The controversial closing of the Florida A&M Wesley Foundation has drawn strong reactions – both for and against.
Cecile Washington, faculty adviser to the Wesley Foundation, said he will fight to get the foundation up and running again.
“I think it’s a big disservice to the FAMU community,” Washington said. “Most Christians may think it is inappropriate to fight on the issue, but I think the problem is much bigger than just FAMU. It’s a diversity problem within the church as a whole.”
Damien Harris, a junior pre-business student from Orlando, said although he isn’t a member of the United Methodist Church, he feels that something positive on campus should remain on campus.
“I have been to the Wes Facility a few times and I know a few people heavily involved,” Harris said.
“I know there aren’t many United Methodist members here at FAMU, but just to have an organization that promotes Christian outreach is necessary at a HBCU.”
Khiara Jones, a senior nursing student from Miami, disagreed, and said it is logical to close for reassessment.
“If people just aren’t paying attention, then it seems like temporarily closing is the right thing to do,” Jones said. “I heard of the Wesley Foundation, but I know many other students don’t even know they exist. Even if they have to invest money to promote (the Wesley Facility), something must change.”
According to the press release announcing the impermanent close, all current possessions of the FAMU Wesley will be saved solely for the organization when it reopens. The Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry (BHECM) of the Florida Conference will compensate the current FAMU Wesley director Tara Seabrook and provide her with out-placement services.
“We appreciate the dedication and service of Tara Seabrook in leading FAMU Wesley over the past few years,” said Bob Gibbs, chairperson of BHECM.
“She took on a difficult assignment and gave it her best.”