Organizers and activists from all walks of Miami, be they workers, faculty, students or Oxford residents, are engaged in mass action against the institution you represent. Whether an action centers around anti-racism, combating sexual assault, fighting classism, workers’ rights or student issues, our struggles are tied to each other. This institution is failing our communities.
Sexual assault is an epidemic affecting students at universities across the nation and it is greatly affecting students at Miami University. Miami is complicit in contributing to a culture that re-traumatizes its student survivors and negatively impacts their lives. There must be an end to rape culture. There must be an end to silencing victims. And there must be an end to sexual assault running rampant on this campus.
Miami University is currently under investigation by not one but three separate Title IX investigations. That makes our university the most federally-probed school of the entire state. However, this is hardly a surprise when Miami is also one of the few universities in the nation to have been fined twice for violating the Clery Act, which mandates that all universities report their crime statistics to the federal government, Miami University has and continues to fail its survivors over and over again, and the Title IX investigations are only one example of this. The support services that are offered are minimal and understaffed. Survivor voices are not being heard and are blatantly ignored. Perpetrators are not being held accountable.
Due to the failure of the Miami University administration several students have decided to create community-led efforts to support one another. There have been numerous incidents where the police have been inadequate at supporting survivors as well as other students in need who fear arrest due to underage drinking or using recreational drugs. To fill this gap, the collective organized groups of students to walk their peers home, with the intention of preventing instances where people take advantage of people walking alone. The collective also collaborated with student organizations to hold a rally designed to empower those frustrated with Miami’s lack of action toward sexual assault. Through these actions we hoped to provide support that Miami students desperately need and give voices to survivors.
Universities are notorious for covering up instances of sexual assault, and Miami is no different. Where we do stand out however, is how great the problem of sexual assault at our university is. At Miami, the chances of facing sexual assault are even greater than the average national statistics, according to our 2016 climate survey data.
We are irate. We are disappointed about how you’ve handled the recent incident involving Nicolas Cristescu, and your lack of transparency on how you are handling the prevalence of sexual assault on our campus. We are concerned, because it appears that the response your administration is giving is refusing to listen to and understand survivors.
We are especially troubled by the new policy to restrict access to dorms at specific time periods. It is more than inconvenient; it is extremely unsafe. This is a counterproductive response that does nothing to stop sexual assault on this campus. This shows a lack of insight into the lives of students and an attempt to protect your reputation by instituting a meaningless policy just so you can claim you did “something. Students don’t want inefficient policy that will only make our lives harder. We want viable solutions that support survivors, and that requires listening to survivors. Ending this policy and providing more confidential reporting options are a good way to start.
To any survivors reading this, we believe you, we support you and we are here for you. We will continue to advocate for and with survivors on this campus and uplift their voices. We deserve to be supported and respected by the institution we pay tuition to attend. We will no longer be silent — not on sexual assault, not on white supremacy, not on any injustice facing our peers at this institution. We hope to one day to attend a university that supports the needs of survivors, provides quality support and holds perpetrators accountable.