Page 1

VP Mike Pence See page 4 for story

On President Trump’s behalf, ‘Estamos con ustedes.’ We are with you.



Martel College freshman Moses Glickman See page 3 for story

We believe in free expression, and when we disagree with those in power, we will never consider silence to be our only choice.



Admin addresses Multicultural Center delay EMILY ABDOW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

A new multicultural center will be built as part of renovations to the Rice Memorial Center, which will involve demolishing and rebuilding every part of the center excluding the chapel and offices adjacent to Ray Courtyard, according to Vice President for Administration Kevin Kirby. The timeline for the start of RMC renovations is currently unknown, Kirby said. Rice’s Development Office is searching for a donor or donors to raise the estimated 40 to 45 million dollars. President David Leebron said Rice has been “engaging potential major donors in conversation.” “It’s a really important project for us and we’re eager to get a really great multicultural center and a really great student center,” Kirby said. “It’s really high on the President and Provost’s priority list. We’re optimistic we’ll raise the money and get it done sooner than later.” The Thresher reported in August 2017 that the new Multicultural Center was originally planned as an individual $2 million construction project built adjacent to

Ray Courtyard and connected to the RMC. However, after Rice decided to take on an overhaul of the RMC, discussions with students, Provost Marie Lynn Miranda and Associate Provost Roland Smith resulted in a consensus that the Multicultural Center should be part of the new RMC, according to Kirby. Kirby and Smith both said they did not recall exactly when the decision was made. “[The initial plan] had the advantages of being a separate stand alone project that we could go and execute right away and had the disadvantages of not really being integrated into the whole student life experience in the student center,” Kirby said. Black Student Association President Drew Carter said the decision to delay construction is “detrimental” because it makes students feel the center is not a priority. “We must reflect on the lack of diversity in our institution’s history which strongly limits the number and potential donors who would most likely contribute to a multicultural center,” Carter, a Jones College freshman, said. “As a result, students watch as new buildings are put up year after year, and are still left to walk underground into the basement of the students center.” SEE MULTICULTURAL CENTER PAGE 2

Impending Rice Media Center teardown clouds VADA future CHRISTINA TAN A&E EDITOR

The Rice Media Center, a historic building that hosts both Rice Cinema and the campus’ only darkroom, will be torn down sometime before the end of 2020, according to Vice President of Administration Kevin Kirby. REASONS FOR REMOVAL According to Kirby, the decision to demolish the Media Center follows an increase in maintenance problems with the building. Kirby said in the past three years, Rice has spent more money on maintaining the Media Center than any other space on campus per square foot. “Just in the last three years, we put over $800,000 into that building, and it’s a small building,” Kirby said. “On a per square foot basis, it’s the most money we’ve put [in] any building on campus just to keep it going. And it’s so hard to keep it going. Hundreds of work orders in there, it’s just a staggeringly high maintenance issue.” Kirby said that the timing for this shutdown is partly driven by a general shift in academic offices. SEE MEDIA CENTER PAGE 8


2 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2019


RMC renovation to include Multicultural Center MULTICULTURAL CENTER FROM PAGE 1

Associate Provost Roland Smith said fundraising takes time. According to Smith, it took Rice 13 years to raise the funds for the new social sciences building, which cost $38 million. Multicultural centers at state schools have the advantage of funding from state legislatures, Smith said. Provost Marie Lynn Miranda said she is currently working to find an alternative space for the Multicultural Center outside of the RMC basement due to the lengthened timeline for the new center’s construction. “I’m an environmental scientist; so [I] am a big fan of natural light,” Miranda said in an email. “So we are currently trying to find alternative space for the multicultural center that would get it out of the basement.” This winter, Smith said the Multicultural Center was renovated with improvements such as more electrical panels for outlets and furniture including study carrels--an effort he said cost over $50,000. The funds came from the President’s Office, according to Kirby. Yonas Tekola, however, said more improvements could be made. “Paint the walls, please, because culture is vivid and a Multicultural Center should be more appealing on the eyes,” Tekola, a Jones College junior, said. CONSTRUCTION Kirby said the new RMC building will be 80,000 square feet, in the same location and containing the same square footage as the current RMC. Kirby said the new RMC will take up less land due to modern architecture, which will allow room for possible expansions. According to Kirby, the Multicultural Center will occupy about 3,500 square feet of the new RMC, the same amount allotted for the original standalone building. Kirby said Rice will likely refer back to the initial construction plans for the standalone multicultural center, which incorporated student feedback. He said students voiced a preference for common spaces over dedicated spaces for different cultural groups.

Carter and Tekola said the new center should have space that is specific for different identity groups as opposed to the current center’s set-up of one large room. “There can still be a centralized room or center but in order to allow students to feel as though they have a shared space, they must simultaneously have a space to turn to when they are not comfortable in those shared spaces,” Carter said.

It’s really high on the president and provost’s priority list. We’re optimistic we’ll raise the money and get it done sooner rather than later. Kevin Kirby VP FOR ADMINISTRATION Arlen Suarez, former Co-President of Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice, said she would like to see the space have a large auditorium with a stage for cultural shows. “Currently each club must rent out a stage from a third party and that cost is generally around $1,000 for the night, sometimes with unreliable vendors,” Suarez said. “I see that as an unnecessary waste of money that could go towards improving the show. Every single large event at Rice has to be in the Grand Hall, but sometimes that space is not large enough for the audience at the larger cultural shows.” Once funding is secured, Kirby said construction for the center will take around 18 months and no more than two years. During that time, he said Rice would provide temporary spaces to serve the RMC’s function, possibly in the form of tents or trailers. Kirby said there are not definitive plans about who will be located in the temporary spaces. Kirby said the new RMC will continue to be a home for spaces Rice students love.

“There are certain building blocks that the students said we absolutely need in there,” Kirby said. “Things like Coffeehouse, Willy’s Pub, some kind of a Grand Hall, a multicultural center, and lots and lots and lots of meeting rooms.” CONSTRUCTION In 2017, a letter to Leebron written by Student Association President Justin Onwenu and signed by the heads of Rice’s cultural clubs expressed their belief that the Multicultural Center should have a staff member “dedicated to engaging students and helping the vast number of clubs with their own programming.” Larry Garvey, Office Assistant in the Office of Multicultural Affairs has had his office in the Multicultural Center since February 2017 and said he works there eight hours a day. He said he works with student organizations in the center. “It would have been entirely unstaffed until now if I had not moved down here,” Garvey said in an email. “I was moved to not only address the lack of a staff presence, but

to start getting students familiar with and using the space.” Rice African Student Association President Mekedlawit Sentegne said Garvey is “an absolute angel." “Garvey goes above and beyond to help us achieve our goals,” Sentegne. “He is a great presence in the MCC during the day due to the location of his office. I feel that he is the most accessible to me personally.” In December 2018, Smith said he hired Ijeoma Nwaogu to the part-time position of Associate Director of the Multicultural Center. He said he will revisit the possibility of increased staffing after Nwaogu has worked at the center for a year. Sentegne said Nwaogu has provided platforms for critical discussions through programming including an event on imposter syndrome. Nwaogu said she is planning to lead a large programmatic effort around Hispanic Heritage Month. “I do come by here every time that I’m working for that week,” Nwaogu said. “To be sitting here, to have a presence from our office is definitely a priority for us.”

illustration by esther tang


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2019 • 3

Community rallies against Mike Pence HACER abstains from protest


Over 100 students, faculty and staff gathered in the central quad to protest Vice President Mike Pence’s practices, policies and values last Friday while he delivered remarks on the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. McMurtry College sophomore Arija Forsyth led the crowd throughout the protest in a series of chants, from ones that attacked Pence directly to ones that affirmed support for refugees and immigrants to a chant written specifically for the event that asked, “Where is Leebron?” The first speaker at the protest, Duncan College junior Alice Liu, said that having Pence on campus could make members of the Rice community feel unsafe. “When you are in a position of power like he is, and you are full of hatred like [Pence] is, you have the power to act on that hatred and cause suffering to others,” Liu, a member of Rice Left, said. “At this protest, on this campus, we are those others. So how can Pence’s presence on campus be anything but an attack against the members of our community, whose very existence is threatened by his bigotry, his rhetoric, his policies?” Speaker Baird Campbell also said that Pence posed a threat to people’s safety and wellbeing. “People like Pence have been making me feel unsafe my whole life,” Campbell, a graduate student in the department of anthropology, said. “When I was growing up in rural Michigan in the ’90s … being queer was the worst thing that could happen to you. But I wasn’t scared of who I was. I was scared of people like Pence finding out.” Will Rice College junior and speaker Mandy Quan said that Pence has prevented people from accessing healthcare by imposing severe restrictions on Title X, which provides affordable birth control and reproductive healthcare to individuals with low incomes. “Until we stop the global gag rule, until we have fully funded healthcare in the U.S., until we support pregnant and parenting people in their choices, Pence’s policy will continue to jeopardize the health and wellbeing of millions of people,” Quan said during her speech. In his speech, Martel College freshman Moses Glickman emphasized the importance of voting in the next election and said that it was important to use the right to free expression to speak out against Pence. “There will be those who say that, as Americans, we ought to hear out what Pence says,” Glickman, a member of the Rice

University Young Democrats, said. “Firstly, it’s hard to hear someone out when none of us were allowed in the room. Secondly, we believe in free expression, and when we disagree with those in power, we will never consider silence to be our only choice.” In their speeches, both former Student Association President Ariana Engles and Liu said that they were against Pence’s decision to visit U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s headquarters to thank officials for “holding the line” at the Mexican border. “‘Holding the line’ is code for denying asylum to Central American migrants and refugees; ‘Holding the line’ means keeping immigrants locked in concentration camps,” Liu said, punctuated by shouts of “fuck Mike Pence” from the audience.

When you are in a position of power like he is, and you are full of hatred like he is, you have the power to act on that hatred. Alice Liu DUNCAN COLLEGE JUNIOR Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman, who stood in the back and spoke with students and visitors during the protests, said that she attended the event to provide emotional support to students if they needed it. “Some [students], I think, are very emotional about this,” Gorman said. “They are in communities that have felt that the policies that the Pence and the [President Donald] Trump administration are espousing don’t reflect their values and their communities. I think it’s good to be here as a resource for them as needed.” After the formal speakers ended their speeches, they invited members of the audience to speak. Junior Gerardo Penchyna asked that people focus on Venezuela rather than Pence. “Please stop making it about [Pence], or about the current president, or even about the next election,” Penchyna said. “There are people dying in Venezuela. There are people fleeing the country in the thousands. This shouldn’t be a protest about homophobia or climate change. I am equally as passionate about those issues as you guys, but we need to concentrate on the issue at hand.” Hanszen College senior Sonia Torres said that the protest should have been targeted

against military intervention in Venezuela rather than solely focused on Pence’s domestic policies. “I do not understand why we are not here protesting a military intervention,” Torres said. “We are not here just because Pence is a horrible person domestically. He has shown himself to be complicit and also outwardly supporting policies in Latin America that target and kill Latin American bodies. If there is any doubt in your mind that a Venezuelan family coming up through Central America through Mexico would not also be put in a cage once arriving at McAllen, you are mistaken.” Baker College sophomore NB Shaper, who said they are the great-great-grandchild of Edgar Odell Lovett, said they believed in the importance of maintaining a spirit of activism on campus despite restrictions placed on the student body. “Rice as an institution has really concerning origins, and I think there’s a pretty heavy pressure to critically investigate not only the systems we have in place now, but also the attitudes on campus about why and how and when students can and should speak up,” Shaper said. “Quite frankly, my great-great-grandfather would be horrified with me as a person. Maintaining this momentum is what will make Rice an institution worth supporting and protecting.” Sid Richardson College sophomore Annabelle Crowe, who was in the audience, said that she did not feel “particularly radical” and that she was disheartened by the police presence at the protest. Black Student Association President Drew Carter, who spoke at the protest, said that many people told him the event was a unique experience on Rice’s campus. “For me, the happiest moments were when numerous seniors, graduate students, professors kept stating how they never experienced something like this on Rice’s campus,” Carter, a Jones College freshman, said. Liu said that she was glad to see a diverse group of people step up after the planned speeches and voice criticisms about the protest. “Especially at Rice where direct confrontation is so rare, it was refreshing that no words were minced, and it was a natural way to directly address many concerns that we knew people, particularly Venezuelan students and generally the Latin[o] community, had leading up to the protest,” Liu said. “Positive or negative, seeing students speak with such passion was inspiring and reminded me why it was so important to organize this protest in the first place — to build community and show solidarity with the people on campus who need it the most.”


Students, faculty and community members gather in the Central Quad while Vice President Mike Pence speaks inside the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy on the crisis in Venezuela and foreign policy. Several speakers were featured, including those from the Black Student Association, the Student Association and Rice Left.

ANNA TA NEWS EDITOR The Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice ultimately decided not sponsor the protest against Vice President Mike Pence’s speech on Venezuela to respect the conflicting opinions of their organization’s members. Pence’s speech in the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, which took place at the same time as the protest, centered around Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis and the U.S.’s foreign policy. According to Bryan Najera Demoraes, HACER cultural events committee chair, HACER did not believe the protest was focusing enough on Venezuela or representing Venezuelan voices. “At the same time, HACER did not want to isolate the members of our community who have been marginalized by Pence’s views and policies, such as the LGBTQ+ and the immigrant community,” Najera Demoraes, a Baker College sophomore, said. “Ultimately, we reached our decision because we did not want one voice to speak on behalf of our diverse student body.”

We reached our decision because we did not want one voice to speak on behalf of our diverse student body. Bryan Najera Demoraes CULTURAL EVENTS COMMITTEE According to Najera Demoraes, Rice Left approached HACER’s leadership about potential participation in the protest on March 28, the same day they noticed conversation regarding Pence’s visit in the “Latinx@Rice” GroupMe. The leadership team met with the Rice Left and eventually decided against participating, sharing their final decision on the HACER listserv in a “Letter on Venezuela Discussion and Pence Protest,” early the day before the protest. “The protest on its own does not appear to fully recognize the importance of continuing the discussion on the Venezuelan crisis and the opportunity to hear what the United States plans to do with regards to the crisis directly from the vice president,” the letter read. A Rice chapter of Jolt, a Texas-wide organization promoting Latino political empowerment, was an official sponsor of the protest, according to Jolt President Kim Olea. “Mike Pence’s ideology contradicts what we stand for,” Olea, a McMurtry College junior, said. “As a group of young Latinos trying to increase awareness of issues present in our community, we felt the need to stand up for our community. ” Alejandra Gutierrez and Amanda Perozo, both Venezuelan students, said they were in conversation with HACER while the leadership made their decision. Perozo, a Wiess College junior, said she was glad about the decision, not because she was against the protest, but because HACER is a non-partisan organization. Najera Demoraes said he wants to emphasize the importance of listening to student feedback about the crisis in Venezuela. “I [also] want to stress the significance of having discussion on the Venezuelan crisis itself,” Najera Demoraes said. “Without reference to Pence’s remarks, the humanitarian issue that is occurring there demands its own respect and attention.”


4 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2019

Lance Armstrong addresses doping, Beer Bike 2020 EMILY ABDOW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Lance Armstrong, the cyclist whose seven Tour de France titles were revoked due to doping, answered questions ranging from his cheating scandals to whether he’d donate to Hanszen College in a candid question and answer session Tuesday evening. A camera crew from ESPN filmed the event, which was hosted by the Hanszen Academic Fellows, for the the 30 for 30 documentary series. Moderator Nik Liebster, a Hanszen senior, and fellow students asked questions about Armstrong’s decision to engage in doping, which he said was a “collective decision” in 1995 among himself and other bikers. “We were faced with this choice,” Armstrong said. “We’re in this world that we thought was, ‘Oh shit, let’s just show up and try hard and fight and win,’ and all the sudden we have knives and they have guns and we’re like ‘Oh no, what happened,’ so then you buy guns so you can join the gun fight, which is figuratively what we did.” Armstrong said he resisted the doping trend for “a long time.” “We held out, we held out, we kept getting our ass kicked and finally we were like, ‘We’re not doing this anymore,’” Armstrong said. Liebster asked Armstrong about the “extreme actions” he took to cover up doping allegations before accepting blame. “I would look out there [at press conferences] and be like ‘Look at all these assholes, they’re going to ask these stupid questions,’” Armstrong said. “I still thought I was in the race. How people over time reacted to my behavior was the ultimate downfall.” Armstrong responded to an audience question asking whether he doped during his comeback in 2009 with “absolutely not.”

Lance Armstrong, world famous cyclist who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after being caught doping, responds to candid student questions at Hanszen College Tuesday night as part of a speaker series.


Liebster asked Armstrong what he regretted from his past. “I deeply, deep regret just not having the humbleness to catch myself and be like, ‘You’re out of the race, man; this is not a competition, just sit there, be gracious, be humble,” Armstrong said. “I was always so combative.” One audience member asked Armstrong whether his victories would have occurred without the influence of doping. “We would have gone slower, we would have hurt more, but I still think we would have ended up with the same result,” Armstrong said. A reason Armstrong said he joined in on doping as opposed to calling attention to the problem is because there was no test to detect the drug Erythropoietin, also known as EPO. The half life of EPO is five hours,

which Armstrong said made it “easy to game the system.” “The dirty secret is EPO was very competitive, was totally undetectable, and most people would tell you if taken under the care of doctor completely safe,” Armstrong said. Armstrong said he doesn’t believe EPO should be legalized. However, he also said that enforcement agencies are “remarkably ineffective.” He cited statistics that the worldwide anti-doping budget is $380 million, surveys suggest 30 to 50% of athletes engage in doping and agencies catch less than 1% of these athletes. “I don’t know what class y’all are in, [but] that’s a failing grade,” Armstrong said. A notable audience question for Armstrong came from Hanszen President Landon Mabe, who appealed to Armstrong’s philanthropy.

“I’m the president here,” Mabe said to the laughter of the audience. “That’s not to flex … Would you be interested in contributing to the New New section of Hanszen?” Armstrong responded with, “Send me your deck, buddy.” Liebster asked if Armstrong would participate in next year's Beer Bike by biking for Hanszen. “I heard bikes and beer and I was like, I’m in,” Armstrong said. The final audience question Armstrong answered was about what he wanted to be remembered for 50 to 100 years from now. Armstrong said his most important job is being a good father. His son Luke is a freshman at Jones College. “If I can have a son at Rice, that’s already a good indicator that I’m not a total dipshit,” Armstrong said.

Pence speaks at Rice on Venezuela, foreign policy ELIZABETH MYONG SENIOR REPORTER Vice President Mike Pence delivered a message of hope regarding the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela in a speech at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy on Friday. “The president asked me to be here today to show our unwavering commitment to a free Venezuela,” Pence said. “For far too long, the Venezuelan people have suffered under the heavy hand of oppression, but now there’s hope. Hope is springing forth everyday in Venezuela.” Moments before Pence went on stage to speak, Venezuelan ambassador Carlos Vecchio stood up and cheered, “Viva Venezuela!” In response, audience members, many of whom were Venezuelan, clapped and chanted “Viva!” while rising to their feet. Pence said the administration of President Donald Trump is committed to overcoming current president Nicolás Maduro’s rule and supports interim president Juan Guaidó. “Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power and Nicolás Maduro must go,” he said, which was met by cheers from the crowd. “At Trump’s direction, the United States was proud to be the first nation with the honor to recognize

He said the U.S. has placed sanctions interim President Juan Guaidó as the only on more than 150 governmental officials legitimate president of Venezuela.” Citing the failures of Maduro’s and organizations that have been loyal leadership, Pence addressed the numerous to Maduro and plans on increasing the afflictions of the Venezuelan people who number of sanctions. Pence said “all options are on the are suffering in “a society of lawlessness, table” in issuing a firm warning to corruption, crime and violence.” “As I just heard from families a few short President Maduro. He was also adamant moments ago, thousands in condemning Cuba’s of Venezuelan children influence in the region. are starving at this very “While normal hour and thousands Socialism is not the countries export goods, of babies in hospitals Cuba exports tyranny across Venezuela are road to freedom. and strongarm tactics,” dying due to lack of Socialism is the he said. “Cuba’s basic medical care and road to government influence has driven treatment,” he said. Venezuela’s failure Pence said that control and it and the time has come circumstances are dire grows in the soil of to liberate Venezuela with the Venezuelan censorship. from Cuba.” economy cut nearly But Pence said he is in half, nine out of 10 Mike Pence hopeful for a “peaceful people living in poverty, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT transition” and will be the malnutrition and deprivation of the people that has caused speaking at the United Nations Security the average Venezuelan to lose 20 pounds Council next Wednesday about Venezuela. “On President Trump’s behalf, and the “mass exodus” of more than three million people so far and an additional ‘Estamos con ustedes.’ We are with you,” Pence said. two million projected by the end of 2019. Pence said the Trump administration has already given $200 million in aid for ‘FREEDOM AT HOME’ Pence’s speech then took a more displaced Venezuelans and placed over 500 metric tons of humanitarian supplies domestic focus as he insisted that the country “remember to speak about the in countries neighboring Venezuela.

need to ensure the vitality of freedom at home.” He said Rice University is a prime location to have a conversation about the need to protect freedom with the growing ideological polarization. “The truth is in this country we’re living in a time of growing support for socialism and a growing intolerance for diverse viewpoints, including across many college campuses across America,” he said. Pence said he wanted to offer some advice to “the rising generation”. “Those of you who feel drawn to the siren song of socialism, be careful what you wish for,” he said. “Socialism is not the road to freedom. Socialism is the road to government control and it grows in the soil of censorship.” Pence then said that Americans should be careful not to silence opposing viewpoints. “Now the American people have every right to engage in peaceful protest and we cherish that right, but once you say that some people should not be heard, once you say some people should not be able to think or speak or believe in a certain way in the public sphere, you’ve left the road to freedom and you’re on the road to serfdom,” he said. “The people of this country know it doesn’t take courage to silence free speech, it takes courage to defend it.”


5 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2019

Wrong side of history


Alum Sam Herrera argues those behind #HandsOffVenezuela ignore grave effects of Maduro’s rule. This Thursday on


Admin should do right by VADA

More than five years ago, the Thresher editorial board wrote about the visual and dramatic arts department’s need for attention from the administration, specifically that it “could greatly benefit from new space and materials.” The editorial was in response to the demolition of the Art Barn, a historically significant building for the arts on campus. Now, its sister building, the Rice Media Center, faces a similar fate (see p.1). The sudden decision comes coupled with uncertainty about relocation. Six VADA faculty will have to be moved to temporary facilities, and VADA students will likely take their classes in repurposed spaces around campus until the Sewall Hall renovations are complete. The decision to tear it down now, without a clear plan for those who will be displaced, seems hasty and unnecessary. Throwing VADA into limbo simply because the Media Center faces predictable maintenance issues seems careless at best and shows the administration’s continued disregard for the continuity and effectiveness of the program. It’s difficult to fathom a similar disregard for some of the STEM facilities on campus: if the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen were to face maintenance issues, it is hard to fathom its students and faculty would have to relocate to empty classrooms around campus for a year until Duncan Hall made space. Since that editorial five years ago, the Thresher editorial board has written twice more on the state of student art on campus,


Negative Space

noting the inaccessibility of the Moody Center for student art and the tiny spaces on campus allowed to host student art exhibitions. Historically, the administration has not accommodated student and faculty needs in the department. There is a chance, if slim, of remediation. The administration has promised $35 million in renovations to Sewall Hall that the administration says will fill the void left by the Media Center. But the renovated space must also house the many other departments based in Sewall, and the administration has not explicitly set aside space or funding for VADA projects. For the administration to show a true commitment to the arts, the Sewall Hall renovation must be significant. It must not only host the facilities available in the Media Center (faculty offices, cinema space, a digital lab and a darkroom) but also work towards Dean of Humanities Kathleen Canning’s goal of a unified creative space. Additionally, the renovations cannot be the end of the road. VADA Chair John Sparagana and Canning detailed what they described as a “dream”: a consolidated building on the Media Center’s ground dedicated as a creative space for artists on campus. Such a space would serve to address many of the concerns raised over the years about Rice’s neglect for the arts. With Kraft Hall steadily growing and the opera house looming over West Lot, it’s past time that the administration prioritized fundraising for a space dedicated to visual and dramatic arts.


In last week’s edition of the Thresher, the photo that accompanied the story entitled “Upcoming Pence visit sparks petition, plans for protest” was courtesy of Jackson Stiles.

Cartoon BY Dalia Gulca


Does Rice really want honest political dialogue?

I’ve heard around campus that the College Republicans don’t engage enough. There’s a reason for that. Most Rice students don’t want to engage with us. I am a strong believer in the importance and value of respectful dialogue. When it comes to real life actions, the sort of things that actually change people’s minds, I think my record speaks for itself. In the fall, I organized the Rice University College Republicans’ first speaker of the year, Ella Grant, a transgender woman. Earlier this year, I signed on as vice president of the Rice Peace Exchange, a nonpartisan group dedicated to dialogue and productive discussion about Israel and Palestine. As a member of the Federalist Society on campus, I helped bring in speakers of varying perspectives to discuss issues ranging from marijuana legalization to voter ID. I’ve done my best to create spaces for meaningful conversation on campus. And yet I am an outlier at Rice. I find that this campus is still remarkably hostile to dialogue between its various political elements. A few weeks ago, I participated in the semesterly debate between the College Republicans and Rice University Young Democrats hosted by the Baker Institute

This is but one example of the sort Student Forum, and the entire event was an utterly shameful display, from its of behavior which makes conservatives, libertarians and classical liberals (such as coordination to its conclusion. While organizing the event, the student myself) reluctant to even let their political representative from BISF threatened to affiliation be known, let alone go out and find another conservative group to debate have a dialogue about it. I know students who are only willing to because the team from associate with the College the College Republicans Republicans online, didn’t support the stance afraid that if they are seen they wanted us to: I know students who at our weekly meetings, federal coal subsidies. are only willing to they’ll be targets of They claimed we were associate with the social ostracization or “too far off the popular College Republicans even violence. Quite front,” despite our stance honestly, with some of being in line with the online, afraid that if the things one hears Republican national they are seen at our around campus, I don’t platform. During this weekly meetings, blame these people. In sham of a debate, the one instance, after a Young Democrats refused they’ll be targets of Latino students’ crawl, it to engage with our social ostracization was discovered that one arguments and slandered or even violence. of the attendees was a us as abdicating our party because we wouldn’t take the stance Latino Trump supporter. What followed was they assumed we would. I’m not sure if the appalling. Messages in the “Latinx@Rice” Young Democrats are aware, but not all GroupMe channel show that some students Republicans are ideological clones of Donald wanted to expel the student from their group, Trump. The entire event was a display of bad as if merely holding heterodox opinions had faith action against the College Republicans. violated their space. The episode culminated

with one student wishing on Twitter that they could throw the Trump supporter in question from the seventh floor of Sid Richardson College, revealing the Trump supporter’s offline identity in the process. It’s as if he had ceased to be a person in their eyes. Sadly, this sort of thing is common. I could tell numerous other stories recounted by the minority members of the College Republicans who were driven away from the groups ostensibly dedicated to supporting them on campus because of their political views. But I will leave those stories for them to tell because I cannot possibly begin to express the pain they must feel at such blatant betrayal and bigotry. I shall finish this simply, with some questions for all of you to reflect on: does this sound like tolerance? Is this the kind of thing you’re proud of? Is this the Rice you want?


STAFF Emily Abdow* & Andrew Grottkau* Editors-in-Chief NEWS Anna Ta* Editor Rishab Ramapriyan Asst. Editor Amy Qin Asst. Editor FEATURES Ella Feldman Editor Ivanka Perez Asst. Editor SPORTS Michael Byrnes* Editor Madison Buzzard Asst. Editor OPINION Eric Stone* Editor

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Christina Tan* Editor & Designer Katelyn Landry Asst. Editor BACKPAGE Simona Matovic Editor & Designer 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, APRIL 10, 2019




If you could spend a year doing anything you want, anywhere in the world, what would you do? If you’re Eliza Martin, you’d spend the time traveling to countries with interesting immigration patterns to study how those societies care for the children of immigrants. Martin, a Baker College senior, will have the opportunity to do exactly that with the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a $30,000 stipend awarded to students across the country to pursue personally developed projects. Wiess College senior Ilana Nyveen also earned the prestigious award. McMurtry College senior Mackenzie Kubik was awarded the Zeff Fellowship, which similarly funds a year of independent-study outside the United States and is awarded annually to the Rice student who was ranked highest by the Rice fellowship committee out of the students who did not receive a Watson. Here’s a closer look at what they plan to do.

MACKENZIE KUBIK, McMurtry ‘19 HUMAN RIGHTS, FEMINISM AND TEA Since she was a little girl, Mackenzie Kubik has been obsessed with tea. She said she drinks it everyday. It wasn’t until a conversation she had while she was in Greece last summer studying refugees and migration on the Center for Civic Leadership’s Loewenstern Fellowship that she reconsidered her preferred beverage in the context of human rights. “In Greece, I met a woman whose sister had not been able to make it to Lesbos with her because she was trafficked through the tea industry in Afghanistan,” Kubik said. “That experience combined with a bunch of experiences I had that summer as well as personal experiences with gender-based violence led me to this critical moment, where I was thinking about tea and how I could find so much comfort in something that brings pain to women in the same way that I’ve experienced pain.” Kubik will spend her year on the Zeff exploring issues related to human rights and feminism in the context of tea consumption and the tea industry. She plans to go to India, Kenya, Morocco and the United Kingdom, and anticipates adding a number of other stops as she travels. Her first two stops will be India and Sri Lanka, where she plans to visit tea plantations. In Sri Lanka, she’ll be visiting the plantation of a nongovernmental organization that only hires women who have previously experienced trafficking in the tea industry and provides them with educational services and childcare. Later in the year, she’ll be visiting countries that don’t necessarily have large tea industries but are top consumers of the drink. “There’s a weird niche of tea historians that I didn’t know about that literally write on historical and present human rights and labor abuses in the tea industry.” Throughout her year, Kubik plans to blog in order to keep her family and friends up to date as well as reflect to on her own experiences. She also hopes to shed light on what she learns for her peers back home. “As long as people want their stories told, which in my experiences I’ve found people do, it’d be a really nice way to give back to people who take the time out of their lives to interview with [me] and show [me] their labor or passions,” Kubik said. Kubik is most looking forward to meeting people she might not otherwise have had the chance to. “I’m excited for the opportunity to talk women who live in places that are so far away I never thought I’d be able to visit them in my entire life. And probably, I’m gonna find we have so much in common,” Kubik said. “That human connection is something I crave and love, and I’m really excited to grow that.” And of course, she’s really excited to drink tea.

ELIZA MARTIN, Baker ‘19 CARING FOR THE CHILDREN OF FIRSTGENERATION IMMIGRANTS Before starting the fellowship application process, Martin said she worried her passion wasn’t “cool enough” to earn her an award like the Watson. “[Immigration is] not necessarily this like crazy, fun passion,” Martin said. The Watson wasn’t on her radar until she was elected Baker College president and entered a required mentorship relationship with Danika Brown. Brown is the Director of Curriculum and Fellowships in the Center for Civic Leadership, and she enthusiastically encouraged Martin to consider post graduate fellowships. Martin ended up applying to a number of opportunities through the fellowship office. Of all of her applications, she enjoyed working on the Watson the most. “It gives you a chance to think about yourself on such a global scale,” Martin said. “It was the first time someone really asked me what I was passionate about and what I really care about.” Martin said her interest in immigration-related issues stems from her relationship with her father, who immigrated from Spain to the United States. This passion has led her to seek opportunities both within and beyond Rice classrooms to learn more about immigration, such as volunteering to translate and interpret for people going through asylum cases. When thinking about how to transform this passion into a project-proposal, Martin said she reflected on the ways her life has been shaped by being the daughter of an immigrant, and how she feels there is not enough research on the experiences of secondgeneration immigrants. “It’s a big part of my identity, the fact that my dad is an immigrant,” she said. For her first stop, Martin will be traveling to London to meet with a photographer who focuses on capturing the lives of the children of immigrants. She also plans to study bilingual education systems in Japan, assimilationist approaches to immigration in Norway and the role religion plays in the large Turkish population migrating to the Netherlands. She might also visit Jordan. Martin said people keep asking her one question: how does she anticipate changing after the Watson? Martin said she has absolutely no idea. “There’s so much growth that will hopefully happen, that I’ll get off the plane on June 1 in Austin in 2020 and be like, what if I’m not the same person?” Martin said. “That’s a little bit scary, but also an incredible opportunity.”

ILANA NYVEEN, Wiess ‘19 WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN APE? Ilana Nyveen is an ecology and evolutionary biology major, so she’s “kind of like a biologist,” she said. But she “thinks a lot more like an artist, and is also really interested in anthropology.” “There was nothing in existence already that would suit me more than something I created myself,” Nyveen said. This summer, Nyveen will embark on her Watson, which will be focused on the nature and conservation of great apes and what it means that we — human beings — are also apes. Nyveen’s interest in apes started when she saw a video of Koko, a famous gorilla, which absolutely fascinated her. “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a video of Koko, but she knows sign language,” Nyveen said. “It is nuts to me that people are communicating with another species and everyone’s not insanely excited.” This passion only grew during Nyveen’s time at Rice, especially through research she did at the Houston Zoo on object curiosity in orangutans and a semester abroad in Tanzania. During an independent study project she pursued while abroad, she began to take a more anthropological approach to research. “I think studying apes helps me get in touch with myself as an animal and a being that exists in nature, rather than just like, a Rice student,” Nyveen said. “We’re all apes, which is a weird statement that people don’t always like hearing. But we’re just apes, in clothes, with car keys, typing on our computers.” The question of what it means to be an ape will be central to Nyveen’s exploration on her Watson. She plans to go to a number of countries including Uganda, Germany and Indonesia to meet primatology researchers, visit sanctuaries and observe apes in the wild. She also wants to interact with the communities surrounding the habitats and study the “apes” living in human civilization. Before the Watson, Nyveen had not accepted to a single internship or fellowship, she said, and she thinks anyone who is at all interested should go ahead and apply. “I’ve spent so long feeling like I’ve had to trim off parts of myself to be an academic or get a career. But in my application I was like, I’m queer, I’m from Montreal. I did my interview with colored hair, and I just rambled about how I’m interested in apes and how they’ve helped me understand myself and how existential I am, and they were like, ‘Yeah!’” Nyveen said. “I was completely myself, and to have a committee of people be like, ‘Yeah, we’re into that,’ was the most rewarding experience ever.”


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2019 • 7

From skincare to Super Smash: Students gear up for COLL classes IVANKA PEREZ ASST FEATURES EDITOR

From classes on media and esports to biological information about skin, fall 2019 college courses cater to a variety of student interests.

INTRO TO SKIN Baker College sophomore Adam Cardenas has struggled with his skin for years. In middle school, Cardenas developed cystic acne, which soon took control of his life. He said it began dictating how people saw him to the point that he avoided going out. “I started even showering in the dark because I didn’t want to see my face in the mirror,” Cardenas said. His dermatologist prescribed intense medications, such as benzoyl peroxide and isotretinoin. These treatments encouraged him to perform his own research on skin medications, and he began to learn more about skin. Not only did he research the side effects of the medications his dermatologist prescribed, but he also found experimental treatments. He tried a number of facial treatments — from tea tree oil to raw potatoes — and his research inspired him to create a more science-focused class on skincare. “Skincare has a lot of people online spewing whatever their opinions are,” Cardenas said. “I really want to just organize [my class] into scientific studies so I can give crude facts to students that want to learn things.” In his class, Cardenas plans to cover a variety of skin-related topics. After explaining the integumentary system, he will include daily skincare tips, skin diseases and cosmetic dermatology procedures like Botox. Ultimately, Cardenas’s goal is to build up people’s self-confidence in their skin, something he lacked for a long time.

“The main takeaway is just appreciating the skin [and] not taking it for granted,” Cardenas said. “It’s important to learn about the skin because the skin has a lot of potential for building your self-confidence.”


For Duncan College sophomore Daniel Christl, playing “Super Smash Brothers”, a video game where competitors fight each other as Nintendo characters, started out as a causal hobby. Growing up, his older brothers played Nintendo 64, and it slowly became a SURVIVOR: SOCIAL STRATEGY way for Christl to bond with them despite a Martel junior Eric Shi’s fascination with 10-year age difference. Survivor began with a passion for reality “I remember staying up late with my television. One day he happened to watch brother against my an episode, and was mom’s wishes just to hooked by the unique play with him and his content of “Survivor.” friend,” Christl said. He found the “Super Smash I want the students interpersonal dynamics Brothers” became to be able to have a and competition a casual hobby for conversation about these interesting. Christl, but it wasn’t “I liked the concept issues that normally until his junior year of it and seeing how of high school that we wouldn’t really talk people play the game,” he realized it could about in Rice classes. Shi said. be something more. “Survivor” is a After making a friend Priscilla Li reality television show who shared his love WIESS COLLEGE JUNIOR where people are of “Smash”, he began placed on an island or playing with a group and realized he didn’t remote area with the goal of not being voted know as much about the game as he thought out. According to Shi, contestants complete he did. challenges to win immunity from being voted “They were doing all these things that I out of of the competition, both in groups had never seen before,” Christl said. “There’s and individually. When there are only three a bunch of very technical things you can do.” remaining finalists, the people who were He wasn’t aware of these technical aspects voted out form a jury to decide the winner. of playing “Smash,” but began playing Shi took a college class on “Survivor” with his friends more until he learned the in the fall of his sophomore year on the techniques. That group of friends turned into recommendation of a friend. When the a community for him. student who was teaching it stepped down, The subculture of the greater “Super he decided to take over starting this spring. Smash Brothers” community is the focus Next semester, Wiess College junior Yunjing of Christl’s college class, which he is co- Huang will be joining him to co-teach.







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Crossword by Sam Rossum Thresher Staff




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1 Type of drive or nail 2 Derivative 3 A type of poem, the right answer to three down, as seen in this clue 4 Realm for Queen Elizabeth 5 Batman baddie al Ghul 6 First step in making a wool coat 7 Coverup for 16-Across 10 Tiny Froot Loop serving 11 Smelly canines 15 Common sushi sauce 18 “Kung __! Enter the Fist” 19 Claude who helped establish the Impessimism movement? 21 An extra sharp spoon, sometimes 22 Item converted back into a bedsheet last Sunday 23 Brad Bird’s “The __ Giant” 25 Respond angrily, with “out” 26 Granola essentials 27 Direction opposite SSW Locale for many Rice students’ Answers will be posted on 29 first rodeo Bolded clues correspond to the theme. 1 “LMS for a __” 4 Bear in the air 8 Sound of a short chuckle 9 A forlorn Frida? 12 It helps corn become magical 13 Parisian river 14 Space on a vehicle registration form 16 Illegally assist 17 Era in which Picasso painted “The Old Guitarist” 20 On the __: at large 21 Subject of a recent destigmatization event on campus 24 Exclamation after seeing a daschund? 28 Shofar, for one 30 Ghee go-withs 31 “The Rite of Spring” composer Stravinksy 32 Where el sol rises 33 “Un-Starry Night” and “Moonflowers”?

instructing with Martel College sophomore Jaylen Carr. For their class, the two plan to assign readings about different players’ perspectives on “Super Smash Brothers” as well as esports as a whole. Christl said they particularly plan to explore the accessibility of esports, which is what Christl thinks makes esports unique. “I think esports is special in that really anyone can get into it — anyone can play it,” Christl said.

Shi and Huang’s version of the class, which is based on the previous instructor’s syllabus, will focus on the psychology behind the game. For their homework assignments, students will watch a few episodes of a season to discuss. In class, the students will compete in Survivor-like challenges against each other. For a one-on-one challenge, Shi has two students get into a pool holding a ping-pong paddle with a cup on top, then compete to see who can knock over the other’s cup first. Ultimately, the reason Shi got into the class was because his love of Survivor. “I really like reality TV,” Shi said. “I just think it’s really fun and interesting.”

AMERICAN ASIANS IN THE MEDIA For Wiess junior Priscilla Li, watching a movie like Crazy Rich Asians with an allAsian cast was a big deal. Not only is it rare in Hollywood, but Li said she also appreciates seeing people like herself represented on the big screen. In order to open conversation on the topic, Li decided to teach a college course. “I want the students to be able to have a conversation about these issues that normally we wouldn’t really talk about in Rice classes,” Li said. In her course, Li plans to address the lack of Asian representation in media. Li said that by casting Asians into certain types of roles, Hollywood supports stereotypes that can be harmful to Asians in real life. One such stereotype is the model minority myth, which perpetuates the idea that Asians are always smart, financially well-off and generally don’t face problems. Another stereotype is the martial artist trope, because shows and movies often cast Asian actors for martial artist roles. “Media perpetuates stereotypes that we come across in real life, and this can reaffirm or start to create these stereotypes in viewers’ minds,” Li said.


8 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2018


Cherry Reading Series cont. The English Department and Fondren Library’s Cherry Reading Series brought poets Jennifer Chang and Michael Collier. See more on



On Friday, dance group BASYK hosted their first campus-wide dance showcase. The showcase featured other student dance groups such as Rice Dance Theatre.



Tiger Noodle House brings authentic Chinese food close to campus METINEE DING THRESHER STAFF

TIGER NOODLE HOUSE Cuisine: Chinese Address: 2424 Rice Blvd Price range: $11 - 30 Details: Vegetarian-friendly

Tiger Noodle House is the first Asian restaurant to join the wave of newcomers to Rice Village — and it does not disappoint. A Chinese restaurant serving homestyle dishes from different regions in China, Tiger Noodle House delivers traditional flavors and large portions in a laid-back setting. One of my biggest qualms with Rice’s otherwise prime location is the lack of authentic Asian cuisines within walking distance. While the two “Asiatown” areas in Bellaire and Katy provide many solid options for Asian flavors, both are pretty far away — especially if you don’t have a car on campus. Chinese food, specifically from the province of Sichuan, has become increasingly popular in Houston and the U.S. as a whole. In fact, there are now multiple restaurants within 10 minutes


ART CAR BALL Engage in Houston’s historic art car scene with the 2019 Legendary Art Car Ball on Friday from 7 - 11 p.m. The ball will include musical performances, performance art and interactive installations in addition to food and beverages. General admission tickets cost $30. Hermann Square Park at City Hall 900 Bagby St.

driving distance from Rice that serve Sichuan food, all of which have popped up in within the last few years. While Sichuan cuisine is great, it’s unfortunate that the delicious flavors from other areas of China remain overlooked. Chinese cuisine is incredibly diverse, varying from province to province, and Tiger Noodle House is one of the first restaurants in the immediate vicinity of Rice to showcase this. Stepping into Tiger Noodle House, the smell of garlic and spice is almost overwhelming — in the best way possible. The modern interior feels similar to that of Mala Sichuan Bistro in Montrose, the restaurant that really put Sichuan cuisine on the map, with its dark palette and liberal use of wood. Opening the menu, I was excited to see dishes not commonly found in Chinese restaurants in the states: dongpo pork (a braised pork belly dish), Taiwanese sausage and stewed pork on rice. A graphic on the second page of the menu shows the various origins of the dishes the restaurant serves, which hail from Taiwan as well as the provinces of Sichuan, Jiangsu and Shandong. While the prices are comparable to those of Mala Sichuan Bistro and Cooking Girl (with most entrees priced between 10 and 18 dollars), the portions are significantly larger without sacrificing the punchy flavors characteristic of Chinese cuisine. The spicy dan dan noodle was one of my

BOLD Rice Dance Theatre will host its spring show “BOLD” on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The show will feature student-choreographed hip-hop and contemporary performances. Tickets are $3 for students on Thursday and $5 on Friday and Saturday. Gibbs Recreation Center Dance Theater

favorites that I’ve tried in Houston so far, and the spicy Sichuan chicken struck the perfect balance between chewy and crispy. Don’t sleep on the veggie and tofu dishes either — the spicy and sour shredded potato in particular is packed with flavor and cooked to a glorious crunchy perfection. The one complaint I had was with the dry fried green bean dish, which felt a little overcooked and under seasoned. It’s really exciting to have a restaurant that maintains the authenticity of Chinese

flavors so close to Rice. The longer I live away from home, the more I’ve found myself craving those traditional flavors that remind me so much of my mom and grandma’s cooking. Rice Village’s Asian food scene has been substandard at most, and I’m hoping that Tiger Noodle House can pave the way for other restaurants of its kind to come. So, next time you’re trying to pick a place for Saturday night dinner, consider Tiger Noodle House as an alternative to the usual Rice kid haunts — looking at you, Torchy’s.


Originally from Katy, Tiger Noodle House has made an appearance in Rice Village. The food offered includes Sichuan favorites as well as classic Chinese dishes like dongpo pork.

2019 JAPAN FESTIVAL Celebrate Japan’s rich cultural heritage this Saturday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Sunday in Hermann Park. Enjoy traditional and contemporary Japanese food, musical and martial arts performances, cultural activities and more. This event is free and open to the public. Hermann Park Japanese Garden 6100 Hermann Park Drive

RICE U CREATIVE CARNIVAL Join organizations like 6100 Main, R2: The Rice Review, ASTR* Art and Design Magazine and more this Saturday from 7 10 p.m. to celebrate creativity on campus. There will be a fashion show, photo booths, student artwork, independently produced music and many other opportunities to recognize Rice students’ creative work. RMC Grand Hall


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2019 • 9


TEARDOWN ALIGNED WITH SEWALL RENOVATIONS, FOLLOWS ART BARN REMOVAL Specifically, the sociology department’s and the dean of social sciences’ offices will move to the new Kraft Hall of Social Sciences building by December 2019, freeing up space for a January 2020 Sewall Hall renovation that will make space for the visual and dramatic arts department. The Media Center, which features a sheet metal exterior, is built in a different style from the brick buildings that dominate most of Rice’s campus. Kirby said that the building, built in 1969, was intended to be temporary and not built to last. “We’ve seen a substantial deterioration,” Kirby said. “I’ve been here a dozen years and it’s been a problematic building for the entire time I’ve been here, but it’s [been] accelerating in the last four, five years. Everything [goes wrong]. Anything you can imagine that goes wrong with a home, everything. Water intrusion, heating and air conditioning, just everything.” Photography professor Geoff Winningham said that he arrived at Rice when the Media Center was built. In his 50 years at the university, he has yet to move from his office there. Winningham said the architect of the building intended for it to be permanent. “Do you call a home that was built in the 1960s that has a pyramid beam foundation and deep concrete piers — do you call it temporary?” Winningham said. “It’s meant to last for a hundred years or more. So why do we call this a temporary building? We call it a temporary building because Rice designated that in response to complaints that it didn’t look up to Rice standards. It seems to me that there’s always been a dissatisfaction with this building because it wasn’t brick.” Winningham was recruited to Rice in 1969 by Gerald O’Grady, the Rice scholar and consultant to the de Menils on the Media Center project. O’Grady passed away last Tuesday, a day before the decision to shut down the center was announced to the VADA listserv. UNCERTAIN TIMELINE Currently, there is no set date for the center’s removal, sparking concerns about existing classes and faculty spaces in the center. Six VADA professors have offices in the building and four courses were taught there in the past academic year. The building also hosts the campus’ only darkroom, a specialty space used to develop film photos, and one of two silver screens in Houston. Winningham said that the Media Center faculty did not receive any advance notice of this decision until its announcement last week and have been told to move out of the building by the end of this semester. “There are half a dozen of us in this building and we’re going to suddenly move out at the end of this term and go somewhere?” Winningham said. “It’s an incredibly disruptive thing for us, but also for students.” Winningham compared the administrative decision to a “crisis.” “I’m concerned about the department, a great deal — our faculty, our staff, the morale of the department — I’m worried about the students,” Winningham said. “I can’t imagine how the university could possibly move us out of this building and set up elsewhere and have anywhere close to comparable experience for students. It just seems, frankly, impossible.” VADA students registered for fall classes might also run into the issue of a lack of specialty spaces, according to Jones College junior Terrence Liu. Liu, a VADA major with photography concentration, said he registered for FOTO 205 next semester, a class on film development and printing that would be impossible without a darkroom. “I’m concerned with the [loss] of darkroom and digital lab, and its [effect] on those classes that need these two spaces to operate,” Liu said. “As for [the photography] department, FOTO 205, FOTO 210 and FOTO 310 need [the] digital lab to do the post editing and print making.” Laurel Smith, a VADA major with film concentration, said she already has difficulty meeting graduation requirements


The Rice Media Center, built in 1969, will be torn down before 2020. The Media Center currently contains the campus’ only darkroom, one of two silver screens in Houston, an exhibition space, classrooms and faculty office space.

due to the sparse nature of film offerings. She said that the removal of the center will affect course offerings that rely on these specialty facilities. “When the [administration] finds a suitable new space to hold the Rice Cinema, then they can start to think about relocating the department,” Smith, a Duncan College junior, said. “Until that space is ready to go, it won’t be able to happen without having to remove classes from the schedule due to lack of space or appropriate facilities. It’s already hard enough to schedule everything I need to graduate, and I know I wouldn’t be the only one worried about having to stay at Rice a semester — or even a year! — longer than I had originally planned because I couldn’t get the classes I need.” According to Dean of Humanities Kathleen Canning, fall courses will be unaffected whether or not the Media Center is removed beforehand. According to Canning, if the building is removed, these classes will be taught in temporary spaces that have been adjusted to accommodate for these courses’ needs.

There are half a dozen of us in this building and we’re going to suddenly move out at the end of this term and go somewhere? It’s an incredibly disruptive thing for us, but also for students. Geoff Winningham PHOTOGRAPHY PROFESSOR STUDENT REACTIONS Liu said that the sudden timeline of the Media Center’s removal shows the administration’s neglect for the VADA department and students. “As an important space for the VADA department with a rich history [spanning] decades, they should at least give out alternative solutions and make the deconstruction as the last option,” Liu said. Smith said that the center is integral to her experience as a student with a film concentration. She said that the students treat the center like a personal studio and regularly develop film during late hours of the night. “There are a few scenes that every film student has to shoot and edit in their

underclassman years, and we always film them in the Media Center — everyone has staged a bloody murder outside on the deck, we’ve all shot a scene of us dancing to ’80s music through the big glass windows on the side,” Smith said. “Those scenes are something of a rite of passage for film students, and I really look back on those experiences fondly.” Smith’s tweets about the media center’s removal sparked conversation on Twitter. “This is a slap in the face to many,” Smith wrote in her tweet. “A crumbling arts program is nothing to be proud of and drives us further from the ‘Ivy-League’ distinction [Rice] so desperately [wants].” POTENTIAL FUTURES Kirby said the Sewall Hall renovation will be similar to that of the recent Space Science and Technology building renovations and will not include an expansion of the building’s envelope. “We’re just putting together the project team for that and that project will start next month,” Kirby said. “And we’ll start to decide what [we are] going to do. Our goal is to do a major renovation starting in January. It’s a lot of work, there’s a lot of asbestos and other things in that building and so it’ll take about a year to do that.” According to VADA Chair John Sparagana, the renovations will total $35 million. “There’s a potential here in the designing of the space, to take a tremendous step towards bringing VADA together in a way that we’ve hoped for and envisioned, to create something dynamic,” Sparagana said. “We’ve come to understand through this process that’s really recent, that it is a real investment of the university in VADA and in the humanities.” Associate Vice President for Facilities Engineering and Planning Kathy Jones said that Rice is in the beginning stages of a predesign and has requested proposals from architects and contractors. Jones said that the project will be directed by a steering committee, including Sparagana and Canning, and that the project will have an estimated completion before the spring semester of 2021. Sparagana said he hopes the Rice administration will consider constructing a dedicated VADA building on the Media Center’s land that would include film, photography, studio and theater. “A student building for the creative arts at that site would put us in direct proximity to the Moody Center for the Arts, creating tremendous synergy, increasing and amplifying student engagement with

the Moody,” Sparagana said. “We have great leadership in Dean Canning, terrific momentum in the arts at Rice, recognition of the consistent vitality and productivity of VADA and cognizance of student desire for a student arts building. I am optimistic about the possibility of a VADA student arts building as never before.” Kirby said the administration currently has no plans for the Media Center’s land. “We don’t have a plan at all for what the [land] will get used for,” Kirby said. “If it’s next to the Moody Center, it would make sense for it to be some kind of arts facility. But we have no plans.” Sparagana said if the Sewall Hall renovations are intended to fully replace the Media Center, they must include all of its current functions, something that Sparagana and Canning have been pushing for. According to Sparagana, darkrooms and digital labs are easy to replace and build, but the Rice Cinema will be more difficult to relocate. “A cinema, with a silver screen and all the projection capabilities that we have, is a pretty unique thing,” Sparagana said. “It’s a studio, for students who are budding filmmakers and videographers. And it’s also an amazing creative community outreach center. We’ll be pressing to maintain that vision.” CONTINUED CHANGE The Media Center’s removal follows the recent conversion of the Rice Gallery into a welcome center and the 2014 teardown of its neighboring building, the Martel Center for Continuous Studies — fondly referred to as the “Art Barn.” Both buildings were originally founded and funded by the de Menil family, who later founded the Menil Collection. The Art Barn teardown was due to safety problems, according to Kirby in 2014. Winningham contested this in 2014, saying that the architect found the structure to be safe. Currently, the Rice Agricultural Garden sits on the land of the Art Barn. Canning said that she sees the Sewall Hall expansion as a step toward bringing the arts on campus together in one cohesive space. “Even though there could be sadness about a building’s life ending, there’s a lot of optimism about where we’re going from here,” Canning said. The Media Center will host a showing of “Man, Art, Machine” on April 14 from 7:30 - 10:30 p.m. in response to “recent news about the uncertain future” of the Center.


10 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2019

SPORTS Dunlap Dominates

Senior DH finally finds his stroke


Senior designated hitter Andrew Dunlap readies his backswing to hit during the Shriners College Classic at Minute Maid Park. Dunlap hit one triple and one home run, and batted in four runs over the Classic’s three games.


Twenty-four year old senior Andrew Dunlap inherited his middle name, Bellows, from his grandfather. As a husband, father and designated hitter for the Rice baseball team, Dunlap said he isn’t quite the vocal leader his middle name would suggest. “Nobody cares how old you are when you’re out on the field,” Dunlap said. “I’m just one of the guys. I wouldn’t say I’m quiet, but I do have to make a conscious effort to make a statement in the dugout.”

Dunlap arrived at Rice in 2014 as a pitcher, bypassing an opportunity to play minor league baseball. But during his freshman year, Dunlap tore his rotator cuff and was forced to medically redshirt. According to Dunlap, his throwing arm was never the same, even after arthroscopic surgery. “I hurt my shoulder the summer going into freshman year and rehabbed for two years, which is why I got redshirts my first two years — one medical and one regular,” Dunlap said. “I actually ended up quitting the team because of my shoulder.” But he said a conversation with thenhead coach Wayne Graham convinced him

to return to the team in 2016, this time as a hitter instead. To transition from pitching to hitting, Dunlap said he wore an elastic band around his waist during batting practice to increase torque and improve his swing’s launch angle. “This is like talking about religion right here,” Dunlap said. “Guys have always known production happens when you hit the ball hard in the air. That’s where your money is made.” He didn’t succeed immediately as a hitter, however. Dunlap hit for only a .197 batting average in his first season at the plate. He said he grew frustrated at striking out, and when

he only played offense as a designated hitter, he struggled to develop consistency. “I hate talking about my stats, but I hit better when I’m [playing defense], traditionally,” Dunlap said. “Designated hitting can be tough. If you don’t have some good at bats to start the game, it’s easy to get down on yourself. You have to forget about your [bad] at-bats [as a DH] just like you would when you go play defense. It’s like flushing the toilet.” According to Dunlap, accumulating plate appearances over a season can settle a hitter into a comfort zone. Dunlap said he suffered from lingering shoulder issues during his first three seasons, which stunted his growth as a hitter due to missed playing time. This season, however, Dunlap has already started in 28 games. In 112 at-bats, Dunlap has hit 10 home runs, reached base 46.8% of the time and batted in 42 runs. His 1.156 OPS ranks No. 36 in the country at time of publication, according to D1 Dunlap said he can attribute his success to his momentum. “This year it is nice to be in the lineup every day,” Dunlap said. “You have to learn how to take care of yourself. I’ve had some minor injuries this year, but [head] coach [Matt] Bragga does a good job of keeping us in the weight room two or three times a week to stay as fresh as possible.” Plate discipline is one area where Dunlap said he can improve. “I strike out too much,” Dunlap said. “[If] you walk, you get guys on base for free, you run the pitch count up, get the star [pitchers] out and get the worse pitchers out there.” As the longest-tenured athlete at Rice, Dunlap said he is simply satisfying expectations. “You would think after six years of doing something you would get decent at it, hopefully,” Dunlap said.


Women’s tennis pushes winning streak to three SPENCER MOFFAT SENIOR WRITER

The Rice women’s tennis team celebrated Senior Day this past Sunday by stretching its win streak to three after defeating Florida International University in a 4-0 win. It was also the second straight match in which the Owls shut out their opponent 4-0. This past Friday’s match against No. 47 University of South Florida was the first match for Rice since the Owls defeated the College of William & Mary almost two weeks prior. The Owls fought back from behind in two out of three doubles matches to win the doubles point. Freshmen Anastasia Smirnova and Diae El Jardi were the first pair to finish, defeating USF’s Alexandria Mjos and Selin Yaylali 6-2 on Court Three. The Bulls won on Court Two to put the pressure on Court One, where sophomores Michaela Haet and Linda Huang found themselves down 4-3 in the deciding match of the doubles point. However, they responded to the pressure by winning four of the next five games to win 7-5 and get the doubles point for Rice. Head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said doubles play has been a strength for the Owls throughout the whole season. “Doubles has been a solid point for us this year,” Schmidt said. “Sometimes we have used the momentum from it and sometimes we have not.” In singles play, Anastasia Smirnova started the Owls off with a dominant straight-set win (6-0, 6-1). Freshman Victoria Smirnova followed her twin sister with a (63, 6-3) victory over Vanja Klaric. Schmidt said the performance of the Smirnova sisters has been strong. “They have been great additions to our team,” Schmidt said. “I think they have developed most in [their] physicality.”

Sophomore Michaela Haet, the No. 109 singles player in the country according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, also won her singles match. She defeated the country’s No. 48 player, USF’s Ana Roman Dominguez (6-1, 6-2). After the match, Schmidt said she was happy the team built off of its performance in the doubles matches throughout singles play. “I was super proud of [us] keeping the momentum going after the doubles [point],” Schmidt said. Sunday’s match against Florida International University brought multiple

storylines. The Owls were celebrating the contributions of senior Fernanda Astete to the Rice tennis program on Senior Day, while also dealing with the challenge of changing locations due to thunderstorms. The Owls didn’t let the distraction of looming storms bother them. They captured the doubles point after a 6-1 win by sophomore Anna Bowtell and Victoria Smirnova and another 6-1 victory by junior Priya Niezgoda and Anastasia Smirnova. Niezgoda, Anastasia Smirnova and Huang grabbed the lead in opening singles sets before the looming thunderstorms

finally came to fruition. The Owls resumed the match against FIU indoors at the Sweetwater Country Club in Sugar Land, initially with only one available court, which Anastasia Smirnova used to secure a (6-1, 6-2) victory. More courts soon opened up, which allowed Huang and Niezgoda to secure the clinching points against the Panthers. The Owls’ next match is also their last match before the Conference USA tournament. Rice will look to prepare itself for the postseason by facing the University of Houston at home, on April 13 at 11 a.m. COURTESY RICE ATHLETICS

Sophomores Linda Huang and Michaela Haet approach the net to anticipate a passing shot during Friday’s match against the University of South Florida at the George R. Brown Tennis Center. In 20 combined dual and tour matches so far this season, the duo has posted a 13-7 record.


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2019 • 11

Hanszen wins Pizza Bike title over Jones, Baker COURTESY Helen PU


During Pizza Bike, held Saturday evening at the bike track, a Baker College biker drafts behind a Jones College biker. Hanszen College won the race, followed by Jones in second and Baker in third. The race was held this year as a makeup for the rained-out mens’ Beer Bike competition.


The Hanszen College men’s bike team beat five other colleges competing in Pizza Bike, an unofficial make-up race for the 2019 Beer Bike men’s race held Saturday at the Hackerman Race Track. Six residential colleges (Baker College, Brown College, Hanszen, Jones College, Lovett College and Martel College) competed in Pizza Bike. Hanszen’s team took a commanding lead early on with their second biker, junior Patrick Breen, and stayed in first for the rest of the race. Jones came in second, followed by Baker, Brown, Lovett and finally Martel.

The win is a validation of [Hanszen’s] hard work all year. Mason Reece HANSZEN COLLEGE FRESHMAN Gillian Mellor, one of Hanszen’s 2019 Beer Bike coordinators, said that it was an amazing feeling for Hanszen to win this make-up race. “I know how much work the men’s team has been putting in all semester and it’s great that we were able to get an event where they could come out and show out,” Mellor, a senior, said. Mason Reece, one of the Hanszen bikers, said that winning Pizza Bike was an affirmation of the work that the team put into practicing for Beer Bike. “The win is a validation of our hard work all year and also to act as the spark to light

the fire of Beer Bike victories for many years to come at Hanszen,” Reece, a freshman, said. Vy Dang, one of the women’s bike team captains for Hanszen, said that Hanszen was disappointed when the men’s Beer Bike race became a Beer Run and that Pizza Bike was a way for them to still prove themselves. “We were a little disappointed because we have been preparing and practicing all year for that moment and all the hype was there,” Dang, a sophomore, said. “But we’re also glad that we’re able to put Pizza Bike together and kind of still see that come to fruition.” Charles Davis, who is both a men’s bike and chug team captain for Brown, said that





BASEBALL FRI-SUN, APRIL 12-14 // 5PM, 5PM & 11AM The baseball team will look to continue its push back to .500 on the season with a three-game series against the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Before dropping the last two games of last weekend’s series against Florida International University, the Owls were riding a seasonlong 5-game winning streak. Perhaps a shift away from Reckling Park will right Rice’s ship: the Owls are 5-5 in away games, compared to just a 7-14 mark at their home turf.

MEN’S TENNIS SAT, APRIL 13 // 1 PM This week, the men’s tennis team will remain home, facing off against Tulane University in a match held at Rice’s George R. Brown Tennis Center. The Owls have won four straight matches, sweeping this past weekend’s Conference USA Showcase with victories against Southern Mississippi University, the University of Alabama, Birmingham and the University of Texas, San Antonio. The Owls haven’t lost since March 24, during a weekend in which they dropped three consecutive matches.

WOMEN’S TENNIS FRI, APRIL 12 // 1 PM The women’s tennis team, like the men’s team, will try to extend its current winning streak. The streak now stands at three matches in a row after this past weekend saw the Owls post two shutouts against Conference USA foes in the University of South Florida and Florida International University. This weekend, the Owls have a very short distance to travel, driving just a few miles to face the University of Houston at their Barbara Wallace Winston Tennis Center.

TRACK & FIELD FRI & SAT, APRIL 12 & 13 // ALL DAY Both the men’s and women’s track teams will send athletes to the Texas A&M Invitational and Multis, held this weekend at Texas A&M University in College Station. Junior jumper Michelle Fokam will headline the Owls’ competitors. This past week, Fokam was named the Conference USA Female Field Athlete of the Week after her 6.35-meter mark in the long jump eclipsed her competition at the Houston Alumni Invitational. The mark also vaulted her to the top of the C-USA long jump leaderboard, and she now ranks No. 10 nationally.

Brown was likewise upset when the race became a Beer Run. “A lot of us on the team had been practicing all year,” Davis, a junior, said. “Some of our team is leaving next year and we’re pretty sad that some of them will never get to experience their first Beer Bike or experience their last one.” There were no chuggers at Pizza Bike and having a pit crew was optional, which Davis said was due to the difficulty of coordinating multiple people’s schedules. “Trying to schedule this event in such a short time, it’s very hard to try to get all of us individuals in the right place at the right

time,” Davis said. “Just getting the pit crew and the chug team all together is a lot of people to go through.” Davis said that the idea of a makeup race followed almost immediately after the race. “Directly after the race, once I got back to Brown, there was already a huge group chat with all the captains from various colleges in it,” Davis said. “We were planning the events probably an hour after Beer Bike.” The first ever Pizza Bike was held in 2016, after all Beer Bike races that year were made Beer Runs. Davis said that in 2016, the event was organized by Brown, but that this year the effort was led by the Hanszen captains.


12 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2019

Tips for Taking Care of Your Prospie Owl Days is this week! Even if you’re not hosting one of them, prospies will be roaming around campus. There’s no need to be afraid — they won’t bite. These prospies are of a competitive, intelligent breed, but Rice is an entirely new environment and most of them have never had to be independent before. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned prospie professional, this guide will help you out.

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Please make sure your prospie showers. No one wants to smell pubescent pits when a prospie inevitably raises their hand to participate in a class they’re sitting in on. Not to mention, Houston is humid! Their palms don’t need to be any sweatier than they’d naturally be when shaking the professor’s hand to unnecessarily introduce themselves at the start of said class. Unless they’re evoking Leebron’s moist grip.

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The most important part of physicH ally handling a propsie is by far the golden rule: DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH A PROSPIE. Do not caress a prospie too tenderly, do not kiss a prospie, do not sext a prospie. You can hug them hello and goodbye. The age of consent in Texas is 17, but the age at which it’s gross to hook up with a high schooler you’ve never met before is whenever you matriculated.

Food isn’t a big problem since your ng prospie edi has their own meal plan. But they Fe might go wild in the absence of parental supervision and eat exclusively servery pizza and fries. Then again, this pattern persists well into many students’ Rice careers. Beyond food, prospies need to drink. Not alcohol, of course. Watch out for your prospie so that they don’t end up sick or in trouble. Although, getting EMS’d is a good introduction to culture at Duncan. You’re not their parent, though. If they try to sneak a beer from an upperclassman at Prospie Pub, they’ll get the valuable, humbling experience of watching a bartender dump it out before their first sip.

Sleeping on a floor is never pleasant. There’s a limit to making your prospie comfortable, so why not prioritize giving them an authentic Rice experience? Scatter some of your lecture notes on the floor and make them stay up studying until they simply fall asleep on them. Or have them stay up all night on free Coffeehouse drip coffee after midnight. If you really want to prepare them for the worst, nothing mimics the inconsiderate roommate experience quite like sexiling your prospie.


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Your prospie needs to get outside! Take them on walk and give a personalized campus tour that goes above and beyond the general information a guide can give (see: “Unconventional Places to Hook Up” in this year’s Trasher). If you’re really ambitious, take a prospie beyond the hedges. If you’re as ambitious as MY Owl Days host, stay in one night to study and send your underage prospie off in the bed of a pickup truck to Whataburger with random baseball players — shoutout McKinzie Chambers.

The Backpage is satire, written by Simona Matovic with help from her prospective designer Simoyed Malteseovic. For comments or questions, please email



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The Rice Thresher | April 10, 2019  

The Rice Thresher | April 10, 2019  

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