Editorial Editors, The Miami Student

A new proposal to re-route U.S. Route 27 is set to be reviewed by the public and the City of Oxford. The re-route would take heavy traffic down Chestnut Street and then onto Main or Locust streets to connect to Route 27 instead of taking Patterson Avenue to High Street, where there are many pedestrian crossings. According to Jay Hamilton, traffic planning engineer for the Ohio Department of Transportation, the purpose of the proposal is meant to improve pedestrian safety on High Street. If the proposal is approved, the project’s cost of between $2 million and $5 million would be mostly funded by federal earmarks, although additional funding would be necessary as well. 

The editorial board of The Miami Student believes the proposal to re-route Route 27 is an excellent attempt to increase safety for both Miami University students and drivers. Much of the heavy traffic through Miami’s campus creates unnecessary congestion and dangers for students using the crosswalks at busy intersections. While it may not solve the problem completely, by creating an alternate route traffic will be reduced and safety will increase. 

In addition, the inclusion of the public in the design process is appreciated. The Jan. 20 open house will allow community members to review the changes and make suggestions. Although most of the cost can be assumed to be covered, additional funding will be needed and citizens of Oxford deserve a chance to be part of the planning process.  

The board commends those responsible for the proposal and hopes that if the change is approved it will benefit both the students of Miami and the community of Oxford.

Victims of sexual assault should not receive blame

Just like all of you reading this, I just completed my first week of the semester ready to start fresh and full of optimism. It only took until Friday for all of that optimism and goodwill to go swirling down the proverbial toilet. I passed a bulletin in my hall that many passing it may have found entirely benign. It was a bulletin with the words “Better Safe than Sorry” stapled to it in an overbearing font and it was filled with all sorts of information on how us ladies can prevent being sexually assaulted. The last time I checked, there were victims and assailants, and as far as I know no such thing as assailant-victims. So you can imagine my confusion as I thought, “If I can prevent my rape, then if I do get raped, I must be partially responsible, right? That doesn’t make much sense!”

And yet, here was a board telling me how I could prevent someone else from committing an act of violence against me. Well, how about that? That sounds just peachy. In all of my excitement, I read on, thinking “Isn’t it lovely that someone has found a way to make people stop seeing women as sexual prey? To stop people from seeking and exerting control over women’s bodies? To stop people from violently robbing women of their bodily autonomy? Wow!”

To my utter dismay, however, I realized the board was entirely full of absolutely useless information, telling me how to dress and how to walk and when to walk and when to drink and how to drink and who I should hang out with and how I should hold my keys and my phone and where I should walk and how I should drive and what people I should be with, what I should and shouldn’t do. It told me to act scared all of the time. Curiously absent from all of this inane jabber was even the slightest suggestion that not being around a rapist might contribute to me not being raped. Because, let’s get real folks, the only way to not be assaulted or raped is to not be around an assailant or rapist and they don’t exactly wear neon signs.

What I’m getting at, kids, is that this bulletin was telling me it wasn’t in fact rapists who are responsible for raping, it’s my lack of preparation, my lack of daily fear and paranoia. This board was telling me that if I do A, B, C and D, then I won’t get raped and it is implicitly suggesting if I do get raped it’s because I didn’t do A, B, C and D or I didn’t do them well enough.

Now we return to my confusion, the elusive assailant-victim, that’s the victim of rape. Imagine a rape victim reading this bulletin (and by the way, its not unlikely, the Department of Justice as well as other sources estimate between one in four and one in six women is the victim of sexual assault). She can stop and hear about all of the things she should have done. That bulletin will admonish her for not having acted the right way. This propaganda works. The FBI estimates approximately 40 percent of rapes go unreported. I can only imagine why. Victims are constantly told they are responsible, they are drilled about what they were wearing and what they were doing and whether they drank, all the while the criminal remains unexamined.

It’s time we as a society examined ourselves and our attitudes toward rape and sexual assault. It’s time we stopped exhorting women to limit their freedoms to ridiculous extremes lest they fall victim to assault and start talking about the real responsible parties, the rapist and the cultural context that excuses their crime. Of course suggestions on how to remain safe are not unwelcome, but it is irresponsible and practically criminal to frame these suggestions as rape or assault prevention because that framing serves solely to place blame on victims, and that is absolutely reprehensible.

Redskins logo: since when?

Miami’s decision to retire the most elegant logo in all of university sports is a great disappointment. There has been no real dialogue or input from those negatively affected, and no regard for significant historical realities regarding the logo, the Miami Tribe and the logo’s presence on campus. There have been unfortunate omissions and simplifications regarding the logo, and a recent The Miami Student online poll showed approximately 90 percent favoring its retention. It was not created during the time of mascot transition in 1997 as suggested by the director of business services (The Miami Student, Jan. 10), but graced athletic facilities and licensed Miami products long before then. It is still revered by Miami alumni.  

On the Miami webpage titled Identity Standards, the logo in question is identified and partially described as follows:

“Indian Head: Symbol of the university’s ties to the Miami Tribe. Dignified portrait of Miami Indian brave from the original work by John Ruthven. Appropriate for use on materials related to Miami’s heritage and athletic tradition.”

Does this sound like something the university wants to eliminate? This elegant symbol was not the “Redskins logo,” but conveniently became that when a particular group on campus decided that an opportunity was at hand to eliminate the only remaining Native American identity associated with Miami sports. But the tribe’s request for mascot change some 13 years ago also included an appeal for retention of the traditional logo. How can Miami University justify retaining its name after denying the wishes of the Miami tribe, devaluing native heritage and eliminating the “symbol of the university’s ties to the tribe?”