Black Miami student group has demands impacting all on campus

A group of black Miami University students have published a list of demands in response to what they say is a racially hostile environment at the Butler County school. STAFF FILE PHOTO

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A group of black Miami University students have published a list of demands in response to what they say is a racially hostile environment at the Butler County school. STAFF FILE PHOTO

A group of black Miami University students have published a list of demands in response to what they say is a racially hostile environment at the Butler County school.

The "Black Action Movement 2.0" (BAM) published its demands — which include building a new office of diversity affairs, meetings with top Miami officials and "micro-aggression" training for all university employees by August — in a letter published this week in The Miami Student newspaper.

In the statement published, BAM members cited racial slurs on recent social media postings they said were done by non-black Miami students as some of their reasoning behind pushing for their demands, which also include diversity and racial inclusion training for all students.

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“Since its founding in 1809, Miami University has failed to conceive a culture that is welcoming and receptive for its Black students,” members wrote in their demands statement.

“Historically, the actions taken by administration, while recognized, simply are not enough. We, The Black Action Movement 2.0 (BAM 2.0), on behalf of Miami University’s Black community, are holding administration accountable for effectively combating the issues plaguing its Black students,” they said.

They also called for changing the school’s policy in identifying racist messages and symbols in social media and punishing students who post online such things.

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Miami University Spokeswoman Claire Wagner said in response “there is no room for racism or any form of bigotry on campus.”

“We support students standing up to be respected and to feel welcome. Miami President (Gregory) Crawford and other university leaders have met with many students building an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, faculty and staff at Miami,” said Wagner.

“President Crawford has made clear that Miamians can and must stand up against bigoted and intolerant language and behavior. Several of the action steps suggested by students are things that are already implemented or in progress at Miami, for example: Reporting from the office of Institutional Diversity, continued efforts to increase diverse representation among students, faculty and staff; and diversity training for employees and students,” she said.

In a March 27 statement posted on social media by Crawford in response to recent revelations that a student had posted a slur of African-Americans, he wrote “I am saddened and frustrated today. Once again we are facing words and symbols of hate and intolerance, directed against members of our own community”

“While we cannot dictate what people can think or what they can say, we can rise up as a community and say clearly that we stand against hate, against intolerance, against bigotry,” Crawford wrote.

“We have students on campus who don’t feel welcome and that breaks my heart. This is not a challenge I can solve alone. We all must play an active role in creating the kind of community where very person feels welcome. I am committed to doing the hard work necessary, for as long as it takes, to create an inclusive and welcoming community at Miami,” he said.

Members of BAM 2.0 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a March 29 statement released by the group, eight names are listed on the statement under the heading “In solidarity.”

The statement said BAM “is not an organization, but a mission” with its name based on an earlier effort at the school called the Black Action Movement of 1998.

“As we progress with resolving the racial climate, we will create a pathway for all under-represented groups on Miami University’s campus to engage in activist coalitions.”

The Journal-News will report more as information becomes available.

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