The Rice Thresher | Wednesday, April 20, 2022

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‘I’ve always loved football until [he] came …’: Players say Bloomgren

has lost the locker room BEN BAKER-KATZ & DANIEL SCHRAGER



I’d say 80 [or] 85 percent [of the players] really don’t like him, 15 percent [are] on the fence. I guess he’s oblivious to it. Cooper

Editor’s note: The Thresher spoke to members of the Rice football team who played under Mike Bloomgren from his first season at Rice in 2018 through the most recent season in 2021. Players were given the option of remaining anonymous by the Thresher in the interest of preventing retaliation. Anonymous players were given false names, which have been marked with an asterisk on first reference. Late in the 2019 college football season, with his team yet to win a game, Rice head coach Mike Bloomgren called a team meeting. According to Cooper*, many of his teammates were taken aback by what their coach had to say. “One of our seasons, we were [winless], and we had a team meeting – everyone remembers this – and he told us how he doesn’t need this job, has a smoking hot wife, has [multiple] houses and doesn’t need any of this,” said Cooper, one of several players the Thresher spoke to for this article, three of whom only agreed to be quoted on the condition of anonymity. According to Peyton*, who confirmed the content of the speech, that meeting was when he started to doubt his head coach. “That’s when everything changed,” Peyton said. “That’s when we were like ‘this guy is just not a good guy and we don’t want to play football for him.’” Cooper said that outbursts like this were not uncommon, and that Bloomgren has had a contentious relationship with his team throughout his tenure.

“I’d say 80 [or] 85 percent [of the players] really don’t like him, 15 percent [are] on the fence,” Cooper said. “I guess he’s oblivious to it.” Peyton said he believes that somewhere from 15 to 25 percent of the team still support their coach while the rest of the players have mostly soured on Bloomgren. In a statement provided to the Thresher, Bloomgren reiterated his dedication to the members of the Rice football team. “I am proud of the tremendous young men in our football program, and I fully stand behind our commitment to their well-being,” the statement said. Former players have expressed that they see a disconnect between what Bloomgren says and how he interacts with his locker room. “I don’t think he believes or means what he says most of the time, if it’s a positive thing,” said Eli*, who categorized Bloomgren as difficult to talk to and someone who struggles to connect with his players. “You talk to most of the kids on the team and they’ll say they’ve never had a normal interaction with him.” Bloomgren often touts the strong culture that he is building at Rice. Eli said that Bloomgren, who received accolades for his recruiting skills as an assistant at Stanford University, sells this vision to potential players, but over time they begin to realize that it’s all an act. “In the recruiting process he’s super smiley and friendly, and then the more you interact with him you’re like ‘there’s something really off with this guy,’” Eli said. “When he doesn’t follow through on the things he promises, you start to see through the facade that he has.”


Theatre expected to split from VADA Leebron reflects on his time at the corner of Sunset and Main RIYA MISRA


In the coming years, Rice’s visual and dramatic arts department is anticipating a drastic restructuring of its current curriculum, according to Dean of Humanities Kathleen Canning and VADA Chair Bruce Hainley. Theatre students voiced concerns about these changes, as well as safety and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance issues in the current theatre building, Hamman Hall. Hainley and Canning said that this restructuring might entail splitting apart the visual and dramatic arts into separate disciplines. Currently, theatre is a concentration within the visual and dramatic arts major. “I [am] struck that, unlike many universities that I think Rice likes to compare itself to, theatre is not a separate school,” Hainley said. “It is unusual to have a theatre program joined at the hip to a visual arts program.” These changes are anticipated to occur in 2024, possibly as late as 2025, although current students who have declared their majors will not be affected. Hainley said that a significant factor in the VADA department’s conversations about a future restructuring of the major is the current cultural landscape surrounding contemporary art. Hainley said separating the departments will help the visual arts program grow into everything it can do as a participant

in Houston and elsewhere with contemporary arts. “At this time, the most productive conversation requires a separation of these two things so that theatre can flourish in ways that I’m not sure it always has,” Hainley said. Mei Leebron, a Duncan College senior majoring in VADA with a theatre concentration, said she was frustrated and blindsided by these changes. “I came to Rice for theatre,” Leebron said. “So, for [theatre] to be essentially disbanded or swallowed by another major, and having it not be part of VADA anymore, is incredibly devastating [...] To have a more well-rounded school, Theatre needs to flourish and be alive.” Caleb Dukes, a Lovett College senior majoring in English and VADA with a theatre concentration, said they are still concerned about the future of theatre at Rice. “[These changes] won’t affect me at all,” Dukes said. “And I keep pointing that out [that] I care about the future of Rice theatre, not just about myself.” Canning said she understands that any change feels distressing, but change does not always have to be inscribed with negativity either. “You can make any creative relationship work,” Canning said. “Rice is small, and one of the challenges of a School of Humanities is to create all kinds of creative interactions and collaborations with the faculty we have.”


constraining in some ways,” Leebron said. “It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience, but now I think it’s the right time In his almost 18 years at Rice, President for a transition, for me to take a breather.” According to Leebron, one of the biggest David Leebron said he’s never taken more than four weeks off at a time, despite having outcomes under his leadership is clarification the option for a sabbatical every seven years. of Rice’s identity as a top research university. Other changes While he doesn’t include an almost know what his 80 percent growth in future career plans the student body and are after stepping It’s been an incredibly diversity down this summer, rewarding experience, but increased through recruiting he plans to take full more minority advantage of his now I think it’s the right students, more nondelayed sabbatical. time for a transition, for Texas students and “There are places me to take a breather. more international that [my wife and I] students. But like to spend time,” David Leebron Leebron is also Leebron said. “We RICE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT proud of what like to spend time in Paris and France. We like to go skiing. We Rice has chosen not to change, such as the like to occasionally go to Hawaii. Then there residential college system. “It’s not that [the residential college are more bucket list places. Machu Picchu is close to the top. Maybe the Galapagos system] is perfect, but it’s way more Islands. There’s Antarctica. There’s an successful than most and brings Rice African safari. Bhutan. We won’t do all of this whole distinct sense of welcome and those things, but it would be nice to do a community and provides students with a larger social unit than is provided at both couple of them.” Leebron said his career path hasn’t been smaller and larger colleges,” Leebron said. A very specific development that this open since he was 27, when he quit his job at a law firm without knowing what he’d Leebron said he is proud of is the growth of Coffeehouse. do next. “It’s an incredible opportunity being president of Rice, but it’s simultaneously SEE LEEBRON INTERVIEW PAGE 6



2 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2022

OAA expanding divisional advisor program amid growing class sizes


Commencement ceremonies expected to proceed with no restrictions



In response to the growing class sizes, the Office of Academic Advising’s Director Christine Martinez said that it will be expanding its divisional advisor program. Each college will be adding three DAs — one in Social Sciences, another in Natural Sciences and the third in Engineering.

CHANNING WANG / THRESHER The OAA (office pictured above) is expanding its divisional advisor program in response to the growing student body. DAs are members of the faculty who work with the OAA and college magisters to provide students with academic advising and information about co-curricular opportunities and long-term plans. “This expands the size of each college’s DA program from four to seven, and we have added four campus-wide Business DAs, similar to the way we have campuswide Music and Architecture DAs who specialize in an area,” Martinez said. Martinez said this addition was a collective effort as a result of the increased undergraduate population and recommendations by the Faculty Senate Working Group on Academic Advising. “In terms of recruitment and selection of DAs, it is a collaborative effort with College Magisters providing final approval of their college’s DA team,” Martinez said. “The primary goal of this effort is to attain more optimal ratios of new students to Divisional Advisors, so meaningful advising conversations can happen during [Orientation Week] and throughout the first academic year.” Maria Hancu, one of the student directors of the peer academic advising program, said that adding DAs to each residential college is a very welcome change. “We were reaching a point last year where some of our DAs had 40 to 50 students apiece, with five to six students per 20-minute DA appointment,” Hancu said. “We’re hoping that the addition of new DAs will allow for smaller, more individualized advising sessions, especially for Natural Sciences and Engineering students.” Janhvi Somaiya, a McMurtry College freshman, said she hasn’t had the opportunity to interact with DAs much but thinks having more DAs at each college will make them more accessible. “I think there’s been a greater emphasis on reaching out to major advisors instead of DAs, so we don’t usually think to reach out to them past peer academic advisors and major advisors,” Somaiya said. “Easier access to divisional advisors would help us better outline our academic paths based on our personal interests, especially if those interests are interdisciplinary or more niche.”



SENIOR WRITER The 109th commencement ceremony is expected to proceed as normal with no restrictions, according to Cynthia Wilson, deputy secretary to the Board of Trustees. Wilson said Rice will continue to follow guidelines from the Crisis Management Team. “Should we see an uptick on campus or in Houston, we would follow the same guidelines we’ve been using for the past couple of years, i.e., masking and limiting guests in the indoor spaces,” Wilson wrote in an email to the Thresher. President David Leebron also said that the ceremony is expected to resemble a typical graduation event. “[There are indications that] we are [going to] have a pretty normal celebration, and that families and their graduates are going to have a great opportunity to attend the graduation,” Leebron said. This year’s ceremony, like last year’s, will be held in Rice Stadium, departing from the pre-pandemic norm of hosting graduation and commencement in the academic quadrangle. “[The stadium] provides really the best environment in terms of protection against transmission of that disease,” Leebron said. The ceremony will occur over two days, with the Sallyport walkthrough and undergraduate convocation happening the evening of May 6 and commencement following the next morning in the stadium. Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman said that Rice is not currently requiring masks or limiting guest attendance for either one of the two ceremonies. “My hope is that all graduation activities are engaging and memorable events for graduates and their friends and families,” Gorman said. “A lot has

happened since the pandemic began, one of the first graduations where we’re and looking toward our more typical almost coming out of the pandemic. So ways of celebrating graduates and saying I’m hoping that they make it feel really goodbye to their time at Rice is something celebratory.” Shreya Nidadavolu, a senior at Wiess I am excited and happy to see happen.” Leebron said quick decisions, College, said that she’s also looking reactions and student cooperation helped forward to a full graduation resembling mitigate the spike in cases from a few pre-pandemic ceremonies. “I’m glad that all the parts of the weeks ago. Assuming Rice stays on the trajectory it is on, Leebron said he thinks ceremony are still there,” Nidadavolu people’s hopes and expectations should said. “Being able to walk through the Sallyport, I’m glad that’s still there. As be met for commencement. “What’s really important is that we long as those little things I know about graduation are can continue to still intact, [I’m be together and happy].” interact with each Williams said other even if not at this graduation a huge party, and I’m glad that all the parts caps off a college we get to have a of the ceremony are still experience that, relatively normal there. Being able to walk while an uncertain commencement,” through the Sallyport, I’m one, was positive. Leebron said. “There’s so As of April glad that’s still there. As many things to 19, there were long as those little things I thankful for,” 65 positive tests know about graduation are be Williams said. “I’m reported through happy that my Rice testing and 31 still intact, [I’m happy]. experience ended non-Rice positives. Shreya Nidadavolu up [positive] and Martel College that I am able to senior Jordyn WIESS COLLEGE SENIOR leave happy.” Williams said the Leebron said he thinks a distinctive lack of communication about what the ceremony will exactly look like has been condition of the Class of 2022, along with being his last class, is that they are frustrating. “I know their lack of communication the first class that will have spent the has made some people not really that majority of its time at Rice under some set excited about [graduation] or not really of restrictions due to the pandemic. “I hope in some ways the class feels looking forward to it, especially with it being two days,” Williams said. “They toward the university, the same way the haven’t given us a whole lot of information university feels for the class, that they [handled] it well, and sought to seize about it.” Williams said she’s still looking the most from their experience by being overwhelmingly responsible,” Leebron forward to the ceremony. “I’m excited because I know my said. “I think the fact that we generally family will be able to come. It should haven’t had some of the difficulties of be a generally safe environment with it some other universities is a reflection of being outdoors,” Williams said. “This is that.”

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2022 • 3


Residential colleges grapple with housing adjustments NISHANKA KUTHURU


Housing availability for 2022-2023

Several residential colleges, including Brown College, Duncan College and Will Rice College have reported a decline in student interest for on-campus housing next year, attributing this decrease to several factors including the pandemic, Brown Duncan Jones Will Rice Wiess housing prices and food options. However, some colleges, such as Wiess College, have also experienced less oncampus housing availability, partly due to the larger size of incoming classes. Number of Wanqi Yuan, Duncan legislative vice president, said that 75 students from total beds Duncan elected to move off-campus for available the next school year, which is a sizable increase from previous years. “[The number of students] voluntarily moving off [campus] has increased a decent amount in the last year or two,” Number of Yuan said. beds for At Brown, the number of juniors returning and rising sophomores moving off students campus was significantly higher this year, according to Brown Internal Vice President Maria Valera Wagner. She said that attempting to fill empty beds at Brown has been difficult. % of returning “We had something like over thirty students people on the waitlist, and by the time moving off the housing draw was over, only about campus four or five of those people actually wanted a spot on campus,” Wagner, a sophomore, said. Will Rice also saw a surprising rise in Increase in the number of students opting to live off campus, according to William Tsai, Will people Rice external vice president. moving off “This is completely unprecedented,” campus? Tsai, a sophomore, said. “We had rising sophomores in single rooms, which are historically the most coveted rooms at Will Rice. For the first time, we also saw Open beds no students on the waitlist. Everyone who wanted on-campus housing was for returning able to obtain it.” students Jones College President Daniel next year Helmeci said the number of people voluntarily moving off-campus has not risen dramatically. However, Note: – indicates information not available according to Helmeci, the increase in INFOGRAPHIC BY ANNA CHUNG the incoming class size has resulted in more upperclassmen being bumped off campus involuntarily. Dingding Ye, a freshman at Jones, said engagement in the residential college “A large reason why Jones is having to 15 rising sophomores that got bumped. ” Helmeci said that he found the community,” Tsai said. “A critical mass that she voluntarily chose to move offbump off upperclassmen is due to the fact that Rice is increasing its undergraduate number of upperclassmen having to live of people simply feel detached from campus for next year. “I would say that the price of living population by 800 without already off campus to be the biggest problem in their residential colleges, in part due to having built new residential colleges to a lot of room draw coordinators’ minds the many COVID restrictions that have was definitely a factor in deciding to live hampered down on social events both off-campus but not the facilities,” Ye absorb the increased numbers,” Helmeci right now. said. “We are faced with bumping more within and between colleges.” said. “This is very damaging to smaller Yuan said Wagner said as colleges like Jones and Lovett [College] and more people than before which that she who have already been forced to grapple is quite problematic considering the IVP she has heard believes that with the issue of kicking off sophomores lack of institutional knowledge if numerous complaints the two biggest [and] not being able to [offer] singles to upperclassmen lose access to on campus from students from reasons the Brown wanting to A critical mass of people housing,” Helmeci said. all seniors as was tradition in the past.” number of off-campus simply feel detached from Unlike some other colleges, Wiess move Bridget Gorman, the dean of s t u d e n t s had fewer students because of the gross their residential colleges, u n d e rg r a du a te s, electing to opting to live off overcharge for Brown said that Rice is in part due to the many move off with the campus than in housing planning to open campus is between COVID restrictions that previous years, disparity the 12th residential A large reason why rising are according to facilities at Brown have hampered down on college in Fall Jones is having to bump housing price Madeleine Cluck, compared to other social events both within 2025. off upperclassmen is and food. Wiess housing colleges. “We are at the and between colleges. “Rice has “A lot of students representative. very beginning due to the fact that increased “If anything at Brown do not like William Tsai stages of that Rice is increasing its housing prices fewer people using the communal project, however, undergraduate population WILL RICE COLLEGE EXTERNAL significantly moved off this year bathrooms and don’t so it’s too soon to [in] the last few the facilities VICE PRESIDENT compared to last,” like discuss specific by 800 without already years. [Also] Cluck, a junior, in general. There’s details,” Gorman having built new students don’t have the most positive certainly a lot of complaints from said.“I’ve heard said. residential colleges to of people having a members at Brown that they pay the opinions on servery food, and being on Hugo Gerbich absorb the increased more difficult time same amount for housing as someone campus requires you to purchase the full Pais, a freshman staying on campus at McMurtry [College] or Sid Richardson meal plan which many students do not at Duncan College, numbers. because people [College], for example,” Wagner said. use all 21 meals of,” Yuan said. said that while Daniel Helmeci Wagner said she believes that the Rice are not moving off “When people apply to a top 20 school he was looking campus. We had like Rice, they often end up pretty administration needs to take action and forward to living JONES COLLEGE PRESIDENT a group of juniors disappointed when they live in the kind be more concerned over housing issues on campus than it currently is. of housing Brown offers.” housing, he now has to live off campus get doubles and that rarely happens.” “For residential colleges like Brown, Annie Zhang, a freshman at Brown, Tsai said that he believes that COVID because he got bumped. “I originally opted into on-campus has been a driving factor behind the said that she voluntarily chose to move the only way Rice can [continue with its strong, developed, tight-knit culture] housing because I am a freshman and it unprecedented number of students off-campus because of the facilities “I am not happy with the facilities at is by lowering their price for housing, seemed like a convenient option and a volunteering to live off campus at Will Brown,” Zhang said. “I wanted to move given that it’s often more expensive than great way to meet people,” said Gerbich Rice. “As Senator last year and EVP this off campus because I want my own room off campus housing, or by increasing the Pais. “[Being bumped off campus] was not quality of housing,” Wagner said. expected as I was one of approximately year, I’ve noticed a worrying lack of and better facilities.”











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4 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2022



“[This decision] is honestly highly disappointing,” Leebron said. “I think that part of the theatre experience is These conversations about potential sitting in a proscenium theatre ... theatre changes to the VADA major come after is always getting the short end of the the announcement of Sarofim Hall, the stick in higher education.” Dukes said that the current space new building for VADA students and for theatre production, Hamman Hall, faculty. “There is a very dynamic pre- is inaccessible and often unsafe for design [for Sarofim Hall] and I think students. Hamman Hall is not up-to-date it’s something that everyone should with current ADA regulations, according to Kevin Kirby, the be excited vice president for about, and it’s administration. certainly going “Although [...] to provide new We have students with we’ve lived and opportunities,” canes and walkers who loved in Hamman Hainley said. Hall, it doesn’t A m o n g can’t do theatre because work as a space,” the facilities the building is not Dukes said. “We envisioned for have students Sarofim Hall, accessible to them. It with canes and a proscenium doesn’t have ramps [up to walkers who can’t t h e a t r e — a n the stage], you can’t get do theatre because arched theatre to any of the classrooms the building is not with tiered seats— is not included in because the classrooms are accessible to them. It doesn’t have the pre-design. only accessible through ramps [up to the According to stairways. It’s not fire-code stage], you can’t Hainley, the safe. get to any of the current design classrooms because plans envision a Caleb Dukes the classrooms are black box theatre. LOVETT COLLEGE SENIOR only accessible “In the design competition, we envisioned a building through stairways. It’s not fire-code safe.” According to Canning, Rice’s that might have to be built in two phases because of funding,” Canning said. “It was, administration is aware of Hamman at the time, [possible] that that building Hall’s multiple code violations. “Christina Keefe, head of theatre, took involved a theatre. But the original budget for the building was 25 million dollars us [after I joined as dean in 2019] on a ... it quickly became clear that the most walk to show us all the ways in which the expensive single piece of the building building was not compliant with safety, would have been a state-of-the-art theatre. productivity for a theatre,” Canning said. In fact, we’re still actively fundraising in “It’s been very clear for a very long time to order to have sufficient funds to break everyone above our heads that Hamman ground on [Sarofim Hall], which we would Hall is insufficient in its current state for like to do in early 2023. So no, the plans the program, and that it also needs a lot of work. So the decision simply has not are not to have [the proscenium theatre].” Leebron said that she’s frustrated with been taken to renovate [Hamman Hall] so this decision to exclude a proscenium that it would actually be a good facility for theatre.” theatre from Sarofim Hall.


CHARLIE WELLS / THRESHER Students have voiced safety and ADA compliance concerns with Hamman Hall (pictured above), the current space for theatre production. Kirby said that although Hamman Hall does need to be renovated, there are currently no plans to renovate the building due to a lack of funding. “We did a study about that four or five years ago,” Kirby said. “At the time, it was an 11 million dollar renovation [...] Right now, it’s not in our capital plan to do that renovation because we don’t have the money.” Hainley said that the theatre faculty have actively participated in the VADA

department’s conversations about restructuring the major. “VADA had several meetings last fall. [Keefe] and all the people who work in theatre were at those meetings when we made the decision to move toward a department of art,” Hainley said. “They were fully heard and participated in those meetings. It’s not as if this [decision] is coming from me or just from a cabal within VADA.”

SA drafts formal complaint against Chi Alpha after discrimination accusations HAJERA NAVEED

ASST NEWS EDITOR The Student Association executive board drafted a formal complaint against the Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship to present to University Court for violation of the SA Constitution nondiscrimination policy that every Rice organization is required to adhere to. This complaint comes in light of the recently published Thresher article, where several students shared their experience with discrimation within the club on the basis of sexual orientation. If approved by SA voting members, the complaint will be added to the UCourt docket. The investigation and final ruling will be under jurisdiction of UCourt, and will occur in the fall semester of next year. The complaint draft was presented for the first time in the SA meeting on Monday, and several edits were suggested. SA Treasurer Solomon Ni suggested including a recommendation for a oneyear suspension of the organization during the 2022-2023 school year. SA President Gabby Franklin said that a club suspension would limit the extent to which the club could operate on campus.

PRAYAG GORDY / THRESHER SA executive board drafted a formal complaint against Chi Alpha for violation of the SA nondiscrimination policy.

“[If suspended], [Chi Alpha] would not be an officially sanctioned club on campus so that limits the certain privileges clubs do have, which includes organizing campuswide events, advertising, the like,” Franklin, a sophomore, said. “Even though they have a lot of money and can still operate on campus, they just won’t be official.” During the discussion, Benjamin Lamb, Will Rice SA senator, mentioned that other college institutions have suspended their respective Chi Alpha chapters on the basis of similar discriminatory policies. In 2009, Cornell University halted funds for Chi Alpha after an openly gay member was asked to step down from his leadership position in the club. In 2020, a University of Virginia Chi Alpha member had a similar experience that led to the student council passing legislation denouncing discrimination against LGBTQ students by contracted independent organizations. Although Chi Alpha members were invited to the SA meeting on Monday, no public comments were made on behalf of Chi Alpha. The complaint will be amended with the recommendations discussed in Monday’s meeting, and voted on in the April 25 Senate meeting.

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2022 • 5




Don’t let college culture die Philanthropy doesn’t excuse slavery

Last year, the Board of Trustees announced that Rice would be increasing the undergraduate class size 20 percent — nearly 800 more students — by 2025. The quick rollout of this decision has left current students with a fracturing academic and social experience. Going forward, the administration needs to better plan for maintaining the small school benefits and residential college culture. For one thing, without the imminent twelfth college yet built, the larger student population is facing a housing shortage directly impacting residential college culture, one of the aspects of undergraduate life most advertised to prospective students. An integral part of the system is that students spend most of their Rice years living on campus to fully immerse themselves in college culture. But with the recent increase in admitted students only set to grow, more and more students will be pushed off campus until that new residential college is ready for occupants. Only new students are guaranteed housing, and as most sophomores and juniors are kicked off, less and less will return as seniors — the people who are crucial for teaching college culture to new students. We

recognize that other issues such as housing quality and the evolving pandemic have led more students at some colleges to choose to live off campus. Still, the increase in students has decreased housing availability across all colleges in a way that will exponentially affect each incoming class. Especially in the time of COVID where so many traditions are in danger of being lost, the distancing between under and upperclassmen will only exacerbate the issue. We want to be clear that we are not protesting the expansion, which is also a national trend as almost every university is seeing higher application rates and growing their student bodies to match. The issue we take is with the order in which the administration chose to act, first by expanding the student numbers amid the pandemic and then reacting to the growth with new buildings and additional class sections. In the future, we would hope before making such an impactful decision, those in charge have better plans and preparation to make sure current and incoming students are actually able to enjoy the Rice experience we were promised. This editorial has been condensed for print. Read more at


We’re in student media to learn This week marks the last issue of the Thresher for the year, and for the seniors like myself, our last issue ever. I have been a part of the Thresher since freshman year. And it would not be an exaggeration to say it has defined my Rice experience. As someone pursuing a career in journalism after graduation, there has been no better place to learn than at this paper. The Thresher is a job by definition (yes, we pay; no, not well). But it is also the place I have met some of my best friends and formed some of my favorite memories. Speaking to the journalism experience, the Thresher is a student media group, and in my four years I’ve seen how important both of those words are. We get a lot of attention for being “media,” and as a group with a large campus presence and channels to communicate with a majority of the broader Rice community, it’s important we take this seriously. The other part of that is “student.” We are students first and we are constantly learning in our roles with the Thresher. Because we want to be held accountable by the community, we value feedback from readers as the best way for us to learn and grow and make sure the paper continues to fulfill its role on campus. It might surprise some people to know just how open we are to hearing this feedback. If you have thoughts, comments, questions or criticisms, please send us an email or even reach out to a staffer if you know someone. Deviating now, because it is my farewell note and my last chance to write from the editor’s desk, I’m stealing a page from my


predecessor’s book to write some personal thank yous. Firstly, to Ben Baker-Katz, a wonderful managing editor and co-leader: thank you for helping share the stress of Tuesday nights and being just an incredible friend over this past year. I cannot wait to see what you and the amazing Morgan Gage do together in the role next year. Thank you Ivanka Perez for both your friendship and sage wisdom. Along with Rishab Ramapriyan and Christina Tan, you were my role models coming into this position, and I’m ever grateful for that extra semester I had to work with you last fall. This job would’ve been nothing without everyone on staff, especially the seniors, who made the office so lively and weekly operations so successful. We came back to a largely in-person format after over a year of remote work and the year was better than anything I could’ve expected. Thank you also to Katharine Shilcutt for stepping in as adviser in such difficult circumstances and being a blessing to all of us in student media. And finally, thank you Kelley Lash. I wish more than anything that I could say all of this in person, but you were the greatest adviser and mentor, and the reason student media was such an amazing and supportive place in the first place. Though I won’t be there to see it firsthand after this week, I know the Thresher will carry on your legacy and make you proud. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF HANSZEN COLLEGE SENIOR

* Indicates Editorial Board member

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Morgan Gage* Editor Michelle Gachelin Asst. Editor

Savannah Kuchar* Editor-in-Chief Ben Baker-Katz* Managing Editor

SPORTS Daniel Schrager* Editor

NEWS Talha Arif* Editor Hajera Naveed Asst. Editor Bonnie Zhao Asst. Editor

BACKPAGE Timmy Mansfield Editor

OPINION Nayeli Shad* Editor FEATURES Nicole Lhuillier Editor Nithya Shenoy Asst. Editor

Savannah Kuchar

COPY Bhavya Gopinath Editor Jonathan Cheng Editor PHOTO, VIDEO, & WEB Channing Wang Photo Editor Katherine Hui Asst. Photo Editor Jasmine Liou Video Editor Brandon Chen* Web Editor

In January, the Rice Board of Trustees announced plans to move the Founder’s memorial to another area of the academic quad as part of a whole redesign, adding additional context of his “entanglement” with slavery. This comes despite continual calls from the student body to not have the enslaver displayed in the quad regardless of the context provided. It would be just for these calls to action and the majority of the Task Force Committee who voted to not keep it there that the Board of Trustees decide to not keep the memorial prominently displayed in the quad at all. To provide an analogy, a welcome sign exists at the entrance of the titular town of “Schitt’s Creek,” depicting the founder Horace Schitt at a river with his sister bent over in a sexually suggestive position right in front of him. The main protagonist, Charlie Rose, criticized this sign, rightfully imploring the mayor of the town, Roland Schitt, to take it down and make a new sign. Schitt assures Rose that the problem will be resolved. The next day however, Rose goes by the sign with his family and there they see an additional sign constructed beside it saying “Don’t worry, she’s his sister.” Rather than addressing the issue of the signs content in today’s context, the mayor performatively added an incomplete description of what’s depicted to make it seem commendable. And Rice’s redesign has the potential to equally misconstrue history if it isn’t already at that point now. This becomes more than evident of an ongoing problem that we see: The student body deserves an administrative body that is held accountable to their needs. The most outrageous aspect of the decision is the reasoning that the Board of Trustees used to keep the statue in the quad: Philanthropy. We must be critical of the figures that are considered philanthropists and what enables one to identify as a philanthropist. In the case of William Marsh Rice, the Board of Trustees has determined that writing up a university to be built is enough to excuse the Black bodies that he has exploited and the Black families that he has torn apart. I assure you that his philanthropy is not enough to excuse keeping his presence in the quad as a reminder for the Rice Black community of their historical exclusion. The Sackler family similarly practiced philanthropy through providing the funds for art collections in prominent museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Louvre. However these institutions, after learning of their prominent role in fueling the opioid epidemic, rightfully decided to remove their family name from their exhibits and wings. If these institutions recognize the wrongs of imparting opioids across the nations to such an extent that they remove

the names of those responsible, then we should expect this university to recognize the wrongs of degrading and exploiting Black life to such an extent that they would remove the statue from the quad it’s in. While it is progress to decenter the statue, this compromised decision fails to center the marginalized on this campus and instead revises the narrative to make the university administration into the heroes of this story. As I now have reflected on this decision as a soon-to-be graduate, the words of Mariame

Rice’s redesign has the potential to ... misconstrue history if it isn’t already at that point now. Kaba have given me comfort. She wrote a letter to the organizers of the #NoCopAcademy movement who unfortunately couldn’t deter Chicago from constructing a police training academy next to a school. She encouraged the organizers in the aftermath by writing, “I choose to emphasize the fact that you fought as a win because what we choose to emphasize determines our lives. Your protest, your refusal to be run over, your local actions, added to those of others the world over, will slowly tilt this world toward more justice.” I want us to remember this most of all after this decision: when we continue to organize against structural and systemic racism, we will continue to win. So keep organizing. Keep raising awareness on issues that affect us all and don’t stop the fight. While I am now going to move into my position as the Campaign Director for the Convict Leasing and Labor Project, continuing the fight to protect and preserve the Sugarland 95 burial site from being whitewashed, the #DownWithWilly movement is far from over. For everyone that has joined the #DownWithWilly movement thus far in whatever capacity, I express nothing but gratitude. Thank you for your persistence, your dedication, your love and your power. Thank you for all of the roles that you have taken on in service of the movement, whether large or small. Finally, thank you for continuing the fight for the removal of the memorial from the academic quadrangle after I leave. It provides me with the hope that the future of this university’s student body will be in good hands. Thank you.


CORRECTIONS In “Karole Armitage presents sunset performances at Skyspace,” it is the 10th anniversary of James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace, not the Moody Center for the Arts. In “Rice debate places fifth, speech places twelfth at national competitions,” the name of one of the debate seniors is Alina, not Aline, Zhu.

DESIGN & ILLUSTRATION Robert Heeter Art & Design Director Anna Chung News Siddhi Narayan Opinion Katherine Chui Features Ivana Hsyung Arts & Entertainment Andi Rubero Sports Lauren Yu Backpage Chloe Xu Illustrator Ndidi Nwosu Illustrator Andrea Gomez Illustrator BUSINESS MANAGEMENT Edelawit Negash Business Manager Deema Beram Social Media Amanda Mae Ashley Distribution

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

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: Website: The Thresher is a member of the ACP, TIPA, CMA, and CMBAM. © Copyright 2022

6 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2022


Video: A talk with President Leebron

President Leebron sat down with Thresher Video for “17 Questions.” Check it out on our social media.

KATHERINE HUI / THRESHER Throughout her time at Rice, McMurtry College senior has worked toward creating community at her residential college.

Senior Spotlight: Isabel Sjodin talks chemical engineering and residential college leadership


ASST FEATURES EDITOR Even though McMurtry College senior Isabel Sjodin was raised in Houston, she didn’t know much about Rice until her junior year of high school. She said the first time she was scheduled to tour Rice she ended up chatting with a Rice student on campus and missing said tour. However, that conversation and a later overnight visit at Sid Richardson College made a strong impression on her. “Up until [Owl Days], I thought [the residential colleges] were glorified dorms,” Sjodin said. “But [my host] had been there for six weeks, and I remember walking through the hallways and she knew everyone at Sid and she introduced me to them. Everyone was so nice. I didn’t really expect the upperclassmen to care about the



“The coffeehouse that existed prior to the creation of what is now Coffeehouse was a closet in the [Rice Memorial Center],” Leebron said. “They made truly terrible coffee that I would buy and then throw out. Now I think the coffee there is great. My only criticism of Coffeehouse is there’s usually a line out of the door, which is a sign of success. Success not just because people want to buy something, but success because now it’s a place people want to be and be part of the community at Rice.” Leebron said that he spends a lot of time walking around Rice and that he thinks it’s a spectacularly beautiful campus. Some of his favorite spots include the walkways of covered arches at Lovett Hall, the palm trees at the Recreation Center and Brochstein Pavilion. “I really do like Brochstein – everything from the architecture to the way people gather there,” Leebron said. “It serves a vital role in providing a space for people to come together. [Previously,] graduate students and visitors to our campus in particular had no space to serve that function, but [Brochstein] served that function so well that everyone wanted to use it.” While Leebron has welcomed notable visitors – from former presidents like Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama to the Dalai Lama – in his 18 years at Rice, he said some of his favorite memories are welcoming new students to campus during Orientation Week.

Sjodin said. “I chose chemical engineering in part because of the technical aspects, but because I also really value flexibility.” According to Sjodin, who has always been interested in different industries, she will be working as a consultant after graduation. “Management consulting has been on my radar for a while,” Sjodin said. “I like having different contexts to the problems we are focusing on, [and] one of the things I’ve noticed through my time at Rice is that I have really enjoyed fixing problems in different areas and working explicitly with people.” Sjodin said that it was also during her first year at Rice that she decided to take advantage of the resources offered by the Doerr Institute. She underwent one-onone coaching with a leadership coach her freshman fall. “It changed the way I interacted with people,” Sjodin said. “I think for me that was very helpful in realizing that leadership isn’t just telling people what to do. It helped me focus a lot more on why I was specifically interested in being involved.” Sjodin said her experience with the Doerr Institute helped in her positions at her residential college, where she is heavily involved. As a freshman, she joined the Associates Committee and became head of that and the Externals Committee in spring 2019. A year later, Sjodin transitioned to the role of prime minister, overseeing the social committees at McMurtry – planning everything from FITQs to Y2K. However, a week after she stepped into this role, the pandemic brought life to a halt, she said. “I had all these different goals – the way we talked about events, the way we

threw events – then the focus shifted to ‘Are we having events?’ The guidelines were constantly shifting and we all had to be very flexible,” Sjodin said. According to Sjodin, serving as prime minister at McMurtry was a rewarding experience. “It was a lot of time, but it was something I definitely cared about,” Sjodin said. “There was a big focus on trying to maintain a sense of community. For the most part, the ideal is [that] people are involved in their college government because they care about it and they have goals they are trying to achieve.” Sjodin said that even though she has stepped back during her senior year, she is still involved in maintaining that sense of community and helping other Murts. Having been prepared to organize events prior to the pandemic, Sjodin has been helping underclassmen with reviving traditions now that COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed. “There are a lot of questions like ‘How were things done?’ and ‘Are there traditions we’re forgetting?’ One of the sophomores and I have been sitting down recently and writing down all the traditions, like crawl etiquette … or making a FWIS groupchat,” Sjodin said. Sjodin said that she has also been taking the time to enjoy senior year while reflecting on her identity. “I think it’s been very nice to focus on spending time with my friends and thinking through a lot of the existential crises that come with senior year,” Sjodin said. “One of the big ones is ‘Who am I when I’m not at Rice?’ I’ve had more free time to do a lot of the things I really enjoy, like photography and painting. It’s nice to have little pockets of time to go find people and try things out.”

“Move-in day I think simultaneously hope will be received well by most people captures Rice and the spirit of Rice and and that folks will come to see eventually really reflects the kind of community we that they were good decisions. You have are,” Leebron said. “One of the student to do the things that cause people to trust events that is really special for us is the you even when they disagree with you.” According to Leebron, Rice is unique barbeque [during Orientation Week]. When we can do that at the house, it’s just in that students’ input is often taken into account in decisions affecting them. a fantastic event.” “What’s different at Rice is that Leebron said that he has appreciated the chance to directly engage with decisions are pretty consultative and … students, staff and faculty at Rice even there is generally student participation in decisions,” Leebron said. “It’s a very though the pandemic has made it harder. “It’s not common for a top-tier research important part of Rice to have a sense university that the president has that type by the students that the faculty and the of opportunity,” Leebron said. “I’ve gotten administration trust them and that they to know a lot of people over the years. have a sense of autonomy and that they have a sense of The university is participation in not an abstraction KATHERINE HUI / THRESHER decisions.” but a collection of President Leebron will go on his first Leebron said people.” sabbatical in almost two decades before he that he has enjoyed As Rice’s officially leaves Rice. working with Rice’s president, Leebron student leaders. said he has learned He thinks the to listen to others quality of student and make difficult engagement and decisions. leadership is a “The more you major reason for listen, the better the university’s you do,” Leebron success during the said. “You have to pandemic. make decisions, “We’ve had and decisions have some extraordinary consequences. student leaders There’s not enough over the years,” resources for every Leebron said. reasonable request. “Some of them in You have to do recent years, have things that you

been so capable, so good at interacting with the administration, so good at thoughtfully pursuing student interest – knowing how to balance the expression of aims with more careful deliberation and thoughtfulness.” Looking back at his time at Rice, Leebron said that he doesn’t have many complaints or sources of unhappiness. However, he wishes people took more advantage of Rice’s open and accessible administration. “People expect other people to address all the things they want to be different,” Leebron said. “Almost anybody who wants to talk to me can get to talk to me. And yet to see people sometimes not take advantage of that or abuse it.” Speaking from his own experience of reconnecting with college roommates and high school classmates over Zoom during the pandemic, Leebron said that his one piece of advice for Rice students is to make the most of the relationships they develop here. “I think sometimes students don’t realize what an extraordinarily special time of their lives this is … in particular the relationships that [they] are developing with other people,” Leebron said. “Your classmates or friends in college have the potential to play a very special role in your whole life, but it’s not free. You got to stay in touch and invest with them. Start candidly figuring out who those people are that you want to stay in touch with. Make sure you turn these relationships into things that have lifelong value to you.”

prospective students. A lot of little things like that made a big impression on me.” While she matriculated as a chemistry major, Sjodin said she wondered whether she wanted to do chemistry long term. “I was one of those kids who took AP Chemistry in high school and really liked it,” Sjodin said. “I knew going into Rice I had two years to figure out what I wanted to do. One thing I appreciated about Rice was that they built in a lot of flexibility. I explored everything from chemistry to sociology to bioengineering.” By the end of her freshman year, Sjodin realized how much she valued chemical engineering. She said that the field appealed to her since it offers multiple career options post-graduation. “Chemical engineering at Rice doesn’t just recruit for oil and gas. Part of the attraction for Rice was that I knew I had industry as an option, grad school as an option, investment banking as an option,”

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Fortune teller Actress Hilary of “Million Dollar Baby Grainy river mixture Boo-boo UNESCO World Heritage Site __ Sophia Eat, ____, Love Top (or bottom) of the world _____ Beckham Jr. Villain’s hideout Narrow opening HS diploma equivalent Actress Bynes of “She’s the Man” Intel or M1 chips Annual MTV event Take clothes back Winter sport combining skiing and rifle-shooting Mexican street corn dish Slow-moving tree dweller Air quality org. Like radius or sternum Eucalyptus-loving marsupial Take a ____ (guess) Prefix meaning bee Bamboo eater Rice TV streaming service An introvert’s post-game? Spanish footballer Xabi Serves skillfully In addition to Allergen hated by all of Houston College, in the UK Expensive Japanese beef Leave out Covalent counterpart Mineral deposits Fairy tale starter Actress Scott of “Lemonade Mouth” Lost __ ___ Golf warning


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Emerges like a weasel Missing, militarily Actress Reinhart of “Riverdale” Start of many rom-coms Historical leader of Japan Walks into water Like some cheeses Zero, on the pitch Large Greek olive loved by Jim Zhang ‘22 Cannonball sound Country with capital Tehran Set (down) Banks of “America’s Next Top Model” Divisive subject? Opposite of post Actress Davis of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” Concrete reinforcer Marry in secret Water with dissolved quinine _____ Runner 2049 Opened the door for Iridescent gemstones Home planet of Queen Padme Amidala and Jar Jar Binks Items found on an album Tolstoy novel Anna _____ What Taylor Swift did to ‘it’ on “1989” Tempo Texter’s plea R&B artist Keys “Full Metal Alchemist” or “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” Billiards, by another name Prefix meaning all Scalp parasites Card game-winning words Knockoff of Hydrox cookie 35-across, 38-across, or 41-across, or animal appearing in every crossword we’ve written to date East, in Ecuador Jim Zhang ‘22’s favorite alternative milk

Oscar-nominated alumna Germaine Franco talks composing, her time at Rice, Latina identity TOMÁS RUSSO


According to Germaine Franco (Baker College ‘84), her time at Rice was a terrific experience that prepared her for the unexpected. Despite the incredible success of the Disney animation “Encanto” last fall, the nomination for an Academy Award for Best Original Score still caught the composer by surprise. “I didn’t expect it,” Franco said. “It was icing on the cake because the whole experience was amazing, just working on the project. Being nominated was a huge honor. I just felt happy to represent Latinos and represent Rice and happy to represent new voices.” Franco said that “Encanto” was different from her earlier projects in the amount of Latinos involved, the pandemic restrictions she had to navigate and the freedom Disney gave her to create a new sound. “The filmmakers didn’t want it to sound like a big Hollywood orchestral Disney score,” Franco said. “They wanted something different … they wanted it to be the sound of magical realism. That gave me a lot of time and ideas to experiment. It was one of those projects that comes along and you just pinch yourself [when] you’re working on it.” Franco said that while she was unable to visit Colombia for inspiration, she read a bunch of books about the country (including the magical realism of Gabriel Marquez), listened to many Colombian artists like Carlos Vives and explored the wide spectrum of Colombian music. In addition to buying many Colombian instruments in order to sample their audio, she sought feedback from her Colombian musician friends. Most importantly, she directly collaborated with Colombian artists, such as an accordion player who brought eight differently-keyed accordions to a recording session and a Colombian choir whom she recorded with over Zoom. “I love the ‘Antonio’s Voice’ section [of the score] when he opens his room and you see the tree of life,” Franco said. “I wanted to

honor the tradition of the Cantadora singing. I was able to convince my boss we needed to have a choir from Colombia. It happened because I met Carlos Vives at his concert and I was able to meet his musicians. One of the singers who works with him – when I heard her sing, I drove away and thought, ‘That’s the sound we need.’” Franco said that she worked on over 40 feature films prior to “Encanto.” As an assistant to composer John Powell, she was involved in movies like “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Kung Fu Panda” and the second, third and fourth “Ice Age” movies. After leaving his studio and going out on her own, Franco worked on big animated films like “Coco” and “Curious George,” live action movies like “Tag” and “Little,” independent films like “Dope” and even television shows like “Vida.” “This kind of job, you don’t know what your schedule is going to be,” Franco said. “I really encourage any students who are interested in music and the arts to take a leap of faith. It’s not like in medicine or in law or business where you graduate and there is someone waiting at your door with an offer. That doesn’t happen. It’s daunting, but if you really love what you are doing, I think you’ll find the path.” Franco received undergraduate and graduate degrees in percussion performance at Rice. She said that as a student she would play in multiple orchestras — including a few abroad — during the day, but she enjoyed playing in jazz clubs at night. Franco said that she was also in a jazz group made up of friends that played for residential college parties at Rice. “I was kind of doing a double life thing,” Franco said. “It felt so rich and exciting … I supported myself with like four different jobs. I started earning money playing jazz and Latin music. I realized that when I played the Latin music people really responded.” Franco said her year in the Marching Owl Band was a fun experience. She cherishes a memory of performing during a RiceUniversity of Texas at Austin game after an oil spill.

“We all were dressed in plastic trash bags,” Franco said. “They called us the Rice oil blob. That was pretty funny.” Franco said her performance at Hamman Hall with her brother Michael Petry (Sid Richardson College ‘81), who was dancing, was another special experience. She said her involvement in musicals at Rice helped her when she became the music director at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. “I got into theater while I was in Houston playing [music] in musical theater,” Franco said. “Who would have thought those kinds of musicals would help me? [In] those small productions, I was having fun but didn’t realize I was actually growing. There’s something there: community, coloration and then performing.” According to Franco, Rice is part of the foundation of her successful career. “Back then I didn’t know what I could do with music,” Franco said. “I just knew I loved it. But because I had such good training at the conservatory … when I wound up in this film world I had a background and I could swim.” Franco said she currently works as a composer and music producer that owns her own studio. “The best thing about it is I get to make music everyday,” Franco said. “That to me is huge because in today’s world it’s difficult to be a musician and also to make a living at it.” According to Franco, the process of composing requires flexibility and teamwork, particularly with filmmakers. She uses a computerized workstation with thousands of sounds and often does a lot of math to synchronize the audio with the film. While the job involves hard work and long hours, she enjoys collaborating with other musicians to create music and see her ideas come to fruition. “You hear them in your head but then when the whole orchestra’s playing, it’s much bigger than you could have imagined it,” Franco said. “You have these connections that are true humanity. You are all making music together. Everyone has a goal. There [are] so many musicians who practice so many hours and they give so

PHOTO COURTESY ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ As the composer of “Encanto” (2021), Germaine Franco is the first woman to score a Disney animation. much to the sound of the score. I consider it a very rewarding job.” According to Franco, she has faced challenges as a Latina composer. “I’m definitely often the only woman of color in the room,” Franco said. “But I don’t let that bother me because I consider myself a musician and that we all speak the same language. I do think people have their own stereotypes about capabilities based on last name. I try to look past that – I have to. You can’t respond to every microaggression; you just keep going.” Franco said that being herself has been beneficial to her career. She enjoys making Latin music, although she works in other genres as well. “I used to feel like I [have] to sound like everybody else,” Franco said. “But that’s not what people want. They actually want an original voice. I embrace my Latinidad. I embrace who I am and if people want to work with me, that’s great.”

8 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2022


BakerShake presents ‘Twelfth Night’ in celebration of their semi-centennial



Houston’s longest- running Shakespeare tradition, BakerShake’s performance of “Twelfth Night” marks the 50th performance of the Bard’s work on stage at Baker College commons. Performances will be April 21 through 23 at 7:30 p.m. and April 24 at 1 p.m. in Baker commons. Assistant Director Bria Weisz said the production is staying true to Shakespeare’s text and script, but set in the 1990’s to give them space for the stories they want to tell. “‘Twelfth Night’ is a really interesting show in terms of what it says about gender and sexuality. There’s a lot of cross dressing and love triangles and etcetera,” Weisz said. “We decided to have the show take place in the ’90s just because that’s a really interesting time for the gay rights movement and things going on in that regard. And it’s been interesting to take the story and adapt it to a new setting. We’ve [been able] got to have some really great conversations around the text.” According to Morgan Gage, who plays Viola, the show’s protagonist, aside from a few cuts for brevity, they have kept all of Shakespeare’s words, just with some reinterpreted meanings. “It’s really interesting how this play embraces the fluidity of both gender and sexuality in a really unique but also entertaining way,” Gage, a McMurtry College junior, said. “We’ve taken the

time to block moments at the end of the script that were not originally written into the play to kind of give some resolution … because Olivia is in love with Viola thinking that she is a man. And in the end, we get to have a moment, which I think was really meaningful for all of us to add.”

We’re putting the show on for ourselves and for the gratification of putting on a story that we’re proud of, but also for an audience that we know and love. Morgan Gage MCMURTRY COLLEGE JUNIOR

Veering slightly from BakerShake’s traditional process of selecting a play and director from pitches during “Bard’s Night” in the fall, Bree Bridger said she came on to the production as a director before “Twelfth Night” was selected to be this year’s play. “We had a ‘Bard’s Night’ where students came together and we talked about what plays sounded right,” Bridger, Baker associate, said. “We knew we wanted to do a comedy because we all need a laugh right now. So ‘Hamlet,’ ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ those were kind of put to the side. And [for] me personally as a director, ‘Twelfth Night’

is one of my favorite Shakespeare works … So I proposed that one and people liked the idea of it.” Gage said she was nervous coming to auditions, which felt high-stakes because of how strongly she identified with Viola’s character. “When I was 15, I read ‘Twelfth Night’ as part of a elective literature class in high school and I thought to myself, if there’s any Shakespeare show I want to do it is ‘Twelfth Night’, and if there’s any role that I want to play it is Viola,” Gage said. “Being able to play this part has been really exciting and it means a lot to me just because it’s such an interesting role, one that I’ve wanted for a while.” Gage said the production’s longer rehearsal process gave the cast the opportunity to become better acquainted with the script and their own characters. “A lot of our early rehearsals were honestly just sitting down at the table and looking at the text, because Shakespeare’s words are so rich in meaning,” Gage said. “There’s so much there whether you’re looking at the fact that it’s written at times in verse, or metaphors or frankly very inappropriate jokes that you don’t necessarily understand at the first read. Bree would stop us at the end of each scene that we read through and ask ‘Okay, what are you saying here?’” Besides the students, alumni and associates stay involved in the production, according to Bridger. Greg Marshall (Baker ’86) said while he never had the chance to be anything besides an audience member as an undergraduate, he has since helped with promoting the show in the years following his return to campus as a Baker associate in 1992. Over these years, he said BakerShake has remained the same in the ways that matter most. “It is still and always was a student initiated, student-led production. And it always should be,” Marshall said. “A lot of alumni now are available who are happy to help when called upon and yet I think they all are very respectful of the fact that this needs to be a student-managed and student-initiated production.” Among BakerShake alumni are names like Jim Parsons and Candace Bushnell, visiting actors from Royal Shakespeare Company in London. This year, though, Gage said the cast and crew are all Rice affiliated, the majority being students. “It’s also just very interesting to be working on a production this long with people who know our audience, like we know that we’re putting the show on for ourselves and for the gratification of putting on a story that we’re proud of, but also for an audience that we know and love and that like we call home,” Gage said. Editor’s note: Morgan Gage is the Thresher’s Arts & Entertainment Editor.


Summer reads to add to your shelf SARA DAVIDSON


With summer right around the corner, many students’ brains will finally have space for things other than organic chemistry or the latest coding problem that needs to be solved. Take this time to read for enjoyment again. The following are a series of summer recommendations perfect for time on a plane, by the pool or just on your couch. All incorporate travel in one way or another, and each has its own adventure that will leave you yearning for more.

‘Summer at Tiffany’ Majorie Hart

This memoir, set in New York City in 1945, tells the story of Majorie Jacobson and her best friend Marty Garrett, who work at Tiffany & Co. over the summer and are the first women to work the sales floor.

‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’

Maria Semple

This comedic story is narrated entirely through emails, invoices and school memos to tell the story of Bernadette, her daughter Bee and her husband Elgin, who together solve the mystery of why Bernadette disappeared.

‘From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler’ E.L. Konigsburg

This book, a bit older and meant for a bit of a younger audience (recommended reading is for ages 8-12) is also a fun, lighthearted, easy to read book perfect for the pool. It follows a girl named Claudia, who together runs away with her brother not to some far off country land, but instead into New York City and into … the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

‘People We Meet on Vacation’ Emily Henry

This rom-com is about two best friends turned lovers. A slow burn, as well as a good vacation read, given the title, this is perfect for anyone who wants to get lost in a romance book and enjoy amazing humor and good writing. Read more online at




Spontaneous Combustion, Rice’s improv group, will present their senior show April 22 at 7 p.m. in Herring Hall 100.

Traders Village Houston Comicon is April 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The event features autograph opportunities, workshops, vendors and music. The event is free with $5 parking.

Houston Latin Fest 2022 is Sunday, April 24 from 1 to 10 p.m. in Midtown Park. The event is a family-oriented cultural festival and features top performers in Latin music. Tickets are available for pre-sale online for $10.

A CAPPELLA Join a cappella group Rice Nocturnal for their senior show at 6 p.m. in the RMC Chapel. The Low Keys will have their spring concert and senior farewell Sunday, April 24 at 8 p.m., also in the RMC Chapel.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2022 • 9


Houston activities to try this summer IMAAN PATEL

FOR THE THRESHER Although it may be hard to believe as we slog through final exams, summer is almost upon us. For those sticking around in Houston, whether it’s for research, an internship or to hang out with friends, there are many opportunities to explore beyond the hedges. While Houston’s humidity is not exactly a tourist attraction, these events are one way to begin filling your summer calendar. Juneteenth Commemorating the freedom of enslaved people in Texas, the last state in the Confederacy with institutionalized slavery, Juneteenth celebrates African-American culture, including music such as blues and Creole. Featuring Grammy Award-winning blues singer Bobby Rush, Houston’s Juneteenth celebration will take place at the Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park on Sunday, June 19. Sway along to the soulful music and immerse yourself in Houston’s vibrant diversity. All tickets are free and will be available beginning Sunday, June 12. Pride Houston The 44th Houston Pride Celebration will take place at the Houston City Hall Saturday, June 25. The festival will run from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., with concerts,

booths, exhibitions and more to celebrate the LGBTQ community. The festival will be followed by a parade from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets range from $3 to $200 and can be found on Pride Houston’s website. “Seeing Is Not Believing” at the Museum of Fine Arts Leandro Erlich is a conceptual artist whose exhibition “Seeing Is Not Believing” showcases optical illusions through immersive, room-size installations. Erlich’s creative work will be returning to the MFAH for the first time since 1999, when he was a resident in the Glassell School of Art’s Core Program. The exhibit will run from Sunday, June 26 to Monday, Sept. 5 in the Caroline Wiess Law Building at the MFAH. “Notorious RBG” at the Holocaust Museum Houston “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” is based on its namesake and the New York Times bestselling book about the late Supreme Court justice. The exhibition explores the United States judicial system and the cultural revolution that Ginsburg brought to it. The exhibition is running March 11 through July 31, and reservations are required to attend. Flea by Night at Discovery Green This open air market is set in the park’s

Review: Lizzy McAlpine’s artistry shines in “five seconds flat” Top Track: ‘ceilings’


green spaces in the heart of downtown. Local vendors and artisans, small businesses and the Houston community come together to shop locally, and the event can often feature vintage, repurposed and handmade goods. The market will take place multiple times throughout the summer: May 21, June 18, July 16 and Aug. 20. Catch a play at a Houston theater When the sweltering heat gets too much, rush indoors to watch one of these productions by the several theaters across H-Town. Escape the heat by watching “Frozen,” presented by Memorial Hermann Broadway. The show runs June 30 to July 17 at the Hobby Center. For those looking for something a bit more intense, catch Alley

Theater’s production of “Clue” for some twisted humor. The play runs from July 22 to Aug. 28. For those seeking actual dark humor, don’t miss out on “Is God Is” at Rec Room Arts, which presents a modern myth about twin sisters exacting righteous revenge, running July 14 to Aug. 6. Go to a good ol’ concert Houston is going to see a lot of artists dropping by this summer: Machine Gun Kelly June 10, the Backstreet Boys June 14, 5 Seconds of Summer June 26 and Maverick City Music July 8, to name a few. Even those not in Houston can potentially find their favorite artists in concert, or enjoy live music in Houston at these smaller-scale venues.

Review:‘The Northman’ sees Robert Eggers take his work to a larger stage JACOB PELLEGRINO





Lizzy McAlpine has created a masterpiece. Her second full-length project, “five seconds flat,” is a concept album complemented by a short film, with each song laid out in chronological order. Accompanied by collaborators Jacob Collier, FINNEAS and Ben Kessler, McAlpine’s unflinchingly honest writing creates a safe space for listeners within layers of thoughtful production. The project is an intentional departure from her debut, which she says embodied a more innocent and naive version of herself — someone she’s outgrown. Instead, “five seconds flat” is a vivid representation of McAlpine’s most formative experiences in love and loss, offering fans a more mature and nuanced perspective as she navigates their aftermath. McAlpine begins the album by detailing her metaphorical death at the hands of her ex on “doomsday,” relinquishing control over her life and heart as she sarcastically acknowledges, “I don’t get a choice in the matter / Why would I? It’s only the death of me.” Chaos builds in the second chorus as the big day is carried out by drums, presumably the ones hired by McAlpine (“I’ll book the marching band to play as you speak”). The end of her life with her ex is cautiously optimistic despite its weight: “I feel more free than I have in years / Six feet in the ground.” McAlpine shifts from rich crescendos to a pared-down production in “ceilings.” Warm guitar and her layered, breathy

vocals achingly narrate a sweet yet short-lived love that wasn’t quite right, or maybe never entirely as real as it felt. In “what a shame,” she sits in synthdriven infatuation, coyly saying, “What a shame it would be if you left her now,” only to realize in the next track, “What a shame that I put up with you.” These are some of the best songs on the project, and McAlpine’s carefully light vocals — which she used even more of in her debut — often perfectly match her feelings and the delicate subject matter. However, I wish that she would take advantage of the intensity in her chest voice more often than in the brief bursts of emotion in “firearm” and “hate to be lame.” The album’s last two songs see McAlpine reflecting on loss and the person she’s become after it changed her. She mourns her late father in “chemtrails,” experiencing a grief that surpasses physical place and time, which parallels “Headstones and Land Mines,” also the thirteenth track on its respective album. In “orange show speedway,” one of my favorite songs she’s created, she reveals the reason for all the pain she’s endured in the name of love (and the album’s): “I think it all kinda feels like an Orange Show Speedway / When you’re racing head-first towards something that’ll kill you in five seconds flat / When I’m racing head-first towards everything that I want back.” Despite the pain she’s endured, the love that she fleetingly experienced was worthwhile. By the end of the track, McAlpine finds inevitable heartbreak — but, as we all must, she pieces together a fresh start from the wreckage.


Robert Eggers is a filmmaker whose work has been defined by its small scale and intensive focus on characters. His prior films, “The Witch” and “The Lighthouse,” both feature a small cast and embrace environmental horror as terrifying events slowly pull the main ensemble apart. His reputation for his smaller scale and focus is partly why “The Northman” was so interesting upon its announcement — “The Northman” blows up Egger’s storytelling onto a massive scale. The locations, number of characters, and time period all dwarf his prior films. For the most part, Eggers steps up to the plate, succeeding in his ambition. “The Northman” will be available to watch in theaters April 22. “The Northman” is a historical epic that loosely adapts the story of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” set among Norse Vikings. While inspired by Shakespeare’s work, the film is far from a beat-for-beat recreation of the play and merely uses the basic plot structure to create an entirely new story. It follows Alexander Skarsgård as Prince Amleth, the most analogus character to Hamlet in the story, who, as a child, sees his father murdered by his uncle and his mother kidnapped. After barely escaping, we then see a fully grown Amleth who is reminded by a seer, played by Björk, of his oath to avenge his father. This version of Amleth is a very different take on the Hamlet archetype, epitomizing stoicism and a strong sense of duty.

Of course, “The Northman” also features the return of Anya Taylor Joy, who worked with Eggers on “The Witch.” Joy’s character, Olga, embodies a resolve and fighting nature that complements Amleth’s stoicism. Both she and Skarsgård give great performances that showcase a wide range of emotionality and development. As with his prior films, Eggers poured himself into creating a period-accurate world, or at least one that is as close as possible, world. By working with “Viking historians, archeologists and linguists,” Eggers carefully constructed the film to make sure that the Vikings and their blunt dialect matched historical accounts from that time. While many filmmakers might not delve into this level of detail, Eggers’ dedication to accuracy in the characters’ language and surroundings enhances the film’s atmosphere. The movie also embraces strong symbolism throughout and uses Norse mythology to inform characters’ fighting practices and actions to add further depth to the world. “The Northman” also sees a newfound necessity for fight choreography, a need that is addressed well with a number of compelling fight scenes that make use of Norse weaponry and diverse backdrops. Although different from the more intensive, small-scale character studies that Eggers is known for, “The Northman” is still worth the watch and expands his eye for detail to a larger, more spectacular world.

10 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2022


COURTESY RICE ATHLETICS Head coach Mike Bloomgren looks on during a game. Several Rice football players spoke to the Thresher about their experiences playing under Bloomgren.



According to Cooper, most players begin to develop animosity toward Bloomgren in their first couple of months playing for him. “I realized it midway through [my] first season [with him],” Cooper said. “Usually it’s around that same time [in the season] with freshmen … We just start losing and everyone starts hating it and realizing how much Bloomgren is factoring into how much they hate it.” According to Peyton, the team’s frustration with their coach is so rampant that it comes up constantly. “Any conversation [about] Rice football turns into a conversation about how much Mike Bloomgren sucks,” Peyton said. Through four seasons, Bloomgren’s record sits at 11-31. However, according to Cooper, Bloomgren has been quick to deflect blame during the team’s struggles. At one meeting, Cooper said he recalls Bloomgren blaming the team’s record on some of their top players. “One time, before a game against [Louisiana Tech University], he decided to go around the room and tell at least four of our key players how bad they were,” Cooper said. “How is that supposed to motivate us?” According to Cooper, the problems run beyond just Bloomgren’s inability to connect with his players; he hasn’t been able to craft a game plan that suits his team either. “I don’t think we utilize our talent to the best of our ability,” Cooper said. “He likes west coast [concepts with a] power run offense. Personally, I don’t think that will work at Rice because we can’t recruit the linemen to run a power run offense. I feel like every coach needs to adapt to their team and Bloomgren does not do that. He sticks to his philosophy and it doesn’t work here. I think if he realized that, we could be really good, but he’s just too stubborn.” Eli said he believes Bloomgren’s stubbornness is reflective of the fact that he does not listen to criticism. “He’s a smart guy … he’s able to make decisions competently, he just makes the wrong ones,” Eli said. “He hasn’t had anyone in his ear telling him ‘no this isn’t the right thing to do.’ He’s very authoritarian, where it’s either my way or the highway.” According to Cooper, there have been a number of times where the team was left questioning Bloomgren’s play call. “[In overtime against Middle Tennessee State University in 2020] we had the ball

[needing a touchdown] to win the game,” Eli said. “Once you’re on top of them, you Cooper said. “We ran ‘Toss Power King,’ want to roll around on them and put them which is a toss run play, to the right. Got in the ground. It’s the perfect way to get stuffed. He decided to run it to the left. your players injured, because we run it [at Got stuffed again. And then he decided to practice] full speed, during the season, and [position] the ball [for the ensuing field it takes a big toll on players bodies.” Eli said that he believes practicing such goal] on third down. That’s not winning football. When he [positioned] the ball, we physical drills in the middle of the season were like ‘come on, why? Why are we doing caused injury problems in the starting lineup. this?’ [That] does happen a lot.” “We had a bunch of starters go down According to a statement from Rice Athletics, playing time and play calling are with shoulder injuries, neck injuries [and] concussions,” Eli said. “It’s a very brutal the sole prerogative of a team’s coach. “Who a coach elects to play in a game thing that we do, and we do it full speed and what players are called are at the sole in practice. It’s basically knocking out a discretion of our coaches and while it is bunch of your starting players just because our hope that all Rice student-athletes have you have this obsession with this one style a positive experience, we recognize that of football.” According to Peyton, it seemed at times there will always be some student-athletes across all sports who elect to continue their like Bloomgren didn’t put much care into education and athletic careers at another keeping his players safe. “I can’t remember a time when there institution and we wish them well,” the wasn’t someone out with a concussion,” statement said. Peyton said. “He Peyton said that wasn’t big on each time Bloomgren the safety of the called a play that game.” the team felt had no After this past chance of succeeding, I think he’s deceived ... season, 14 Owls they lost their We don’t really like him opted to leave motivation to play for – just because he doesn’t the program and him. enter the transfer “He would just connect to us. Maybe if portal. According demoralize the team he connected to us on a to Cooper, it by running the ball on deeper level than he is seemed to him third and ten,” Peyton instead of saying we suck that for many of said. “We had no these players, the interest in even being all the time, then maybe decision to transfer any part of it because we would like him. was a direct result it just never felt like Cooper of their feelings it was worth it. We towards their head never felt like we had coach and the direction of the team. the chance to win because of him.” “As you can see in the transfer portal, According to redshirt sophomore defensive linemen Izeya Floyd, Bloomgren there’s a lot of activity,” Cooper said. “One hundred percent [that’s because of is not the root of the team’s problems. “As far as our shortcomings on the field, Bloomgren].” According to Bloomgren’s statement, I feel [Bloomgren] gets overly blamed for our shortcomings as a football team,” while some players do choose to transfer, Floyd said. “I think there are plenty of others find Rice to be fulfilling both opportunities for us, as a team, including athletically and academically. “Every student who joins our program the staff, players and everyone else in the has the opportunity to challenge himself, building, to improve.” According to Eli, Bloomgren’s insistence both on and off the field, and has the on a physical style of play affects more than opportunity to re-evaluate his decision just the Owls offense, which has averaged at any time,” the statement said. “If a under 20 points per game during his tenure. student-athlete decides to transfer, it’s “He has this philosophy for short disappointing, but I know that there are yardage [and] goalline, for third and fourth many others who believe that Rice exceeds down plays where … you try to get in the their expectations, both on the field and in lowest position possible and fire out,” the classroom.”

Despite their feelings towards their coach, Eli said that any animosity in the locker room does not bleed into players’ relationships with each other. “Our team is very close,” Eli said. “There’s a lot of great people on the team who want to be great for each other. We work out hard and practice hard for each other, because everyone gets along really well, but it’s not for the vision of the program or for Bloomgren. I don’t think anyone actually buys what Bloomgren is saying.” Even with their struggles, Bloomgren is set to return for his fifth season. According to Eli, after the Owls’ upset win over the University of Alabama at Birmingham earlier this year, the team wasn’t as happy as they otherwise might have been — because they knew it would buy Bloomgren one more year. “The inkling of hope [the UAB game] gave his chances to keep his job, I don’t think that sat well with a lot of people,” Eli said. According to Cooper, the athletic department has been made aware of the team’s complaints with their coach, but is unwilling to absorb the cost of firing him. “After [each] season, [the athletic department gives] us a survey to fill out and a lot of people tell the truth in it,” Cooper said. “Nothing really happens from it. It’s a five-year contract. If they fired him after last season, they’d still have to pay him another year, so what’s the point.” According to the statement from Rice Athletics, the department fully investigates all concerns brought forward by studentathletes and takes appropriate action, when warranted. “We are confident that any issues brought forward regarding the Rice football program have been fully examined and addressed,” the statement said. Both Cooper and Eli said that Bloomgren is not oblivious to the fact that there are issues with the team, but they don’t see eyeto-eye on where the blame lies. “I think he realizes that there’s something wrong, but I don’t think that he thinks it’s him,” Eli said. “I think he places the blame on [the] players.” According to Cooper, players’ outlooks on Bloomgren might change if he made more of an effort to understand them. “I think he’s deceived,” Cooper said. “He actually thinks players like him. But we don’t really like him – just because he doesn’t connect to us. Maybe if he connected to us on a deeper level than he is instead of saying we suck all the time, then maybe we would like him.”

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2022 • 11


Men’s tennis tops Concordia on makeshift Senior Day REED MYERS

SENIOR WRITER The Rice men’s tennis team closed their regular season out on Monday with a 6-1 victory over Concordia University Texas on the Owls’ Senior Day. The Owls were supposed to host the University of the Incarnate Word on Sunday, which would have served as their final match; however, that match was canceled and the Owls quickly added a game against the Tornados instead. According to head coach Efe Ustundag, he searched all over Texas to find a team on short notice to allow the Owls to play one final match at home for their Senior Day. “When I first gave them the news about not being able to play Incarnate Word, I could really sense and see disappointment,” Ustundag said. “I really wanted to make it work, and I reached out to every team in the state it felt like, D1, D2 and D3, and obviously Easter weekend didn’t help, especially on such short notice. I’m really thankful for the guys over at Concordia to say okay, we’ll make it work and drive here on the same day, play us, and then drive back.” The Owls were eventually able to find an opponent in Concordia, a D3 school in Austin, Texas. According to Ustundag, finding an opponent accomplished the only thing that his team wanted, to play one last time on their home court. “When [Concordia] agreed to play, and we finally set a time and a date, the sheer joy from the guys ... they all wanted to play,” Ustundag said. “I gave them an option, should we do something not tennis-related even if Concordia can play, and everybody said ‘no, we want to play one last time.’” After failing to win the doubles point in their match against No. 27 Southern Methodist University on Saturday, the Owls took it against the Tornadoes as all three doubles pairs won their respective matches. The Owls then took five of the six singles matches, with senior Karol Paluch

earning the decisive fourth point 2-0 to give the Owls the victory. According to Ustundag, while there were concerns that Paluch, Adam Oscislawski, Sumit Sarkar and AJ Valenty, each in their final season with the team, would not have a Senior Day, he was pleased that they were able to get one in the end. “I’m very happy that they got it,” Ustundag said. “We had people out here to celebrate them, parents were here, so it was a special day.” Following their final match before the conference tournament, the Owls finished their regular season with a 12-12 record, including going 1-3 against conference opponents. According to Ustundag, it is likely that Rice will match up against No. 47 University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a team that beat the Owls 5-2 last month, in the first round of the Conference USA Championship in Norfolk, Virginia, this Friday.

When [Concordia] agreed to play, and we finally set a time and a date, the sheer joy from the guys ... they all wanted to play. I gave them an option [to] do something not tennisrelated even if Concordia can play and everybody said ‘no, we want to play one last time.’ Efe Ustundag HEAD COACH

“It’s very likely that we play Charlotte in the first round,” Ustundag said. “We get a full day of training tomorrow, we’ll have a half a day here on Wednesday before we take off, so it’s kind of back to your usual pre-weekend match scenario. So short

CHANNING WANG / THRESHER Graduate student Sumit Sarkar attempts a serve against Concordia University on Monday. After their initial match was cancelled, the Owls quickly rescheduled their Senior Day.

week, but definitely a fun and exciting week and hoping to make sure we have our best bodies available to go.” The Owls will look to go further in the postseason than they did last year when they bowed out in the first round to Old Dominion University. According to Ustundag, the tournament will serve as a final send-off for C-USA before the

conference realigns with different teams in the upcoming years. “It’s the last time we’ll have the conference the way it is because Old Dominion and [the University of Southern Mississippi] are leaving at the end of this year,” Ustundag said. “So [it’s] kind of one last hurrah for Conference USA in the form that we know it, and it’s going to be a really good championship.”

Baseball loses two to UTSA, resurrects on Easter Sunday BENNETT MECOM


After dropping the first two games of ​​ their weekend series against the University of Texas, San Antonio, the Rice baseball tean erupted for 16 runs in the finale on Sunday to end the series on a high note. Rice fell 9-2 on Friday and 15-4 on Saturday before winning Easter Sunday’s series finale 16-7. After this weekend’s series against the Roadrunners, the Owls’ overall record sits at 11-26 with a Conference USA record of 4-11. According to sophomore infielder Pierce Gallo, the team’s response to the two tough losses showed a lot of character. “It shows our grit, it shows our toughness,” Gallo said. “We got punched in the mouth but we got right back up and threw a bigger punch ourselves. We didn’t let the pressure get to us.” In the first game of the series, UTSA got out to an early lead by scoring four

ZEISHA BENNETT / THRESHER Sophomore infielder Jack Riedel stands in the batter’s box against UTSA. Riedel and the Owls lost the first two games of the series before winning 16-7 on Sunday.

runs in the second inning, including a three-run home run by Jonathan Tapia. The Roadrunners added a solo home run the next inning to extend their lead to five. In the fifth inning, sophomore outfielder Guy Garibay Jr. doubled home two runs for the Owls, to make the score 5-2. Later, down 7-2 in the eighth inning, Rice threatened to make it a game by loading the bases with two outs, putting the tying run on deck, but the Roadrunners got out of the jam, before adding two more runs to seal the 9-2 win. On Saturday afternoon, UTSA scored in bunches to comfortably beat the Owls. The Roadrunners started the scoring in the second inning as Ian Bailey led off with a double and was later brought in with a sacrifice fly by Chase Keng. The next inning, the Owls took advantage of some defensive miscues by UTSA to

strike back. With one out, freshman catcher Manny Garza singled, sophomore infielder Jack Reidel walked, and Gallo singled to load the bases. Then Garibay drove in Garza on a fielder’s choice but a throwing error by UTSA scored another run for the Owls. Freshman infielder Aaron Smigelski followed with a grounder that got under the first baseman’s glove to score Garibay making the score 3-1. But UTSA answered immediately with six runs in the fourth inning to take back the lead. The Roadrunners added one in the sixth, two in the seventh and scored five times in the eighth to put the game out of reach, winning 15-4. The Owls started off the series finale by taking advantage of three UTSA errors in the first inning to get out to an early 3-0 lead. After UTSA scored a pair of runs to cut the lead to one in the second, the Owls answered with a pair of runs of their own in the third to make their lead 5-2. The Roadrunners forced an early exit for sophomore starting pitcher Thomas Burbank, but junior pitcher Brandon Deskins came in with the tying run at the plate and stopped the rally. Deskins kept UTSA off the scoreboard through the seventh inning to pick up the win. The Roadrunners picked up four runs in the eighth off of sophomore pitcher Matthew Linskey — who had yet to give up a run all year going into the game — to cut the lead to 9-7. But the Owls answered right back with seven runs in the bottom of the inning to take control of the game. According to head coach Jose Cruz Jr., this was an important win to close out the series, despite losing the first two games.

“It was a very big win for us,” Cruz said. “We needed to win, we needed to beat a very formidable opponent and UTSA is that.” Cruz said he was very pleased about the strong outing from Deskins, who helped seal the Owls’ win. “Deskins came in and gave a great performance,” Cruz said. “In my opinion probably the best of the year. He was very dominant today.” Gallo ended Sunday with four hits and four RBIs. According to Gallo, Sunday’s win showed their improved culture and was important for building the team’s confidence. “It was our goal to come out today and take one and gain some momentum going into next week,” Gallo said. “I thought we played really well. Our bats came alive, pitching was great, and we stayed together the whole game so that was really important and I’m happy with the direction we’re going. “ One of the biggest moments of the game was the way the Owls responded to UTSA’s four run eighth inning by scoring seven runs to seal the game. According to Cruz, this was an important step for his team. “When they scored those runs in the eighth [inning], for us to be able to come back and answer that was really really good,” Cruz said. “It was one of the times this year that I can remember that we needed to put pressure on them and we did and we ended up scoring a bunch of runs and taking control of the game.” The Owls travel to Hattiesburg, MS this weekend for a series with the first place University of Southern Mississippi. Game one of the series starts Friday, April 22 at 6 p.m.

12 • WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2022




The Backies are back, babey!! At the end of every year, the Backpage takes the time to honor Rice’s most outstanding with the esteemed, coveted, and cheeky Backie award. Congratulations to our winners! THE SUN ALWAYS RISES AWARD For the Exceptional Achievement in Being Something Everyone Saw Coming

WINNER: The Fall of the EarthCam

for getting shut down after admin realized they’d be recording naked Baker 13 runners

RUNNER-UP: The Old Sid Window Wanker

for last year’s most dishonorable public discharge — we didn’t forget about you

THE QUEEN ELIZABETH AWARD For the Exceptional Achievement in Their Continued Existence

WINNER: The Willy Statue

for, after years of dogged protest, being shifted approximately seven feet to the left


for kicking around for another year for “supply-chain issues” (why can’t they just print more money )

THE DONALD TRUMP AWARD For the Exceptional Achievement in Not Being President

WINNER: David Leebron

for leaving a legendary legacy after his term as Backpage Icon (and president)

RUNNER-UP: Madison Bunting

for receiving the second-most votes in the SA presidential election

THE BROKEN RECORD AWARD For the Exceptional Achievement in Constant Repetition

WINNER: The Be Bold campaign

for reminding us again that nothing notable has happened at Rice since JFK visited sixty years ago

RUNNER-UP: Rice Missed Connections submissions

for unceasing public grievances and regular callouts of Fondy PDAs

THE PARTICIPATION AWARD For the Exceptional Achievement in At Least Having Fun at an Athletic Event

WINNER: Rice Football, 11/18/21

for their 58-0 loss to Texas … at least they won this

RUNNER-UP: Jones College

for not sweeping Beer Bike and being itty, bitty, whiny babies about it afterwards

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