COVID-19 has covered the nation in a blanket of turmoil since its debut in the United State more than a year ago.
Affecting millions world-wide, this pandemic has seemingly placed an unusual amount of stress and discomfort on college students, including the students of Florida A&M University.
The student body has shown mixed emotions to the university’s initiative to support the financial obstacles that many have come to face.
Since receiving the initial CARES ACT funding that was distributed late last spring, students have begun to wonder why there has not been more funding. Comparing this situation to other universities that have received more than one financial care package, this sparked FAMU students to take the matter into their own hands and petition for more funding from the university.
FAMU student Hasani Mundy said he is in support of students petitioning for more financial support from the university, yet he also understands that the faculty can only do so much.
“I feel like the university has tried to support its student body to the best of their ability,” Mundy said. “Although we were provided with one CARES ACT last year, there are still students who are facing the hard times of financial instability. I want to see more support from the government, both state and national, towards HBCUs.”
He believes that they play a pivotal role in the financial success of universities. “HBCUs across the board work just as hard, if not harder, so why not get the same priority access as PWIs?”
Graduating senior Erick Marcel agrees with Mundy.
“If the student body feels a lack in support during a time like this, then I believe that they have a right to fight for what they wish to see a change in,” Marcel said. “The initial CARES ACT was not received by all students, and I was unfortunately a part of that number. So I wholeheartedly understand the frustration and encourage Rattlers to continue to use their voices until they see an inch of change.”
Some students have their own rendition of a struggle since the pandemic’s beginning. Some have swallowed their pride and took fewer credit hours and could not afford to be a full-time student. Others have had to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet.
Dathan Tennyson, a third-year business student and petition advocate, believes that there is a necessity for students to have access to additional funding.
“I believe FAMU has not adjusted well, even after a year of being on lockdown, it feels like the only thing that has changed was remote learning,” Tennyson said. “There are too many students who are uncertain of their next step due to their financial troubles. We still face the same issues as we did pre-COVID-19 and it is upsetting and rather exhausting. We have to change this.”