The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
Unlike Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Miami does give a damn about its bad reputation.
With freshman move-in week upon us, many students have conflicting feelings and opinions on Miami choosing to tread ahead with the phased return to campus.
Upperclassmen are upset about having to go to campus, and first- and second-years are feeling excited to come to Oxford. The community feels divided and uncertain.
But honestly, nobody can be on the right side of a lose-lose situation.
Miami administrators say they want to protect our health as well as our reputation as a university.
That leaves us with a lot of questions – not just for the university, but for everyone.
What’s the cost?
Price-wise, we know that without a return to campus, Miami would be facing a $90 million loss. This could mean scholarship cuts, layoffs and weakened resources.
But the human cost could be far greater. We don’t know who could be fatally affected by this virus, but it’s within the realm of concern even to those of us who are seemingly healthy. Students are not immune.
What will Miami do if somebody dies?
This could be a staff member, professor or student. We’ll be responsible for writing an obituary, but what will be said from the administration at a press conference?
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This is a question we hope we’ll never need an answer to, but we can’t ignore that it’s a possibility.
Would we really be safer at home?
The reality is that some of us would be and others wouldn’t. We don’t know everyone’s home life. They could live with at-risk family members, be around people who don’t take the virus seriously or be surrounded by negative virus-related outcomes that make their environment difficult to be in.
We can’t scrutinize people who are jumping at the chance to move back, especially when we all were given the option to stay remote. If you don’t feel safe being here, you can stay home. If you don’t feel safe at home, you can come here.
Even if safety isn’t your No. 1 priority, it’s OK to want to factor in the benefit of in-person learning for your education.
How will Miami make the return to campus worth our while?
Maybe they won’t. Yes, the facilities will open back up, and it will feel more normal than just being at home, but it won’t live up to what it was before we were sent home in March.
But it’s part of the mission of the administration to give us that experience – even though it’s an unattainable one.
So, what’s the mission?
To keep us normal, healthy and protected or just to keep us, as a university, afloat? It’s likely some sort of combination that is unavoidable, tied up in budget concerns. And not just those of the university, but the town itself.
What would happen to Oxford’s local economy if half of the students didn’t come back?
Without a doubt, it would suffer. We can’t ignore the economic impact we have on this town, and to that extent, the businesses here need us.
We were not the first Ohio school to go back. Miami administrators gave us individual choices on how to move forward with the semester. They want to keep the university and the town running, they want to try.
But what is the cost?
We don’t know how to feel, and neither do many of you. But it’s been six months of pushing through this pandemic, and we will continue on as we have been – together.
See you all next week.