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Miami phasing out forensic investigation major is disappointing

I remember growing up with true crime shows like “Snapped” on the Oxygen Channel. 

My mom tells me that, when I was a toddler, whenever the “Law and Order” theme song played, the DUN-DUN would cause me to quickly whip my head around and pay attention to the television. 

Even though it may have taken me some time to get where I am today in my educational pathway, deep down I think I always knew I wanted to pursue criminal investigations and a career working with crime scenes. It was so great that the college around the corner from my house offered the forensic investigation major. 

What would have happened if I would have started at Miami University Hamilton too late, and it wasn’t offered? Where would I be today?

A lot of incoming Miami University students are now having to answer these questions.

John Forren, associate professor and chair of the justice and community studies department, sent out a letter to students who have declared forensic investigation as their major, including myself, at the end of February, stating that first-time and transfer students will no longer be able to declare a major in that program. The forensic investigation major will be phased out, and all advertising and promotion for the program has also come to a halt. 

Forren said in the letter that this was in light of departmental resource constraints and a lagging student demand, as well as consultations with faculty, community partners and university administrators in the fall of 2020. 

But he assured all current students that the forensic investigation major will still be offered to them.

My question is,  did they consider this “lag of student demand” might be because of COVID? How long has this been a topic of discussion, and how is student demand for the forensic science degree, the counterpart of the forensic investigation major? 

A dear friend of mine decided to come to Miami this spring, and when we first met earlier in 2020, we both discussed our majors and discovered we were both going for forensic investigation. However, when she started, she was told she would have to change her major, because forensic investigation was no longer offered. Now she has become undecided and will more than likely major in something that doesn’t satisfy her as much. 

It’s upsetting to see this happen to someone so close to me, and it makes me upset for all of the other students who have been in this situation as well. I remember how excited I was to learn Miami Hamilton had a forensic investigation major, and that I wouldn't have to go to some big college out of the state and leave my family behind. 

Luckily, I was able to declare my major in time, a year before they decided to phase it out. 

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But I am not concerned about my own education as much as I am for incoming students and those close to me. 

Imagine where I would be in my education journey if I hadn’t been able to declare my major. I would have spent so much money being an undecided student, because I double major in journalism and didn’t declare that until about a semester and a half in. 

Miami is such a great school, and the regional campuses have tuition prices that are affordable, so it saves students from having to go to those big colleges out of state. 

I wonder to myself if Miami’s rates will drop even more now that they have phased out the forensic investigation major. 

President Greg Crawford sent an email March 4th about a return to in-person classes this upcoming fall. If the university had waited a little longer and COVID calmed down, maybe their numbers would have again increased and the forensics investigation major could’ve stuck around.

I wish they would have had a little more patience before making such a big decision during a pandemic. 

Instagram: @ky_keelee

pursifkn@miamioh.edu 

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