Miami University has seen a heightened level activism on its campus in recent days.
Some credit the current political climate with this uptick in involvement.
“I think people who were typically more comfortable in their status in the United States are now uncomfortable being made to feel targeted when they never had before,” said Lana Pochiro, an intern in the Women’s Center. “I think that’s bringing people out into activism.”
Others cite the ability to get information more immediately as a reason for this increase.
“Because of how news is disseminated these days, how we communicate these days, people can get information more easily, talk about it more easily and hear opinions they wanted to hear more easily. That’s just led to a big increase in activism,” said Jack Fetick, Speaker of the House for ASG.
Whatever the reason, it is clear that both students and faculty are becoming more vocal.
English professor Cathy Wagner said she has always been fairly political and involved, but for a long time, there was no “swell of action.” When a chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) was founded at Miami in 2015, however, things started to pick up in terms of faculty activism.
“People are out there and up for standing up,” said Wagner. “I feel like there’s been a big change, an obvious change.”
One event that took place in the past is the Clothesline Project, which happens at universities all over the country, put on by the Women’s Center. By stringing t-shirts decorated by survivors of gendered violence between trees across campus, the Women’s Center is giving attention to those victims.
The Women’s Center also partook in World Hijab Day in an effort to combat recent anti-Muslim rhetoric, said interns in the center.
“That was a very timely way on making it clear that we’re here for anyone who identifies in that way,” said Natalie Williams, another intern in the Women’s Center.
Members of Miami’s advocacy chapter of AAUP passed out flyers in reaction to the alt-right posters put up around campus last semester. The group also writes to legislative officials to try and activate change through legislation. According to Wagner, this is a key step in activism.
“When people see other people speaking out, that will embolden them,” Wagner said.
ASG also spoke up and hosted a mental health forum in the fall semester. The organization brought in the Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, Mary Taylor, and tried to start a conversation on mental health.
Other upcoming advocacy events include a Celebrating Sisterhood event and the Women’s Read-In, sponsored by the Women’s Center. Oxford will also be hosting a sister march to the National March for Science in Washington, D.C. on Earth Day, April 22.
The AAUP will be putting on a talk in April focusing on hedge funds and where the money invested in them goes. Wagner said this should be of interest to a wide variety of Miami students because some of the university’s foundation money goes into a hedge fund.