Brad Kent, kentdb@muohio.edu

Editor’s note:

Every issue, we publish some opinion pieces with which we agree and others with which we disagree. We believe that this is a strength – not a weakness – of our publication.

We will protect our readers from anything hateful or threatening bodily harm, but we will not shield them, our ourselves, from contrary viewpoints.

Stereotypes are a contentious subject for many in the Miami University community. We hope the reaction to Mr. Kent’s essay will become the basis for an open and constructive debate.

Writer’s note:

I fully apologize to all of you who were offended by my recently published opinion. My goal was simply to entertain Miami Students during their Homecoming Week. I personally have enjoyed my four years at Miami and could not imagine having gone anywhere else for my education. That being said, I now realize I need to clarify the things I put in my essay. To set the record straight, I meant it as tongue-in-cheek satire, nothing more. I wanted to stimulate a conversation about stereotypes, by listing a number of things I have heard about Miami students during my years at Miami. I believe stereotypes need to be discussed and understood and we must work to remove the bad stereotypes that crop up from time to time. These do not reflect my solidly held beliefs, as those who know me can attest. I believe that true beauty is more than just how you look. I also know that as Miami students, we have the stereotype of “J-Crew U,” which is why I added my section about Northfaces and iPhones. I truly believe that Miami students are hardworking individuals and that hard work can help anyone achieve whatever they want in life, regardless of where they go to school.

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I recently spent the weekend in New York City traveling to compete against 28 other schools. Seeing these competitors from other schools, it made me take stock of the advantages we hold as Miami University students.

This list I compiled is in no way comprehensive, but simply lists the most glaring contrasts that Miami students show over students from other schools. I gloss over schools such as Ohio University, Kent State University and Eastern Kentucky University for obvious reasons. Instead, I focus on the schools that joined my competition in New York. These were the cream of the crop according to US News and World Report rankings: Harvard University, University of Virginia, New York University, Duke University, Loyola University, Tufts University and others. The advantages that we hold over these schools are as follows.

First of all, we are pretty people. The attractiveness of our student body as a whole is immeasurable. When compared to students from other universities, there is no comparison. Our girls are more beautiful, our gentlemen are better looking and all around we look more aesthetically pleasing. In a world that admits it gives preference to pretty people, Miami students will have a leg up over the competition. If this weekend is any indication of the student body at schools like Harvard, University of Virginia, New York University and more, the future is bright for Miami students.

The second advantage Miami students have is in their level of rhetoric. On the whole, Miami students are better read and more articulate than students from other schools. The competition I attended was based on speaking and presentation skills. The ability to communicate effectively is vital to success later in life. I am not just referring to communications majors, but history, classics, psychology, economics, finance and political science.

Thirdly, there is an increased level of work ethic in Miami students. It was blatantly obvious from my interactions with other students that many of them feel entitled to the things they have in this life. Not so for the Miami students I have come into contact with during my four years here. I do not have to elaborate on the importance of hard work and dedication in life. To know what it takes to be successful and to know how to get what you want in life is essential. Without it, nothing else matters.

Fourthly, Miami students are showy, but in the right way. What I mean by this assertion is that we are not ostentatious. We do not flaunt our material possessions. Instead we smoothly integrate our Sperry’s, North Face clothing and iPhones into everyday life. As I looked around the room I sat in with this hodge podge of schools, the level of ostentation shocked me. It was analogous to standing on a stage and screaming at anyone who will listen. Could it be effective? Maybe. Does it predispose people against you? Does it call attention to your immaturity and need for attention? Yes, to both of those questions. Miami students are subtle, we do not tell when we can show and as showed this weekend, we are much more mature.

So in closing, as the football team begins to accumulate wins and the hockey team returns to the top of the college hockey hierarchy, remember to embrace what makes Miami great. As RedHawks, we have certain advantages that other schools do not. Traits that students from the rest of the country only dream of.

It is our job to continue this trend, to not ruin this reputation. The best thing one can do is to perpetuate the stereotype, (Yes, some stereotypes can be positive, contrary to what some believe) is to continue building on our reputation. Bask in the glow of our combined excellence. Sleep more soundly knowing that your tuition money is not spent in vain.

In the world we live in, reputation and networking are everything. One attains high standing in this world with help from others and with the traits Miami students have, others will be fighting over who gets to assist in a Miami student’s rise to greatness. Our coattails will be long and spacious, all due to the advantages we have. Not bad for a school in the middle of cornfields.

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