In response to Nov. 4 letter to the editor, “Admitting international students for the wrong reasons brings down the university,” the Editorial Board would like to clarify, the original letter was sent via anonymous forum. We are unable to confirm the author was a faculty member at Miami. Please email your comments, concerns to eic@miamistudent.net.

Dear Miami Community,

A recent anonymous letter in The Miami Student regarding what the writer perceives as the negative impact of international students in classes has prompted a vigorous and illuminating response across the university. The Council of Academic Deans in a companion letter to this letter unequivocally detail many of the positive qualities that international students bring to Miami, most especially an exceptional degree of initiative and courage. Also, the Asian and Asian American Studies Program and supporters provided a thoughtful critique of the anonymous letter and its failure to understand a pluralistic culture. On a more personal level, a senior international student provided a lens to the Miami experience through her own time here.

These responses go to the heart of what higher education and Miami University are all about. Foundation Goal #2 from the Miami 2020 Strategic Plan calls for us to “Promote a diverse culture of inclusion, integrity and collaboration that deepens understanding and embraces intercultural and global experiences.” This goal is truly fundamental to a quality education. It recognizes that we have the most to learn from people, places and cultures different from those that we normally experience. Thus, it is imperative that we go beyond tolerating and accepting our differences to welcoming and embracing them.

Yes, embracing differences can be challenging at times.  Ask our students who have studied abroad. It is not easy, especially at the beginning of their time in an unfamiliar country. But with time, the experience reveals deep insights about culture, economy, daily lives, politics, and yes, even, if not especially, a person’s own identity. We begin to think more broadly and openly, become more curious, and are better prepared to work and live in a global society.

Becoming a more inclusive community requires significant collaborative effort. We need to create more and better ways to integrate international students into the university. We need to provide more support to faculty to help create class environments that advance all students while using the incredible opportunities to challenge our thinking that comes with a diverse classroom. And we need to nourish a vibrant student culture in which students of all nationalities and diverse backgrounds engage with each other actively. We are committed to meeting these challenges. Working together we can create a more inclusive and energetic university. 

I am greatly encouraged by our international students who have chosen Miami as the place to take on this challenge, bringing their perspectives, wisdom and personal experiences to us locally — broadening their own knowledge and ours. We are a much better university because they are here.

David Hodge

Miami University President

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