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Letter to the Editor: Dear Miami U, We are paying attention and committed to change

From left to right: Cristina Alcalde, Jayne Brownell, Kimberly Moore, and Liz Mullenix.
From left to right: Cristina Alcalde, Jayne Brownell, Kimberly Moore, and Liz Mullenix.

During the summer of 2020, Miami University students created the @dearmiamiu Instagram account. The account shared anonymous posts from students and alumni describing their experiences with racism, homophobia and other forms of hate, marginalization and exclusion as well as stories of sexual and interpersonal violence on Miami’s campuses. After a two-year hiatus, the account has become active again this summer. 

With the anonymous nature of these posts, we are limited in our ability to respond to any single experience described through this account. However, as administrators, faculty and staff, we recognize and acknowledge the continued pain and hurt students have expressed. We steadfastly believe that change must be systemic, transformative and ongoing for students to learn, grow, thrive and experience belonging in our community. While Miami has taken significant steps to make changes, work remains to be done.

Creating an inclusive space for all depends on each of us, and we continue to identify and act on additional actionable short and long-term ways to bring about cultural transformation and change at Miami. Some of our structural efforts and changes can be seen in the recent reorganization and work in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and plans for the upcoming climate survey, progress on DEI Taskforce Recommendations, new programming in the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion (CSDI) and increased resources in the Student Counseling Service. We will continue to listen and work on bringing about systemic change where it is needed.

Further, many of these posts describe interactions between individuals in informal spaces, when those present in the moment could have spoken up to make a positive difference. We urge every Miami community member to be an ally and intervene when you can. We offer anti-racism education, SafeZone trainings, additional resources for training and reporting that you can take advantage of to help you in these efforts.  

We thank those sharing their stories through posts, acknowledge the bravery and pain involved in sharing these experiences and understand that many others will choose not to speak up publicly. We see you. We care. We are committed to change. And we will keep working with and for you, to make Miami a better, more welcoming place, every day.

Cristina Alcalde, Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion

Jayne Brownell, Vice President for Student Life

Kimberly Moore, Dean of Students

Liz Mullenix, Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

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