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6 Beer Bike, major events canceled for semester CHRISTINA TAN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

For the first time in its 64-year history, Beer Bike is canceled with no current plans to reschedule. As part of their response to the emerging crisis of COVID-19, Rice has prohibited all on-campus public events with more than 100 people, following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a Rice Alert sent on March 8. Beer Bike’s cancellation is one of many — KTRU’s Outdoor Show and spring dance Rondelet have also been canceled.

illustration by chloe xu


Rice Crisis Management canceled all classes for the week of March 9, along with all on-campus public events with more than 100 attendees through April 30, according to an alert sent on Sunday afternoon. The cancellation follows the confirmation of a Rice employee testing positive for the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, which was reported last Thursday. CANCELLATION OF CLASSES Kevin Kirby, vice president for administration, said one of the reasons for suspending classes before spring break was to give faculty time to think about the logistics of moving classes online if social distancing becomes necessary. “We have a lot to work through,” Kirby said. “We originally thought we would have four, five, six months to do this. Now we have a bit more urgency around understanding what that looks like.” Kirby said there are currently discussions in the Faculty Senate about what it would take to put all classes online in two weeks, but no decision has been made yet. “Things are accelerating, not just here in Houston but nationally,” Kirby said. “There hasn’t been a decision yet that we’re going [to put all classes online]. It could be as early as two weeks [from now]. We might decide we’re gonna do it a month from now. We might decide we’re not going to do it until the fall.” Citing the volume and variability of class instruction, Kirby said that moving to online classes is logistically challenging. “It’s not so easy as just saying ‘We’re going to put everybody on Zoom’ because that accounts for maybe a third to 40 percent of all the classes [and] there are all kinds of other instructions,” Kirby said. According to Kirby, the confirmed coronavirus case at Rice created the need for heightened precautions. “Even if it’s only one confirmed case, you want to put in place measures that are a little bit different than some university that doesn’t have a confirmed case,” Kirby said.

“Although I think most experts think it’s only a matter of time before most campuses have a confirmed case. I’d say we’re just a little bit ahead of where everyone’s going to be in another week or two.” Other universities such as Stanford University, University of Washington, Vanderbilt University and Princeton University have already announced that all classes would be taught remotely for either part or all of their remaining terms. Yesterday, Harvard University, which has no confirmed cases on campus yet, announced the migration of all classes online and asked students not to return after their spring break. CONFIRMED POSITIVE EMPLOYEE CASE Crisis Management alerted the Rice community on Feb. 29 that a research staff member had been possibly exposed to the coronavirus while on overseas travel and noted that individuals in contact with the employee on Feb. 24 and 25 had been asked to self-quarantine. The 17 individuals, including faculty, doctoral students and staff, were self-isolating off campus, but no undergraduates were in contact with the research staffer, who also did not enter any other buildings or ride the shuttles. Kirby said the employee self-reported her coronavirus exposure to Rice officials on Feb. 29. He added that all the other members asked to self-quarantine did so voluntarily, and praised their sense of responsibility. “Our employee has been incredibly responsible and caring about the health of the Rice community and she’s been doing all the right things,” Kirby said. Harris County Public Health said the employee, along with all the other positive cases in Houston, was exposed to the coronavirus while on a cruise in Egypt. Kirby said the employee is now in stable condition at the hospital. When reporting that the employee had tested positive last Thursday, Crisis Management noted that the employee’s time on campus had been limited to one building which was sanitized, but the location was not initially disclosed. On Friday, Crisis Management clarified that the employee

had spent time in a suite on the first floor of Keck Hall during their time on campus. “It’s not because we believe that there’s any greater risk,” Kirby said. “But because people have been asking, and so we’re trying to respond to a large number of people who’ve been asking about that. So it’s, you know, we’re trying to be responsive to our community and still protect the privacy of the person.” Students, especially those who identify as immunocompromised, expressed concerns about the initial lack of disclosure. Elijah Lipkin, a Will Rice College junior, said that he was alarmed by Rice’s lack of transparency over the location. “[Not informing all students] is to potentially put everyone, especially those who are immunosuppressed, at grave risk,” Lipkiin said. “If another case is reported, I will not feel safe going to campus.” Bart Salmon, assistant vice president for facilities, said that Rice custodial staff, under the supervision of the assistant director for custodial and the custodial manager, conducted the sanitation and disinfecting efforts in Keck Hall. According to Salmon, custodians wore rubber gloves prior to and during the cleaning process. While research is set to continue as long as it is conducted in small groups, Kirby said that Rice is committed to the needs of both undergraduate and graduate students and that further research precautions for graduate students will be soon released. “Just like we’re trying to make sure that undergraduates aren’t being inappropriately asked to do certain things, we want to make sure [of] the same for graduate students,” Kirby said. To anyone wanting more information, Kirby said all they need to do is ask. “We’re trying to be as transparent as possible [and] to consult as widely as possible,” Kirby said. “In general there are no secrets. There’s very [few] things that we can’t talk about that involve protected health information. For example, we had some people demanding to know who our confirmed patient is, and that’s protected health information under the law.” SEE CORONAVIRUS PAGE 3

BEER BIKE The races were canceled one other time in 2007 after a student’s sudden death, but the men’s and women’s races were rescheduled for a later date. The campuswide Beer Bike coordinators said they found out about the event’s cancellation at the same time as everyone else — via the Rice Alert. “We were not given much indication that such a cancellation was so imminent and it was pretty saddening to see that all the hard work that was put into this won’t culminate into an event,” campuswide co-coordinator and Lovett College sophomore Shreya Menon said. “I understand the need for the cancellation and that the administration is dealing with the crisis the best they can, but that doesn’t make it any less sad or frustrating.” Eddie Tang, the other co-coordinator, said he felt that he and Menon should have been included in the conversation to cancel Beer Bike. “[I] felt like the [college-specific Beer Bike coordinators] and I should’ve been included in the conversation about potentially delaying or changing the race so that races could still happen as it is a student-planned event,” Tang, a Baker College junior, said. “[I] felt blinded actually, as we were told [Beer Bike] was not under consideration of being canceled, and all of a sudden [Beer Bike] was.” With Beer Bike’s cancellation, originally-planned campuswide Willy Week events will also be canceled, according to Petre Freeman, associate director of campus events. “The colleges worked really hard on their Willy Week risk management plan and they were well-detailed,” Freeman said. “Unfortunately, all Willy Week original planned events have been canceled.” ATHLETICS EXEMPTION Rice Athletics, club sports and intramural sports will continue hosting outdoors athletic competitions, including spectators, in an apparent exemption to the 100-person capacity rule, according to Chuck Pool, assistant director of athletics. “Consistent with the communication from the Rice Crisis Management Team, SEE BEER


2 • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2020



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2020 • 3


Faculty prepare for possible transition to remote instruction AMY QIN NEWS EDITOR Faculty and university staff have begun to prepare for the possibility of transitioning to remote classes following spring break, according to an email sent to faculty obtained by the Thresher. As part of an ongoing response to the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus on campus, Rice University canceled all classes and graded exams and assignments for the week of March 9. A brief Rice Alert text announcing the cancellation of classes was sent Sunday evening, followed shortly by an email that announced the cancellation of classes for the week and large public events until April 30, including the first cancellation of Beer Bike in its history. Another email later that night from Interim Provost Seiichi Matsuda clarified that all graded exams and assignment deadlines for the week would be postponed after some professors reportedly told their classes that their assignments would be due.

Virtual education has its limits and does not substitute for the handson experience in our lab courses. Jamie Catanese ASSISTANT TEACHING PROFESSOR In their initial email, the Rice Crisis Management Team mentioned the possibility of switching to mostly remote classes for the rest of the semester. The Crisis Management Team has formed a working group with the Faculty Senate to plan for this possibility. According to Faculty Senate Speaker Christopher Johns-Krull, planning for fully online classes is a work in progress. “Rice offers a variety of types of courses, some already with substantial online interaction, so we do not envision a one size fits all solution,” Johns-Krull said.

Channing Wang / Thresher

Classes were canceled for the week of March 9. Faculty and administration have begun to prepare for the possibility of transitioning to remote classes for the rest of the semester.

“Lab[s] and other experiential learning courses are probably the most challenging, and that is one thing the working group will be focused on, again, considering the recommendations of the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].” According to a March 10 email sent from Matsuda to Rice faculty that was obtained by the Thresher, the purpose of taking a weeklong break from classes was primarily to allow faculty to prepare for the possibility of transitioning to fully remote instruction. “Our goal is to make enough classes available through remote delivery to reduce the chances of spread of [the virus that causes] COVID-19 in our community — and to become ready to fully convert to remote instruction with a few days’ notice, if necessary,” Matsuda wrote in the email. According to the email, instructors of classes identified as being particular risk factors, such as those with more than 100 students or students who self-identify as being at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, will be notified by March 11 if they need to switch to remote instruction for the rest of the semester. Jamie Catanese, who teaches BIOC 211, an introductory lab course that is required by bioscience majors, said he was “a bit surprised” to get the notification on Sunday that classes had been canceled. He quickly sent an email to his students outlining

adjustments he had made, including providing lab data and changing the submission format from paper to digital, to allow them to submit their assignments that week. Then, he received the evening email stating that no assignments could be due that week. “That came as a big surprise to me because there is nothing hindering my students from completing these assignments,” Catanese said. “It is not like students do not have access to Canvas. It seems that the university is communicating its decisions by email … why should my communication or instruction to my students be any different?” Catanese said that although accommodating for a single week of canceled classes was fairly doable, he worries about the potential ramifications the last five weeks of classes are shifted to digital. “The problem with this potential decision is that the students will not get the same learning experience if they do not get to do the hands-on portion in lab,” Catanese said. “I already have observed that students can watch a video, go into the lab to try to repeat what the video shows, and still mess up or not get at all the point of what they are doing. Virtual education has its limits and does not substitute for the hands-on experience in our lab courses.” Beth Beason, a Biosciences professor, said that she has begun to plan long-term

Pub shut down following Wiess changeover SAVANNAH KUCHAR ASST NEWS EDITOR Editor’s Note: The identities of students and sources mentioned in this story have been removed to protect them from possible backlash. Any questions about our anonymity policy and sourcing should be directed to thresher@rice.edu. Last week, Willy’s Pub was shut down for at least the rest of the semester, following an incident involving underage drinking during a Wiess College student government changeover event held on Feb. 28. “With a heavy heart, we must announce that Willy’s Pub will be closed for the remainder of the current spring semester due to concerns from the administration surrounding a documented violation of the Rice Alcohol policy within Pub,” Pub management wrote in a statement online. “The management team is doing everything we can to make the necessary changes to get Pub open again.” According to multiple sources, a Wiess changeover tradition involves opening the collegewide Listserv to everyone in the college, so that Wiessmen may post without restriction for a few hours. A video, whose existence was verified by the Thresher and which shows the then-newly elected chief justice chugging liquid and then vomiting, was circulated via the open Listserv following the changeover event at Pub.

accommodations for her laboratory courses, such as performing experiments for her students and sharing data with them, making demo videos and utilizing Zoom for classroom discussions, in case classes become remote. She said, however, that such a format would detract from the learning experience from students in laboratory courses. “If we no longer have in-person classes, students will not only miss out on interactions with faculty and TAs but also will no longer be able to collaborate with their peers in the lab,” Beason said. Alden Sajor Marte-Wood, an assistant professor of English, said the major adjustment he had to make to his courses was to push essay deadlines to after spring break. According to Marte-Wood, he plans on switching his mostly discussion-based classes to meetings through Zoom video conferencing if in-person instruction is suspended. “While something will no doubt be lost if we have to transition to full Zoom instruction, I’m quite confident that my discussion-based classes will be able to adapt to an entirely online environment,” Marte-Wood said. Ultimately, Marte-Wood said he believes the administration made the right call in prioritizing the health of the Rice community above convenience. “I understand that some individuals may feel that this decision has proved to be quite logistically inconvenient, but as COVID-19 poses a significant public health concern we need to respond with compassion, patience and due diligence in order to ensure that those populations most vulnerable and susceptible to COVID-19 are adequately protected and supported,” Marte-Wood said. Shryans Goyal, a Will Rice College junior, said he was surprised by Rice’s decision to cancel classes and is now on the fence regarding his travel plans for spring break. “I’m an international student, so I’m seriously considering going back to India if classes will be online for the rest of the semester, if the rumors are true,” Goyal said. “I want to decide quickly whether I should stay on campus or not so that I can book tickets accordingly. International students are uniquely disadvantaged in this situation.”

Faculty Senate considers pass/fail policy changes TALHA ARIF THRESHER STAFF

illustration by chloe xu

Frank Rodriguez, the board president for V&W Permits which oversees Pub’s permit, said this event was the latest in a series of recent incidents of underage drinking at Pub. “Pub management was in the process of instituting upgraded practices, policies and technology towards the end goal of preventing underage drinking at Pub. This latest incident showed that what was done to date was obviously insufficient,” Rodriguez said. “We have much more to do ... The shutdown for the rest of the spring semester is required and necessary to that end.” After the incident, Student Judicial Programs opened an investigation into Wiess and their changeover, according to Emily

Garza, director of SJP. Sources indicated that SJP was investigating the possibility of hazing during the changeover incident. “Incidents reported to our office are investigated and adjudicated according to the procedures laid out in those documents, and that would include any reports of activity related to hazing,” Garza said. Erica Lee, a Wiess junior, is currently serving as interim CJ. Garza declined to comment on the closing of Pub and on details of the ongoing investigation. Wiess magisters and the past Wiess CJ also declined to comment. The new Wiess president, Lee and the CJ in the video did not respond in time for publication.

The Faculty Senate working group investigating the pass/fail system at Rice published their final report last week for the Faculty Senate to deliberate over. The recommendations have generated significant backlash from students, evidenced by the Student Association Senate gathering survey feedback, with over 600 responses. The first recommendation was to raise the minimum qualification for a “pass” from a Dto a C-. The second recommendation was to remove the ability of students to reuse a pass/ fail in the future, even if they take off the pass/ fail before the deadline of the second week in the following semester. The third recommendation has two parts: to officially allow students to pass/fail a single major or minor requirement with the “pass” remaining on the transcript, and to also not allow any “passes” to be uncovered by the registrar after the deadline. According to Christopher Johns-Krull, the speaker of the Faculty Senate, the earliest time the recommendations could be presented is at the March 25 Faculty Senate meeting. Read the full in-depth story online at ricethresher.org.



CORONAVIRUS With conflicting messages from press reports, the high consequences involved, and the difficulty of finding authoritative information, Kirby said he is not surprised that people think Rice could be hiding information as well. “I think it’s normal for people to sort of think that there are things that are being hidden or questioned,” Kirby said. “People want more information. As I tell the students in my class, if you’re really interested in the subject, don’t watch CNN. If you really want to know what’s going on, go to the CDC website.” IMMUNOCOMPROMISED STUDENTS For immunocompromised students like Zaid Nathani, the confirmed case on campus has been uniquely troubling. Nathani agreed with Lipkin that the administration should have released the location of the confirmed case immediately. “If there was enough caution to sanitize the building and self-quarantine [individuals], then students should know, especially because they have no idea who could’ve came in contact through surfaces,” Nathani, a Will Rice College sophomore, said. Following the announcement of the confirmed case and the location, Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman’s office sent a survey to all undergraduate students regarding individual’s health and accommodations needs. Associate Provost Matt Taylor said he is working with the dean’s office and Housing and Dining to assist students who self-identify as immunocompromised or have other health vulnerabilities. Taylor said they are reaching out to students with vulnerabilities to see if they would prefer to be moved to an alternate campus housing location if their current location poses a risk. Taylor also said that H&D is working on plans FROM PAGE 1

BEER BIKE we are proceeding with our scheduled home outdoor athletic competitions as currently scheduled, including spectators,” Pool said. “We are following the [Crisis Management Team’s] instructions to provide all participants and attendees with information about practicing proper handwashing (as suggested by the CDC) as well as taking additional measures to address the public’s concerns about the cleanliness of our venue’s public areas.” Kevin Kirby, vice president for administration, said that the exemption applies only to outdoor events and that indoor events would be subject to the 100-person restriction. This would include volleyball’s April 4 and April 18 events at Tudor Fieldhouse.

It was pretty saddening to see that all the hard work that was put into [Beer Bike] won’t culminate into an event. Shreya Menon CAMPUSWIDE COORDINATOR Pool said that there are currently no plans to limit seating at athletic events to 100 people. He also said that Rice Athletics will continue to participate in events “in or out of the state of Texas,” but that athletics has no international events scheduled for the remainder of the 2019-20 athletic calendar. ARTS EVENTS ON CAMPUS The 29th KTRU Outdoor Show has been canceled with no plans to reschedule, according to Outdoor Show Director Katelyn Landry. Landry said that the next show will be on April 24, 2021. However, Wiess College Tabletop Theatre’s “Hello, Hamlet!” is still on for now. In a statement, the Hamlet production team, led by Martel College senior Tori Joshi, said that they aim to maintain the original

Channing Wang / Thresher

In an alert on Friday, Crisis Management said that the affected employee spent time in a secured suite on the first floor of Keck Hall on Feb. 24 and 25.

for delivering food to vulnerable students living on campus. Taylor said that H&D has been trying to secure hotel rooms to increase the number and type of alternative spaces we have for students with health vulnerabilities. “Unfortunately, quality hotel rooms that meet our students’ health and confidentiality needs, especially in facilities that are close to campus, are extremely hard to come by thanks to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo,” Taylor said. “At the moment, it appears unlikely that Rice will be able to secure more than a handful of such rooms; so, our focus now is on how best to safeguard the health of students with on-campus resources.” Kirby said that the administration will try to accommodate all employees and students who have underlying medical conditions that increase concerns about their current working or living environments. “If they have very specific concerns or requests, we’re trying to accommodate those or if we don’t know about them, we encourage people to come forward and make a request,” Kirby said. quality of the performance. “As it stands, our aim is to hold performances of ‘Hello, Hamlet!’ with its originally intended production quality,” the production team wrote. “We are still developing the logistics for the exact presentation of the performances to ensure we remain within the current university guidelines. We are committed to working with the administration and following their directives throughout this process, and while we are dedicated to the show, safety remains our number [one] priority.” PARTIES ON AND OFF CAMPUS The remaining public parties this semester have effectively been canceled, including Brown College’s popular Bacchanalia, a toga-themed party. Jasmine Lee, a Brown social chair, said the social chairs did not find out about the cancellation until the campuswide Rice Alert was sent out. “We had just started preparing everything for the party ... We had already settled on a theme as well,” Lee, a sophomore, said. “I actually received an email from the lighting/ sound person asking if Bacchanalia was canceled even before I had let them know since they probably heard the news from other sources.” The biggest off-campus party, Rice Program Council’s Rondelet, has also been canceled, citing concerns about COVID-19. An RPC Facebook post stated that they would cancel ticket sales and follow up with those who had already purchased tickets. Samantha McClendon, RPC’s executive team liaison to its socials committee, said that they confirmed that the ban on 100 people applied to Rondelet. “The size and scope of Rondelet doesn’t lend itself to being cut down to 100 people,” McClendon, a Martel College junior, said. “Given the time and work that has been put into Rondelet and the experience it provides the student body, we are deeply saddened by this cancellation and are currently exploring alternative ways to serve the Rice community throughout the remainder of the semester.” Disclaimer: Landry is the arts and entertainment editor for the Thresher.

ON-CAMPUS ACTIVITIES AND TRAVEL The Crisis Management Team’s decision to prohibit all on-campus events expecting over a hundred people through April 30 meaning that Beer Bike has been canceled. No decision has been made regarding commencement ceremonies, which are scheduled for May 15-16. While the alert stipulated that public events, gatherings and parties with more than 100 people were prohibited, there are plans for implementing safeguards in other popular areas such as the serveries, according to Kirby. “What we were focused on [Sunday] in our announcement were policy decisions,” Kirby said. “We have a number of ideas, for example, about how large groups of people who would normally be together might be broken down into smaller groups. We might well start having people come in shifts [to the servery, and] space out that many people congregating simultaneously.” Although official, university-sponsored international travel to countries on the CDC’s level 2 and 3 warning list remains restricted, Rice has placed no restrictions on domestic

travel, according to Kirby. “At this moment in time, there’s no reason to change our domestic travel policy,” Kirby said. “We will revisit [the policy] again over the coming weeks and it may change.” Taylor said that students who travel internationally over break do so at their own risk. Travelers to level 2 or 3 countries will be required to self-quarantine off campus for two weeks with no financial assistance from Rice. This also applies to students who travel to a country that is added to the level 2 or 3 warning list by the time the student plans to return. “Students who choose to travel to these countries do so at their own risk and in disregard for precautions issued by the CDC and Rice,” Taylor said. “Accordingly, Rice will not provide any assistance for any costs associated with self-quarantining or other repercussions from such travel.” Beginning this week, administration set up a community information center to handle the influx of questions about the coronavirus on campus, according to Kirby. Administrators and student leaders have asked for community volunteers to staff the hotline, which is open during the week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. “We know we get a lot of calls, and we can’t handle [them] through one person [or] in an ad hoc way,” Kirby said. “So we set up a call center where we log [the calls], track them [and document] what are common questions coming up.” Kirby said that, ultimately, public health depends on the cooperation of all community members — something that he lauds the Rice community for thus far. “It’s a little bit like recycling,” Kirby said. “You [alone] can’t make a big difference in the world, but collectively we all can. I’m really impressed with the Rice community. They’ve been responding really well [and] doing the kinds of things we’re asking them to do.”

SRBs close in wake of COVID-19

Channing Wang / Thresher

Coffeehouse, Rice Bikes, The Hoot and East-West Tea have all closed for the week of March 9 following the cancellation of classes due to concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

RYND MORGAN ASST NEWS EDITOR All student-run businesses, including Rice Coffeehouse, Rice Bikes and The Hoot in addition to student-owned East-West Tea, will be closed from now until the end of spring break, according to the businesses’ respective Facebook pages. The closures come in the wake of the cancellation of all classes for the week of March 9. Other retail food establishments on campus, including FLO Paris, the campus bookstore, Sammy’s and 4.Tac0 are still open as of March 10, according to employees staffing the businesses. Coffeehouse manager Brendan Wong said that the decision to close Coffeehouse for the week was made based on a survey of employees. The survey asked about employees’ comfort level, ability to work, upcoming schedules and whether or not they planned to leave campus. “Most of them said that there were specific situations that came about, that were like, this really changes my schedule, and we want to operate with the understanding that Coffeehouse responsibility is not the biggest burden on someone’s schedule,” Wong, a Jones College junior, said. According to Wong, Coffeehouse employees will be paid for the hours they were scheduled for this week. “We understand that this situation is

out of our employees’ control,” Wong said. “Some of us are able to work, but also, then again, we didn’t want to punish those people that can’t work, or those people who are gone or going home.” The Hoot manager Christian Owens said that The Hoot employees will also be paid for the hours they were scheduled for this week. “Right now, the plan is to re-evaluate at the end of spring break. In our decision, we’ll take into account factors such as the comfortability of our employees in working shifts, whether or not classes are being held in person and what our peer SRBs decide to do,” Owens, a Martel College junior, said. Wong said that in the event Coffeehouse reopens after spring break, new measures may be put in place to prevent the spread of disease. “For example, at Starbucks they stopped providing their own mugs and taking other people’s mugs as well, so that is something we’re considering,” Wong said. Coffeehouse will be giving out free coffee and lattes to departments that are still open this week. “I understand that it’s especially stressful during this time ... part of this is to help us get rid of our perishable inventory, and part of it is ... a lot of departments are still working. So, we’re trying to support them in any way possible,” Wong said. East West Tea and Rice Bikes did not respond to requests for comment.


5 • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2020



Centralize COVID-19 communication As students in the midst of a global epidemic, we understand that there are things we must sacrifice for our safety and the safety of our community: no in-person classes, no Beer Bike, no school-sponsored trips. We accept these measures because we understand what’s at stake, but the problem is what we don’t understand: The information being obscured from us or only slowly leaked out, a handful of people at a time. While we appreciate the abundance of caution that the university has taken, we find transparency and communication rather scarce in a time when it’s more necessary than ever. We urge the administration to give us all the information from a singular, centralized channel. As we have seen this week, Rice has the ability to be in our inbox and our messages instantaneously and uniformly across the student body. When we instead get information fragmented between Rice Alert, our magisters, other students’ magisters, our professors, our college presidents or group chat screenshots, it becomes almost impossible to distinguish rumors from facts. The use of so many different channels at different times means that information is disseminated unevenly and that there are gaps in knowledge that

are filled with parts of explanations from various sources, true or not. Furthermore, we urge the administration to give us as much information as it can — and be transparent about what information it can’t release. Without this transparency, students are left to fill in the gaps with speculation and panic. However, by providing students with explanations for the decision-making processes and why certain pieces of information will not be released, the administration can help keep panic to minimal levels. Additionally, there should be standardized information flows on behalf of particularly vulnerable students, such as those who are immunocompromised or have frequent contact with those who are. We also urge students to take the necessary precautions against the coronavirus without acting irrationally. Although it may be easy to get caught up in the cancellation of classes and Beer Bike, the university’s actions are a reminder of a greater crisis happening around the world. We urge students to be aware that there may be many students who are directly or indirectly impacted by the coronavirus. Not everyone on campus is unaffected, and we should keep this in mind.

Corrections In “Former Rice football player pleads guilty...,” we did not include the years and colleges of Padgett (Lovett College junior) and Stuart Mouchantaf (Hanszen ’16). In last week’s editorial, we erroneously marked RSVP as the most recent blanket tax organization. It was actually Rice Rally Club, who gained blanket tax status in 2016. In last week’s article, “Inferno Gallery is on hiatus” story, we incorrectly attributed information about the Media Center teardown to Rachel Boyle. The information was drawn from previous reporting on the topic.


‘Do-errs’ do learn to lead

In her March 3 opinion piece, Rachel Lisker misrepresents many Rice students and provides inaccurate information about the Doerr Institute. In her article, Lisker extensively talks about our use of “life coaching”; the Doerr Institute employs leadership coaching, not life coaching. Because we are firmly focused on leader development, we hire only credentialed professional coaches, such as our associate director for coaching, Ruth Reitmeier (Brown College ’92). Our coaches are certified by the International Coaching Federation and are trained and experienced in developing leaders. Nothing about the Doerr Institute is “imposed” on students. In fact, we don’t define leadership for students. Our students create their own definition and strategy to become the leaders they aspire to be. Approximately 40 percent of Rice students will engage with the Doerr Institute before they graduate, despite there being no external incentives such as course credit offered. We recognize it might be difficult for someone who has not taken part in our programs to fully grasp what we do because Rice is the first university in the country

to provide all interested students a leader development experience that uses evidencebased techniques and trained professionals. There is insufficient space in this letter to fully articulate all that the Doerr Institute does, but we hope the evidence noted below helps reinforce our impact on Rice students. The Doerr Institute has a team of research psychologists, led by Ryan Brown (Will Rice College ’93) whose job is to independently measure the institute’s outcomes and evaluate the effectiveness of our programs. Most importantly, we measure outcomes and satisfaction: Of the Rice students who participated in leadership coaching, 99 percent say they would recommend leadership coaching to others, 97 percent say the coaching experience helped them feel more prepared to lead than before and 100 percent say the coaching experience helped them clarify their vision, beliefs and values. Beyond mere satisfaction, however, students also show significant increases in outcomes such as life satisfaction, sense of purpose and self-awareness. Students who engage with us, including but not limited to those who work with a professional leadership coach, exhibit substantial increases in a wide

This is voter suppression On election day, Poe Elementary, the closest polling location to Rice, had wait times upward of two hours. The Rice University Young Democrats, Rice University College Republicans and Civic Duty Rice worked with the administration to provide a Rice shuttle to transport students to the polls. Because Harris County began allowing voters to cast their ballot at any polling location within the county in 2019, we diverted the shuttle from Poe to a West University polling location that reported no wait times. It is notable that in contrast to the area surrounding Rice, West University had three polling locations within a block of one another, with little to no line at each location. This disparity made it very easy for the disproportionately White and wealthy population of West University to vote while placing a large burden on our student population who weren’t afforded a polling place on campus. But it’s also part of a larger story in Harris County, Texas, and nationally. In contrast to West University’s minimal wait times, voters across town at Texas Southern University, one of the nation’s largest historically Black colleges and universities, had wait times exceeding six hours. The last voter at the precinct, Hervis Rogers, waited over six hours until he was able to cast his vote just after 1 a.m. Describing the lines, he said, “The way it was going, it’s like it was set up for me to walk away, walk away, don’t worry about it.” And he’s right: That is the way the system is set up. In 2013, the Supreme Court decision Shelby County v. Holder eliminated the previous requirement that jurisdictions with egregious voting discrimination in 1965 receive preclearance before enacting new

voting laws, effectively gutting the Voting Rights Act. Since then, Texas has closed 750 polling locations statewide, more than any other state, with the majority of these closures occurring in African American and Latinx neighborhoods. Harris County had the third-most poll closures in the state since the decision, with 52. These closures have significant impacts on primarily minority communities, as we saw at TSU. When privileged communities have no line at the polls while disadvantaged communities are forced to spend hours waiting to cast their ballot, that is voter suppression. According to the Texas Election Code, both the Republican and Democratic parties must agree on a polling place’s location. If you voted, you might have noticed how the two parties’ primaries were separated from each other. This was not always supposed to be the case. The Harris County clerk offered both parties an opportunity to conduct a joint primary, an offer which county Republicans refused, citing high Democratic turnout and low expected GOP turnout, and concluding that, “making Republican voters wait in Democrat lines would discourage voting.” In effect, this made Democratic primary lines even longer, as more voters were forced to use fewer machines. It is up to us to highlight these gross disparities that have only been growing since the Shelby County decision. We recognize this voter suppression and we won’t stand for it. We demand equitable access to the ballot, and this starts with equalizing polling locations across Houston. Hannah Kaplan, Duncan College senior, is the vice president of Rice University Young Democrats.

variety of other indicators of leadership capacity, such as leader identity. Leader identity encompasses a person’s sense that they are a leader, their confidence in their ability to lead and their willingness to lead when opportunities arise, which predicts whether they will subsequently seek leadership experiences and opportunities. Conversely, data show that students who do not actively develop themselves as leaders graduate from Rice with no meaningful increase in their capacity to lead beyond what they had in high school. Simply put, a degree does not, in and of itself, make a college graduate a more effective leader. Beyond leadership coaching, we offer a range of opportunities for students, all at no charge, along with support for faculty: multi-session Catalyst workshops focused on a single leadership competency, support of President David Leebron’s Vision for the Second Century, Second Decade initiative through our excursions program with top-level leaders in Houston, stipends for students in unpaid leadership roles on campus or those aspiring to step into leadership roles (19 awarded to date), making leadership opportunities more accessible for students with financial constraints and support for more than 50 faculty members for innovation in teaching and research

related to leadership. In addition to the Doerr Institute, there are many other programs and centers on campus that help Rice students develop leadership skills, such as Rice Center for Engineering Leadership, the Center for Civic Leadership and WomenLEAD. We applaud the wisdom of students who recognize the value in leadership development and who spend their time and energy developing themselves. University data show that participation in leadership development at Rice predicts students’ likelihood of employment and even their expected starting salaries. In closing, Lisker’s claims have a kernel of truth — there are, indeed, many poorly designed and amateurish leader development enterprises in universities. The Doerr Institute is not one of them. It is important to prevent the dissemination of misinformation that undermines the decisions of thousands of Rice students who have already chosen to participate in Doerr Institute programs since 2015, and the many that will follow. We remain committed to elevating the leadership capacity of Rice students by providing leader development that is driven by evidence-based approaches and results in measurable impacts. Brooklyn Holt is a digital communications and marketing specialist at the Doerr Institute.

STAFF Christina Tan* Editor-in-Chief Anna Ta* Managing Editor NEWS Rishab Ramapriyan* Editor Amy Qin* Editor Rynd Morgan Asst. Editor Savannah Kuchar Asst. Editor ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Katelyn Landry* Editor SPORTS Michael Byrnes Editor Madison Buzzard Editor Ben Baker-Katz Asst. Editor OPINIONS Elizabeth Hergert* Editor

FEATURES Ivanka Perez* Editor Ella Feldman* Editor BACKPAGE Simona Matovic Editor & Designer PHOTO Channing Wang Editor COPY Vi Burgess Editor Bhavya Gopinath Editor Phillip Jaffe Editor ONLINE Ryan Green Web Editor Mateo D’Agaro Asst. Web Editor Priyansh Lunia Video Editor

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

The Rice Thresher, the official student newspaper at Rice University since 1916, is published each Wednesday during the school year, except during examination periods and holidays, by the students of Rice University.

BUSINESS OPERATIONS Karoline Sun Business Manager Lindsay Josephs Advertising Manager Mai Ton Social Media/Marketing Manager Jackson Stiles Distribution Manager Sarah Herring Office Manager

Letters to the Editor must be received by 5 p.m. the Friday prior to publication and must be signed, including college and year if the writer is a Rice student. The Thresher reserves the rights to edit letters for content and length and to place letters on its website.

*Editorial Board member

First copy is free. Each additional copy is $5. Editorial and business offices are located on the second floor of the Ley Student Center: 6100 Main St., MS-524 Houston, TX 77005-1892 Phone (713) 348-4801 Email: thresher@rice.edu Website: www.ricethresher.org The Thresher is a member of the ACP, TIPA, CMA and CMBAM. © Copyright 2020


6 • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2020

FEATURES THIS WEEK IN FEATURES... Between no classes, no Beer Bike, no student-run businesses and the general chaos that follows the global spread of a virus, things have been ... uh … not very fun these days. Although campus may feel like a ghost town, the Thresher office has continued to function as normal in order to bring you up to date on the happenings of our university — coronavirus-related and otherwise. This week in the features section, we have a story on Shaan Patel (McMurtry College ’14), who graduated from Rice’s architecture school and is now starring in a Bravo TV show, and a feature on Fernanda Lago, a Jones College junior who is leading a booming earring business. But you can only find those stories online, because we decided to fill our printed pages with puzzles to give you something to work on this week. In addition to our usual weekly crossword, we’re bringing you a sudoku and an extra crossword written by yours truly. Enjoy! — Ella and Ivanka, features editors






Crossword by Ella Feldman and Ivanka Perez Features Editors




10 13



ACROSS 1) Sounds heard from a Jimmy Fallon segment 4) Droop 7) Org. that deals with bugs and plants? 10) Martel’s Broadway ___Week 11) Possible blood types 12) It’s thin on Everest 13) Strong-willed someone 16) Like taking candy from a baby 17) Rodeo locale, with G 18) She’s a sheep 20) Island nation 23) Tropical smoothie flavor 25) It’s near a pupil 26) Give cards to 27) __ Chapo 28) “omg 2 funny” 29) D Major for “Talia” 30) Pull a hat trick, e.g. 32) The Beatles caused it once 33) Billie Eilish, e.g. 38) Won’t turn on 39) OutKast breakup anthem














27 30













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

WOE IS ME! ACROSS 1) Big friendly giants, abbr. 5) Scuba finale? 8) Ululates, for Pedro 10) “Next ____!” (sound heard at many crawls) 11) Undersea plateau 12) Woe for smoochers 13) Veteran’s org. 14) Not a cow, but ____ 15) Woe for the internet 18) Wave to a math professor? 19) “You lose!” 20) Woe for bacteria 21) Woe for Spot and Fido 23) Let the cat out? 24) Popular autobiographical subreddit 28) Bowen Wang’s show, abbr. 29) Coat worn by 15-down? 31) Abercrombie competitor, abbr. 32) Woe for Roosevelt

DOWN 1) Woe for your computer 2) Woe for the winter season 3) Dude alternative 4) Ljubljana locale 5) Thomas More’s imagined society 6) Fishmonger’s task 7) Moon’s furthest point 9) We’re ___ standstill 10) Pulverize 15) “3 Idiots” professor nickname, and a hint to this week’s theme 16) ______ dance with somebody 17) Bite for a rat 20) Postscript, abbr. 22) Embryonic germ cell, abbr. 24) Unicorns’ debut, abbr. 25) Digital communication? abbr. 26) 1002, for Brutus 27) Fuss 30) Credit shown on many transcripts, abbr.

DOWN 1) Where the sun rises in Spain 2) “Hold it!” to a horse 3) Type of chef 4) Arid African region 5) Now I know my ____ 6) Proponent of yoni eggs 7) Easy victory 8) Nicknamed “Trip” 9) “Just the Way You ___” 14) They might give you the pill 15) Vowel soup? 19) Evelyn, nicknamed 20) Affirmative in Argentina 21) Fenway and Wembley 22) City in Italia 23) Ross who yells “PIVOT!” 24) Whichever 26) U.S. currency, abbr. 28) Slack off 30) “Cheerleader” singer 31) Mountains in Morocco 34) You might collect $200 when you pass it 35) “__ This It” 36) Reply, in email-speak 37) Opposites of dubs

Crossword by Grant Lu Thresher Staff

















13 16









28 32






31 31


30 32

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


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2020 • 7

8 4 5 6 8

SUDOKU 3 1 4 9 1 6 2 7 4 2 7 4 9

6 6 5 9 2 4 8 7 6 1 7 8


8 • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2020


Historic SXSW cancellation leaves Austin reeling KATELYN LANDRY A&E EDITOR

South by Southwest, an annual music, film, technology and media festival held in Austin, was canceled Friday, March 6 amid concerns about COVID-19. The cancellation was ordered after both the City of Austin and Travis County declared a local state of disaster on Friday. Despite having no reported cases of coronavirus in the Austin area, the declarations were signed by Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt as a precautionary measure against the rapidly escalating epidemic. In a written statement, SXSW lamented the unprecedented nature of the cancellation — it is the first time in 34 years the internationally known festival will not go on. The cancellation of SXSW is not only disappointing for the indie music scene and film circuits, which lose out on invaluable audience exposure and media coverage, but it will also be extremely devastating for the Austin economy in more ways than one, and potentially for years to come. SXSW co-founder and chief executive Roland Swenson has expressed doubt about continuing the festival in 2021 due to tens of millions of dollars in company losses. Swenson told the Wall Street Journal that the company’s insurance policies do not cover disease-related cancellations, so every contract cancellation with artists,

venues, hotels and other companies will likely result in significant losses for SXSW LLC. The company has also laid off a third of its 175 year-round employees as of Monday according to the Austin AmericanStatesman. “We’ve had to show our insurance policy to all kinds of people, and nobody ever said, ‘Hey, there’s a big hole here,’” Swenson said. “We did not anticipate a pandemic. We’d always taken the attitude of, ‘Well, we’ll never cancel, so that’s not going to be an issue.’” According to a report commissioned by SXSW in 2019, the total economic impact of the festival was about $356 million last year — about a quarter of 1 percent of the region’s estimated $150 billion annual economy. The city’s hospitality, tourism, restaurant and entertainment industries rely heavily on the 10-day event which brings over 100,000 festival attendees into local businesses and small music venues. For so many handto-mouth service workers — bartenders and waiters, cab drivers, stagehands — the cancellation means losing out on one of the most profitable times of the year. “It’s completely and utterly devastating and will be felt by every venue, every service worker, people who provide things like ice or the bars,” said Tamara Hoover, co-owner of Cheer Up Charlies, a popular queer bar and music venue in downtown Austin. Event spaces and music venues are being hit especially hard, losing large percentages

of annual revenue that are entirely dependent on SXSW each year. While some Austin venues like Stubb’s Bar-B-Q and the Mohawk are successful year-round, Austin concert promoter Graham Williams says many smaller venues literally survive off of the festival. “The amount of venues that use that week-plus of slammed bar sales to get them to the end of the year (especially after the slow winter months) will shock you,” Williams wrote in a Facebook post. “I don’t know how some of them are going to make it to the end of the year.” In the week preceding the festival’s cancellation, several big-name businesses pulled out of the conference due to concerns about a potential outbreak. Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Apple and Netflix were among some of the first companies to announce cancellations of their sponsored events and panels in the middle of last week. Several music performance agencies, movie studios and other tech companies followed suit, stressing the health of their employees as their top priority. For many local music artists and creatives, the annual event presents a priceless opportunity to catch the attention of record labels and industry executives. While festivals like Austin City Limits are generally populated by high-profile artists who have already made a name for themselves nationally and globally, SXSW has long served as a

gateway for local musicians to enter the world of professional music recording and production. Now with that opportunity gone, local acts will have to wait at least another year before they can market their talents beyond the Austin crowd. “Being in Austin, you don’t get to see a lot of people from LA or New York, industrywise, very often. So this was a good reason to do [SXSW] and timely for me for sure,” said Dossey, an Austin-based musician and official SXSW artist this year who was hoping to find label representation at the festival, according to Austin’s NPR Station KUT 90.5. People are already trying to pitch in to fill the gaping hole that SXSW’s cancellation will leave in the pocketbooks of service workers and local musicians by launching online fundraisers. One relief fund, started by Austin-based social marketing agency T3, is collecting money to distribute to service workers, hospitality staff, bands and other individuals impacted by the cancellation from March 13-22. “Thousands of Austin service workers and musicians will be hit significantly from canceled events, lost wages and tips,” wrote T3 on the GoFundMe page. “Long timers, we’re real people who were concerned about the intensely local and personal fallout from SXSW 2020 being canceled. We live here in ATX and care about the people who make it our home. We’re not doing this for publicity, but to help our city.”

DJ Screw’s legacy manifests beyond music at new CAMH exhibit SANVITTI SAHDEV SENIOR WRITER

Two decades after his death, DJ Screw’s legacy has been captured and immortalized by 15 visual artists at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in a unique two-part exhibition titled “Slowed and Throwed: Records of the City Through Mutated Lenses.” The exhibit is inspired by the techniques of the chopped and screwed genre, which DJ Screw, born Robert Earl Davis Jr., developed in the early 1990s, and which has since become synonymous with Houston’s hip-hop identity. DJ Screw made his name by creating “chopped up” versions of hip-hop music, where he would slow tempos down to a crawl, reduce pitch, chop lyrics and layer songs. This distortion transformed the key and mood of the slowed tracks. Using just two turntables to generate a brand new experimental genre, Screw went from selling his cassettes, called “Screwtapes,” out of his home in South Park, to establishing his celebrated record store Screwed Up Records & Tapes in 1998. The first part of “Slowed and Throwed” is an archival exhibition featuring curated materials from DJ Screw’s life and work, which were mostly drawn from special collections at the University of Houston Libraries. The archive is built to resemble and pay tribute to the original Cullen Boulevard location of the iconic music shop. Housed in the CAMH’s circular Nina and

courtesy contemporary arts museum houston DJ Screw in his home studio. Photo by Ben DeSoto, 1995.

a loop. The video is projected on multiple screens placed in front of each other with an increasing number of fractures appearing on successive projections. According to the artist, the work investigates what happens when you inhabit other people’s materials. In this instance, queer women embodying harmonies originally written and performed by cis men about heterosexual love. Drawing attention to inequities stemming from race, gender and sexual orientation is a central concern of the exhibition. Many of the collage works featured in the gallery layer and blend images from pop culture, interpolating the past into the present and using the resulting fusion to imagine alternative realities. A quilt by Ayanna Jolivet McCloud displays frequently appropriated photographs of Black protesters. Another striking collage places a series of Black men with raised fists against the Statue of Liberty’s raised arm. As a visual manifestation of DJ Screw, the exhibition succeeded not just in resonating his creative methods, but also in capturing the value of playing around and having fun with artistic mediums. “Slowed and Throwed: Records of the City Through Mutated Lenses” will be on view at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston through June 7, 2020. CAMH is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Admission is always free.

Michael Zilkha Gallery, the second half of the exhibition is a vibrant explosion of color and form uncoiling before your eyes. The parallels to DJ Screw’s musical techniques are evident in the diversity of mediums and materials utilized in the visual art portion of “Slowed and Throwed.” Photography, collage, film, music and sculptures made of cotton, feather, wood, cans and quilts are synthesized to evoke the sense that the exhibition itself is a mashup. Chopped and screwed music saturates the room, making the experience relaxed and rhythmic. The curatorial texts are designed to introduce each segment of the artwork display as it relates to elements of DJ Screw’s music, with titles such as “Doubling,”

“Experimentation,” “Media Transfer,” “Slowing Time,” “Layering and Collage,” “Sampling” and “Reclamation and Remembrance of Place.” One of the first pieces upon entering is Sondra Perry’s “IT’S IN THE GAME ‘17 or Mirror Gag for Vitrine and Projection,” a film that reclaims the video game character of her twin brother Sandy Perry, a Division 1 basketball player for Georgia State University, whose likeness and statistics were licensed by the NCAA without his consent to game developer EA Sports for its 2009 and 2010 NCAA video games. Another video installation is Lisa LaFleur’s “Don’t Worry Baby,” found in the far gallery, where a figure lip syncs the chorus of The Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby” on




Local art hub Insomnia Gallery continues its annual women’s art showcase in celebration of International Women’s Day this Friday at 7 p.m. The one-day show will feature new original works from a dozen of Houston’s talented women artists. This event is free and open to the public.

Join the Houston Soiree, a community organization supporting the local music scene, as they channel the spirit of SXSW with a Houston twist at its inaugural South by Houston concert. See five of Space City’s hottest up-and-coming artists take the stage this Friday starting at 7 p.m. Advance tickets are $10 and may be purchased online via Facebook. Tickets will be $15 at the door.

Where else but H-Town would bring you the world’s first hip-hop food festival? Enjoy food from over 60 vendors while jamming to hip-hop, rap, old school and everything in between, played by local DJs and bands this Saturday from 2-10 p.m. Tickets are $10 and grant entry to the festival, while food will be available for varying prices at individual vendors’ discretion.

This Saturday at 7 p.m., celebrate the opening of “No Man’s Land,” a meditation on the complex legacy of colonialism, migration and diaspora from a wide range of international perspectives. The exhibit features painting, photography and mixed media from over a dozen contemporary artists. This event is free and open to the public.

Insomnia Gallery 708 Telephone Road

Wonky Power Live 3534 Navigation Blvd.

Midtown Park 2811 Travis St.

Station Museum of Contemporary Art 1502 Alabama St.




WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2020 • 9

Indie duo Tennis brings intimacy to Houston show



Last Monday night, as indie duo Tennis took the stage at White Oak Music Hall, frontrunner Alaina Moore and I had two important things in common: We both were sporting fabulous jumpsuits, and we both were horribly sick with head colds. “I woke up with a cold today because I have the immune system of a Victorian orphan,” she bantered between their first and second sets. “I actually took some voice lessons with Usher’s voice teacher before

courtesy houston press Tennis performs at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2017. Photo by Matthew Tucciarone.

this tour ... doesn’t matter because I’m fucking sick today.” From fighting off illnesses (of which Tennis has had a notable few) to setting sail all across the globe, indie-pop sweethearts Moore and husband Patrick Riley have remained attached at the hip for over a decade. After meeting in their junior year of college, Moore and Riley saved up enough money to embark upon a seven-month seabound adventure along the Eastern Seaboard post-graduation. While bobbing on the Atlantic, the duo wrote most of their first album, “Cape Dory,” springboarding them into the limelight in which they’ve since basked. Last year, the duo took to the seas once again to write their newest album, “Swimmer,” a nine-track triumph released this past Valentine’s Day. Sun-soaked and dreamy, the album juxtaposes the warm touch of ’60s-inspired soft-pop with heartwrenching lyricism, exploring themes from the bittersweet reality of growing old to the meaning of matrimonial love after passion’s first fire is replaced by a more perduing blaze. “‘Swimmer’ is a tour of some of the darkest times in our lives,” the duo posted on Facebook this January. “But it is not a dark record ... it is us at our most vulnerable.” Seeing Tennis live brought made this

juxtaposition tangible, the audience split between energetic bopping and thoughtful swaying. Equally as entrancing as Moore’s lyricism however were the visible relationships between the performers on stage. Each of the four musicians — Moore, Riley, their drummer and their bassist — seemed to exist in their own individual reality throughout the night. Hidden behind a sheet of swooping bangs, Riley predominately kept his back to the rest of the musicians, rarely peeling his eyes from his fingers flying up and down the neck of his instrument. Though on occasion deliberately placing herself center-stage and gazing intently out into the audience, Moore also rarely strayed from her perch on stage right, maintaining a consistent distance between herself and her husband for the majority of the performance. Set behind the band’s frontrunners and rarely in the spotlight, the other two band members were similarly absorbed in their own worlds, tuxclad and crouched over their instruments. If one were to judge musical compatibility on physical connectivity, the performance to an outside eye might have merely seemed like a patchwork of disparate creative energies. Yet, the performance was anything but disjunct. Although never directly speaking or making eye contact with one another (at least until the final set), Moore and

Riley’s tangible emotional intimacy and musical compatibility charged the entire hall with an electricity so palpable you could hear audible gasps anytime Moore shifted her gaze toward her husband. Each band member’s musical contribution, though certainly centered on individual artistry, contributed a crucial and perfectly calculated dimension to the performance. What appeared as disjuncture to the eye translated into a wholly enrapturing web of musical relationships in practice. On the car ride home, my friend and I were curled up in the backseat discussing the often disappointing realities of live indie concerts. Prone to lackluster audiences and instrumentation that doesn’t always translate well to large spaces, soft pop/ rock sometimes feels like a letdown when performed live. Yet, while Tennis’ crowd itself wasn’t anything to write home about, experiencing Moore and Riley’s live musical and emotional relationship imbued their music with an entirely different kind of electricity, impossible to understand from an auditory experience alone. Watching Moore and Riley effortlessly transfix an entire room with a prolonged look or a loving grin brought an entirely new and wonderful understanding to their music; seeing Tennis live, even when tired and sniffly, is an experience you simply can’t pass up.

Dynamic and Energetic Teachers wanted. Pay rate is $24 to $38 per hour. We provide all training. Email your resume to rice-jobs@testmasters.com


10 • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2020



Rice women’s basketball will look to defend its Conference USA title when the team plays its first game of the C-USA tournament tomorrow. The Owls’ opponent is not yet known, as they will be playing the winner of Wednesday’s game pitting Marshall University against the University of Southern Mississippi. Head coach Tina Langley said the team is tactically focused on its current matchup. “We know there are multiple teams we might play throughout the tournament,” Langley said. “Our staff does a tremendous job of scouting our opponents, and they’ll have us ready. We are very focused on taking things one game at a time. We look at our last game and at what we need to improve on from that game. If we’re able to grow from that game and make the changes that we need to, it will prepare us for our next game, regardless of our opponent.” The Owls have seen both these teams before in January, beating Marshall 81-43 and topping Southern Miss 75-64. Junior center Nancy Mulkey said that reviewing those previous matchups is important, but the team is going to approach this tournament as if it were a fresh start. “Going into the tournament, it’s a new season,” Mulkey said. “We talk about how we have non-conference, which is one season, then we have our conference season and now we have our postseason. The mindset is no different now than it was before conference or preseason. This break is a refresher, and we just have to take what we learned in our two previous ‘seasons’ and translate it into the tournament.” Rice had a lot of success over the course of this year, after a slower start than last season. The Owls started out the year 5-6 in their non-conference schedule, including a 62-61

loss to then-No. 5 Texas A&M University. But once they started conference play, the Owls were virtually unstoppable. They went 16-2 in conference, including a 5-0 run to conclude the season. Their last game, against Old Dominion, was a 73-70 victory that allowed them to take first place in C-USA and claim the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Langley said that it was good to see the constant improvement throughout the year, especially bouncing back after losing to Old Dominion earlier in the year. “We’re not a goal-driven team,” Langley said. “We don’t have a tangible goal, but it is to be better. It is to be the best team we can become. I’m proud of this team because every day we take the floor, we work on being better than we were yesterday. I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made so far.” Multiple Owls earned All-Conference honors, with both Mulkey and senior guard Erica Ogwumike being named to the AllConference USA First Team and All-Defensive Team. Ogwumike, who led the league in scoring with 21.3 points per game, joins former Owl Jessica Kuster as the only players in program history to earn first-team honors in three consecutive years. Mulkey is second on the team in scoring and is ranked fifth in the nation in blocked shots per game (3.21). Freshman forward Lauren Schwartz also received honors, earning a spot on the AllFreshman Team. As the team readies to defend its title, junior guard Sydne Wiggins said she recognizes the benefits of playing alongside veterans. “[Experience] helps a lot,” Wiggins said. “You know how everything feels, you know the gym. We’re getting there a couple of days early, and hopefully, that will get everyone acclimated to the arena. We’ll be ready by the time the first game comes around.” The Owls were dominant in the tournament last year, winning three games in convincing fashion on their way to an


Junior center Nancy Mulkey and freshman guard Destiny Jackson jointly defend a player from Old Dominion University. ODU tied for second in C-USA with Western Kentucky University.

NCAA tournament bid. Mulkey said she believes the team is capable of an excellent performance in the tournament, especially because Rice’s younger players can rely upon the team’s veterans. “It helps to have the experience, especially with a group of younger players,” Mulkey said. “For them, it’s a completely new experience, and even for the people who didn’t play last year but are playing this year. Just having that leadership role, and letting the younger teammates know that we have this, it’s completely in our control, and we just have to play like we know how to play.” The players, experienced and not, are keeping their focus on the next game and trying not to get ahead of themselves, according to Wiggins. In addition, the upperclassmen are trying to ease the pressure by keeping the experience lighthearted, Wiggins said. “I tell the younger players to just do what they’ve been doing every single day,” Wiggins said. “There’s really nothing different about it, but because it’s tournament play, [it] makes it more fun. But the game doesn’t change at

all, it’s still 40 minutes.” The Owls will look to extend their season this Thursday at 11 a.m. when they face the winner of Marshall and Southern Miss. Should they win, the semifinals are on Friday and the championship game is on Saturday.



Marshall 11 a.m. Court A

11 a.m. Court A

Southern Miss. Middle Tennessee UAB

11:30 a.m. Court B

11:30 a.m. Court B Louisiana Tech




Rice men’s basketball will begin the Conference USA tournament tonight when they take on Florida International University at 6:30 p.m. in Frisco, Texas at the Ford Center at the Star. The Owls have already seen the Panthers once this year, culminating in a 9278 Rice victory back in January. Sophomore guard Trey Murphy III said there are a few key areas that Rice needs to focus on in order to win. “Last game [against FIU], we didn’t turn the ball over much and we probably need to do that same thing again,” Murphy said. “We also need to be mindful of shot blocking at the rim, because they have the leading shot blocker in the nation. We just have to make sure we’re patient and not getting sped up by their chaotic defense.” That shot blocker that Murphy mentioned is Osasumwen Osaghae, a 6-foot-9 senior who leads the NCAA with 116 blocks this season, 11 more than the next closest player. During their game in January, the Owls had only one shot blocked by Osaghae. That was in large part due to a strong shooting performance: Rice shot 53 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Head coach Scott Pera said that to break down FIU’s defense, Rice should avoid taking bad shots. “[FIU] thrives on pressure defense,” Pera said. “We need to do a great job of taking care of the ball, being aggressive offensively,

and taking the right shots without turning the ball over.” On the whole, the Owls’ season has been very up-and-down. They ended the season at 15-16, good enough for the 12th and final spot in the C-USA tournament, but also lost eight of their first nine conference games: the only game they won in that stretch was against FIU. According to Murphy, the team’s end-ofseason stretch was not terrific. “We went through a rough patch in January,” Murphy said. “After the preseason we were looking really good, and then we just went into a hole. But we were able to dig ourselves out of it and make it back.” Part of that rough patch was due the loss of senior forward Robert Martin, who was sidelined on Jan. 4 against Western Kentucky University and didn’t return until Jan. 23. According to Pera, the team struggled without injured players. “We lost some tough close ones [in conference], but as the team continued to grow and mature, we were able to handle adversity a little bit better,” Pera said. “We played a long stretch there without [Martin], as well, but once we got everyone back and healthy I thought we played pretty well.” The Owls were able to turn it around in February. Once the calendar turned, they rattled off three wins in a row. Murphy said the team realized it needed to shore up itself, which enabled the Owls to turn their season around. “Everyone gathered together and stepped up their play,” Murphy said. “We realized we


Sophomore guard Trey Murphy III, senior forward Tim Harrison and sophomore guard Drew Peterson celebrate while getting back on defense after converting a scoring opportunity.

needed to have some urgency because it was possible that we wouldn’t win another game, but we just had to pick it up as a unit.” Part of that task included improving on defense. The Owls gave up only 71 points per game in February, after giving up almost 79 points per game in January. Pera said he’s noticed better defense in recent games. “Continuing to improve defensively is something that has been a bit of a roller coaster [this season],” Pera said. “But I think we’ve been more consistent with that lately and hopefully it will carry over into the conference tournament.” As Rice heads into the conference tournament for the second year in a row, Murphy said the team is ready to compete. “Our biggest strength is that when our defense is really humming, it’s hard for teams to score,” Murphy said. “And if we’re clicking on offense, then we’re a really dangerous team; in my opinion, one of the most dangerous teams in the conference. If we get on a hot streak in

the tournament, we could really make some noise.” The Owls will look to start making that noise in the tournament tonight, when they take on FIU at 6:30 p.m. in Frisco, Texas.



Old Dominion

6 p.m. Court A

6 p.m. Court A FAU Charlotte FIU 6:30 p.m. Court B Rice

6:30 p.m. Court B



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2020 • 11


Men’s tennis set for two matches at home this week





Sophomore Campbell Salmon completes a forehand stroke. Salmon is from Melbourne, Australia, and has registered six wins and seven losses in singles play this season.


at the same time a lot of the guys felt like they were almost there,” Ustundag said. “I do feel like we are feeling better about After winning a match against ourselves than we did on Saturday and Prairie View A&M University on March yet, we are going to be challenged [when 2 in which the Rice men’s tennis team we play] against an equally as tough team convincingly won the doubles point and on Saturday.” After defeating the No. 9 doubles pair all six singles matches, the Owls lost 1-6 to No. 3 University of Texas, Austin. Rice in the nation, Russell said he and Sarkar currently stands with four wins and seven are proud of the victory. “It was a big win for Sumit and I,” losses on the season, but can rewrite the script during two upcoming matches Russell said. “We’ve obviously had success against No. 8 Texas Christian University before, but it feels good to do it with Sumit on Wednesday and defending Conference because we have had so much success USA champions Middle Tennessee State prior to that win.” According to Sarkar, Rice’s performance University on Saturday. In the team’s match against Texas, in doubles against Texas can serve as a Rice’s sophomore doubles pair of building block moving forward for the rest Campbell Salmon and Karol Paluch lost of the season. “We played a phenomenal doubles their first doubles match. However, the Owls stormed back with juniors Sumit point against [Texas] … I think that goes to Sarkar and Conrad Russell defeating the show that we can take the doubles point No. 9 doubles pair in the nation. The Owls against any team in the nation,” Sarkar then successfully secured the doubles said. As the Owls point with a win on head into a Court 3 after the doubles match against the pair of senior Eric s e c o n d - h ig h e s t Rutledge and freshman ranked opponent Wes Barnett won their Hopefully this week, it has faced this match 6-3. Head coach one or two matches the Owls Efe Ustundag said come together so we can season, will have to focus winning the doubles on having a shortpoint was one positive continue to trend in the term memory in the Owls can draw from right direction. order to bounce the match. back. According “Anytime you are Efe Ustundag to Ustundag, he picking up a doubles thinks that two point against a top-five MEN’S TENNIS HEAD COACH wins against TCU team and beating a top10 doubles duo, you [have] to feel positive and Middle Tennessee would change the storyline of the season. about it,” Ustundag said. “Hopefully this week, one or two Singles play proved to be a far different story for the Owls, however, after Rice matches come together so we can continue lost all six singles matches to give the to trend in the right direction but with a Longhorns their 15th straight victory little more confidence,” Ustundag said. against Rice. The Owls opened up singles “We still have six more teams left in our play strongly after Rutledge had three schedule that are ranked within the top 50 set points in his first set and junior Karol in the nation.” Russell said he also believes this Paluch won his first set 6-1, but the Owls struggled to string together enough weekend’s matchups are crucial. “This could be a serious turning point winning sets on any of the courts to secure in our season and it’s a great opportunity a singles point. While Ustundag said the team to do it on our home court,” Russell said. Wednesday’s match against Texas deserves credit for initially carrying some momentum from doubles into singles play, Christian will also be a valuable he also said that UT, the reigning NCAA opportunity for the Owls to rewrite their imbalanced history against the Horned champions, demonstrated resilience. “Obviously, they are very good and Frogs. As a program, the Rice men’s tennis we expected Texas to come out and make team has lost five consecutive matches some sort of adjustments [after doubles against TCU after the team was completely play] and they did,” Ustundag said. shut out in its last match against TCU “When we lost the momentum, we really when they faced them in Fort Worth in March 2019. struggled to get back.” In the Owls’ quest to qualify for a bid While the Owls were shut out in singles play, Ustundag said he feels like the team in the NCAA tournament, they face TCU can draw a lot of positives from the match on Wednesday at noon and then Middle as they face two highly ranked opponents Tennessee at 5 p.m. on Friday. Both matches will be played at home, at the this upcoming week. “We were upset we lost the match, but George R. Brown Tennis Center. SENIOR WRITER


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12 • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2020

for Classless Kids With classes and assignments canceled this week, COVID-19 spreading globally, Beer Bike and every other spring event canceled and the stock market plummeting, Rice students could use a distraction. So wash your hands and grab a pen. Fill in the blanks with a friend for a nice game of Mad Libs that’ll bring you back to a simpler time, when your biggest concern was remembering the difference between an adverb and a verb.

Out of an abundance of ___________, the ___________ Crisis Management Team has decided to cancel classes for (noun) (grain) the week of March 9. Other ___________ events with attendance of more than ___________ _______________ will also be (adjective) (number) (mammal, plural) canceled through April 30.

This includes all ___________ _________________________ events. That means there will be no waking up at an (beverage) (mode of transportation) obscene hour to drink cans of “___________ ____________________” that may cause you to ________ out hours before (number) (adjective, Spanish) (color) the races. Nor will there be any riding ___________ or chugging ________. Additionally, if you hear “All I Do is Win” by DJ (noun, plural) (liquid) _______________ through April 30, after the line “Everybody hands go up” the _______________ recommends screaming (proper noun) (federal agency) “wash them” rather than “Beer Bike.”

___________-Run Businesses may operate at their own discretion. __________house will be closed this week (hot liquid) (occupation) through the end of Spring Break. Administration already shut down Pub last week — was it unrelated or were they ahead of the _______? Who’s to say? Anyways…. (noun) We want to emphasize that these actions are due to a(n) _______ of caution. Please wash your _________________ (noun) (body part, plural) often and thoroughly, cover your ________ when you ____________________ and refrain from touching your (orifice) (bodily function, verb) ______________________ as much as possible. If you don’t have soap and water available, please try to clean your hands (other body part) with ___________________. Most importantly, if you feel ____________, you may go home. (viscous liquid) (adjective) The Backpage is satire, written by Simona Matoviral and designed by Sanitiza Matovic. For comments or questions, please email JamesJoyceLovesFarts@rice.edu



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The Rice Thresher | March 11, 2020  

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