18 months ago I responded to a Thresher op-ed that advocated for withholding donations. Now I find myself doing the same. The original Thresher article is here. My initial response was as follows:
“As humans we fear change and we always long for our alma mater to remain the [often idealized] snapshot of our own amazing time there. I remain very closely connected to Rice and I view its current state much more positively than does this author. Regardless of differences in opinion, our beloved institution will transcend the roller coaster of yearly trends and successive presidents. The way to foster a better Rice is not to “take your toys and go home.” Rather it is to become more involved, make your voice heard, and help Rice grow/evolve in an ever more dynamic world.”
After more comments, some of which melodramatically contended that the Rice of today is unrecognizable, I added another response:
“I had the honor to teach at Rice last semester so had some very in depth interaction with 19 students of all disciplines, class years, and colleges. Additionally, as a very active associate at Lovett College, my wife and I have interaction throughout the year with tens of Lovetteers. Using this experience as data, I would not agree that Rice has morphed into anything we don’t recognize. When I was at Rice the student-faculty ratio was just over 5:1; it is now just under 6:1 and holding steady. It has gone from being the smallest institution of its kind to being . . . the smallest institution of its kind. Tuition is up – as it is up everywhere – and financial aid is up way up as well. Most importantly, the students with whom I interact are smart, ambitious, humble, diverse, interesting, and often a bit “unique.” Rice remains “elite but not elitist.” The colleges are still the center of campus life but they are now supported by an amazing recreation center, outstanding food at serveries, and a nice central pavilion, all of which augment the on-campus experience and foster more interaction between students.”
Those of you who are Rice Owls, what do you think?