Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

'From Now On' we want real talk, no more fluff.

The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

Miami recently unveiled a new commercial campaign and music video for recruitment purposes entitled "From Now On." Michele Sparks, Miami's vice president of marketing and communications, said the video intended to show both who we are and who we want to be at Miami.

Essentially: We may not always have it right, but we're always striving to be better.

We applaud that acknowledgement, but feel that it should be coming from all levels of the university, not just the communications department when our reporters call for comment.

This Wednesday, Miami will host The Voices of Love & Honor: The 2019 Inclusion Forum. The forum aims to foster a dialogue between administration and student leaders about culture and diversity on Miami's campus and how it can be improved.

We encourage the administration to use this forum as the first step toward actually creating the narrative shown in the video; acknowledge where Miami has failed our campus community, and outline ways in which Miami is striving to be better.

Because, ultimately, suggesting that this is what Miami is going to be "From Now On" begs the question: What has Miami been up until now?

Whether it be 23 racist images in 50 years of Recensio or, more recently, students using racial slurs in group chats, anti-Semitic Venmo requests or postings advertising for white supremacy groups, our campus' history is no stranger to racism.

"From Now On" glosses over this part of our history altogether. It fails to encompass everything Miami is - the good, the not so good and the reprehensible. "From Now On" fails to take ownership for Miami's past and present.

It also disregards the activism and hard work we've seen on campus the last few years from our students and faculty in an effort to change the campus culture and promote equity. But this isn't just about racial equity - it's also about renovating our campus culture generally.

The ad campaign features beautiful camera shots of what campus life looks like from the outside. A voiceover calls for future leaders to be "bold and bright," "lead from the heart" and act as though "we're brave and we're stronger."

But what concrete steps has the university taken to uphold these morals? Where's the line between aspirational advertising and false advertising?

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It's not "bold and bright" to not pay your workers a living wage.

It's not "leading from the heart" when we have eight reported sexual assaults in the first three weeks of the semester.

And we're certainly not "brave and we're stronger" by cutting tenured faculty positions at the expense of underpaid and overworked adjuncts and visiting assistant professors.

It feels like Miami wants to pick the parts of diversity and campus culture that are convenient. Pushing this narrative is not an honest reflection of what this university has done.

"From Now On," Sparks said, was meant to signify that students will have their perspectives shifted by their experiences on campus. Once you come to Miami, your worldview will be forever changed.

Your time in college should definitely break your worldview open and make you a better, more empathetic and more curious person. But once you become a student of the world, you're not going to accept PR campaigns as real institutional signifiers of what this university has stood for.

It's time Miami speaks to how they have failed our students and staff and validate their experiences by looking at how we can improve.

Shying away from these conversations acts as a disservice to an increasing portion of our student body and perpetuates a culture where people in our campus community are subjected to racism, unfair wages and institutional shortcomings.

We want Miami to answer our questions at Wednesday's forum honestly.

Put away the prepared speeches and buzzwords and think critically about how the university can better provide an equal experience to everyone on this campus.

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