, who played behind the plate all three games and went 2-for3 against TCU, is proving himself as a worthy backstop. “[Collins] has been good up to this point but this weekend he has been great,” Bragga said. “Bouncing on balls, blocking balls and working with breaking balls that he was pouncing on, he was phenomenal. Leading our team and showing an energy, leading our guys in the dugouts, that’s contagious.” Dunlap and senior first baseman Dominic DiCaprio were named to the College Classic All-Tournament Team. Rice is now 29-19 all-time in its 16 College Classic appearances.


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 2019 • 11

Women’s b-ball wins 17th straight MICHAEL BYRNES SPORTS EDITOR

It was a Senior Day to remember for the Rice women’s basketball team. A record crowd of 2,606 fans at Tudor Fieldhouse watched the Owls defeat Louisiana Tech University 78-42 to complete Rice’s undefeated 13-0 home record, and increase the team’s winning streak to 17 games. Rice honored its four seniors in a ceremony before the game: forwards Nicole Iademarco, Shani Rainey and Olivia Ogwumike, and guard Lauren Grigsby. Iademarco was the star of the show during the game, tying a careerhigh with six 3-pointers made, on just eight attempts. Junior guard Erica Ogwumike also played a prominent role, registering a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Iademarco said that on the whole, the day was a great success. “I couldn’t ask for a better day,” Iademarco said. “Just super thankful for the people we have. After the game, all of our family, old Rice players, our scout boys, everybody was on the court with us and it was really cool to see the whole Rice basketball family come together.”

Our focus all season has been [that] the game in front of us is the biggest game of the year ... I don’t think this team will look past the next opponent. Tina Langley WOMEN’S BASKETBALL COACH

cloris cai / thresher

Graduate transfer forward Jack Williams releases a layup attempt during the Owls’ 67-61 victory over Middle Tennessee State University on Sunday at Tudor Fieldhouse. Williams had five points and 11 rebounds during 23 minutes of play during the win. Rice has now won three of its last five games and currently owns a 12-17 record, including a 7-9 mark in conference play and a 9-6 mark at Tudor Fieldhouse.

Men’s basketball clinches C-USA tournament berth DERRICK KAGWANJA THRESHER STAFF

The Rice men’s basketball team secured a spot in the postseason Conference USA tournament by defeating Middle Tennessee State University 67-61 in C-USA bonus play on Sunday at Rice’s Tudor Fieldhouse. Rice raced out to a quick 12-0 lead over the Blue Raiders within the first four minutes of the game. Freshman forward Quentin Millora-Brown fueled the early charge with a dunk in the second minute of the game to set the offensive tone for the Owls. Millora-Brown recorded his fourth double-double on the season. He made his presence felt on both sides of the floor, as one of his defensive blocks transitioned into a pass to Ako Adams who assisted Millora-Brown for a layup on offense. Rice dominated the first half, keeping Middle Tennessee to only 24 points on 0-for-8 3-point shooting and 10-for-30 shooting from the field.

Ball movement was the name of the first half for Rice; seven of the Owls players got on the scoreboard, combining for 35 points on 45 percent shooting from the field. The Owls committed only four team fouls and four turnovers in the first half, and posted 10 assists. Unfortunately for Rice, its large lead was short lived. The Blue Raiders found their fire early in the second half, decreasing their 11-point deficit to five within only five minutes of play. Costly turnovers by the Owls put Middle Tennessee in a position to win, but the Owls held on. According to head coach Scott Pera, Rice’s rigorous preparation allowed it to maintain and extend its lead throughout the late stages of the second half in spite of the Blue Raiders’ surge. “It was a really good job of closing the game out by our guys,” Pera said. “Obviously, [Middle Tennessee] kept coming [and] kept chiseling away and getting closer and closer. We never panicked. We kept getting the right shots.”

Rice caught a break with nine minutes left in the second half when junior guard Ako Adams was fouled on the 3-point line and converted all three free throws to put the Owls up by three. In their next trip on the offensive side, Millora-Brown was able to convert another pair of free throws by drawing a foul under the basket. The team came to life when freshman guard Drew Peterson threw down a thunderous dunk with five minutes to go in the game. Late game free throws by Peterson helped spread Rice’s lead to six points with only five seconds left in the game. Rice closes its regular season with a home-and-home against the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. The Owls will travel to North Carolina March 6 before closing the season at home March 9. Once the regular season concludes, the Owls will head to Frisco to begin the conference tournament as either the No. 11 or No. 12 seed, depending on the the results of its final two C-USA regular season matchups.

With the Owls’ defensive effort during the win, they improved their scoring defense to No. 6 in the country this year at just 53.2 points allowed per game. Rice is also No. 11 in defensive field goal percentage, holding opponents to just 35.1 percent shooting. It’s clear that defense has been a major calling card for the Owls this year. But Erica Ogwumike said that the results of Saturday’s game shows the result of Rice clicking on both ends of the court. “I think we definitely play well when we defend well,” Erica Ogwumike said. “But I think we were also locked in offensively today. I think what really propelled us today was [that] we were balanced on both ends, offensively and defensively. I think everybody was truly locked into the gameplan, and we still had fun while we were doing it.” Rice now has one more game left in the regular season before the team turns its sights to the Conference USA Tournament starting March 14. A victory in the tournament would give the Owls an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament, but given Rice’s high standing in the rankings (No. 24 according to The Associated Press and No. 31 in RPI), it could potentially gain entrance as an at-large bid without the conference tournament victory. However, head coach Tina Langley said the team isn’t concentrated on that prospect yet. “Our focus all season has been [that] the game in front of us is the biggest game of the year,” Langley said. “If we start looking at the tournament [now], then we’ve lost who we’ve been all season. So I don’t think that this team will look past the next opponent.” That next opponent is the University of Texas, San Antonio, whom the Owls face on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in their final regular-season game. If Rice wins, they will set a new program record with 25 wins in a single season. After that, the tournament beckons.


12 • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 2019

Alternative Alternative Spring Breaks Going on a fun spring break trip can be pricey. A great, more altruistic option is using your break to respond to social issues with an ASB. But what if you want all the fun, none of the price and none of the benefiting society? Try an AASB, an Alternative Alternative Spring Break! Instead of helping underserved communities, raise funds so that you can break into well-served ones. Here’s how to convince people to contribute.

Destination: Aspen, Colorado Social Issue: Climate change Mission Statement: Global climate change is a huge issue, but your perspective on certain types of weather is limited. Skiing in Aspen will expose you to a different climate entirely that will broaden your breadth of knowledge. Not to mention, analyzing the endorphins released during the activity of skiing could be great for better understanding means to improve mental and physical health.

Destination: Leebron’s House Social Issue: Early education Mission Statement: Sometimes staying close to home can allow you to create the most impact. Going to that one barbecue during O-Week probably influenced you in some capacity. So in other words, it was a formative early experience in your education. Therefore, chilling at Leebs’ house for a week would be a great way to explore the foundations of higher education.

Destination: South by Southwest in Austin Social Issue: Wealth disparity Mission Statement: There are lots of conferences for improving businesses at SXSW. Once you sell enough boba to pay for your all-inclusive pass, you’ll be able to infiltrate these corporations to work towards economic equity. Small, concrete actions go a long way in the limited timeframe of spring break, so to accelerate this process, pull a literal Robin Hood — steal from the rich and give to the poor. This AASB is centered around pickpocketing wealthy panelists and giving their possessions away to those in greater need, i.e. yourself.

Destination: South Padre Island Social Issue: Underage drinking Mission Statement: Drinking below the legal age of 21 can cause long-term defects. At popular spring break sites like South Padre Island, irresponsible drinking and drug use are rampant. To save fellow college students from harm, you must pledge to knock the drink out of everyone’s hand once you’re on the island. Every. Drink. Slap them all. After a long day of improving society, be sure to use some of your funds to relax with an ice-cold beer (assuming you’re of age, of course).

The Backpage is satire, written by Simona “sprung but broke” Matovic. Venmo her designer, Simona Matovic, to fund their spring break. For comments or questions, email



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The Rice Thresher | Wednesday, March 6, 2019  

The Rice Thresher | Wednesday, March 6, 2019  

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