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Townies vs. Students: The Quiet “Rivalry” for Oxford

Which came first, the town or the university? 

In my case, I came to Oxford, Ohio, before I became a Miami University student. I was born in Virginia, but I have been in Oxford for 21 years of my life. I have grown to call it home. 

As far as which came first… 

Miami University was founded 211 years ago, and Oxford has been established for 211 years. 

You would think that since both have been around for a long time, the rivalry between the people who permanently live in the town (often referred to as “townies”) and students who come here for four years would have been buried a long time ago, but that isn’t always the case.

The Oxford talk (OHIO) Facebook group has been around since February of 2015, and I myself have been a member for a few years. 

Being a townie and a Miami student, I have always grown up hearing negative comments about the students.

I reached out to the members of the group to gather some input on the relationship between the Miami students and Oxford townies, and I wasn’t disappointed. 

Since my post, August 5th, 123 people commented on opinions. I wasn’t surprised by some of the negative comments, but I was rather shocked that some enjoyed the company of students.

Of the 105 comments that I received, 20% of them were negative toward the students, 70% were positive comments and the remaining 10% were neutral responses to other comments.

It was very refreshing to see a lot of people say such nice and positive things about the students because growing up, I heard a lot of awful stories about them.

I remember going uptown with my family and getting a scoop of cotton candy ice cream from UDF. I remember playing in the fountains on hot summer days. I remember going to see movies with my friends and my boyfriend at the now-closed Princess Theater. 

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I grew up surrounded by the students of Miami University, and I didn’t really think much of them. They didn’t really bother me. I thought they were so cool when I was growing up. My family always complained about the students coming into town on move-in day and again when they moved out. I was always told to avoid going into town these days because it was so hectic. 

Again, it didn’t really bother me as I was growing up. 

As I got older, I started to grow less patient. When I started to drive, I would get annoyed by how they didn’t look before they crossed the street. 

But, I love being a student and a townie. I love attending Miami University and am not ashamed to say I grew up in Oxford. 

Jessica Cook, who has lived in Oxford since she was in high school, compares the issues people complain about to other places where they are just as bad. 

“They may be noisy entitled brats occasionally — but you’ll have Karens and Chads of any age in every area, and the adults are way worse in Eastgate,” Cook wrote on Facebook. “The parking kind of sucks with them here, but it's nothing compared to Northside in Cincy. And sure, the wait times at restaurants go up pretty noticeably — lol, but it’s nothing like OTR. And they cross the streets worse than deer, but it’s no worse than Clifton residents.”

“Oxford needs Miami. I’m grateful for them.”

Not everyone was as nice.

Ashley Stewart, another Oxford resident wrote:

“I feel like the students think they own the town. No one exists but them. They are very rude in the grocery stores and most are horrible drivers. You can’t pull out into oncoming traffic from McDonald’s and think you had the right away.” 

Caroline Hellman shares my situation. She’s a Miami student and a townie.

“I see townies complain about students being rude, but they seem to forget they themselves can be incredibly hurtful towards the few students who are here over summer too,” Hellman wrote. “Both groups have their bad apples though and I feel really embarrassed as a Miami student when I see students treating townies as ‘lesser.’”

I think we all need to be a little more understanding and open to the opinions of others.

The townies who have a negative perspective on students need to understand that these students are providing a mountain of income for local businesses and restaurants and that businesses wouldn’t survive without the students. They also need to understand the students are sometimes coming from thousands of miles away to get their education when they could have easily attended another university. We should try to make Oxford a second home to them because this becomes their home.  

The students need to be more understanding of the townies, and that they can be disrupting their daily routines and ways of living after not having students around for months at a time. 

All in all, we need each other. 

Oxford wouldn't be what it is without Miami, and Miami wouldn’t be what it is without Oxford. 

Let’s make that continue for who knows how long.