If you’ve been in or around central Ohio recently, you’ve probably seen the signs or heard the radio spots. They tout Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, as “Ohio’s Public Ivy.”
I think Miami is a fine school. Although I am a proud graduate of The Ohio State University, many of my high school friends went to Miami, as did my cousin and a number of my current and former co-workers. Tucked in the southwest corner of the state, it’s a well-regarded school that has many satisfied and loyal graduates.
But . . . “Ohio’s Public Ivy”? It’s kind of a strange slogan, isn’t it? I suppose “Ivy League” schools are associated with academic excellence, and that’s what Miami’s campaign is trying to invoke. But “Ivy League” schools also suggest privilege, and arrogance, and snobbery, and other qualities that don’t really fit all that well with a heartland state like Ohio.
And, let’s face it — “Ohio’s Public Ivy” has a bit of a desperate wannabe element to it. Miami isn’t an Ivy League school, and won’t be, so why is it trying to trade on an Ivy League rep? Why not just stand on your own, and be proud of where you are and what you are?
That’s why I like “The Ohio State University.” I know the “The” drives some people crazy, but I think it sends a message about the school and its pride about what it is. It’s not trying to be anything else.
These stories raise certain at least two obvious questions. First, why is it called a “formal”? Any event where people are barfing and crapping in public sounds pretty darned informal to me. If this kind of behavior is considered appropriate for “formal” occasions, what godforsaken depraved behavior can be expected at informal events?
Second, how much of the attention given to these stories is based on the fact that sororities, and not fraternities, were involved? More than 30 years ago, Animal House got huge laughs for its depiction of a degenerate fraternity. Talk to any parent of a fraternity kid and you will see that the movie isn’t that much of an exaggeration. Fraternity kids drink heavily, do stupid stunts, and trash their fraternity houses, and people shrug and say “boys will be boys.” Stories of unruly fraternity activities are “dog bites man” stories. We tend to expect better conduct from sensible sorority women, however — which is part of the reason why the escapades of the boozy sorority sisters at Miami University are getting national attention.