Burn Down KTRU Blogger’s Guilt; a guest post from Julia

I have been encouraged to write a line by line response to President Leebron’s interview in the Rice Thresher. It is difficult to keep writing against someone whom, in the end, I respect and owe a great deal. I thought that I was doing a pretty good job treating the KTRU issue like any other cause, but it is different when the people on the opposing side know who you are. And for the first few days, I forgot that I knew who they are.

It is quite trying to balance a deep and heartfelt opposition to the KTRU sale with my personal support for the people who engineered and support the sale.

Reading the comments, not just on this blog but elsewhere as well, some people seem to blur the line, following their support for the Rice administration and therefore supporting the sale. Other people have followed their opposition to the KTRU sale and therefore personally opposed Rice administrators.

I find myself supporting calls for Student Association and Faculty Senate to stand against selling KTRU, against the administrative process that led to the sale, and even against the administrators themselves, yet support those very same administrators.

During my time at Rice, I found my greatest supporters and defenders not among students, but among faculty and administrators. I feel like this blog is just a continuation of what I used to do, but considering the differing responses from former fans, something must have changed.

I do not mean to attack, and I do not mean to hurt. I am just trying to save KTRU. But when I do hurt, that is my failure. Looking back at a personal history, it is an issue with which I have some difficulty.

I dunno, I guess I’ll just keep writing until the KTRU saga is over, and then back to talking about Mad Men.

Anyways, I feel pretty awful, so maybe I’ll have something tomorrow. Until then, here is a guest post from Julia talking about the President’s House vs. KTRU comparison (That’s right, I do guest posts. Want to do one? Just ask. It is pretty open):

The Weiss House represents a tradition at the university, like the hedges and the architectural codes. The tradition is one born in the old south, one that William Marsh Rice would probably be proud of, to control the environment around Rice’s campus and bring a certain atmosphere to the university. Not tangible, but probably part of the reason that Rice keeps getting best quality of life.

Now, is the weiss house a necessary part of that tradition? No. It is not used by the campus community at large.  [insert more arguments here]

Likewise, KTRU is part of another tradition. Another atmospheric ethereal unquantifiable bit of stuff that makes Rice what it is. But it is a different tradition. One that, along with the residential college system, promotes the development of individual identity and empowerment for students at the cusp of defining themselves as adults. It gives students a power and a voice, just as the architectural codes give them comfort and familiarity.

The question we must ask is, now that we have argued against the necessity of the weiss house to the architectural womb of rice, where shall we fall on the necessity of ktru as part of Rice’s role in kicking its growing students out of the nest and into the real world as strong, unique, capable individuals?

It is certainly a unique outlet for student expression, one that cannot be captured by blogs or participation in residential college cabinets, newspapers, or student government. Sure, the students who found their niches there could turn to the other creative public outlets rice offers, which have grown over the past few years, with the addition of more literary magazines and such. However, artistic and political voices cannot always be translated from one medium to another. You cannot dance the “I Have a Dream” speech, nor can you write the Mona Lisa. Which is not to say that KTRU djs are creating timeless masterpieces of human endeavor in their daily work, but depriving them of the opportunity to do so is a detriment to the student body of Rice University.


You can post that if you want; i have no outlet of my own in which to do so

7 responses to “Burn Down KTRU Blogger’s Guilt; a guest post from Julia

  1. I must say, I agree with you, Evan, about supporting the administration without supporting the decision. Frankly, given my history at Rice, I owe my degree to the administrators and the faculty. Even Don Ostdiek, with whom I disagree on most issues (especially those related to me) is someone I respect.

    I do still wish that KTRU would remain as potent as ever, but I wish students would realize that Leebron, while lapsing on this occasion, is a good person and an intelligent leader.

  2. Btw, it is the Wiess Presidents house not Weiss.

    I will say that do support the administration and the decision. The method in which it was carried out was controversial. How it would have played out had there been dialogue, I am not sure. I think the same decision would have been reached regardless of student opinion. In that case, I dont know which method would have been better.

    Hopefully this will play out and end well. Nice post.

  3. Evan, I agree completely re: opposition guilt. While it is very easy to drum up support by going on angry rants about how “the Administration” does not care about students, we ultimately weaken our argument and come off as juvenile when we direct our anger towards the people behind the decision rather than the decision itself. It’s what allows people like Dhruv to characterize us as naive, immature, and reactionary.

    That’s one of the difficult things about this whole battle — KTRU supporters posting rants about how this decision is a reflection of an administration that is only motivated by greed and that David Leebron should be given a vote of no confidence and I’m not sending a cent of my money to Rice as long as David Leebron is in office. I may disagree with 90 percent of what they’re saying, but I agree with the basic idea, and therefore do not want to oppose them.

    But then are we any better than the (relatively) moderate Republicans who use Tea Party anger against Obama as a a way to drum up support? Do the ends justify the means?

    I’ll post a reply to Julia’s half of the post later; right now I have to go to work.

  4. Antarius wrote: I will say that do support the administration and the decision. The method in which it was carried out was controversial. How it would have played out had there been dialogue, I am not sure. I think the same decision would have been reached regardless of student opinion. In that case, I dont know which method would have been better.

    “Hopefully this will play out and end well.”

    The lack of transparency and consultation–indeed, the deliberate secrecy and the timing that guaranteed a minimal response from the students–are only controversial if there is any moral argument in their favor. There is not. These techniques were wrong. Only in an amoral “ends-justify-the-means” world would they be OK. If the same outcome had been achieved in an open and engaged way, there would be some hard feelings, but no evil would have been committed.

    As for ending well, this alumnus is not giving any more money to Rice until Leebron is gone, and may not leave Rice a bequest. It depends on if I see a change in the attitude of the administration. I’ve already given money to Rice this year–not a huge amount; $350. But that’s it until the current administration is replaced. Of course, with the $9.8 M that they have, they can shrug off the small donations of alumni like me pretty easily–which makes it all the easier a decision for me to take my charitable giving elsewhere.

    Wiess ’92, MBA 08

  5. I have so far avoided commenting on the various fora that the Internet offers for discussing this subject, as I did not want to contribute what would surely be a knee-jerk anger spasm. Perhaps now I have cooled enough on this issue, which has truly given me a stomach ache this weekend.

    Given my own attempt at temperance, I appreciate the level-headedness of both voices in this post. While I have never found myself in alignment with Rice’s current administration, and in fact have always been magnetically attracted to students and even professors that were going out of their way to deconstruct it, I have confidence that Leebron and the board of trustees, for the most part, act in good faith. They and I simply do not believe in the same vision for Rice.

    The board, I am sure, is committed to the long-term health of the institution–in this world-weary era of running universities as businesses–but I have strong attachments to my experience as an undergraduate that do not correspond with the current direction of the school. As a legacy student, I feel especially attached to the peculiar character and founding principles of Rice. Rice was begun as a remarkable curiosity intended to provide poor but willing Texas farm boys with a superior education at practically no cost. That regional flavor and strict adherence to affordability has been sacrificed at the altar of notoriety.

    That is my opinion, and is why recent decisions made at Rice, culminating in the sale of KTRU’s frequency, find me letting go of what little loyalty I had left to the university I once loved.

  6. I really do miss the Mad Men posts.

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