Author: Joseph Hart

A critique of the Diversity Task Force’s statement

The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board. Recently, the Diversity Task Force, appointed by President Crawford, asked for feedback on its latest policy statement concerning diversity and inclusion at Miami, which can be found on Miami’s “Institutional Diversity” subsite. The following represents The Student’s take on this latest version: To start, most of the issues that the statement brings up are pertinent in general terms but fall short of providing specific guidance and direction for Miami’s policy. The document states actions such as “attracting the widest array of talented students, faculty, and staff,” “deliberately designing curricula that promote deep learning and provide critical learning opportunities” and “providing support, professional development, and working conditions for students, faculty, and staff that lead to long-term retention, satisfaction, and growth” as intiatives the university is committed to undertaking. While these actions may pass the eye test, they all lack the concrete backing that would allow Miami students and others to understand exactly how they will work in the real world. How, specifically, will Miami attract “the widest array” of talented individuals? What will be the design of curricula that will promote diverse learning? What type of support will the university provide to the Miami community in this context? These goals demand teeth to back them up if they are to convince the Miami community...

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Letter to the Editor | ‘Disabilities’ in SDS is problematic

Dear President Crawford and the Miami University Community, I am writing to you with a concern that impacts a wide variety of students here at Miami University. As you likely know, Miami University has a variety of services available to students who need additional services, such as an interpreter, quiet space for exams and wheelchair assistance, to name a few. These services are offered by Student Disability Services (SDS). While I am very appreciative of SDS, in fact, I receive services from them, I am concerned by the name of the organization. The word disability has a negative connotation and people who are registered with the SDS are seen by many, as disabled. Every time a student registers, a letter is sent to one’s professors from “Student Disability Services.” There is a stigma associated with walking into the SDS office or the Rinella Learning center based on the title. I am not saying Miami University needs to get rid of the Student Disability Services by far, but I am concerned with the title and the negativity that comes with it. I think Miami University needs to change the title to something else that is on the more positive side. I would suggest changing it to Student Accessibility Services, or something similar. I believe this will send a more positive message to students but also a message to students who...

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Letter to the Editor | Students: be respectful of memorial trees

I am writing on behalf of alumni and friends of the university who have placed memorial trees and benches across our campus to honor or memorialize a loved one. Twice in the last couple of months two of these memorials have been vandalized. A couple of months ago an entire plaque and cement base were stolen from an evergreen tree on Slant Walk that was placed by the brothers of Sigma Nu ’64, ’65 and ’66 when a classmate and friend of theirs passed away. Not only was this troubling to the classmates who purchased the memorial tree, but this act of vandalism also cost the University $500 to have it replaced. Within the last week someone vandalized a memorial tree on Slant Walk that was placed by the classmates and friends of Jennifer Jensen, a young alumna who died far too young. The plaque states, “To think in such a place, I led such a life.” The vandal – who, by the way, is also lucky to be in such a place – disrespected the deceased and her loved ones when they ripped the memorial tree from the ground. One could easily appeal to the Code of Love and Honor to show how these acts violate basic beliefs of our university community. These acts of senseless vandalism are heartbreaking for loved ones. They are also deeply offensive and...

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Letter to the Editor | Destigmatizing ‘Disability’

Student Haillie Erhardt recently asked President Crawford and the Miami University community to consider changing the name of Student Disability Services (SDS) because of the stigma associated with using services from an office with the word “disability” in its name. While SDS and the Students with Disabilities Advisory Council (SDAC) honor Erhardt’s commitment to an inclusive, just environment at Miami and affirm her observations about the stigma surrounding disability, we feel that removing “disability” from Student Disability Services would not be the best choice for the Miami community. We acknowledge that the stigma associated with disability is very real...

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More than just the ‘Miami Mold’

Earlier today, around the time that I realized I needed to write a column for this week, I stumbled upon a column titled “It’s time to see through Miami’s typical body image,” that was published a few days back. As the title suggests, this article is a critique of Miami’s social culture–more specifically, the social culture that Miami’s female student population partakes in. The critiques that this article makes are neither new nor unfounded, though the way the author assigns blame to Miami, by suggesting there is a “Miami mold,” is something I can’t help but disagree with. To suggest there is a “Miami mold” to blame for negative or harmful stereotypes and expectations that exist within our social culture is to also suggest that these issues do not exist elsewhere–a claim that is, of course, false. Ridiculous and harmful expectations for all women exist universally; whether or not they are set by men or other women or by ourselves (or by anyone else for that matter), to sum up these issues as being the fault of any single school or institution does nothing more than ignore the much deeper societal and cultural issue where these expectations and stereotypes are founded. If you buy a house and the inspection finds that your home’s foundation is shot, along with a handful of other more minor issues (i.e. popcorn ceilings, ugly...

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