Today marks the 11-year anniversary of Florida A&M University students’ takeover of Lee Hall and the University radio station. The 1996 protest was led by then-student body president Larry Tate. Because students believed their financial aid, parking and cafeteria service concerns were not being met, they decided to take action.
Ironically, a year later, FAMU was proclaimed “College of the Year” by Time Magazine-Princeton Review.
Although FAMU was considered the best college to attend in 1997, it was plagued with problems ranging from missing financial aid net checks, to bad accounting. Frederick Humphries, who was university president at the time, promised students the issues would swiftly be resolved.
It appears today that history has repeated itself.
At 11 a.m. students throughout campus will unite to protest in front of the steps of Lee Hall auditorium to show our concern for our school. Students, as a sign of solidarity, are asked to wear red T-shirts.
Students who have class during that time are asked to walk out and protest. After we’ve finished protesting the Florida Board of Governors’ Pappas Report, we will march to the Capitol to voice our list of demands to Gov. Charlie Crist.
Last year FAMU was crowned by Black Enterprise Magazine as the No. 1 Historically Black College/University in the nation for blacks. Like in the past, FAMU is still bombarded with various plagues, from bad accounting to a decline in enrollment.
And now FAMU, along with other state universities, is faced with another problem that will affect students for years to come.
Under the Forward By Design plan constructed by the state, FAMU, among other universities, is being evaluated by the Pappas Consulting Group. The group wants to limit FAMU, University of West Florida, University of North Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, University of Central Florida to bachelor’s degree-only institutions.
If FAMU could not offer graduate-level programs, then the School of Business and Industry, College of Pharmacy, and other widely acclaimed graduate programs would not exist. FAMU, outside of the “Marching 100,” is known for its schools and colleges that attract students throughout the world. If these programs are cut, then ultimately FAMU would be in jeopardy of even lower student enrollment rates, as well as possibly losing its reputation as a fine institution.
Now is the time for all Rattlers and concerned people to defend FAMU.
In 1996 students protested because of their passion for the school. It seems as though nowadays students have forgotten what it means to be political.
A lot of us are so consumed by the superficialities of life that we don’t see our school is in danger.
The trumpet of protest has blown and the call for students to unite is ringing throughout the world.
Students, it is time us to stand up and fight. for our beloved University.
Amir Shabazz is a junior philosophy student from Fort Myers. He can be reached at Ashabazz007@yahoo.com.