Miami University has recently created a new position: an urban recruiter whose job is to visit high schools in primarily Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton, and increase Miami’s visibility in these hotbeds of diversity. The university hopes to establish a presence in Ohio’s diverse areas and then further expand those efforts into a national and international campaign.
Over the last few years, steps toward creating a more diverse campus have been successful, if small. According to the Office of Institutional Research at Miami, the percentage of minorities at Miami increased from 9 percent in 2008 to 11.6 percent in 2012.
While this is not a huge increase, the Miami Student editorial board feels this position will be helpful in making Miami a more diverse setting.
The implementation of this position comes around the same time as a new promotional video for Miami hit the Internet. When we watched the video we saw a beautiful university, a fun university, a university where students could achieve great things. We all know this Miami University. But we also saw Miami portrayed as a very diverse place and we cannot say we know this Miami University very well. This is the ideal Miami University, but that university does not yet exist.
We wholeheartedly support any effort to create the ideal Miami, including the addition of this urban recruiter position. We see this as a way to recruit truly diverse students and better the overall student experience at Miami. The effort put in to recruit ethnically, culturally, socioeconomically and religiously diverse students is a good start for future classes.
But we also face the problem of how these truly diverse students can afford Miami. Often, Miami’s tuition costs can seem daunting, and discourage some students from viewing the university as an option for their higher education.
By advertising programs for high-achieving, underrepresented high school students, such as the Bridges program, and by informing them of the Miami Access Initiative, recruiters for the university are hoping to portray Miami as an option for anyone who wishes to come here.
We see these programs as essential in the path toward a more diverse university.
Setting broad goals for the future is important and will help Miami stay relevant in an ever-changing academic world. However, we ask the university to remember the diverse students already at Miami. This is a mission for both the administration and the students. Miami must support diverse students and be aware of unique needs.
Prejudice contributes to creating a non-diverse environment; the Miami community needs to work on creating a true feeling of diversity among current students. Students are often drawn to those with whom they seem to have the most in common without educating themselves and getting to know the vast and varied ethnicities and cultures that are represented at Miami.
Ideally, Miami will one day be a true microcosm of society, but this will be an uphill battle that involves the entire Miami community.