A Foreign Language Student Voices Her Worries with FAMU Restructuring

The abortion protest on campus this semester boasts that the number one killer of Black babies is abortion. Enraged by this and by the graphic images of aborted babies, students at Florida A&M University did as many Rattlers of today do—absolutely nothing.

Sure, some complained, and some whined about the disturbing images. The protest did manage to spark debate in classes and amongst some circle of friends, but for the most part, no one actually did anything about it.

Much like the abortion protest group, I too feel that there is a real threat out there to Black folks, and this threat comes in the form of a mental and psychological virus called Apathy. Apathy, I believe is the number one killer of the Black American dream.

Does it dry up

Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore—

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meant?

Or crust and sugar over—

Like a syrupy sweet?

Apathy is a virus that was concocted in the lab of the Counter-Revolution and was given to quell the children of those who fought so hard during the Civil Rights movement by using the tactics of societal Appeasement. Appeasement gave Black people the right to vote freely but not the resources in which to vote knowledgeably. Appeasement integrated the public and private sectors but did not support the intellectual integration of Black thought and of the Black conscious into American culture and ideas. Appeasement gave Black folks their own schools but the lack of funding to properly educate its students.

Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.

Last Thursday, the president of Florida A&M University, Dr. James H. Ammons, along with our student government president Gallop Franklin, and the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to pass a restructuring plan that the student body and the faculty had no say in. This restructuring plan stripped about 24 programs from our school and terminated 242 positions of which only 109 were on federal stimulus dollars.

The ability to major in foreign language, psychology and education, are programs that are integral to the edification and success of the African American college student. These programs are programs that ensure that Black representation in the United States as well as abroad. The fact of the matter remains that Florida A&M University produces majority of the Black educators that reside in the state of Florida.

Without educators who look like us in the classroom, what will our children subconsciously think in regards to the importance of education in the Black community?

Without Black psychologists and social workers present, who will stick up for little Jerome or Tenisha when they are assigned behavioral issues due to stereotyping in the classroom and pushed to the outer rings of society?

It goes without saying that in our global community, it is important for our citizens to be able to able to reach out beyond the territories of the United States in order to be represented and active on the global stage.

How are we then to be represented in the international community if we cannot even be represented in the classrooms of our local community?

We aren’t. Through the cutting of vital programs like these, we are not only being shut out of the classroom, we are being shut out of society and this is exactly how opposition of the Civil Rights Movement wants it to be.

Or does it explode?

The problem that we are experiencing at Florida A&M University today is due to our lack of involvement. We have kept our heads down and focused on the distractions given to us by the counter- Civil Rights Movement and the media and allowed our administration and student government to go unchecked, unreported and unaccounted for. The truth of the matter in that this university is for the students. Without the students there would be no university and the actions of our student government and administration should reflect this fact. We are the ones that give them power and they should know that we are also the ones that can take it away.

The biggest thing that the restructuring plan took away from us is our sovereignty—our sovereignty as students and our sovereignty as a university. Look around, what university do you know does not offer major degrees in foreign language? What university would even think about toughing their political science programs? Do you think this would have gone over at Florida State or the University of Florida? There is a bigger picture here that is going unaddressed and this is the issue of the State getting rid of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The privatization of HBCU’s in the state of Florida has already begun through the cutting of federal funds to Bethune-Cookman and Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens. Florida A&M University remains as the only public HBCU left in Florida and is also the largest land grant in the state of Florida—which is something to think about saying that we have already given land to Florida State University and now through the cutting of programs like foreign language, education and psychology, we are giving our students to them as well. With all this giving to Florida State University we might as well give them our school— an action that some say has been in the making since, well, since the beginning of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

We cannot allow for our school to be taken over by powers that do not have our best interests at heart. We can no longer allow for them to go unchecked, unreported and unaccounted for. We can no longer sit back and allow Apathy to take over. As the great Dr. Cornel West has said before “Who wants to be well-adjusted to injustice? What kind of human being do you want to be?” The Golden-Era of the Middle Class is ending, if you want to preserve what is left of the achievements made by the Civil Rights movement, you need to get involved, ask questions, demand answers and continue the fight for proper Black education in America.