Miami’s Office of Admissions fields concerns from parents, students

This semester, Miami’s Office of Admissions has seen an increase in the number of students and parents concerned with student drinking at Miami University.

“We certainly have seen an increase in questions about alcohol on campus and questions about how the university responds to a situation like that, given the press,” said Susan Schaurer, director of the Office of Admissions, in reference to recent news coverage about high-risk alcohol consumption at Miami.

While the Office of Admissions has always received questions regarding alcohol, the number of questions has increased, and the types of questions have changed.

Before this semester, admissions staff mostly fielded questions about alternative activities to alcohol that the university provides. Now they field questions about what the university is doing to ensure that its students are safe if they are drinking.

Andrew Boehm, associate director of campus visits and events, says that he thinks everyone should be talking about the issue.

“When you have the death of a student, you need to fix it so it never happens again,” Boehm said. “You have to bring it out into the open to get it solved.”

Since the Office of Admissions is in the process of transitioning admitted students to committed students, they have not been able to tell if the negative publicity has had an affect on the number of applicants who commit to Miami, said Schaurer.

“I think these are valid questions to be asked,” Boehm said. “Parents and kids deserve answers.”

Despite the increase in questions about alcohol to admissions staff, student tour guides have seen little to no increase in questions about the topic.

“I think parents don’t want to make it more difficult for the student [tour guide],” Boehm said.

Sophomore tour guide, Gabe Debiasi, said he rarely gets questions about alcohol from parents and students on tours.

“No more than usual,” he said.

However, he said that he has tried to talk more about alternative programming that Miami provides since Miami made headlines for alcohol-related issues.

“I usually try to bring up Late Night Miami on my tours, and recently I’ve felt like I’ve had more to say about that programming,” Debiasi said.

When tackling questions about the drinking culture at Miami, Schaurer also said that she makes sure the admissions staff is aware of that alternate programming and that they try to outline the efforts the university is taking to make sure students stay safe.

“Parents have expressed concern understandably, but every conversation has ended with the understanding that this is a national problem, not just a Miami problem,” Schaurer said. “We’ve tried to make it clear that we as a university aren’t just turning the other way.”

Boehm reaffirmed this stance.

“Every time I have that conversation with a parent, I want to make sure they know this isn’t something we’re taking lightly,” Boehm said.