News Release

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Garland, minority students to discuss racial climate

11/17/1998

OXFORD, Ohio -- Miami President James C. Garland will be sitting down with a group of students Wednesday evening, Nov. 18, to discuss the climate on campus for minority students.

"It is important for me to hear our students speak of their concerns, frustrations and experiences, and I encourage other members of the university community to be on hand to hear them as well," said Garland. "I hope also to assure the students that Miami is not indifferent to their concerns, and that we share their abhorrence of hateful words and deeds. I hope this conversation will provide an opportunity to demonstrate that Miami is a united community, and that we will not let the despicable acts of a few divide us."

The Black Student Action Association (BSAA) is working with other student groups to identify 40-50 students for the conversation with the president, which will take place at 6 p.m. in the multipurpose room of Shriver Center. Following that session, Garland will lead a rally for campus unity.

Garland called for this to be a week of "healing and unity for the Miami community," noting scheduled this week are a community candlelight vigil Thursday supporting diversity, a meeting tonight (Monday, Nov. 16) by the Christian groups to address racial diversity and division, and tonight's Take Back the Night Walk.

Also, Garland invited university leaders, students and faculty, and members of the Miami and Oxford communities to join him in a Wednesday evening 8 p.m. rally in the Fine Arts Plaza behind the Shriver Center.

"This rally will provide an opportunity for the people of Miami to stand together and speak out against bigotry and intolerance. We will demonstrate to the world that we are united in our resolve to build a community that is caring and welcoming of all peoples."

Wednesday's 6 p.m. session with the students was scheduled as a result of the meeting Nov. 11 between BSAA President Nathaniel Snow and Garland. Snow and Garland met after a protest by a group of students upset about racist and homophobic messages discovered in the Center for Black Culture and Learning and the racial climate on campus.

The discussion will be open to the public. However, Snow, Garland and the 40-50 students identified by the BSAA will be the only participants. University officials are working with student radio station WMSR to broadcast the session. WMSR's signal is carried on channel 15 both on Time-Warner in Oxford and the university's cable system on campus.

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