On Jan. 7, Florida A&M resumed classes for the spring semester and students made their way to campus to utilize FAMU’s facilities like any other normal day.
Around 1 p.m. that day, the recreation center closed its doors to all students and faculty without explanation. The shutdown confused recreation center users, causing them to voice their complaints to student leadership.
According to the Student Government Association’s Senate President Rochard Moricette, “The campus recreation center represents nearly a quarter of our $2.8 million activities and services budget, totaling in at $596,448 per year. Realistically, the campus rec needs roughly $1 million to operate, so to prevent this from happening again, Senate leadership is currently working on posing possible solutions. After speaking with the recreational center staff, the rec center was open for business the next day.”
Luckily, since it was the first day back to school, there weren’t many students utilizing the rec center due to classes and getting their business in order at the One-Stop Shop in the Grand Ballroom. There still is no clear reason why the rec center closed, but SGA Director Bryan Smith suggested, “that it may have been an internal issue that caused the shutdown.” Some students who regularly use the rec center had not noticed the rec center shut down until others began to spread the word. “I had no idea and I go to the rec center almost every day. I’m glad the issue was fixed. The rec center is my favorite part of campus. I would be upset if FAMU were to close it down for good,” Nathaniel Domond said.
This is not the first time the rec center has shut down and left students confused. In retaliation, FAMU students took to Twitter to voice their concerns about the rec center being shut down for weeks at a time. Back in 2014, RealPhiReal, a FAMU fitness page, noted, “The FAMU Rec Center will be closed until the budget is released and funds are appropriated.” Meaning that the spring funds for the rec center had not yet been allocated to them in order for the center to open.
One suggestion to alleviate the problem could be to add a rec center fee to the students’ financial aid packages.
SGA President David Jackson suggested that “would not be a good idea due to the fact that rec fees are included in student’s activities and services fees so that would essentially be double charging the students at FAMU.”
For now, the rec center is in operation and will be until any further changes.