The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
Alcohol task force. Sexual assault task force. Fire safety task force. Student Activity Fee Task Force. We’ve seen a huge range of Miami University task forces over the years. We’ve printed a long list of headlines centered on the creation of task forces. And we’ve noticed a pattern. When something goes wrong, it’s time for a task force.
The Editorial Board sees these task forces as a good step. These groups are formed to come up with solutions to various problems on campus and help the university implement these proposed solutions. After all, the administration can’t be expected to address all these problems on their own. Creating task forces allows the university to handle campus issues on smaller, more manageable levels.
However, a majority of students don’t know these task forces exist, let alone what they’re doing to improve our campus. If we didn’t work for the newspaper and report on these groups, we probably wouldn’t know about them.
These task forces are coming up with solutions for problems that begin with us, so shouldn’t we be more aware of them? We, at The Miami Student, think so.
They’re tackling issues that are widespread and complex, certainly not problems that we can all get together as a school and discuss in some sort of forum — we understand that. We also trust the university is doing the best they can to address problems that impact the entire campus.
But in order to foster a body of students who are informed and passionate about big decisions being made around them, more transparency is needed.
A task force is currently underway to address the decision as to whether or not Miami Hamilton and Middletown campuses will be considered separate entities from the Oxford campus. This decision will change diplomas, credits and lives of countless students on all three campuses.
How many students out there were even aware this was happening at all?
We don’t expect a detailed daily report of everything the task force discusses and does, and that probably wouldn’t make much sense. But we do think that regular or semi-regular updates about these problems and the solutions being made are important for the students and community to receive.
Right now, it feels somewhat like the university is the parent to all the thousands of children that go to school here. Rather than trusting the children with the information, the parent is simply making decisions and discussing huge issues and telling the child nothing.
Doesn’t that seem a little unfair? Problems like drinking and sexual assault begin with students and how we are educated and behave. If the problem begins with us, so should the solutions. As a student body, we have to seek out information through a complicated web of sources and stories. Since this is information directly affecting us, shouldn’t it be easier to come across?
As journalists, we know it’s our job to report this information to the students and community members. We aren’t trying to rid ourselves of this responsibility or complain that information is too challenging to find. We’ve reported on these task forces for years and will continue to do so.
However, we also have a firm commitment to transparency and the truth. Yes, we can and will report on these task forces. But isn’t it also the job of the university to divulge information with the students?
As much as we hope every student, faculty and community member reads our paper twice a week, we know it doesn’t always happen. We know a large population of Oxford is unaware of these decisions are being made or these problems are being addressed at all.
Until everyone on campus is at least aware that these issues exist, and that the school is doing something about them, we can’t begin to chip away at actually solving them.