Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Recent vandalism calls for a change to campus culture and student attitude

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

Last weekend, separate instances of vulgar vandalism occurred at Wells Hall and two different fraternity houses. The graffiti in Wells Hall, which we'll be focusing on, can be seen in a photo on the front page.

Of course, we asked ourselves first and foremost, why would someone do this? Drunk or sober, joking or serious, this seems to be an action that warrants a certain mindset or previous way of thinking. After all, this isn't a typical occurrence on this campus, at least not to this degree.

The last time this kind of offense was brought to our attention was the "how to get away with rape" fliers that were posted in dorms a few years ago.

This isn't something that we can just push off as a misguided joke or drunken mistake. Because of two students, Miami is once again made to look like an ignorant and painfully insensitive campus.

The vandalism calls us, The Miami Student Editorial Board, to point out the underlying problem this incident reflects - a flawed culture that seems to be growing despite student and administration efforts to bring change. Ignorant jokes, snide comments, rude stares, anonymous posts on social media, the list goes on and on.

The Editorial Board has to ask, once again, where are we going wrong as a student body?

We continue to perpetuate a stereotype of being privileged and misbehaving young adults, thinking not of the consequences of our actions but of the few laughs we can gain by doing or saying something offensive.

Instead of returning images of a beautiful campus and intelligent students, Internet searches of our university - our home - include party school rankings, news stories about arrested students and, now, these instances of vandalism.

We know these flaws don't paint a complete picture of our community, yet they're a highly publicized facet of our community. But, should this facet exist at all? Ideally, no. Although we'll never be rid of every drunken arrest or Green Beer Day video, it seems feasible that we should be able to exist as a respectful and open-minded university.

Perhaps even more troubling than the vandalism itself was the student response to it. While President Hodge informed us of his deep disappointment, students joked. Yik Yak blew up with remarks, including "Man those kids hit every kind of insult!" and "Hodge isn't mad, he's just disappointed." Worse still, "Shout out to whoever vandalized Pike. Beat me to it."

Is this where our vandals found validation for their actions? Reading comments like this makes it seem as if the whole university finds serious situations like this a laughing matter. We reported previously on racist remarks on social media apps like Yik Yak, and this reflects the point.

So, where do we go from here? Undoubtedly, prospective students and their parents are curious about the university's response, waiting to see how it's handled, wanting to see something more than a rehearsed response from a university president, more than a prepared answer from a regretful student.

We need outrage. We need passion. We need action. And we need it most from students.

Treating this situation lightly won't suffice. Joking about it will only lead more students to think that acting this way is acceptable and even encouraged by their peers. Rather than tolerating insensitive remarks and actions, we need to hold each other accountable. We need to expect more from ourselves.

We came to college, and Miami in particular, to grow up, to expand our way of thinking and to mature as individuals. Incidents like this have us taking steps backward rather than forward, and unless we change our attitude, we're not going anywhere.