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Public ivy or party school? Embracing Miami’s double identity

By The Editorial Board

The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

Miami University is no stranger to the spotlight. Our school ranks among Ivy League universities when it comes to undergraduate education and teaching staff. Each year brings a more competitive admission process and a new crop of brighter and more diverse students, allowing Miami to become well known as a great choice for academics.

However, there is another side to this university, a side that usually gets more publicity than our academics and renowned teaching staff. That's right, we're also known for being the top party school in Ohio, and one of the top in the nation.

What does this mean? It means university administrators have a tough battle to fight. On the one hand, they want to continue their work of making our school smarter and more competitive to offer students the best education possible. On the other hand, eliminating the party image entirely could potentially deter future students from attending and send them into enemy territory in Athens and Columbus.

The Editorial Board at The Miami Student believes that the university administration has done an excellent job over recent years of branding the school. We're moving up in rankings and are becoming more prominently known around the world as our graduates enter various fields.

However, we should not be too quick to push the other side of Miami under the rug. From an administration perspective, being named a top party school could seem like a bad thing. After all, we need to be seen as a rigorous academic institution. Having Alpha chapters of Greek organizations kicked off campus is hardly good for a campus image. In the mind of a parent, that's a red flag.

Interestingly enough, Miami has surprisingly tame disciplinary issues in regards to Greek life when compared to other universities. Andrew Lohse recently released a book called Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy, in which he exposes the horrendous hazing he experienced at Dartmouth College. The University of Alabama was also called into national media attention during fall recruitment this year when a Snapchat was sent out by a sorority girl claiming excitement over not receiving any African American pledges.

These issues, among others making headlines daily, are serious and cause huge public relations issues for the universities involved. Sure, Miami is a party school; but we seem to be a party school that is (mostly) in line and fiasco-free.

It is understandable that university officials and parents would shy away from being associated with the words "party" and "Greek." However, from a student perspective, this just means Miami offers the best of both worlds. Strong academics, highly rated dining hall food, a superb teaching staff and a beautiful campus are all excellent reasons to attend school in Oxford. But college is not just an experience in a classroom or lecture hall. Students are also young adults, living on their own and enjoying their last few sheltered years before adulthood.

Miami University offers a rare combination, a combination that, for the most part, fulfills the needs of students in a variety of ways. If either our academic success or our party image were eliminated, Miami would not be the school we know and love.

Although the university works hard to maintain it's image as a pristine, top-notch school, the students deserve a fair amount of credit. After all, exams don't take themselves. As long as Miami students continue their "work hard, play hard" mentality, the Editorial Board believes that the university has nothing to fear when it comes to being seen as a top party school. Any article stating that is sure to be followed by another praising our academics.

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