The Rice Thresher (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 86, No. 1, Ed. 1 Friday, August 28, 1998 Page: 2 of 16
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THE RICE THRESHER OPINION FRIDAY. AUGUST 28.
the Rice Thresher
Editor in Chief
A voice from the past
To continue a tradition begun by last year's editorial
board, this staff editorial is reprinted from the Aug. 25,
1972 issue of the Thresher. The 1998-99 editorial
board feels that its message still applies to this year's
incoming students, as well as to those of us returning to
Rice for another year.
"The true function of the University" is a phrase
that gets kicked around a lot, mostly in editorials.
Speakers looking for a topic can always fall back on
"re-examination of the fundamental principles of edu-
cation." But any questions about the purpose, if any,
of Rice are more meaningful when phrased simple:
What are you doing here, anyway?
Everyone at Rice is here because he expects to
benefit from it. The anticpated advantages are of
three types, and an honest recognition of which
advantage you seek is vital if this situation is to be
worth $2100/yekr. The question is not philosophical;
it is practical.
First is the academic viewpoint; thatjthere is infor-
mation and experience to be gained here which will
be necessary for success in your chosen career. If you
believe this, you must take the most challenging
courses you can find and work at them very hard,
accepting low grades and trusting that, when you
graduate, your competence in the field will be obvi-
ous enough to get you the post you want.
Second is the cynical viewpoint, coupling a ques-
tionable opinion - that a college diploma is necessary
before you can even be considered for most presti-
gious professional or academic jobs.
For the student with this philosophy, strategy is
obvious. The easy course leading to a good grade is
to be preferred to the difficult and chancy one. The
end result will be an impressive-looking record and a
student with excellent "qualifications". This student
trusts in these "qualifications" to get a job, and relies
on native ability to learn what he really needs while he
The third viewpoint, and the one most fashionable
to profess, is the humanistic one; the idea that four
years of living in a college community is an end in
itself. A humanist believes that the experiences of
college life are more valuable than either the educa-
tion or the diploma. He will spend his time talking to
people, doing things, taking interesting courses, and
looking for experience. Hopefully, he will avoid the
experience of flunking out.
While this does not matter to the true humanists,
there are no pure types on any campus. Everyone is
motivated by a combination of purposes, but one is
usually predominant. To get your money's worth
from Rice, you will have to honestly examine your
motives for coming here. You must determine what
you need from the next four years, and then go after
it. No one who truly knows what he wants is part of a
faceless mass; this is a time for introspection and
self-direction. And that is the purpose of the Univer-
WHAT 6|*UY CfOT «=>i
His Purity Te&T?
Tired, torn, cut, dried and cashed
From the terror in Ireland comes
newfound hope for lasting peace
The Aug. 15 bombing in
Omagh, Ireland was reminiscent of
past problems and indicative of fu-
ture ones for the peace process in
Northern Ireland. The
Real Irish Republican
Army took responsibility
for the bombing, the
deadliest incident of sec-
tarian violence in 29 years.
The group, a radical fac-
tion of the Irish Republi-
can Army, broke off this
year when the IRA began
to help the peace process.
As the past three de-
cades have shown, begin-
ning with the Irish-Catho-
lic call for more independence from
the Protestant majority, fringe
groups, with their opposition to dis-
armament, have caused the most
difficulties in the peace process be-
tween Irish Protestants and
The fragile peace agreement has
been in place since May 22, when
over 70 percent of voters in North-
ern Ireland voted for forming a peace
agreement. The plan was negotiated
principally by Northern Ireland's
John Hume, the leader of the Irish-
Catholic minority, and David
Trimble, leader of the Ulster Union-
ists, the Protestant majority. The
agreement called for a new, inde-
pendent Northern Ireland, free from
the constraints of British and Irish
fhe decision has been called the
most important agreement in all of
Northern Ireland's troubled history.
arguments with bombings of streets,
bridges and other public places. The
atrocity is that many of the attacks
are targeted at innocent civilians,
causing 3,200 deaths in
three decades: The ma-
jority of Northern Irish
voters have chosen to
work toward peace, so
why do the attacks con-
tinue? Fringe groups, not
the common people, are
responsible for the at-
tacks. As long as militant
groups like the RIRA and
the Irish National Libera-
tion Army exist, there is a
serious threat to peace.
Disarmament is high on the list
of priorities in the peace agreement,
but it is also the hardest task to
accomplish. A group may observe
the cease-fire, but for it to give up all
its weapons, it must have absolute
faith in the peace process. If the
peace process were to fall apart, the
group would risk being caught un-
•armed and powerless against its
enemies. Most groups have entered
into a cease-fire, but very few have
groups on both sides, the Ulster
Unionists and the Irish Republican
Army, are involved in the process.
The leaders of both groups attended
the funeral service for those killed
in Omagh. This violent act has united
the two major groups in protest and
It is sometimes tempting to find
the silver lining in an act that is so
violent, but in this case, the
optimisim is justified. This tragedy
will hopefully speed up the peace
process, and early signs point to-
ward that. Though this is probably
not the end of terrorist violence in
Northern Ireland, there is new hope
that the end is closer than it was
Michael Sew Hoy is assistant opinion
editor and a Hanszen College
A group may observe
the cease-fire, but for it
to give up all its
weapons, it must have
absolute faith in the
This bombing and other
stfiall attacks since the
reality more than the
leaders of the peace
agreement would like
And more importantly, it was sup-
posed to end the violence between
Protestant and Catholic militant
groups that has been raging since
1969. But this bombing and other
small attacks since the agreement
reflect reality more than, leaders of
the peace agreement would like to
For three decades, militant fringe
groups on both sides have con-
fronted their enemies' beliefs and
disarmed themselves completely.
Where there are terrorist weapons,
there is always a threat to peace.
But all is not lost. The peace pro-
cess has grown in leaps and bounds
since Irish Catholics demanded bet-
ter representation and rights in 1969.
Of the major militant groups, only
the Continuity Irish Republican
Army has yet to enter a cease-fire.
Even INLA and the RIRA, the group
responsible for the recent bombing,
joined the cease-fire after the bomb-
ing in Omagh. The peace agreement
was passed by 71 percent of the
population, so most people are be-
hind the process with overwhelm-
Public outrage over the most re-
cent and most deadly bombing high-
lights this support. The bombing
itself even shows the desperation of
the splinter groups, which now have
little public support. What is more
encouraging is that the largest
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Stoler, Brian. The Rice Thresher (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 86, No. 1, Ed. 1 Friday, August 28, 1998, newspaper, August 28, 1998; Houston, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth246624/m1/2/: accessed April 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Rice University Woodson Research Center.