The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
Miami’s hometown of Oxford has seemingly always had the name “The OxBox.” Faculty and students alike agree that when coming to Miami, students enter the Oxford bubble, a bubble through which news is filtered and in which change rarely happens. At any rate, many students here like to think of it as a safe place, or at least a place where they can come to share ideas, engage with other students and generally enjoy the sanctity of a place that celebrates or encourages their pursuit of knowledge.
Like we said, that’s for many students. Not all of them.
In today’s edition of the paper, you will see one student’s experience with post-election harassment. There’s no doubt about it — the Oxford bubble has officially popped with this election. And now, with the somewhat-disturbing transition that our White House is enduring, Oxford and Miami University will likely be affected in even bigger ways, especially in the context of students.
One of Trump’s more disturbing and surprising appointees in his transition period got his job on Sunday. Steve Bannon is now his chief White House strategist.
If you don’t know Bannon, here’s a summary: he is an alt-right conservative whose appointment gained the approval of David Duke of the KKK and Rocky Suhayda, the chairman of the American Nazi Party. He is also the executive chairman of Breitbart News, an incendiary publication that touts headlines like: “President Trump is going to hit some very nasty Greenies where it really hurts” and “Arabic translator: Muslim migrants secretly hate Christians, seek to outbreed them”
And that’s just within the last week.
With a guy who touts that type of language (and, frankly, lies), it’s easy to see why a multitude of Americans feel uneasy in this country, to say the least. Racism was around before the election, but after Trump was officially picked as the nation’s 45th president, cases of overt racism surged. What was before latent has now surfaced. And after Sunday, the collective level of fear around the country exploded. And it reached Oxford.
In response to the fear and the xenophobia, certain students and faculty at Miami have responded with efforts to make Miami a safe space for students, and especially those who are immigrants, by virtue of writing a letter with as many signatures as they can accumulate.
The opening lines of their letter, addressed to Provost Phyllis Callahan, Dean of Students Mike Curme and Ron Scott, Associate Vice President of Institutional Diversity, read as follows:
“In the wake of the recent presidential election, we – Miami University students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as Oxford community members and organizers – call for you to implement a plan to declare our campus a sanctuary for undocumented and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students, staff, and their family members who face imminent deportation.”
The DACA policy, instituted by President Barack Obama, allows “undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to come out of the shadows and pay a fee to receive a temporary work authorization and protection from deportation,” according to ABC News. The fear is that Trump will do away with immigrant-friendly policies such as this one, which is why the document insists upon immediate action, “this semester, before the President-elect is sworn into office.”
This move by the Miami community is commendable and shows signs of promise. Given that a third of Miami students voted for Trump, this document becomes all the more important. Many students are part of a vulnerable group right now — some have been harassed already — and the solidarity shown by nearly 300 faculty and staff is reassuring.