The Miami Student newspaper hosting public safety forum

safety-forumThe Miami Student will host a public forum, “City Matters,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, in Wilks Theater to discuss issues and possible solutions for the city’s health and safety challenges.

The panel will include a mix of health, safety and government officials from Miami University and the city of Oxford: Doug Elliot, Oxford city manager; Mike Smith, city council member; John Detherage, chief, Oxford Fire Department; John Jones, chief, Oxford Police Department; Ben Spilman, captain, Miami University Police; Mike Curme, Miami University dean of students; and Pamela Collins, vice president, McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital.

The event will be free and open to all. Miami students, faculty, staff and Oxford residents are all encouraged to attend.

The Miami Student staff first discussed hosting a communitywide discussion about safety concerns in Oxford after the paper published an article about strain on the Oxford Fire Department’s resources.

The article, “Burnt out: OFD staff stretched thin,” published on Oct. 24, 2017, and written by Cèilí Doyle, assistant news editor, discusses students’ use of emergency services, often for alcohol-related incidents. On an average weekend night, Oxford’s fire department receives 12-20 alcohol-related EMS calls, according to the OFD.

According to OFD records, from Aug. 1, 2016, through Oct. 1, 2016, the department responded to 361 EMS calls. Last semester, they responded to 426 calls in the same time frame ― an 18 percent increase.

That story and the community’s reactions to those figures prompted Miami Student staff to reach out to local police, Oxford government and university officials to continue the discussion. Those conversations confirmed that the issues presented in the story are ones that affect not just the fire department but all aspects of health and safety in the city of Oxford.

At this forum, panelists and attendees will discuss issues and possible solutions that arise from Oxford’s unique population, geography and safety needs.

The discussion will also focus on how individual incidents affect the larger health and safety resources of the city. For example, students can hear directly from police, fire and hospital officials about what happens when a student is transported to the hospital after overdrinking and how that incident affects Oxford’s emergency resources.

This event will be moderated by editors of The Miami Student and will feature questions written by the editorial staff, as well as questions submitted from the audience via Twitter and Facebook before and throughout the forum.

If you have questions about the forum or suggestions for discussion questions, write to the staff at miamistudent.net/submit, email Emily Williams, editor-in-chief, at eic@miamistudent.net or send a message on Facebook or Twitter.