On the evening of Sept, 7, four male FAMU students went to visit a friend at Stadium Centre. What was supposed to be a friendly get together turned frightful very quickly when a man identified as Don Crandall, a resident of the complex, drew his gun on them because he felt they did not belong in the apartment complex without a key.
More than a week later, on Monday, Sept. 17, FAMUINFO sent out a Stand Your Ground email to students with advice, suggesting that if a situation arises to withdraw from it rather than respond in a particular way:
Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to RETRACT, rather than REACT. If you are confronted with a situation, we are encouraging you to Retract, rather than React. We are asking you to do the following:
- Don’t engage in the situation
- Contact the local police
- Have a vivid description of the person
- Remain calm and slowly remove yourself from the situation
FAMU students said they had mixed feelings about the email from the university. Some said they were torn between their natural reactions versus the action to withdraw themselves from the situation.
“I’m torn between the two (Retract before React). I can sometimes naturally react before anything and I feel like a lot of situations, especially those of someone possibly getting hurt, can be somewhat avoided by retracting”, said Porsha Glover, a criminal justice student.
Some students believe the encouragement was complete nonsense.
ZaVante Fizer, an interdisciplinary studies major, said, “Retract before React is redundant. If you retract then they feel as if it’s OK, but they have that kind of power. Not reacting and bringing it to the police’s attention is ‘better,’ but think of whose side they are really on. By the time they ‘react’ its all said and done. The worst that happens is a smack on the wrist.”
You also have students who feel the email lacks concreteness and could have given so much more advice.
“I felt the email sent was just to protect themselves. I don’t think they gave us the appropriate information especially being an HBCU. I think they should have addressed the actual situation and not just walk around the situation and give us tips that saves them, but tips and advice that will actually work for and help us. These tips are actually more hurtful than helpful to us as a whole”, said Monique Brazier, a health, leisure and fitness major.