VOLUME 106, ISSUE NO. 9 | STUDENT-RUN SINCE 1916 | RICETHRESHER.ORG | WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2021
Wellbeing & Counseling Centers see 37% increase in demand from last year
KATHERINE HUI / THRESHER
Counseling Center Data 200+
more appointments this year
1 staffer for every 960 students
618 student patients this year, compared to 451 last year
36 crisis appointments this year, compared to 10 last year Data provided by Rice University Counseling Center
Editor’s Note: Some students interviewed were given the option of remaining anonymous in the interest of keeping their mental health private. Anonymous students who are referenced multiple times were given false names, which have been marked with an asterisk on first reference. The Wellbeing & Counseling Center have both seen an increase in use since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Elizabeth Plummer, the clinical director of the Counseling Center. According to Plummer, walk-in appointments are available for emergency situations, and slots for these crisis appointments have been accounted for in the Counseling Center’s schedule to make walk-ins accessible. Since last year, the Counseling Center has seen nearly four times as many crisis appointments as they usually do, according to Timothy Baumgartner, director of the Counseling Center. Plummer said that the Counseling Center has devised ways to prepare for an augmented number of student patients. “We saw a pattern at the beginning of the school year of increased demand, and we wanted to stay ahead of that so we didn’t get to a point where we didn’t have availability for students. [The changes were] a proactive, preemptive move,” Plummer said. Changes include additional Counseling Center resources, such as the interactive
self-health app WellTrack, which is free with a Rice email account, Plummer said. A new part-time clinician has also been hired and will start by the end of October, with a permanent hire beginning next semester, according to Baumgartner. The International Accreditation of Counseling Services recommends that there is one full-time staff member per 1,000-1,500 students, said Baumgartner. Rice has 7.5 full-time staff members per 7,200 students. “We’re well within the recommendation, but that still doesn’t mean the demand is normal,” Baumgartner said. The Wellbeing Center has also implemented changes of their own, according to Agnes Ho, director of the Student Wellbeing Office. Ho said the Center revamped their website to add an online scheduling form and a resource page for students, faculty, staff and families. Adyson*, a student who uses the Counseling Center twice a month, said that they found scheduling appointments to be hit or miss. “I’ve noticed, since I’ve used several different counselors, that [ease of scheduling appointments] depends on that counselor’s schedule and availability,” Adyson said. “One thing I didn’t necessarily realize is how long it would take to get an appointment.” Baumgartner said that the Counseling Center has not resorted to using a waitlist to keep up with student demand. Scheduling an initial, routine appointment can take multiple weeks.
Club heads talk new Skating Club MCKENZIE JAMESON
FOR THE THRESHER
Over the midterm recess, a few hundred Rice students had the ice skating rink at the Houston Galleria all to themselves. This wasn’t by accident, but through an event hosted by the R-ice Skating Club, which holds weekly skates for Rice community members looking for a fun social activity or an opportunity to try a new skill, according to the club’s founders Brown College freshmen Anya Gu and Imaan Patel and Martel College freshman Alice Zhou. R-ice Skating has hosted three events thus far: the pilot skate, the inaugural skate — a private Rice event called “Sunday on Skates” — and their most recent weekly skate, which took place at the Galleria on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 16. The club leadership said that they had expected 10 people to attend the pilot
skate, but were surprised and excited to host 47 people instead. The “Sunday on Skates” gathering proved to be even more popular, with approximately 370 Rice students in attendance, according to the club’s leadership. This inaugural skate was the organization’s first big event, and unlike in the weekly skates, the rink was reserved exclusively for the Rice community. “Our expectation was if we have 100 people then we’d be happy with it,” Patel said. While the club has already attracted a considerable amount of interest in just a short period of time, the idea for the club originated with Gu, who was a competitive figure skater before coming to Rice. At first, she said all she wanted was a few peers with whom she could carpool to an ice rink.
SEE RICE ON ICE PAGE 6
Adyson said that one of the hardest parts about getting into therapy is making the initial initial choice to start. “Therapy is one of those things where the barrier to entry is already high, so for me, I should have gotten into therapy much earlier than I actually did,” Adyson said. Lack of availability for routine appointments, however, may be due to issues on both the student and clinician’s ends, Plummer said. “Rice students are incredibly busy and highly booked themselves, so, occasionally, you will have an issue where someone calls in and wants to be seen, and we will offer them multiple appointments, and they don’t fit with that student’s schedule,” Plummer said. Brendan Frizzell, a Martel College sophomore, said he plans to sign up for his first appointment at the Counseling Center soon. According to Frizzell, he learned about the Wellbeing & Counseling Center from a combination of his friends, Rice Health Advisors, and information he learned from giving campus tours and Orientation Week advising. “From my experience, everyone knows about [the Wellbeing & Counseling Center], it’s pretty well advertised. Some people might not know the distinction between the two, but that’s a pretty easy thing to inform people on,” they said.
SEE WELLBEING CENTER PAGE 2
Nicole Lennon breaks kills record against LA Tech with this team has been the best four and a half years of my life,” Lennon said. “[Breaking] the all-time kills record Senior outside hitter Nicole Lennon makes me feel like I really made an impact made Rice history on Saturday, breaking in my time here in helping my team find the program’s all-time kills record as success.” As for the team as a whole, the Owls the Owls beat Louisiana Tech University swept the Lady in both matches of Techsters on Friday, their two game series. before beating them With her 1970th kill, 3-1 on Saturday to Lennon broke the [Breaking] the all-time extend the team’s record set almost two winning streak to six decades ago by Rice kills record makes me and improve their legend and former feel like I really made an record to 11-5. member of the Spain impact in my time here. Friday’s game was women’s national one of dominance, volleyball team Nicole Lennon as in addition to the Rebeca Pazo. After OUTSIDE HITTER sweep, the Owls got the game, Lennon said that breaking the record let her see the better of Tech in hitting percentage just how much of an impact she’s made 0.287-0.190, kills 47-37, and digs 68-50. on the program. “I love Rice volleyball, and playing SEE NICOLE LENNON PAGE 10
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2 • WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2021
FROM FRONT PAGE
WELLBEING CENTER According to Ho, the Wellbeing Office serves to support students experiencing stressful situations such as academic pressure and relationship concerns. Plummer said the Counseling Center works with students who are experiencing distress from ongoing issues, such as the pandemic. “I think everybody’s just in that survival fatigue of living through this pandemic. All the times we have had to be flexible with different changes,” Plummer said. “It might just be my perspective from supporting [college students], but it feels like [students] have been so much more impacted by [the pandemic] ... it really impacts every aspect of being a college student.” Adyson said COVID-19 contributed to them seeking therapy at Rice, but it wasn’t the root cause. “The pandemic brought out certain sides of situations that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise,” Adyson said. Baumgartner said he agreed that the pandemic contributed to the increase in demand for the center. “There’s this uncertainty that’s been going on for a long time,” he said. “[Increased demand for student therapy] is a national trend right now.” Adyson said they looked into off-campus options as well, under the guidance of the Counseling Center. However, they said that cost influenced their decision to seek therapy from Rice clinicians instead.
THE RICE THRESHER
SJP to handle cases of students abusing COVID-19 accommodations
It feels like [students] have been so much more impacted by [the pandemic] ... it really impacts every aspect of being a college student. Elizabeth Plummer CLINICAL DIRECTOR OF THE RICE COUNSELING CENTER “I don’t know if my health insurance covers those [off-campus resources],’’ Adyson said. “I think it could be useful to have some kind of guide, if you’re looking for off-campus options, saying these are the things that may be more covered or less covered.” Baumgartner said Kerry Park, care coordination manager, helps students find off-campus therapists that will match their financial needs. “[Park] keeps a list of providers and what insurances they have and matches those folks up. For anybody that has the Rice insurance, it’s actually really good mental health benefits,’’ Baumgartner said. Plummer said the Counseling Center also accommodates students by allowing them to set preferences for their clinician, such as ethnicity, religion and gender. Frizzell said he appreciated that he could be matched with a counselor that shared his Latinx and Hispanic identities. “I had already seen a counselor before the pandemic,” Frizzell said. “I didn’t feel like she helped me a lot because I didn’t feel like she understood me in the right ways. Which is why, when the Counseling Center gave me preferences for who to match me with, I said, ‘Anyone who closely relates to my identity.’” At the end of the day, the Counseling Center exists to be a short-term solution, not long-term weekly therapy, according to Plummer. According to the Counseling Center website, after an initial interview, students are referred to a Rice Counseling Center clinician for short-term therapy, additional Rice services, or they may be referred into the community for long-term or openended therapy.
ANDREA GOMEZ / THRESHER
PRAYAG GORDY AND CHLOE SINGER
SENIOR WRITER AND FOR THE THRESHER
Student Judicial Programs will handle disciplinary cases for students suspected of abusing Rice’s COVID-19 isolation policies, according to SJP Director Emily Garza. Garza and Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman told the Thresher that they are not aware of any reports of student misconduct with respect to COVID-19 accommodations. Garza said she considered the provost’s initial statement misleading, and said she believes SJP is better equipped than the Honor Council to handle a report of a student taking advantage of quarantine and isolation rules. The provost’s midsemester update had said that the Honor Council would assume responsibility for these cases. “If someone is being dishonest about their reasons for missing coursework and requesting accommodations that aren’t appropriate for their circumstances, that’s a behavioral [issue], not really academic integrity misconduct,” Garza said. “[The Honor Council’s] penalty structure isn’t set up to address that kind of behavior. Students shouldn’t be in conversations with other students about their confidential and private medical status.” Garza said neither she nor representatives from the Honor Council were consulted prior to the midsemester
update email. Gorman confirmed that the authors of the midsemester update — herself, Speaker of the Faculty Senate Christopher Johns-Krull, Provost Reginald DesRoches and Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Seiichi Matsuda — did not meet with the Honor Council before publishing the update. Garza said she and Gorman have since spoken. The midsemester update said the crisis management advisory committee will not confirm a student’s COVID status to faculty members, but Gorman said Crisis Management will tell SJP. “If asked by SJP, Crisis Management would confirm whether or not a student had been told to quarantine or isolate due to exposure to COVID,” Gorman wrote in an email to the Thresher. The directive was published to clarify the university’s COVID isolation policies, according to Johns-Krull, who said some faculty members did not know how to ensure students were missing class for the right reasons. “There was some confusion among at least some faculty that were not sure whether or not they could check … if students who were missing class due to COVID precautions were doing that because they were told to or because of some other reason,” JohnsKrull said. “We have had students that even though the contact tracing team has said they don’t need to isolate, chose to isolate for whatever reason.”
Cases brought to SJP will be handled through their usual process, according to Garza. “[A case] would go through our regular disciplinary process as any other Code of Student Conduct violation would,” Garza said. “Our office would engage the student whose behavior is at issue … we would speak with the professor who raised the concern to begin with, and then we’d go about gathering any other information that we can to determine whether or not there was a violation of Rice’s policies.” Student Association President Kendall Vining said she hopes the mental health and wellbeing of students will be prioritized over immediately making reports to SJP. “I feel like the first step should be for the professor to hopefully check in with the student … especially with Rice’s emphasis on mental health and wellbeing this semester,” Vining said. “There are some students, I guess, who are telling their professors ‘I’m sick, I’m sick.’ I feel like that would be better addressed by a counselor rather than [SJP].” Overall, Vining said she does not expect students to be particularly affected by the new directive. “I understand why the rule exists and why it had to be said,” Vining said. “I don’t think it’s a reason for students to feel concerned and alarmed.”
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2021 • 3
Rice applies for Bicycle Friendly University Designation
ANDREA GOMEZ / THRESHER Rice’s Transportation Demand Management department submitted an application for a Bicycle Friendly University designation, after being awarded a bronze designation in 2017.
Based on input from other universities with Bicycle Friendly University ASST NEWS EDITOR designations, Lin said this year she Rice Transportation Demand worked on building the supplemental Management recently submitted an section of the application with help application for a Bicycle Friendly from her summer intern, Trisha Gupta. University designation, after being Together, they worked to capture the awarded a bronze designation in 2017. progress made towards becoming a more The American League of Bicyclists will bicycle friendly campus over the last four years. announce awards early next year. Gupta said she gathered data about According to Lisa Lin, transportation demand management manager, the bike usage around campus and assessed university’s previous designation expired aspects of university spaces that were this year. Since then, the university was bike friendly, to draft qualitative able to improve the application with arguments as to why Rice has a strong more student engagement activities bike culture and is bike friendly. “I think that as of this application related to biking over the past few years. “[In terms of] the programming we’ve developed more infrastructure that aspects and encouragement side of promotes bike usage, especially with the addition of BCycle things, I feel like we stations around did tremendously campus,” Gupta, well,” Lin said. a Sid Richardson “Starting with We realize bike lanes College junior, different student said. “We also e n g a g e m e n t might very well be a have a lot of plans activities, what Rice solution for certain areas for the future Bikes does, what the and places on campus, now that we’re [Graduate Student but this issue requires coming out of the Association] has pandemic, which done in terms of holistic thinking, careful the application advocacy, not just planning, engagement process takes into on-campus but also with stakeholders and consideration.” off-campus efforts.” Lin said The GSA sent a coordination with what’s that receiving a letter to Houston happening beyond our designation as a Mayor Sylvester campus. BFU will hopefully Turner in 2018, jump-start more asking for safety Richard Johnson initiatives for i m p r o v e m e n t s EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR the university to at intersections SUSTAINABILITY AT RICE get to the next they defined as dangerous. These included Entrance 20, designation level. “I think with each additional increase Holman Street and Hawthorne Street, Morningside Drive and Holcombe in designation, it still makes us reach Boulevard, and Kirby Drive and even further and higher in terms of making Rice really bike friendly,” Lin McClendon Street. The Houston Bike Share stations, said. Gupta said that the university can still installed four years ago, were also a new part of the application. Lisa said make improvements by making the roads that engaging students by offering more bike-friendly, including creating memberships and trials to the bike share a safer way for bikers to get around were a large component of this year’s the inner loop, a one-way loop with no designated bike lane. application.
“This makes it more dangerous the city adopted the Houston Bike Plan and uncertain for [bikers] to use this in 2017, which envisions bike lanes road to get around campus, and roads around the entire campus perimeter and into adjacent leading into and neighborhoods. surrounding While Rice is campus similarly supportive of the don’t have city’s plan, Johnson provisions for In terms of providing said that adding bike usage,” access to the shared bikes bike lanes on Gupta said. for students who might Rice’s campus is a “I think that not need a bike all the decision that requires students and bikeplanning. riders around time or [those who] might “We realize bike the university not be able to afford their lanes might very in general want own membership, [we well be a solution to see more are] looking at different for certain areas and accessibility places on campus, for bikers models to help get that but this issue requires on the roads access and lower barriers holistic thinking, themselves.” to entry for that. careful planning, Lin said engagement with that while it Lisa Lin stakeholders and is important TRANSPORTATION DEMAND coordination with to ensure the MANAGER what’s happening safety of bikers beyond our campus,” at Rice, it is equally important to make sure that the Johnson said. Johnson said that Rice is considering connections leading to campus are safe. Lin said there is an ongoing conversation the potential implementation of a bike with city officials and members of the master plan, which would include Rice community regarding biker safety in thinking further about bike lanes as well as roads connecting to campus frequented associated amenities, policies, education, enforcement, safety and security measures by Rice bikers. In July of 2020, Turner unveiled and even some places that might be offsafety improvements for bikers at the limits to riding bicycles. “We’re already working on some aspects intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Main Street, where two cyclists were of this,” Johnson said. “For instance, we previously hit and killed. These changes recently created new campus standards included removing the right turn on for bicycle parking facilities, and we’re Sunset Boulevard, added median and also working on two pilot projects to build pedestrian signals and color-coded student-designed covered bike racks.” Going forward, Lin said she hopes to crosswalks. Sudipta Roy, wife of Rice postdoctoral see an increase in accessibility of bikes for research associate Ujjal Bhattacharjee, students in need, and that she plans to do was struck and killed while riding this with pilot bike share memberships in her bike outside the university’s main the future. “In terms of providing access to the entrance in April 2018, and physics professor Marjorie Corcoran was fatally shared bikes for students who might not struck by a light rail train while biking need a bike all the time or [those who] across the tracks on Fannin Street in might not be able to afford their own membership, [we are] looking at different February 2017. According to Richard Johnson, models to help get that access and lower executive director for sustainability, barriers to entry for that.”
4 • WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2021
Vice Provost for Research stepping down after seven years VIOLA HSIA
significant priorities that will help assure our reputation for years to come.” Shamoo said he was able to learn more Yousif Shamoo announced that he is about the academic research at Rice through stepping down as Rice University’s vice this position. “I got to learn about all the other research provost for research after seven years in the position. Shamoo’s transition will go that’s happening across campus,” Shamoo into effect January 2022, according to an said. “I could go from everything from announcement from Provost Reginald the social sciences and humanities to the physicists, I got to learn everything about DesRoches. Shamoo joined Rice’s faculty in 1998 and what everybody was doing, and that was previously served as Rice’s director of the really fun.” During his term, Shamoo said he Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering from 2008-2014. He was appointed to the vice placed an emphasis on ensuring that research funding was spread across all provost of research position in 2014. According to DesRoches, Shamoo has academic departments. “Scholarship research is more than just increased the number of research awards the university has received by 42 percent since labs. Scholarship is about writing books, it’s the beginning of his term, and he has also creative works, it’s everything that we do as increased the university’s success in receiving faculty,” Shamoo said, “I think that’s the thing I’m most proud of in terms of my office larger awards and centers for research. “He has increased the average size of is that it grew, and it can still grow more in our awards and he has increased the scope, this direction, to support all the scholarship technical capabilities and support for campus on our campus.” According to Shamoo, specific examples infrastructure, largely through our Shared Equipment Authority, which supports and of this new funding include a sponsored provides state-of-the-art research equipment performance to shed light on an American composer at the capabilities for Rice Shepherd School of and the extended Music. c o m m u n i t y, ” Shamoo said that DesRoches said. [Shamoo’s] office has there’s still work to President David assisted all parts of the be done for research Leebron said that at Rice. there has been university, but at the “We’ve got a long significant growth same time helped choose way to go,” Shamoo in funding for both and support significant said. “There’s more the social sciences priorities that will help students taking and STEM research science [and] during Shamoo’s assure our reputation for engineering degrees, time as vice provost years to come.” which is great, for research. wonderful, we need “We have seen David Leebron more people. But that very large growth RICE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT also puts challenges in the biomedical area as well. [Shamoo] has played an to the humanities to sort of have to redefine important role in setting Rice’s aspirations themselves in ways.” DesRoches said that he is grateful for high,” Leebron said, “His office has assisted all parts of the university, but at Shamoo’s contribution to the university the same time helped choose and support during his term as vice provost for research. THRESHER STAFF
PHOTO COURTESY YOUSIF SHAMOO Yousif Shamoo, current vice provost for research, announced he is stepping down after seven years in the position. His transition will go into effect January 2022. KELTON KECK / THRESHER “The Vice Provost for Research position is one of the most challenging positions at a university but one of the most important,” DesRoches said. “We are fortunate to have had [Shamoo] serve in this role over the past several years.” Leebron said that Shamoo’s work will impact Rice for years to come. “I am immensely grateful for Yousif’s contributions to the university’s research success and pandemic response,” Leebron said. “The impact of his work as [Vice Provost
for Research] will be felt for many years.” Shamoo said he remains optimistic about the future of research at Rice. “We’ve made great progress going from a great teaching institution to a great teaching and research institution,” Shamoo said, “I hope my legacy is to be understood [as wanting] us to be one of the great universities. But in our own way.” According to DesRoches’ announcement, a search for a new vice provost for research will commence in the upcoming months.
Administration lifts indoor alcohol ban in residential colleges
NDIDI NWOSU / THRESHER
ASST NEWS EDITOR Rice is now permitting indoor consumption of alcohol in residential colleges if students abide by the rules and expectations in Rice’s Alcohol Policy, according to an email sent by Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman on Oct. 15. Alcohol restrictions on crosscollege events will still remain in effect.
Gorman said that the administration is concerned that anytime a COVID restriction is lifted, there will be a potential uptick in COVID cases in our community, which is why policies have shifted gradually. “If that happened, it would be suggestive that the policy change was the cause, although that would require more investigation to confirm,” Gorman said. “This is why we aren’t lifting every
restriction all at once. We are gradually Gorman said. “Student leadership has shifting our posture, allowing ourselves been … understanding that if our COVID some time to monitor campus health numbers continued to stay low, that I between each shift to confirm that the hoped to ease up on the indoor alcohol change is not associated with an increase ban at some point this semester.” The new alcohol policy on campus in COVID on our campus.” During the week of Oct. 11, there were continues to ban large public parties, eight positive results reported through and cross-college “crawls” are also Rice testing, with a positivity rate of 0.14 not allowed. According to the weekly percent. In the Greater Houston area, 925 COVID-19 update by Kevin Kirby on Oct. people were reported as testing positive 18, the administration will be removing, and there was a 4.6 percent average or easing, COVID-19 policies related to testing positivity rate for Texas Medical alcohol this week for undergraduate Center hospital systems, according to residential colleges, Willy’s Pub and Valhalla. metrics provided by the TMC. Gorman said that the reason for the Gorman said that now seems to be lift of the indoor the right time to alcohol ban is loosen alcohol the improved restrictions after COVID-19 situation already loosening We are gradually shifting in the greater restrictions such our posture, allowing Houston area and as class format on campus. and indoor dining, ourselves some time to monitor campus health “We’ve been among others. dialing back “We had to between each shift to restrictions bit by restrict indoor confirm that the change bit, pausing each alcohol use at time to monitor the start of the is not associated with an whether a change school year due increase in COVID on our shifts the COVID to the spread of campus. situation in our COVID related to c o m m u n i t y, ” indoor gatherings Bridget Gorman Gorman said. with alcohol,” DEAN OF UNDERGRADUATES On Oct. 11, Gorman said. “Due to improved conditions surrounding masks became required indoors only in COVID, this seemed like the right time to classrooms and for gatherings of more than 10 people. try again.” Gorman wrote in the email that if the According to Gorman, student leaders have been collaborative in the process of improvements in COVID-19 in the Rice community and the greater Houston loosening restrictions. “We’ve had ongoing discussions area continue, the administration is on the order and pacing for how optimistic that few COVID restrictions restrictions are being rolled back,” will remain next semester.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2021 • 5
THE RICE THRESHER
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Support Houston, shop local Within the hedges of Rice University, the waste of fast fashion brands and it is possible — and thanks to online shopping at local thrift stores. Buying shopping, sometimes easier — not to locally produced food allows us to venture out and explore the city that avoid purchasing goods that have Rice calls home. However, treating been shipped from across the country, campus as separate from Houston fails causing fuel emissions and a greater to recognize the impact that we have on use of packaging materials. Visiting the larger community that we are a part mom-and-pop shops allows us to forgo of. To support the relationship between overnight or two-day shipping, which us and Houston, the Rice community results in more carbon emissions than should make a consistent and concerted lengthier shipping times. Finding the perfect alternative to effort to shop at and support local Forever 21, familiarizing oneself with businesses. Many local businesses create local shops and navigating the city of Houston can be community spaces daunting — we that we can be aren’t denying a part of, like that. However, the Houston-area best way to get to bookstores hosting Sometimes, as a smaller know Houston is book readings university, we seem to to actively explore and other literary overlook our buying the city, aided events. They power... How we spend by Rice’s free provide goods METRO card for all and services; we our money is a direct and undergr aduates. pay for them, tangible way for us to Besides, with the contributing more choose who we want to Thresher regularly directly to the local publishing articles economy than support, and we should highlighting local ordering packages focus our resources on our businesses, from from Amazon ever local community. our full list of Rice could. Shopping locally helps to solidify those ties by Recs to local bookstores, coffee shops, engaging in a mutually beneficial thrift stores and more, there’s no reason our community shouldn’t have an idea relationship with local businesses. Sometimes, as a smaller university, of where to start exploring. Plus, food we seem to overlook our buying power. journalists, for instance, make a career We’re a primary market in the area around out of reviewing and featuring the best Rice and have the ability to contribute restaurants, cafes and bars in the city, to a business’s growth. With Yoyo’s so engaging with their content gives Hotdog, for instance, Rice students are the added bonus of supporting local known for flocking to its late-night lines. journalism. Even for those averse to Soon, they will be opening a permanent reading articles, a quick Google search location; the success of their stand of “places near you” should yield plenty is ultimately due to the efforts of its of results to sift through. Setting aside the sustainability and staffers, but it is reasonable to believe that Rice students’ fanatic appreciation the opportunity to support Houston-area was a contributing factor. How we spend businesses, shopping locally is, frankly, our money is a direct and tangible way more fun. While it might be easier to for us to choose who we want to support, make an Amazon order in class, it’s a lot and we should focus our resources on less memorable than taking a shopping trip with a group of friends. With so our local community. Beyond that, our purchasing choices many options at our fingertips, there’s have an impact on our environment, no reason not to try to shop locally one that can be mitigated by avoiding whenever possible.
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Re-assessing the marketplace of ideas
Getter makes clear that “blatantly On Oct. 5, 2021, the Thresher published a guest opinion written by David Getter discriminatory and malicious speech” has lamenting the erosion of freedom of no place in the marketplace of ideas. Thus, expression at Rice. In the interest of he is left with two options: (1) Claim that wearing ICE costumes embracing Getter’s call for reasoned discourse, I would like to offer a response to does not constitute hateful speech (2) Concede that such actions do the claims made in the piece. The primary issue I take with the thesis — constitute hateful speech. The first option raises a complex “opposing views should not be silenced” — is not actually with the thesis itself, but with the question about which forms of expression inconsistencies between Getter’s writings on irrevocably poison the ability of students the subject. In a Facebook post elaborating to freely engage with one another. I do not on his original publication which motivated have a clear-cut answer, but my instinct is his more recent follow-up piece, Getter to separate the expression of a belief from states, “When the threat of ostracization the manner in which the belief is expressed. Consider an individual who authors and collective outrage is used as a means of dissuading others from expressing divergent a piece decrying affirmative action as an views, the marketplace of ideas ceases to anti-meritocratic policy. Then consider an individual who actively confronts students function.” Puzzlingly, Getter recognizes that for being undeserving of their college expression itself (i.e., collective outrage) admission due to affirmative action. The can silence the expression of others. But former is simply expressing a political belief if certain forms of expression can silence while the latter’s manner of expression other expressions, then is it not the case that constitutes harassment. Tying this insight back to the original hateful speech can discourage students from marginalized communities from expressing scenario, then, the underlying political view of wearing ICE costumes — those who are in themselves? More interestingly, Getter clarifies, “Even the country must enter through legal means as an ardent free speech advocate, I concede or risk deportation — is worth expressing. that there are limits to what qualifies as However, when students express this view by dressing up as legitimate speech. ICE agents and What I take issue a stereotypical with is not the Hispanic immigrant, existence of these they are not engaged limits but how But if certain forms of in serious discussion liberally they expression can silence of the necessity of are invoked.” other expressions, then border enforcement. Considering this Instead, they are statement in is it not the case that participating in tandem with a hateful speech can the mockery of prior piece from discourage students from ndocumented Getter denouncing marginalized communities uimmigrants. RiceLeft’s advocacy Regarding the against the from expressing second option, a censorship of Leila themselves? restorative justice Khaled, he clearly believes some individuals to be so abhorrent approach to hateful speech is entirely that their views do not merit further consistent with Getter’s values. Rather than instituting harsh penalties, restorative discussion. Getter also acknowledges that the approaches promote understanding through dividing line between “legitimate and exposing those who have made intolerant illegitimate speech is entirely subjective” but statements to individuals whose lives have then follows this claim by asserting his piece been directly shaped by intolerance. Thus, was “incontrovertibly objective and fact- restorative approaches epitomize the notion based.” If Getter concedes that his core claim of exposing oneself to diverse perspectives. relies on a subjective distinction, then in I also prefer restorative approaches over “cancelling the bigots” because I personally what sense can it be considered “objective”? Putting these contradictions aside, I believe that bigotry is more often motivated will next consider Getter’s more defensible by ignorance than malice. Consequently, position: limitations on freedom of the antidote to such ignorance is through understanding the experiences of those expression are too liberally invoked at Rice. Oddly, Getter provides few detailed whose lives have been harmed by bigotry. examples of threats to free speech beyond referencing the students who wore U.S. Vinay Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tummarakota costumes to the Halloween Pub event and HANSZEN COLLEGE his own personal experience. Regardless, JUNIOR I will assume that these events are confirmation of a hostile campus culture towards dissenting views.
DESIGN Robert Heeter Art Director Anna Chung News Siddhi Narayan Opinion Katherine Chui Features Ivana Hsyung Arts & Entertainment Andi Rubero Sports Lauren Yu Backpage ILLUSTRATION Chloe Xu Illustrator Ndidi Nwosu Illustrator Andrea Gomez Illustrator BUSINESS MANAGEMENT Karoline Sun Business Operations Deema Beram Social Media Amanda Mae Ashley Distribution
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6 • WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2021
THE RICE THRESHER
The club leadership contacted the director of Ice at the Galleria, who was very helpful and very interested in Rice University, according to Gu. “We were really nervous going into “I skated a lot before and so I really wanted to continue practicing when I came this because we knew that ice skating here and get back into competing again. is expensive and we want to make it as And then I never really found time to do accessible as possible for everyone here,” that … obviously not during [Orientation] Patel said. “And so we were like, ‘Oh, this is Week, but even in the weeks after,” Gu said. really kind of expensive for us students, and “And so I was thinking, I could go to the we want it to be a regular thing.’” Patel said that the director of the Galleria Galleria, but then I’d have to have people to carpool with me because it’s dangerous rink was able to offer the group a price of $6 per person, which is inclusive of the rink’s going by yourself.” According to Gu, she decided to reach $5 skate-rental fee. Most participants free skate during these out to fellow Rice students on social media events, but there to see if there was may be opportunities any interest in for more experienced forming a small skaters to perform carpool group that for the crowd, could go to the ice “We were really nervous particularly when rink weekly. going into this because the rink is reserved “I just posted we knew that ice skating for Rice community on my Instagram is expensive and we want members, according story, ‘Oh, if I made to the three heads. a really informal to make it as accessible Patel also said that club, maybe just as possible for everyone Rice students who like 10 people here ... We want it to be a know how to skate who skated every are happy to help weekend together, regular thing.’” others out if it is their who would be Imaan Patel first time on the ice. open to that?’ Gu BROWN COLLEGE FRESHMAN “Everyone who said. “And then knew how to skate I got a bunch of replies, and I was like, ‘Oh, this could be an and was part of the club — [as] we had spoken with them beforehand — would just actual club.’” Among the respondents to Gu’s post help people who didn’t know how to skate were Patel and Zhou, who helped her find figure it out,” Patel said. “It’s pretty easy to ice rinks willing to offer affordable prices pick up once you’re on the ice.” The club’s leadership also coordinates for a group of college students, according to Gu. Patel, who had gone ice skating for transportation for participants on a firstfun in Dallas the week prior to O-Week, said come, first-served basis by recruiting that she had already begun researching ice students with cars as drivers — who rinks around Houston before she started are reimbursed for gas through a clubcommunicating with Gu and Zhou about sponsored process — and then organizing rideshare trips, at no cost to students, if the logistics of the new club. “I remember I was like, ‘I really want to needed. Esther Fahel, a freshman at Brown learn how to skate properly and actually do it. It’s so much fun,’” Patel said. “And I was College, said that she was excited to hear actually looking up rinks and I had a few about R-ice Skating and the convenience of their events. in mind.” FROM FRONT PAGE
RICE ON ICE
“I used to take lessons when I was really little, but I stopped doing it. I wanted to start ice skating again so when I found out there’s an ice skating club I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so fun,’” Fahel said. “It’d be kind of a hassle to figure it out for yourself. But if they arrange rides and figure out everything for you, you just sign up and show up.” K h o i Nguyen, a freshman at Duncan College, said that he enjoyed both the pilot skate and the most recent skate on S a t u r d a y, Oct. 16. “I was just free skating around with friends and having a good time, but there were some really experienced people, like the [club] officers and some people COURTESY ANYA GU who had skated before, Around 370 students attended the “Sunday on practicing in the middle of the Skates” event at the Houston Galleria hosted by the rink,” Nguyen said. “It was really new R-ice Skating Club. cool just to watch them and was overall just a really good time.” Gu, Patel and Zhou said that R-ice know how to ice skate or want to improve Skating Club will continue to hold weekly their skills. Patel said that the club leadership is club skates, and given the success of their inaugural “Sunday on Skates” event, also happy to help residential colleges they hope to plan some big events once organize their own skating events. “We’re open to helping them set up and or twice a semester, particularly during the holiday season. Gu said that they are all that kind of stuff just because we’re also looking to organize lessons during getting familiar with the process, as we do the weekly club skates for those who don’t it,” Patel said.
The ins and outs of the Crisis Management Team TOMÁS RUSSO
Throughout the past two years, crisis after crisis hit: the winter storm in February, multiple hurricanes, and of course, the ongoing pandemic. But no matter the crisis, one thing stays the same — the Crisis Management Team is in charge of getting Rice safely through it. Although the Rice community might be most familiar with their weekly COVID-19 update emails, the CMT has a host of duties to attend to. Jerusha Kasch, director of institutional crisis management, is the only full-time member of the CMT, which does not rely on a permanent roster. Instead, certain Rice employees are assembled as needed when a particular crisis arises, according to Kasch. She said the number of people on the team at any given moment varies; it can reach as many as 60 people. “On paper they have two full-time jobs,” Kasch said. “We are looking for individuals who can set their regular job aside for a period of time and work for the crisis management team.” However, COVID-19 has forced many members of the CMT to put in 80-hour weeks as they juggle their regular job with the university’s response to the pandemic, according to Kevin Kirby, Crisis Management Advisory Committee chair. He said that they do not receive extra pay for their work on the CMT. Kasch also said
that the extended nature of COVID-19 has caused many members of the CMT to put in extra hours. “I would say COVID is a little unique in that it’s really hard to set your regular job aside for an entire two-year process, so we have had many people working a long time to manage their job as well as their primary responsibility responding with the crisis management team,” Kasch said. Kasch said that as a certified emergency manager, she takes charge in times of crises and manages the operations of the CMT. “The process is we set objectives for a two week period of time and we attempt to accomplish those objectives, and then we reassess, reevaluate and reset objectives,” Kasch said. The CMT employs a standardized approach to all crises, according to Kasch. “There was a day in emergency management when we would have a pandemic flu plan and a hurricane plan and a snakes-on-plane plan but now we don’t,” Kasch said. “We use the National Incident Management System on our campus, a management structure and system by which we approach all hazards and incidents.” Kash said that this framework optimizes the CMT’s responses to incidents. “We communicate in the same way and organize in the same way and we practice that way so that we are fluent in
the language and the process when an incident comes,” Kasch said. “We don’t have to stop and learn it.” However, Kasch and the CMT are not the ones who decide how Rice will tackle any given crisis. That duty is left to the CMAC, according to Kirby. “There’s an advisory committee that makes policy decisions,” Kirby said. “I chair that and it has [people] like the general counsel, the provosts, the president, the vice president of public affairs, the vice provost [for] research — there’s a bunch of people on it.” Kirby said that the CMAC operates by debating policy options and then deciding which tools to best employ given the circumstances. “Everyone has different expertise,” Kirby said. “We debate [how to react to a crisis] and we almost all come to the same conclusion. When you have enough information and enough people who understand what they’re doing, you come to the right set of decisions.” As a certified emergency manager and leader of the CMT, Kasch translates the decisions made by the CMAC into actionable operations. “I am not a member of [the CMAC] but I attend the meetings because I am a conduit between the operational folks,” Kasch said. This story has been cut off for print. Read more at ricethresher.org.
DIRECTOR OF INSTITUTIONAL CRISIS MANAGEMENT COURTESY JERUSHA KASCH
KEVIN KIRBY CRISIS MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE CHAIR COURTESY KEVIN KIRBY
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2021 • 7
Owl Sydney Ying twirls her way onto the Rockets dance team CADAN HANSON
“Being a national finalist was amazing because that is ‘the’ nationals that Chris Boswell, kicker for the Pittsburgh everybody goes to,” Ying said. “I got first Steelers; Erica Ogwumike, basketball and beat a really big competitor of mine player for the Nigerian national team; who was super talented.” When Ying came to Rice, she Nicole Mericle, professional Spartan Racer — all these athletes have put blood, sweat immediately tried out for the Rice Owls and tears into their sport to make it to the Dance Team. Ying said she is grateful for professional level. Now you can add Sydney the opportunity to support her school and its sports teams through dance. Ying, a sophomore at Sid Richardson “Being able to dance College and new member of the with the school spirit Houston Rockets Clutch City vibe is a really big Dance Team, to the list. deal because that Ying, a Houston is something that native, said she I’ve wanted to has been a fan of do and didn’t the Rockets and have before the Clutch City being a part Dancers since she of the Rice was young. Now, Dance Team,” in the position of Ying said. individuals who “Being able she once looked to represent up to, Ying said an organization that she is grateful that is bigger than for the amazing me is something I’ve opportunity to be a part been able of the organization. to take with “It’s a once in a lifetime COURTESY SYDNEY YING me.” opportunity,” Ying said. Sophomore Sydney Ying is a new In the “I will forever be able to member of the Houston Rockets Clutch s u m m e r say that I was a Clutch City City Dance Team. after Ying’s Dancer. I grew up watching freshman the Rockets my whole childhood and so I’m a big fan, and as a year of college, the Clutch City Dancers hosted a dance class open to the public. dancer, [I’m] a fan of their dance team.” When Ying was seven years old, she While Ying had no intention of becoming started her dancing career in traditional a professional dancer, she attended the partner style ballroom dancing at the small, class for fun, she said. “I found out about the class from a local Barbara King Dance Company. A multiple-time national finalist, Ying trained friend via Instagram and I decided to go and competed in ballroom dancing all over and see what it was like,” Ying said. “One the country, representing her company of the coaches approached me and said in national meets hosted by professional I should audition. I initially said no, but dancers. Ying won nationals the summer when a coach pulls you aside and tells you before her freshman year of high school; to audition, you can’t say no.” The audition was scheduled just two she said her first-place finish is one of the weeks after the dance class — a tight highlights of her career. THRESHER STAFF
turnaround. According to Ying, most people who audition for professional dance teams spend all year, if not multiple years, preparing. “Most contestants had their uniforms custom-made and routines planned out, and I didn’t have any of that,” Ying said. “So I buckled down for the next two weeks to get ready.” The auditions were a two-week process of four initial rounds, a round of interviews and two final rounds, with cuts made after each round. Each round was scrutinized by judges and filmed for official social media accounts. The auditions started with 100 of the top dancers in the Houston area, who had to quickly learn jazz or drill choreography and show off their training and style in improvised dances — all while displaying professionalism. Ying said she was worried that her ballroom style was too different from the other styles at the audition, but this was not the case. “I showed up with the most boring audition outfit possible and I had a ballroom improv, because that is where most of my training is,” Ying said. “Everyone else was doing their flips, leaps, jumps, turns and tricks. Improv was difficult because in ballroom you never have to dance on the fly, so it’s way outside my comfort zone.” Despite the rushed audition preparation and her atypical dance style, Ying was selected as one of the 14 members of the Clutch City Dance Team. Ying said she was very surprised as she did not expect to become a professional dancer. “When I first found out I made the team, I was in shock,” Ying said. “Many of the other girls who made the team had tried out for the past three or four years and had much more experience than I have. I auditioned with no expectations of actually making the team, but more for the experience.” Ying said she is the youngest on the team; many of her teammates are working
Pumpkin Grades 1
JAYAKER KOLLI AND NIKHAZ OMAR
55 61 65 68 71
full -time jobs, getting married and even raising families. According to Ying, she is learning a lot from the older and more experienced women, regardless of the age gap. “One of the dancers is a teacher who just got engaged,” Ying said. “There are two women … in real estate and others in corporate [careers]. So when they are talking about their jobs and their houses, I’m telling them about my sports sales midterm.” Ying said that she enjoys dancing for the Rockets. Since tryouts, the team has been preparing for preseason and the 41 home regular season games where they will perform. According to Ying, the team had to learn the first dozen of the season’s routines in an intense weekend of training camp. Despite the hard workouts and the grueling practice schedule, Ying said she embraced every minute of it. “The opportunity reminds me a lot of why I love to dance and how important it is that I keep a form of dancing in my life,” Ying said. “Professional dancing is a lot harder than it looks, even to me. After I leave practice, I’m exhausted and drenched in sweat because we work out with no AC but feeling extremely motivated and inspired.” Ying said dancing for the Clutch City team requires a lot of thinking on her feet and adaptability. “There are a lot of new dances and styles to learn but there are also a lot of off-court events like media appearances and meet and greets that I have to prepare for,” Ying said. “Anywhere I go, we’re representing the Rockets and the city of Houston, so it’s a lot of pressure.” Ying said that she is also excited to be a part of the professional sports industry and the networking opportunities that come with it. This story has been cut off for print. Read more at ricethresher.org.
1 Core muscles 4 Dinosaur preservative 9 Gigs 13 Low-fat 15 Wiess descriptor 16 Frigg’s husband 17 Country of Timbuktu 18 Chopin specialty 19 Zilch 20 Neighbor of Yemen 21 Win, colloquially 22 Football field measurements 23 Tart spice found in za’atar 25 Plays by the rules 28 Tampa airport code 29 Greased 31 Cleopatra’s killer, according to legend 34 Roman fiddler 36 Rice gym 37 Google’s planner, in short 38 Singer known as “The Queen of Pop” 41 Blue emotion of “Inside Out” 43 Port city of Yemen on namesake gulf 44 The Colts, on a scoreboard 46 Stretched tight 47 Fancy meeting location of a res. college 48 Grilled Italian sandwiches 50 Basketball Hall of Fame coach Hank 53 Swiss city home to Rolex and the Red Cross 54 Howard and Xavier, e.g. 56 Noble gas with atomic number 18 59 Anger 61 Rodents banned in Alberta 62 Spanish surrealist Joan 63 Book review? 65 Brazilian berry 66 401(k) alternatives 67 Environmental activist Thunberg 68 Perform an aria 69 Stopping point? 70 Spotify competitor backed by Jay-Z 71 Bear home
1 Nearly 2 Teleport back to the ship, in Star Trek 3 Newt or axolotl 4 Got a 100 5 Symbiotic 6 Fat layer for seals and whales 7 Airport timetable stat 8 Reuben bread 9 Priyanka Chopra’s husband Nick 10 Stench 11 Fuse 12 N64 predecessor 14 Simone of jazz 22 “You betcha!” 24 Maize used to make mazes 26 “Beware the ____ of March” 27 Italian motorcycle brand 30 Sea between Italy and Greece 31 Main compound in vinegar 32 Dhamaka org. 33 Thx counterpart 35 A long time 37 Wildebeest 38 Treasure guide 39 Put two and two together 40 “Ocean’s 8” actress Hathaway 42 Violet’s brother, in “The Incredibles” 45 Fractionated 48 Comes in ballpoint and felt-tip varieties 49 Tokyo airport 51 Lighter fluid chemical 52 Designate a seat, perhaps 53 “Duck, duck” follower 55 Victoria’s Secret products 56 In the center of 57 “Umbrella” singer, to fans 58 g unit? 60 And others, abbr. 63 Comp. featuring judges Howie Mandel and Heidi Klum 64 Devastating February 2021 winter storm
8 • WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2021
THE RICE THRESHER
Tomás Jonsson prepares to perform debut album
Tomás Jonsson, a piano performance major at the Shepherd School of Music, plans to release an album sometime in November. In light of the album’s release, he is preparing for two upcoming performances of the album. CHANNING WANG / THRESHER
FOR THE THRESHER
For most people, May of 2020 was a time of indoor confinement, computer screens and desperate clinging onto tidbits reminiscent of a previously existing normalcy. Tomás Jonsson, a Will Rice College senior, was no exception. Left to his own devices, the confinement would soon mark the unanticipated beginning of a new era in his life. Jonsson, a piano performance major at the Shepherd School of Music, took to music as a source of motivation during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not long after, he was inspired to put his artistic abilities to work and thus began the making of his debut album, “First Impressions.” “I was kind of forced to do everything myself, so I figured, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if I did an album of all original music, where I record, write, mix, master and do everything from start to finish?’” Jonsson said. “It was [done] out of necessity, and then it became an artistic vision.” Although he has pursued musical endeavors in the past in the form of collaborative works — such as in performance trios and with Canadian jazz singer Katy George — the album’s title “First Impressions” reflects this being Jonsson’s first solo project. “I’ve done a lot of projects that I’ve put out on Spotify that feature other people,” Jonsson said. “Most of my recorded work has been collaborations with big bands or trios and stuff. And this is a … listener’s first impression of me as an artist. It’s making a definitive statement for myself as a solo artist, and I haven’t done that before.” This concept of a first impression is further illustrated in the album’s cover, which features a work of art and a person staring at the art. “[The individual in the cover art is] getting a first impression of the art, just as the audience is getting a first impression of the music,” Jonsson said. Among others, Jonsson cited Afro-Cuban music and years of playing in a Black gospel church as influences to “First Impressions.” Though the presence of jazz is most
prominent, he does not tie the album to a single genre. “It’s a multi-genre album, so it’s really a mosaic of a lot of my different influences,” Jonsson said. “I’ve got some original classical compositions that take me back to when I first started playing music. It’s probably fair to characterize it as mostly a jazz album, because that’s kind of what I’m trying to turn my career towards in the next few years.” The multi-faceted nature of “First Impressions” is further characterized by the sources Jonsson used for recordings. Though a vast majority was recorded digitally from home, Jonsson also utilized spaces within Rice to bring his artistic vision to life.
I figured, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if I did an album of all original music, where I record, write, mix, master and do everything from start to finish?’ Tomás Jonsson WILL RICE COLLEGE SENIOR
“Some of the stuff I recorded here at Rice,” Jonsson said. “I’ve used Duncan recital hall and some of the other halls at Shepherd, cause they’ve got great pianos, great spaces. Other stuff I’ve done [on] electric keyboard. I’ve got special grands that you can really only get digitally. It’s a mix of digital and acoustic.” Another layer to “First Impressions” is Jonsson’s method of writing — what he terms “a strange, hybrid approach.” This approach is influenced by both his classical background and his experiences in the jazz scene. “My classical background is very written out. It’s kind of pre-planned, and jazz is often spur of the moment,” Jonsson said. “Oftentimes, what’ll happen is I’ll write the melody — the theme for a piece — and the middle section will be improvised. I’ll take the chord changes, the harmonies of the
theme, and then I’ll improvise over those in the middle section. But there’s others that are written out, and then I play them according to my vision.” In light of the album’s release, Jonsson is preparing for two upcoming performances: one on Friday, Oct. 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the Duncan Recital Hall, and the other on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 4:30 p.m. at the Kawai Piano Gallery. The performances will feature improvised solos, and those in attendance will be the first to hear the album. Though the album does not yet have an official release date, a pre-save link will be available for those in attendance. The album’s projected release date is in November. Jonsson encouraged those who plan on attending to listen to “First Impressions” upon its release, as performance elements will differ from those incorporated in the album. While the performance is solo, the album features additional accompaniment. “I have some high-quality instrument libraries, so I actually created mini orchestras for some of the songs,” Jonsson said. “There are some songs, for example, that have some really expansive synths, horns or percussion. It’s a very different experience. And because the solos [will be] improvised, you’re not gonna hear the same things twice.” Upon reflecting on his year-and-a-halflong project, Jonsson shared the role of time and importance of patience. “Every time I work on a recording project, one of the biggest lessons I take away is it’s always gonna take more time than [I] think, even after accounting for the fact that it always takes more time than [I] think,” Jonsson said. “Sometimes I’ll do a four-hour recording session, and not have a single take that I like. It’s a slow process, but almost always I end up being happy with the results.” Jonsson also noted the role Rice played in “First Impressions.” He contemplated leaving Houston for his undergraduate experience if not for the myriad of opportunities Rice offered for musical pursuit. “As a result of staying in Houston, I’ve learned gospel music, I’ve learned salsa, I’ve learned a bunch of genres I otherwise wouldn’t have learned,” Jonsson said. “‘First Impressions’ would not have existed without Rice.” As he nears the end of his undergraduate experience, he’s enthusiastic about the future. He hopes “First Impressions” will serve as a means of receiving recognition from donors and record labels who can help him realize future musical endeavors. “I’d like to be able to pitch to record labels [and] donors that want to fund the creation of new music, by showing that I have the capability to create an album completely independently,” Jonsson said. “All of my other stuff has been EPs, singles. This is definitely my most ambitious thing yet. I’m hoping by showing, with my own money, my own time, my own resources, I can do it all myself. People are going to be less afraid to invest in new music knowing they can get a good project out of it.”
Spice it Up: FALL PLAYLIST ZEISHA BENNETT
FOR THE THRESHER
Now that fall and the return of autumn seasonal drinks have finally rolled around, it is time to (pumpkin) spice up our playlists. Whether you use Spotify or Apple Music (and, yes, there is a correct answer), here are some good options to add to your queue. This playlist offers plenty of different genres and languages, ranging from Funk to Bossa Nova and from Korean to Hebrew that you may have not heard before.
Artist: THAMA Genre: Korean R&B
the stage Artist: Shura
Genre: City Pop
Treat ’Em RIght Artist: Chubb Rock
Got To Give It Up Artist: Marvin Gaye
Artist: Skee-Lo Genre: Hip-Hop
Nothing Even Matters Artist: Lauryn Hill ft. D’Angelo Genre: R&B
Juban District Artist: Ginger Root
Amour T’es La Artist: Snarky Puppy & Magda Giannikou
Genre: French Pop Read more online at ricethresher.org.
Listen to the playlist here:
STAFF TV RECOMMENDATIONS “WANDAVISION”
“THE WEST WING”
Popular NBC sitcom “The Office’’ is a mock-documentary focusing on the employees at a paper company in Scranton, PA. It is available to stream on Peacock.
Marvel heroes Wanda and Vision live an idealized suburban life together in this homage to decades of sitcoms, but everything is not as ideal as it seems. It is available to stream on Disney+.
“Fleabag” is a British comedy focusing on a woman known as Fleabag through love and life in London. It is available to stream with Amazon Prime Video.
Follow the tangled lives of presidential advisors on “The West Wing” as their professional and personal lives intertwine. It is available to stream on HBO Max.
Recommended by: Talha Arif, news editor
Recommended by: Katherine Hui, asst features editor
Recommended by: Bonnie Zhao, assistant news editor
Recommended by: Ben Baker-Katz, managing editor
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2021 • 9
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Poppin’ tags at Houston thrift stores SARA DAVIDSON
FOR THE THRESHER
While Houston may be home to The Galleria, the largest mall in Texas, malls aren’t the only place to scout deals and fresh clothing in Houston. Since “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis hit the Billboard charts in 2012, thrift stores have only been on an upward trend. Shopping for gently used items and clothes is not only good for the planet, but also for our wallets. To add to our previous staff recommendation, Family Thrift Center, here are some more of our favorite thrift stores in Houston ranging from chain stores to local shops that call Houston home. Buffalo Exchange First on our list, this store has the advantage of being next to one of the richest neighborhoods in Houston, River Oaks, meaning that many higher end items of clothing can be found within these racks. With everything from winter sweaters to summer crops, this store has everything you need for any given occasion, from the shoes lining its wall to the handmade earrings on the jewelry racks. Be sure to bring your own bag, as Buffalo Exchange does not provide them with purchase, instead donating the cost of a plastic bag to a listed charity of your choice.
Plato’s Closet A thrift chain with a couple locations in Houston, Plato’s Closet brands itself as having the latest “trendy” clothes to thrift. Plato’s has a range of branded items and always offers deals trading clothes for credit, making this an ideal spot to clean out your closet and grab some new items. Plato’s Closet is also a great spot for basics and comfort wear, often hosting a collection of tees and sweatshirts. An added bonus: the nearest location is only a ten minute drive from Rice. Leopard Lounge A true vintage thrifting experience, Leopard Lounge and its funky vibe greets shoppers right away with its leopard print wall located outside of the store. Inside, the store organizes its clothes by the decade, allowing shoppers to select throwback fashion with ease. Each decade area is appropriately decorated, with rock and roll ’50s leather jackets or lavish Roaring ’20s furs, it has everything you might need for a period piece or just a good time. This thrift store is one of many in the area, making this a great stop on a thrift hopping session. Pavement Located next door to the Leopard Lounge, with a door connecting them inside as well, Pavement is an expansive store containing brand names, vintage
Pavement and Leopard Lounge, two thrift stores located next door two each other, provide Rice community members with an opportunity to shop locally and sustainably. SARA DAVIDSON / THRESHER finds and lots and lots of shoes. The sale section up front allows for easily accessible discounts, and racks throughout the store are organized by brand, allowing you to see exactly what Lululemon or Nike the shop might have. This is a fun store to get lost in, with rack after rack of clothes and chandelierdecked fitting rooms. Pavement also hosts a variety of sizes and styles for every body type. Besides the next door Leopard Lounge, the area is filled with thrift stores, including gems such as Petty Cash and Lo-Fi Vintage. Out of the Closet A thrift store supporting a cause, Out
of the Closet donates 96 cents of every dollar made to investing in HIV/AIDS education, prevention and awareness programs in Houston. The store also contains a discreet on-site HIV testing facility and pharmacy, making this a great community space for not only shopping but also to support those living with or at-risk of HIV or AIDS. Not only does this store give back, there are plenty of great finds within their racks, and they offer a wide range from high end to your everyday bargain. Out of the Closet is another spot for good deals and cute clothes, with a fun self-described “treasure hunt” aspect in the racks along the way.
Dining on a Budget near campus SYDNEY PARK
FOR THE THRESHER
REVIEW: ‘OPTIMIST’ Top Track: “A CONCERT SIX MONTHS FROM NOW”
“Optimist” expands upon FINNEAS’s melancholy songwriting and production skills to create a compelling and interesting debut album. FINNEAS is largely known for collaborations with his sister, Billie Eilish, who he produces and co-writes songs with. However, he also previously released an excellent EP, “Blood Harmony,” and an array of singles. FINNEAS’s first fulllength album continues the lyricism seen in previous stand-out tracks like “I Lost a Friend” and “I Don’t Miss You at All,” albeit with a slightly different feeling reminiscent of Billie’s more introspective “Happier Than Ever.” Both siblings’ most recent albums share a quieter sound and personal lyrics that allow the vocals to show through. The first song released after the album announcement, “A Concert Six Months From Now,” is a love song to an ex-girlfriend that uses the return of live music to represent a potential reconnection with her. The song details the return of a love who “stole [his] heart” in 2011, ending with a tender question, delivered with vocals drenched in emotion: “Can I take you out to a concert six months from now?” The song’s earnest hope, even in spite of the incredibly low odds of an actual reconnection, creates a bittersweet feeling that allows it to connect to wider feelings of lost love and a want to return to what is now seen as a better time. Interestingly, especially with a lot of the content of the album, FINNEAS has been in
a happy relationship for years now. While that knowledge might make the song feel less real, it still sounds personal and the pain and longing, whether contrived or an older memory, combine with a want for a better future to create a unique and effective introduction to “Optimist.” “Happy Now?” echoes a darker sense of loss, contrasted by a more upbeat verse/ chorus structure that creates an intriguing dichotomy. Similar to Billie’s “Getting Older,” FINNEAS deals with the pressures of fame and the inability to have a normal life, repeating that he was “supposed to be happy now.” The song’s almost sunny chorus serves as an echo of the classic loss of self that comes with fame and growing notoriety, warning that public figures can forget who they are and match the public’s perception of them. Another highlight for me would have to be “Medieval.” The song features a bouncing production under FINNEAS’s clear vocals, comparing the current state of cancel culture with medieval accusations, claiming that “they’re gonna tear you from your pedestal, it’s almost inevitable.” He also shifts the question to society’s disinterest in mental health issues and personal trauma of those in the spotlight, with questions that imply a cutthroat consequence-based culture that does not allow for growth, regardless of the context of past actions. FINNEAS makes similar points in an earlier track on the album, “The Kids Are All Dying,” where he addresses the toxicity of political divisions and “misunderstanding” other people. This story has been cut off for print. Read more at ricethresher.org.
By this point in the semester, it’s understandable to begin lacking emotional excitement for servery food. We’ve all had our fair share of grilled chicken, caesar salads and fries, which have become somewhat repetitive for the palate. Luckily, Houston is a culinary extravaganza for lovers of all cuisines. If you’re looking for new, fresh bites, take a look at four affordable restaurants close to campus for your next meal. Pho Saigon Craving authentic soup for the soul? A 10-minute Metro trip from Rice’s campus, Pho Saigon sits in Midtown proving that sometimes classics never get old. Offering a range of traditional Vietnamese items from bánh mì to vermicelli bowls to the almighty Pho Bò (beef pho), the restaurant boasts great value, as most items fall in the price range of $8 to $10. Pho Saigon sells both beef and chicken pho in small and large sizes, accompanied by a plate of standard pho toppings: bean sprouts, lemon slices, cilantro, basil leaves and spicy green peppers. Of course, hoisin and sriracha sauces are already sitting on the table upon arrival. If you’re not a big pho person, try your hand at the house spring rolls or charbroiled pork chop rice plate. Agnes Café & Provisions In the mood for brunch near campus? At Agnes, you’ll find both typical breakfast foods and modern twists on classics, such as baklava granola with Bulgarian yogurt priced at $6. About a 20-minute walk from campus, the self-described “loosely
Mediterranean” restaurant also boasts a $9 avocado toast on sourdough topped with sunflower seeds, as well as a $10 lamb sausage stuffed flatbread if you’re feeling particularly adventurous. Being a cafe, Agnes offers a number of caffeinated drinks and baked goods to help start your morning — including a $4 daily homemade scone as well as Americanos and other espresso drinks for about $3. Head over to this new, fun space for a reasonably priced modern breakfast. Oishii Japanese Restaurant Any self-proclaimed sushi connoisseur will appreciate the $1 priced nigiri and sashimi offered at Oishii — surprising, considering the high quality of their plates. Notable menu items include agedashi tofu with bonito flakes for $3.50, tempura udon for $7.50 and Hokkaido hotate (scallop nigiri) for $2.50. Oishii is a 15-minute Metro ride away, a small price to pay for $4 rolls and $8 chicken katsu. Fadi’s Located on the other side of Hermann Park, Fadi’s is a Mediterranean and Lebanese restaurant about a 4-minute Metro ride away from Rice’s campus. The owner, Fadi Dimassi, has been serving family recipes for 25 years in Houston and has received many impressive culinary awards for his work along the way. Between their lamb kabobs, gyro wraps, house chicken curry and Greek salad with feta, Fadi’s has something for everyone. Vegetarian options include a falafel plate, veggie wrap and pomegranate eggplant, and most main plates are reasonably sold for $8.99. Be sure to end the meal on a sweet note with their baklava or rice pudding.
Oishii Japanese Restaurant offers certain plates for $1, and is a 15-minute Metro ride away. MORGAN GAGE / THRESHER
10 • WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2021
THE RICE THRESHER
KATHERINE HUI / THRESHER Senior outside hitter Nicole Lennon attempts a kill during a recent game. Lennon broke the Rice all-time kills record on Saturday with her 1970th career kill in a win over Louisiana Tech.
FROM FRONT PAGE
20 kills on an impressive 0.571 hitting percentage. She also recorded nine digs and three blocks, ending the game with Junior middle blocker Anota Adekunle a total of 23.0 points. According to Volpe, scored a match-high 13 kills on 0.591 Lennon was the star of the night for Rice. “The highlight was definitely seeing accuracy, while Lennon notched 11 kills, and sophomore outside hitter Ellie Nicole make history and breaking the all-time kill record,” Volpe said. “Nicole Bichelmeyer added 10. The defense also went to work: junior has helped elevate Rice volleyball to new defensive specialist and libero Elizabeth heights and I couldn’t be more proud of her. LaBue had 13 digs, junior setter Carly She is the entire package. I can’t wait to see Graham pitched in 15 digs (along with how she caps off her stellar career here at 39 assists, making her performance this Rice as we hope to continue to make history game her eighth double-double of the as a team.” Rice’s offense was not a one-woman season), and Lennon contributed 12 digs to mark her eighth double-double of the show, however, and featured strong outings from Adekunle, year. According to Shore, and head coach Genny freshman outside Volpe, Graham and hitter Sahara Adekunle elevated Maruska, who the team’s play on Nicole has helped elevate pitched in 12 kills, the day. Rice volleyball to new nine kills, and eight “Overall I heights ... I can’t wait to kills, respectively. thought Carly did Graham recorded a great job running see how she caps off her her ninth doublea balanced offense stellar career at Rice as we double of the today,” Volpe said. hope to continue to make season and stuffed “It’s what we have history as a team. the stat sheet with been working on. 52 assists and 15 Anota really shined Genny Volpe digs, along with today in transition HEAD COACH four kills. the whole match.” Rice won the first set in convincing Rice won the first set 25-16, holding Louisiana Tech to a 0.081 hitting percentage fashion 25-11, propelled before picking up and benefiting from strong offensive the second set 25-16 while holding Tech to outings from Adekunle, Bichelmeyer, and a 0.064 hitting percentage and eight kills. Graham. The second set proved to be more The third set was a hard-fought loss for the difficult, as Rice went from being down Owls, as they battled Tech to a 21-21 tie but 10-9 to winning 25-18. The third set saw a dropped the final four points. Rice bounced lot of back and forth, with Tech and Rice back with a vengeance to take the fourth tied 18-18 late in the game before the Owls set 25-15, behind six kills from Lennon went on a 7-2 run and won the match 25-20. and five from Adekunle. Aside from the Rice’s victory in the set was thanks in large disappointing third set, Volpe said that she part due to efforts from Lennon (seven thought the team played well throughout. “I was very pleased with how we started kills), Adekunle (four kills), and Graham the match and how we finished,” Volpe (15 assists). While Volpe had high praise for the said. “But we allowed them to score at offense, she said she was less impressed a high rate in set three which ended up hurting us there.” with their defensive output. Now 6-0 in conference play, the Owls “We want to be better defensively, and it sit atop the Conference USA West division starts at the net.” Volpe said. The team carried their momentum over halfway through their conference season. into their four-set victory the next day. The Owls will look to continue their C-USA In addition to breaking the kills record, unbeaten run with a two game series against Lennon had a strong showing all match the University of Southern Mississippi, Oct. long, as she smashed home a match-high 22-23 at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Weekly Scores FOOTBALL
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
5 th /32
35 th /40
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2021 • 11
Roadrunners run all over Owls in San Antonio were taking positive steps. Tonight was certainly not a positive step. Coming out of SENIOR WRITER the bye, I thought that we would play a lot This past Saturday night, the Rice better than we did. We really didn’t execute football team lost to the University of Texas, on defense to our standard and, obviously, San Antonio by a final score of 45-0 in the the offense was really bad.” The game got off to an ugly start for Rice. Alamodome. After winning two straight games prior to their bye week, the Owls fell After a UTSA 75 yard touchdown drive on to 2-4 while the Roadrunners added to their the opening series, Rice was forced to punt, undefeated season, sporting a 7-0 record. and UTSA marched down to the Rice 13 The most recent AP Top 25 Poll ranked UTSA before settling for a field goal. Rice punted as the 24th best team in college football again, before UTSA running back Sincere McCormick, who ended the day with 117 after their win over the Owls on Saturday. After the game, head coach Mike yards, broke off an 81 yard run, leading to Bloomgren said that the team just got a Roadrunner touchdown just two plays outperformed by a good Roadrunners later. Just when things couldn’t get worse for the Owls, graduate quarterback Jake squad. “They beat us pretty good tonight,” Constantine threw an interception that was Bloomgren said. “We got outcoached returned for a touchdown, putting them down 24-0 less than and out-executed; two minutes into the [we] had too many second quarter. errors in our game, The offense [we] made a lot of We got outcoached and continued to mistakes and we outexecuted; [we] had struggle, mustering paid dearly for them only 66 yards on against a very good too many errors in our the ground and football team. We game, [we] made a lot of 36 yards in the have a lot of work mistakes and we payed air. Constantine to do if we want to dearly for them against a suffered an injury continue to think early in the second about ascending as very good football team. quarter that ruled a program.” Mike Bloomgren him out for the rest Going into the HEAD COACH of the game, ending game, Bloomgren believed the team’s momentum was his night with just three completions on six indicative that the Owls were headed in an attempts for a total of 21 passing yards and upward direction after two straight wins. one interception. According to Bloomgren, However, Saturday’s loss, according to the loss of Constantine during the game Bloomgren, showed that the team has a interfered with the game plan that Rice had planned. long way to go. “When Jake goes down, it does change “The bye week allowed us to feel like we were in a great place,” Bloomgren said. things,” Bloomgren said. “You do work for “Coming off of two wins, we felt that we two weeks with him as your starter and he
COURTESY BRENDAN MALONEY - RICE ATHLETICS Redshirt sophomore running back Ari Broussard runs into a group of UTSA defenders at the Alamodome on Saturday. The Owls managed only 102 yards of offense in the 45-0 loss.
gets a majority of the reps and majority of the work. So when he does go down, it does rock you. Nobody ever wants their starting quarterback to go down.” Constantine was replaced by redshirt freshman quarterback Luke McCaffrey who also was not successful in the air as he completed five passes in 10 attempts for a total of 15 passing yards and an interception. According to Bloomgren, in order to improve the lackluster offense, the team needs to focus on limiting turnovers and being able to convert third downs. “We have to protect the ball … turnovers are game-changing plays and we have to make sure to limit those,” Bloomgren said. “We cannot be 3 for 14 on third downs; we have to be better than that. It starts with being more efficient on first and second down to put yourself into a situation where it is third down and reasonable.”
In order to improve their play on the football field, Bloomgren also believes that the team needs to improve on their overall confidence. According to Bloomgren, maintaining confidence throughout the game is something that the Owls struggle at, but an aspect that the team is trying to improve on. “The confidence needs to be improved,” Bloomgren said. “We need to learn how to move on from bad plays and have to get to the point that when something bad happens, we need to learn to set our jaw and go to the next play. We need to focus on what we can control, which is the next play, and not the plays that have already happened. I think that is something that we need to work on.” Next Saturday, the Owls will travel to Alabama to face the defending conference champion University of Alabama, Birmingham on Oct. 23 at 2:30 p.m.
Rice needs to keep their players out of the transfer portal BEN BAKER-KATZ AND DANIEL SCHRAGER
MANAGING EDITOR AND SPORTS EDITOR
On Saturday, the University of Texas, San Antonio gashed the Rice defense to the tune of 45 points in three quarters. While the defense had already allowed 58 points to the University of Texas, Austin, and 44 points to the University of Houston, there was something particularly disconcerting about giving up 45 points to a conference opponent, although the offense throwing two interceptions returned for touchdowns certainly didn’t help. The game marked the culmination of a fall from grace for a defense that ranked No. 12 in the country last year, allowing 18.8 points per game. So far this season, the Owl’s defense is giving up 39.67 points per game, good for No. 126 in the country out of 130 teams. The most shocking part of this collapse, though, is that the team returned 10 of their 11 starters from last season, the lone
exception being reigning two-time team MVP linebacker Blaze Alldredge, who transferred to the University of Missouri over the offseason. It’s not realistic to pin their entire regression on Alldredge’s absence. There were obviously a number of other factors to consider, including injuries, a small sample size in last year’s COVID-19 shortened season and their difficult non-conference schedule this season. But you’re lying to yourself if you think that losing their best player doesn’t have a lot to do with it as well. Losing Alldredge is part of a greater trend for Rice: They recruit and develop talented players, but consistently lose them to the transfer portal — along with their chances of winning games the next season. Trey Murphy III, the leading scorer on the men’s basketball team in 2019-20, transferred to the University of Virginia last year, on his way to becoming the 17th player taken in the most recent NBA draft. Murphy’s teammate Drew Peterson, who led the team in rebounds, steals and assists, bolted during that same
COURTESY RICE ATHLETICS Former Rice linebacker Blaze Alldredge takes the field for the Owls. Alldredge left Rice for the University of Missouri this offseason, continuing a trend of top Rice athletes transferring.
offseason for the University of Southern it’s likely that he would have stayed. But football hasn’t had a player drafted since California. The women’s basketball team, 2015, so Alldredge had no choice but to meanwhile, lost three of their five starters leave. The baseball team, meanwhile, has from last season’s WNIT championship winning team to the portal of doom. Head produced 14 first-round picks in the MLB coach Tina Langley accepted an offer draft, tied for eighth most of any school. at the University of Washington, and While this pipeline was established center Nancy Mulkey and forward Lauren during their run of dominance under head coach Wayne Graham, a Rice player was Schwartz followed Langley to Seattle. drafted in the first We’d love to five rounds of the blame Rice coaches MLB draft every for not being able year from 2009 until to hold onto their Losing Alldredge is part past season, own talent. But of a greater trend for Rice: this well after Graham’s in reality, Murphy prime. The point was never going They recruit and develop being that Rice to be a first round talented players, but has established pick on a 0.500 consistently lose them to consistent pipelines men’s basketball to professional team in Conference the transfer portal – along leagues in the past, USA. Alldredge, with their chances of they’ve just fallen who currently winning games the next down on the job leads the Tigers in season. as of late and it’s tackles and sacks, might have been drafted had he stayed costing them dearly. Perhaps more concerning than anything an extra year with the Owls, but proving himself against Southeastern Conference spelled out above, is that with the NCAA’s competition will do wonders for his draft new transfer rules allowing players to transfer and immediately play for their stock. As for Mulkey and Schwartz, following new school, this trend will likely get worse. the coach that recruited and molded Rice coaches and staff need to work to you is a common trend among collegiate reestablish their pipelines to professional athletes, and they are clearly good leagues. Obviously, the easiest way to enough to compete with some of the best do that is to win. But the 2008-2014 Rice women’s basketball teams in the country football teams — that sent eight players in the Pac-12. But they are yet another in a to the NFL while going a combined 45-44 long line of Rice athletes choosing to take — prove that there are other ways to make their talents elsewhere, and it doesn’t your players visible. Continuing to allow players to walk out the door and into the have to be that way. From 2009 to 2015, years in which the national spotlight will make it harder for Rice football team was by no means a teams to win games, which in turn will powerhouse, they had at least one player make it harder for players to be recognized drafted in each of those drafts except for here and thus encourages more transfers. 2010. This includes a second-round pick It’s a vicious cycle that must be broken, in 2013 and a third-round pick in 2014; if lest Rice athletics become a glorified farm Alldredge thought he had a clear path to system for power-five schools looking to be drafted that high coming from Rice, poach talent.
12 • WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2021
Rice by the Numbers Tired of looking at the Rice COVID dashboard and dying a little inside? Just look at our completely factual and actually relevant data instead. The numbers don’t lie!
Fast Facts Average time of party shutdown because of REMS calls
Mean number of dry coughs heard per lecture
Average Canvas assignment submission time
Percent of your Instagram feed that is just ACL pics
11:30 PM 11:58 PM
Reasons Why Rice Students Drink Servery fountain drink dispenser was closed
Awkward sipping due to lack of social skills 20%
To have fun
Accidentally drank in the heat of an intense Rage Cage game 11%
Possum casualties around campus 9% The Backpage is the satire section of the Thresher, written this week by Ndidi Nwosu, Andrew Kim, and Timmy Mansfield and designed by Lauren Yu. For questions or comments, please email email@example.com.
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