In an attempt to unite and battle any negative feelings black students from Florida State University and Florida A&M University students have for each other, The FSU Black Student Union held an informative forum titled, “Across the Tracks: The Difference between Me and You,” Monday night.
From mentioning FAMU’s tardiness with net checks and academic performance and the belief that FSU black students are stuck-up and unaware of their history, black FSU and FAMU scholars joined in hopes of ending said stereotypes.
Ashleigh Bolar, 22, a senior marketing student at FSU put the event together in conjunction with the Mu Epsilon Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
“The idea is to bridge the gap between the two universities,” Bolar said. “So regardless of what side of the tracks we sit on, we still need to work together in order to accomplish our tasks because regardless, we’re still a minority here.”
The event, which was influenced by students, held a panel of eight people: four from FAMU and four from FSU. Bolar, who was once a FAMU student transferred in an effort to graduate sooner in her field of study, and it later helped her understand the position of both said stereotypes.
“I felt as though black FSU students didn’t understand their minority or felt they were better than FAMU because they didn’t want to be around people like them,” Bolar said. “That was my mentality until I actually placed myself in their shoes by transferring to that institution and realizing that regardless of which side of Tallahassee you’re getting educated on, the struggle is still the same,”
Along with crushing stereotypes, Bolar’s personal mission through this discussion event was to connect FAMU with FSU students.
“What I’m hoping to do is introduce FSU to my home, which is FAMU, and help them to see the benefit of it, the culture in it, and hopefully expose them to things they have not been exposed to before,” Bolar said.
The moderator for the panel discussion was FSU student, Charles Davis III.
The discussion covered various topics that are related to FAMU and FSU students. Topics such as finding the solution to bridging the gap between the two universities and hoping to establish long lasting bonds, and compared and contrasted differences and positives that they share. The panel also looked at patronage of business and how they’re more so geared toward Tallahassee students who go to FSU than students who go to FAMU.
Several questions were asked during the question and answer portion of the event. One student asked the panel to state the differences between FSU and FAMU, and how it prepares students for the real world.
Eric Pullman, a FAMU and FSU alumnus, spoke on the difference between FAMU and FSU.
“It’s a different culture,” Pullman said. “FAMU will prepare you for life after college.”
James Bland, FAMU student body vice president responded to the question with spreading the good news about FAMU and not overlooking the positives. Bland mentioned how FSU has some of the same problems that FAMU faces but since FAMU is an HBCU, they are placed under a microscope by the media. Bland said in order to decrease the stereotypes, spread the good news about FAMU.
Students mainly voiced their opinion about the stereotypes and what students can do to share a bond.
“This was a great time to bring an open mind and their opinions,” Bolar said. “It’s more important that you be able to face your aggressor than it is to continue on caring the burden by yourself.”