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Forbes number one ranking undermines the Oxford outside of Miami

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

You have permission to be proud. On a list of best college towns in America put out by Forbes this past weekend, Oxford was ranked number one.

Look around Uptown on a sunny Saturday, at the crowds at Brick Street and at the Farmers Market and the slew of festivals and events on campus, and it's easy to see this was a list made for this town. Oxford is small and safe and young-person friendly. It's a college town through and through.

But as we press the share button on that Forbes article, let's think about what being the best college town really means.

The ranking was based on the quality of higher education, crime rates, the cost of living, the number of students per capita in over 200 cities. And we're glad those things weigh in our favor at Miami.

In the most fundamental sense of the term, Oxford is a college town. Established and mapped in 1810, the city itself was a direct effect of the chartering of Miami university in 1809. In effect, the college is the town.

Miami offers the quintessential college experience, almost as if it is a movie scene - and that's why many students flock here.

However, the same factors that make for a great college town also inherently hold us back. By nature, a college town is removed from the real world. It's limited and closed off. Oxford is so small that the major activity is drinking on the weekends. Miami draws the same types of students over and over.

But what do we mean when we say "college experience?" Is college meant to be a place where we go to have a fun party experience, or is it a place where we go to gain educational experience - a place where we are exposed to the realities ahead of us?

Being in a small town keeps us from various distractions that are in big cities. But, is being closed off from the rest of reality preparing us for life after graduation? If it were not for Snapchat, how many of us actually would have known that the Boston Marathon was yesterday?

Does a small college town keep us from being culturally aware and expanding our minds to those who may be different from us? Perhaps that is why there was such a poor response about the opinion piece The Miami Student recently published concerning off-campus house names. Closed mindedness or unoriginality is bound to happen if over 80 percent of the campus population is white.

We often seem to forget that there is a community within Oxford that is not Miami students. What kind of childhood is it when young children walk around Uptown with their families and see drunk college students at Brickstreet every weekend? The students of Miami and the residents of Oxford can be opposites at times. Do we ever take the time to get to know the stories of those who have grown up in Oxford? What is their perspective? They may not have as much pride in their "college town."

The classic college bars and the Forbes ranking do not come close to representing the Oxford community outside of immediate university area. The surrounding Cincinnati and Southern Ohio region is riddled with some of the lowest median household incomes in the country. Students joke about surrounding corn fields and the Oxford bubble, but have no idea about what is really going on around their home.

Had Forbes looked past the numbers and spent even two days they would have realized how stark the contrast between the students of Miami and the town really is.