The Rice Thresher, Vol. 94, No. 19, Ed. 1 Friday, February 9, 2007 Page: 2 of 20
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THE RICE THRESHER OPINION FRIDAY. FEBRUARY 9,2007
the Rice Thresher
Autry renovations set a
Yesterday, former President Bill Clinton spoke at a curtained,
decrepit Autry Court. While the setting was pleasantly informal, the
state of our gym was more than a little disheveled — a burden the
volleyball and men's and women's basketball teams have shouldered
for seasons on end. Fortunately, in about two years no one will have
to worry about the unsightliness of Rice's largest-capacity indoor
venue. (See story, Page 1.)
The improvements certainly will be easier on the eyes for aestheti-
cally oriented fans, but they may also improve the quality of varsity
athletics overall. The renovation is a smart one from any angle, and
it is happening largely due to the laudable efforts of Athletic Direc-
tor Chris Del Conte.
Coming from the University of Arizona, Del Conte has experienced
what a successful basketball program can add to a school's athletic
department and, by extension, to the school itself. It is nearly impos-
sible for a program to succeed financially in today's college athletics
with antiquated facilities that scare away top recruits and big-money
competitors. And while it would be naive to think that a renovated
Autry will instantly cure the Athletic Department's financial ills, we
believe it is important that the Athletic Department takes this step
towards building a solid foundation for the future. Better facilities
mean better crowds, as well as better recruits, who will hopefully
lead to better teams with better non-conference home opponents
and more nationally televised games. If all that happens, it will spell
financial relief for our in-the-red Athletic Department.
Thanks to the efforts of Del Conte and his staff, the Athletic Depart-
ment is already trying to ease Athletics' drain on university funds. A
telling sign: All of the funding for Autry's renovations will come from
private donations, not from the general university fund.
Thankfully, students who have athletic interests outside the
future of varsity teams — hardcore workout junkies and recreational
raquetball players alike — will not suffer during the renovation. We
appreciate that the Recreation Center and general-use workout facili-
ties will remain open throughout the construction process. Perhaps
the relative quickness with which the Autry Court renovations were
planned will even inspire the university to speed up the construction
of a new recreation center.
As the most-used building on campus, there is no reason Autry
Court should be one of the most dilapidated. While a new convoca-
tion center is not on the way, a renovated Autry may serve as a fitting
place for high-profile speakers and other large-scale events to come.
Autry's renovations will, with any luck, do wonders for Athletics, and the
project's financial independence is as welcome as it is appropriate.
Owlspace has potential
as campus panacea
Group set up a much needed hub for course Web sites. Owlspace
was launched last semester to half-hearted responses and some
confusion — some professors were still using WebCT or setting up
independent course Web sites. Luckily, things are getting better the
second time around. This semester, faculty use of Owlspace appears
to have increased dramatically.
We are happy to embrace this particular digital revolution. Now
Rice has a Facebook-easy Web site for accessing course documents
and schedules, viewing presentation slides, setting up study groups
and contacting instructors — if students and professors know to
use it. When implemented properly, Owlspace sites make students'
and professors' lives less expensive and more efficient. It replaces
decentralized, rarely updated course Web sites with a user-friendly
interface geared toward homework submission, resource posting,
class announcements and discussions. Additionally, having an inte-
grated calendar function on the Owlspace personalized homepage
can help students manage their study and class time online. And
Edtech staff are on hand to answer any technical questions faculty
and students might have.
Keeping in line with Rice's continually growing green-conscious-
ness, Owlspace conserves paper for class readings. The old days of
professors fretting over copy machines and wasting extra packets
are gone — unfortunately for our RecycleMania numbers. And Owl-
space saves cash for penny-strapped students by removing the need
for Fondren's expensive printing services. So we encourage faculty
who have not yet stepped up to the Owlspace bandwagon to hop on,
and faculty and students alike should keep exploring its features.
While it may never have the scarily infinite information of Google
or Facebook, we look forward to the day when we can "Owlspace"
all of our classes.
Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Thresher
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
progresses at Rice
To the editor:
Thanks so much for your
coverage of Rice's participation in tl le
intercollegiate recycling competition
RecycleMania ("Reduce, Reuse, then
RecycleMania" Feb. 2).
You are absolutely correct in
noting that reducing our consump-
tion of materials and then reusing
what we consume precede recycling.
To this end, I am pleased to announce
that we have embraced your sugges-
tion and enlisted Rice in the "Waste
Minimization" category of the
RecycleMania contest. This means
that we will not only be encourag-
ing members of the Rice commu-
nity to recycle, but also to look for
opportunities to minimize or prevent
waste altogether. In the spirit of Recy-
cleMania, perhaps the Thresher could
consider running a special waste-free
digital-only edition, like the online
improvement in our recycling
program at Rice. Two years ago,
we were diverting around 20
percent of our total solid waste
from the landfill through either
recycling or composting. Last fall,
we recorded a diversion rate for
the quarter of 27 percent, which is
almost identical to that of the City
of Austin. Meanwhile, the City of
Houston's recycling rate is a paltry
Despite this progress, much
work remains. Students can help
minimize waste by remembering
to return ceramic plates and plastic-
cups to the serveries, which will
make the kitchens less reliant upon
disposables. Students can also
use the blue bins in their rooms
to recycle paper and can carry
their empty bottles and cans to
centralized collection points in the
colleges. If for some reason a dorm
room does not have a blue bin for
paper recycling, students can
request a bin from their custo-
I would also encourage any student
interested in recycling to consider join-
ing the Student Recycling Council and
Thank you again to the Thresher for
taking the time to inform the Rice
student body about RecycleMania. For
more information about recycling at
Rice, please visit recycle.rice.edu .
Feminists for Life do
not empower women
To the editor:
Kat hleen Hanson's editorial about
Feminists for Life ("Feminists-for-life
fight for women, defy stereotypes,"
Feb. 2) strikes me as being sadly
disingenuous. I absolutely agree
with her that the pro-life stance has
nothing to do with bombing abortion
clinics, telling women they're going to
hell or displaying grotesque pictures
in public. However, I dispute that
their practices have anything to do
Feminism is about empower-
ing women, about giving them the
meansand the confidence to have as
much control over their lives as men
have over theirs. Feminists for Life
does not want women to have abor-
tions, and they advance in particular
the argument that abortions do not
just harm unborn children, but also
This is a defensible stance.
However, what the organization does
not do is give women any means at all to
avoid the problem of abortion entirely.
Some research on tl leir web site reveals
that they have no publication to inform
women about birth control options,
no resources in place to help women
obtain condoms or hormonal birth
control, and no programs to empower
women to be assertive enough to
insist that they and their partners
In short, Feminists for Life
says that abortions hurt women,
but their only suggestion for
avoiding the hurt is to not have
one. This simply does not provide
any woman any alternate paths to
avoid such an evil or the knowledge
and power to make such choices
responsibly. They may have a
feminist-sounding goal, but they
go about achieving it in a distinctly
speak for Democrats
To the editor:
I would like to thank Kirti Datla
for her column ("We Democrats must
succeed where Bush fails," Feb. 2).
She made some good points and
presented issues that are significant
to human life today.
I would like to ask one ques-
tion: When did "we Democrats"
become a people motivated against
those who hold other opinions?
Not only is it impossible to as-
sume all Democrats hold the same
opinions, but it is also simply
incorrect to assume all other po-
litical categories hold radically
opposite or hostile viewpoints.
There are pro-life Democrats,
Republicans working to increase
taxes and almost any combi-
nation of stereotypes one can
imagine — because people value
different political issues in indi-
'Hie solutions to the problems in
the world do not lie with the Ameri-
can I)emocrats. These problems are
the responsibility of all people in our
country, and further, on our earth.
The solutions require a certain
amount of peace and unity if they
are to be executed. Proclaiming "us
Democrats" to be a separate sphere
of understanding and interaction is
hardly a step forward.
continue; buy online
To the editor:
For the fourth semester in a row,
the bookstore has not ordered the
books I ordered and need, and neither
has it informed me that these books
are missing or unavailable. This is a
miracle of both incompetence and con-
sistency: The bookstore has been really
I am going to tell my students from
now on to go straight to Amazon.com.
We should all do this and avoid the
only bookstore at a major university I
have ever heard of that doesn't give its
students some kind of discount.
'Hie money we all save at Amazon
can then be put to better use when we
are in the Campus Store to browse
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Brown, David. The Rice Thresher, Vol. 94, No. 19, Ed. 1 Friday, February 9, 2007, newspaper, February 9, 2007; Houston, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth443142/m1/2/: accessed March 1, 2024), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Rice University Woodson Research Center.