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An Open Letter to You by Somnia Keesey

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

To Whom It May Concern,

During my time here at Miami, I personally have not met a single woman who did not know of someone who had fallen victim of some form of sexual assault while on campus, or had fallen victim to it themselves.

This is not an exaggeration, I’m not hyperbolizing this to create a larger, more blown out effect for this letter. This is simply the cold, hard, truth.

Every woman that I have met, during the little over a year that I have been a student at this university, has a story of the disgusting and inexcusable acts that have been done upon them or upon someone they know. Are you aware of the severity of this? Do you know what this means? How are you able to look past this?

How are you able to simply look away and turn a blind eye to the horrors that are happening to your students?

We as students of Miami, have had the phrase and code of “Love & Honor” shoved down our throats since the moment we stepped on this campus.

“I will Love, Honor, and make proud those who help me earn the joy and privilege of saying, to think that in such a place, I led such a life."

This infamous ending and conclusion to the school pledge has become more of a laughing stock for the student body than a legitimate code that students should be upholding. How can you expect your students to act upon the code if you contradict this anthem each and every day?

To so many on this campus, there is no Love or Honor within Miami.

How can you be a proud leader of an institution where perpetrators of some of the most violent and traumatizing actions can stand proud and recite the line...

“To think that in such a place, I led such a life.”

And their victims...the survivors of those terrible actions are told to uphold the same values as their perpetrators. They are told that while they are a Redhawk, they all fall under this code. That they all should stand and recite this with pride. Does this seem acceptable to you?

This is just one of the many facades that is put up to create the feeling of community and togetherness for the student body. What lays behind the smoke and mirrors is the blatant disregard to acknowledge the severe cultural issue that this campus has.

The culture where perpetrators are not taught to respect and not assault others, but how the victim should be more cautious and control the situation themselves.

On our campus tours we were shown the blue lights situated along campus to help us feel safe and comforted while walking alone. During orientation we were instructed to put the MUPD’s phone number in our contact’s for quick access. But I fail to remember any discussion on how people shouldn’t rape or commit actions of sexual assault. We were given all of the tools on how to protect ourselves from the actions, but not on how they plan on stopping the actions from happening in the first place.

Some of us have only been on campus for about a year, yet we find ourselves completely numb to the notifications that travel through our inbox’s reporting that yet another sexual assault has been reported on campus. It seems like they come in every week, a new story of the inhuman actions that have been committed on your campus, on your watch. How are you okay with this?

How do you sleep at night knowing that your university and its students are beginning to become numb to the influx of reports of Miamians committing crimes against fellow Miamians?

Because it seems to not phase you or your administration. It seems to be an issue that you wish not to discuss or bring attention to. It seems like something that you would rather sweep under the rug and ignore.

But let us explain something to you,

The cry’s of the survivors who have been fighting to make their voices and experiences heard and validated, cannot and will not be ignored.

That’s why SASS is such a vital and necessary part of this campus. When survivors don’t know where to start on their journey to recovery and feel ignored by their own university, they have this supportive and uplifting group of people to turn to, whenever they are ready.

We have had to become our own resource. We have had to be the ones to create the new culture on campus. We are the ones that are leading the change within this institution. We have done the job that you were given to do. We are actively listening, while you are continually dismissing.

There is still time to become a part of the change that is occurring on campus and to be a part of the movement. To help educate current and prospective students on SIV issues. You can make the choice on which side you want to be a part of. The side that is actively working to create a safe and welcoming environment for all students, or the side that looks away and takes the side of the oppressor.

We hope that you have listened to the words we have written to you today, not just read them, but listened. Truly taking them in and creating a plan to act upon them. It’s time to be the leader that Miami needs.

It’s time to be the leader that Miami has been asking for.


The Miami Student Body

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