Natural disasters prompt town hall

FAMU President Larry Robinson. Photo courtesy

Monday’s virtual town hall meeting addressed two ongoing natural disasters that may be impacting some in the FAMU community: Hurricane Ida and the massive earthquake in Haiti that took place earlier this month.

The meeting was moderated by Keith Miles, the director of communications. He was joined on the panel by Florida A&M University President Larry Robinson, Compliance and Ethics Officer Rica Calhoun, Student Health Services Director Tanya Tatum and a few other key members of the senior leadership team.

The virtual event allowed panelists to send their condolences to faculty and students who have been affected by the recent natural disasters. It also gave them the chance to encourage students to get vaccinated.

“We have watched the reports of the devastation and felt we needed to show our concern in more tangible ways,” Robinson said. “We are meeting with you this evening to hear your concerns and to assist you, especially with any on-campus challenges that may have been caused by these events.”

Following Robinson’s remarks, Calhoun and Tatum addressed COVID-19 testing, COVID-19 vaccinations, the testing protocol for those vaccinated and unvaccinated, and safety tips to prevent the spread of the virus during the holiday weekend.

“As Dr.Robinson said, vaccination really is the best tool that we have to mitigate the devastating effects of the virus. A few reminders as we approach Labor Day weekend, remember to take all precautions as you enjoy the weekend,” Calhoun said. “For those of you who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, we recommend that you maintain a bi-weekly testing schedule. We have the testing site, as Dr. Robinson mentioned, right here on campus. You can simply walk up, get your test, and you’re done.”

Calhoun also said that there would be a vaccination incentive drawing for students who have been vaccinated on or after July 19. Students will be eligible to win prizes ranging from cash to iPads.  The link to register for the drawing is located on the FAMU coronavirus main webpage.

William Hudson Jr., the vice president of Student Affairs, transitionined away from COVID-19. He  reiterated the resources in place for students who may be struggling with the natural disasters and reminded students to verify the validity of the agencies that they’re choosing to donate to.

“I want to assure students that the university has resources in place to assist with academic advising, financial aid, mental health counseling, tutoring, and other student support services on campus to help you during this time of need,” Hudson said. “As such, I have assigned Dean Beaumont and Mr. Bryan Smith as liaisons for the division of student affairs to work with the Student Government Association and the FAMU Alumni Association to coordinate any giving efforts with the FAMU Foundation.”

The university has had laptops donated for students who may be in need. To receive one, a request must be filed with the dean of your school; their designee will verify your enrollment, and they will submit your request.

FAMU has waived the Sept. 3 deadline for student fees for those students impacted by the natural disasters, and students will have the option to access a payment plan option. For more information or help with the payment plan, the office of student accounts can be contacted for assistance.