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School of Shock

By Kathy Y. Wilson · October 17th, 2012 · Kathy Y. Wilson
nyntg 10-17
Miami University is a sick, sick campus in desperate need of the largest group therapy session ever recorded, top-rung leadership more palpably concerned with student safety and a less corporate approach to media relations.

But the violent, apathetic, entitled, racist and homophobic climate of Miami’s campus that sometimes extends to student behavior off campus and into the world-at-large is nothing new.

All through the 1990s when, as a reporter and columnist for the Hamilton Journal-News, I was intermittently assigned to cover the then-Redskins campus (that mascot name was scalped because it was offensive to Native Americans) the sociopathic misdeeds were so common, they formed a pattern.

Rape/sexual assault led the conga line, with a gay-bashing hate crime clutching its hips followed closely by a race-based dust-up pulling up the rear. And thrown in for good measure like a lynchpin connecting the whole, sordid chain were sorority and fraternity hazings, drug busts and underage drinking.

Yet, at the start of every fall term the administration released the same, stale pat statistics about increased enrollment and ethnic breakdowns within that enrollment and a company-line quote about how proud administrators were of Miami’s students, staff and faculty.

Of course, no one expects the university president and the president of student affairs to issue anything like this:

Parents:

We know we have problems here at Miami with our women students being raped serially, with binge drinking, students imbibing illegal drugs; further, we know we’ve not done nearly enough to create an environment of welcoming and acceptance for non-white students and for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. In fact, we didn’t even know we had any of those kinds of students.

But we digress.

We also know the rate at which we cash your tuition checks is disproportionate to the rate at which we even choose to address the aforementioned issues.

For this we apologize.

You send your children to us as incomplete adults and it is partially our responsibility to educate them not only academically but also socially.



Therefore, we will take a more active role in issuing punitive, zero-tolerance outcomes, throwing down the gauntlet on behaviors we deem encroachments on the safety and well being of all our students.

Oh yes. And one more thing: We promise to fill that long-vacant Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator position to finally show you and our students just how serious we are about stemming the tide of rapes and sexual assaults within the Miami community.

Feel free to contact us with questions and concerns.

Signed,

President David C. Hodge (president@muohio.edu)

Vice President of Student Affairs Barbara Jones (jonesb2@muohio.edu)

Naaah.

That ain’t never gonna happen.

We all know that.

But, should it, Hodge and Jones should back-date the letter — to at least the 2010 spring formal season — and include apologies to Lake Lyndsay Lodge and to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Remember?

The lovely ladies of Pi Beta Phi Sorority and their dates reportedly puked, pissed and shat all over the lodge’s property. Not to be outdone, the ladies of Alpha Xi Delta and their dates pissed and defecated all over the Freedom Center; they also cursed the staff servers and spilled drinks on the dance floor.

Ironically, by wreaking havoc on the house slavery built, the sorority sisters repeated debaucherous behaviors undoubtedly carried out by slave owners toward house slaves of that era.

Bet they didn’t even know they were reliving and repeating history.

But this cannot and should not all be laid at the doorsteps of Miami students and/or Miami administration.

In a three-way tie for lack of accountability, at least an even one-third of this goes to Miami parents. It seems that for $25,005 worth of first-year tuition, housing, insurance and the always mysterious “fees” ($40,569 out-of-state), parents would be publicly outraged, demanding more of their offspring and still more of Hodge and his team.

Where is everyone at Miami? At a football game? A kegger? On Facebook?

Well, someone was available on campus last weekend to hang the “Top Ten Ways To Get Away With Rape” fliers in the men’s bathroom at McBride Hall, a freshman co-ed dorm. The top three pointers, in order, are: put drugs in a woman’s drink; if you see a woman walking alone, take advantage of her; and wear protection.

Even if this is someone’s idea of a joke, it’s sooo not funny because even when the sane, non-rapist men in this dorm ignore it, there’s going to be that one who, just maybe, takes the pointers to heart.

Sickness sometimes only needs a sign.

And all signs are pointing to the fact that Miami University has, among others, a definite problem with rape and sexual assault against its women students. Between 2009 and 2011, 27 sexual assaults were reported on campus. Nine of those occurred in dorms. Most recently, a student reported her early-morning rape Sept. 23.

I wonder.

If there were ongoing strings of violent, sexual, sadistic attacks on men — just to make it interesting, make it football and basketball jocks — complete with outlined to-do lists in places where the appropriate assailants could see them, what would be the university’s tact?

I wonder if there would be press conferences?

I wonder if the Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator position would be filled and as active as an Energizer Bunny?

I wonder if the alumni would rise up — in a concerted, organized and outraged effort — to decry the violence and announce ways to protect the male victims and to restore honor and glory to the Miami campus and its brand?

But, of course.

From my experiences as a journalist and a university-level instructor, there exists on college campuses a hierarchy — a pecking order — of value and protection appointed to students.

Women can be mere blow-up dolls, even by their own hands when they drink and drug with potential assailants.
Saddest part?

Post-graduation these people will be unleashed on us.

Paying for college?

Expensive.

Students and administrators getting away with rape?

Priceless.


CONTACT KATHY Y. WILSON: letters@citybeat.com



 
 
 
 

 

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