Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University students are experiencing feelings of underrepresentation in apartment complexes around the city of Tallahassee. Whether it’s the décor or the name of the complex many students have expressed that complexes appeal to Florida State University students and make it a priority to accommodate them.
“I would say that the majority of student housing complexes in Tallahassee focus on the comfort and accommodation of FSU students rather than those that attend FAMU,” said Jacoby Clark, a FAMU student and resident of the Forum Tallahassee.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, (and as amended) handicap and family status.
Many students are confused as to why these apartment complexes do not support or represent FAMU. Whether it’s racial or economic, the problem is leading students to come up with their own beliefs.
Madeline Smith, a FAMU student and resident of the Players Club, believes that the issue is based on economics and commercial benefits.
“I feel that it’s because FSU is more economically and commercially beneficial to businesses because it’s advertised more,” Smith said. “It’s more known. FAMU is not as broadcasted so I feel that businesses and complexes don’t feel the need to cater to us as much.”
Smith said that the Players Club advertises FSU on social media and on gifted paraphernalia.
“Their Instagram only advertises for FSU games,” Smith said. “The complex merchandise shirts that they give away to residents are FSU colors. When they repost students, they only post FSU students in FSU paraphernalia.”
Chelsea Vincent, a manager at the Seminole Grand apartment complex, expressed that she once believed that because of the name, the complex was for FSU students only.
“I can understand confusion in the name,” Vincent said. “When I applied, I thought it was for FSU, but the name is just like Seminole Trails; it’s not catered towards just FSU students. It’s not a copyrighted name.”
Vincent stated that although people assume Seminole Grand is just for FSU students, they appeal to FAMU and Tallahassee Community College as well.
“Our marketing team goes to FAMU and TCC campuses as well,” Vincent said. “Our Marketing team is out of the office on FAMU’s Set Friday right now. We go on campus to clear up the confusion that Seminole Grand is not just for FSU students because of the name.”
Although Vincent ensured both schools are represented equally, resident Leyliana Greer, begs to differ.
“The name its-self shows the underlying favoritism towards FSU students, I do not feel represented as a FAMU student at Seminole Grand,” Greer said. “They don’t even show FAMU games in the leasing offices only FSU games.”
Ginger Reichl, a marketing expert, believes FAMU should support the businesses that support them.
“I would identify the complexes and other businesses that do prioritize the FAMU community and promote them, build and support those relationships,” Reichl said.
It can be assumed that because FSU is the largest college in Tallahassee that it is the smartest marketing strategy to appeal to FSU students, but Reichl said that as a marketing expert she wasn’t taught to appeal to the largest demographic but to the largest target who could convert a sale.
“With limited budgets and more targeted media options, it is important to hyper target for the greatest ROI,” Reichl said.
Makayla Wood is having reservations about moving off campus due to lack of representation and choosing not to give her money to anyone she doesn’t feel supported by.
“I’ll just continue to stay in Phase 3 because off-campus apartments are so expensive and I’m not going to give my money to a place where there is no inclusion,” Wood said.
Although numerous students believe FAMU is underrepresented in apartment complexes around Tallahassee, many students said there’s no place she’d rather be.