Several physical fights broke out in the balcony area of Lee Hall Auditorium on Dec. 2, 2004 during “Fake Da Funk,” a lip-syncing contest sponsored by the Michigan Club. The FAMU Police Department immediately shut down the event.
“The biggest problem was that the FAMUPD and Barkley Security did not coordinate with each other to solve the problem,” Brandon A. Johnson, vice president for the MichigaClub said.
The FAMU Police Department and Barkley Security were present to patrol the event and to ensure that it ran smoothly.
“Security was paying more attention to the DJ, and the music that he was playing, instead of what was happening in the balcony,” said Johnson, a senior history education student.
FAMU police Sgt. Norman Rollins, special events coordinator for the FAMU Police Department, emphasized the important role the DJ plays in maintaining harmony and order during an event.
“Microphones and the DJ are the key elements to crowd control,” Rollins said. “If individuals or organizations are still performing while an altercation is occurring, it makes it difficult for the security officers to do their job.”
The Michigan Club is also concerned with the amount of money they paid, and the lack of services they received.
“We hired three officers from the FAMU Police Department, at $135 per officer,” said Michigan Club President Melissa Ivey, a senior psychology student from Detroit. “Three security guards from Barkley Security were also hired at $9 per hour. We should get our money back because they did not do what we paid for them to do.”
Rollins said a refund is not an option.
“Once officers show up, even if the event is cancelled, the organizations are obligated to pay the officers for their time and services,” he said.
Michigan Club adviser Karen Quarles-Lewis was not satisfied with the services that were rendered during the event, and even suggested using other security, such as Tallahassee Police Department, in the future.
“Security was very ineffective because we had a lot of students to crash the event, and security didn’t even stop them,” Quarles-Lewis, faculty administrator in the School of Business and Industry said. “Hire someone that is going to do the job.”
Ivey insisted there were not enough tickets made to sell out Lee Hall Auditorium.
“Only 700 tickets were made, and there were over 1,000 people there,” Ivey said. “That means 300 people got into the event for free, which would not have happened if security was doing their job.”
Rollins is willing to work with the Michigan Club for next year’s event, to ensure that this type of disturbance does not happen again.
“The overall goal of the department is to lessen the risks for all individuals and organizations that have events on campus,” he said.
Contact Tyre Sperling at firstname.lastname@example.org