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Political atmosphere at Rice?

imightbugyouimightbugyou Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
Hi!

I'm one of the new admitted students to Rice, and I was wondering about the political atmosphere. I'm fairly conservative, a Trump supporter even, and part of why I applied to Rice was the Texas atmosphere. I'm pretty much committed to attending (paid my deposit!), but after the recent furore over the Pence visit, I was second guessing myself. I know that most colleges are at the very least left-leaning, and I was quite excited to get out of my echo chamber to have my views challenged. However, the protests over the VPs visit were fairly concerning.

I have to ask, will I still be welcomed at Rice, or would I be shunned for my political views?

What really prompted this question were the articles in the Thresher, and in particular, this one: http://www.ricethresher.org/article/2019/04/does-rice-really-want-honest-political-dialogue

Did I make a mistake? Or is this just all colleges these days?

Replies to: Political atmosphere at Rice?

  • Houston1021Houston1021 Forum Champion Rice Posts: 1,036 Forum Champion
    edited April 10
    There are students of all political persuasions at Rice. Texas is a "red" state. However, Harris County, where Rice is located, went "blue" in the last election. There are parts of Houston that are staunchly Republican, there are parts of Houston that are staunchly Democrat, and parts of Houston are "purple." Rice has invited both President Obama and Vice President Pence to speak in the last year. Hopefully some students will chime in on this page to let you know of their experiences on campus.
  • damon30damon30 Registered User Posts: 1,152 Senior Member
    Did I make a mistake? Or is this just all colleges these days?

    "Maybe" on the first question, and "pretty much" on the second. The fact that that student had a chance to post his column in the student newspaper definitely counts for something, and I'm being totally serious. And this is coming from a political moderate. If you want to be an "out" conservative at any T30 school, you will need a thick skin.
  • ChiGuy123ChiGuy123 Registered User Posts: 149 Junior Member
    I'm not going to sugarcoat it: Rice is quite liberal and Harris county (most of Houston proper) appears to be getting increasingly liberal. Rice does have a Republican organization, but most right-leaning folks that I know were pretty low-key and were not outspoken of their views. I wouldn't necessarily say you would be "shunned" for your views, especially if you aren't super political or contentious by nature. However, you may find yourself in the vast minority of your views and you may be irked by some behavior of the more vocal members of the student body (e.g., people protested Mike Pence's visit to Rice). That being said, it seems like Dan Crenshaw (local Republican House rep) was welcomed during his visit to Rice last year and, overall, I would say there isn't a whole lot of "political clash." Just to reiterate, though, you may feel overwhelmed by the number students who do not share your views.
  • MaximiliasMaximilias Registered User Posts: 93 Junior Member
    edited April 11
    If as you say, Imightbugyou, that your are excited to get out of your echo chamber and to have your views challenged, then you should enjoy it here. Rice students do engage in the dialectic as a means of understanding the world and that includes politics, and part the dialectic involves looking at hard facts and seeking the truth, and so, you, too, must become a part of that process, and if you don't have a problem with seeking the truth, you most certainly will have opportunities, if you are sincere, to get out of your echo chamber and have your views challenged. But isn't that one of the reasons we go to college: to seek truth and to have our views challenged? If you agree, then you didn't make a mistake in choosing Rice. And why should you find the protests by students over the VP's visit to Rice concerning? All of us out there protesting had major issues with Pence and his policies. It was our Constitutional right to be out there protesting. When you get involved, when you get behind something you believe in, something worthy and true, you start learning about who you really are. And that's also what college is about, what Rice is about.
  • robotrainbowrobotrainbow Registered User Posts: 237 Junior Member
    I do want to say something about the Mike Pence protest. I personally do not like Mike Pence one iota but I DO believe in his right to state an opinion. This is were Rice shows its colors(no pun here). It is one thing, and a great example of American ideals, to express you opposition of another's viewpoint, it is quite a different thing to not allow that viewpoint to be expressed. At other colleges there would have been protest to prevent Pence for even stepping foot on the campus, at Rice there were protest during his speech to express an alternative point of view. This is the difference and it is profound.
  • imightbugyouimightbugyou Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Thanks everyone for your comments! They've been quite reassuring!
  • slhoganslhogan Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    I recommend that you look at the college information on the Niche website. From each university's page, click on "Read More about the Students" to see political leanings and overall atmosphere of each college you're considering.

    If you visit the Student page for Rice on the Niche website, you can see that it is definitely on the liberal side. Here's the data on that page:

    Very Conservative: 0%
    Conservative: 0%
    Moderate: 33%
    Liberal: 36%
    Very Liberal: 17%
    Not Sure: 14%

    You may be more comfortable at a college that tends to be more centrist (balanced between liberal and conservative).

    As for Texas itself, I'm a 7th generation Texan. From what I've seen, Texas tends to vote Red overall, but much of that is due to th large rural areas. The cities are definitely blue. For example, Houston had the first openly gay mayor of a major US city-- Annise Parker. She is a Rice alumni and will be giving the commencement address for Rice's class of 2019 graduation ceremony.
  • MaximiliasMaximilias Registered User Posts: 93 Junior Member
    Gosh, I really wonder about that 0% conservative figure. Is it possible 0% conservative students responded to the Niche survey? Regardless, I know of students at Rice in Campus Crusade and RUF, both Christian religious organizations whose members are quite politically conservative. I have met and spoken to a few of them during meals at my residential college. I believe there is a young Republican organization on campus, though I don't know any students involved. And while I can say I have not encountered any politically right-wing students (the likes of Richard Spencer and Stephen Miller...I guess they all go to Duke), I think it's fairly accurate to say there is a diverse group of political views held by students here, but as most people have stated above, I think the majority of students tend to be thoughtfully liberal.
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