On Tuesday, January 28, Miami University of Ohio released a statement about a student who is being tested for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The student has recently traveled back from China and has shown early symptoms of the flu.
Students of Miami University obviously started panicking after receiving this alarming email. Many took to Twitter to express their thoughts on the matter, especially the xenophobia that can come with this virus.
Many people pointed to the fact that even though there is a threat of the coronavirus, that doesn't mean you can act unwelcoming and xenophobic toward international students, and they're right.
As I walk around Miami's campus, I see a ton of people walking around with masks over their faces. I hear about students shouting xenophobic and hateful words at international students in the dorms. I can see the fear in a person's eyes when they walk past an international student.
Miami University students are scared, and they are allowed to be. But that doesn't mean that they are allowed to act hateful and xenophobic.
Xenophobia usually stems from a place of fear and confusion. This is understandably a scary situation. I mean, there's a chance that a virus that is only growing each day is on your college campus, and you can't really prevent getting it. I felt the same fear when I received the email. But, being mean to others isn't going to help make this situation better in any way.
President Crawford made sure to highlight the point that we treat each other with compassion, understanding, and care. I think that we should take his instructions and just not stress over the virus until we know anything else. Stressing isn't very productive in a situation like this, and it's only making the other people around you more concerned. Just keep taking precautions like washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, and avoid contact with sick people.