After a year and a half of school events and a non-existent homecoming last year, most people don’t want to hear this but — Florida A&M needs to cancel homecoming.
In the midst of a continuously growing pandemic with lives being lost every day, is the — potentially detrimental — enjoyment really worth the lives at risk?
Most students are excited to hear that it’s happening but the annual event is for alumni and their families to come back to their alma mater to celebrate.
46,000 cases and 400 deaths have been reported in Leon County as of September with 3 million cases and 49,000 deaths in the entire state — that’s not considering the alumni and supporters who live throughout the country — vaccinated or not.
North Carolina A&T, Spelman and Morehouse have cancelled their homecoming within the past month due to the severity of the ongoing pandemic. Due to other university’s cancelling their homecoming, FAMU being the last one standing may entice even more people to attend, increasing the chance of exposure.
As the #1 Public HBCU we should be setting an example and ensure safety of students. It can be seen as irresponsible to host super spreaders.
FAMU may close down campus and classes will return remote, setting back the hard work and progress the university has made, not to mention the money they have invested to function in-person during the pandemic.
For graduating seniors, this may affect whether there will be a commencement ceremony in December and if there is one, how many tickets will be permitted to each student.
Safety precautions may be implemented however, Governor Ron DeSantis prohibits public schools, including FAMU, from requiring mask mandates. Therefore, FAMU can only encourage that masks be worn, but in the land of the free, it’s not likely.
At the first home football game since returning back on campus, mask-less students can be seen packed like sardines in the stands. The same will apply to event’s like the comedy show, step show, concerts and others.
This Friday, Student Government Association hosted an in-person pep rally at Gaither Gymnasium where they announced Rapper Lil Baby will be returning for the homecoming concert featuring Moneybagg Yo with tickets being sold — to students as well — for $65.
The two artists cancelled their homecoming performance that included Lil Durk at Florida State that was set to take place the weekend prior. While their decision to choose Al Lawson is flattering, students were able to see Baby in 2019 in exchange of a canned good, so why the up charge? Call FAMU spoiled, but why didn’t they choose a different artist?
Although majority of current students are excited, alumni and upperclassmen are curious as to why they decided to bring him back.
“I’m not really excited about seeing him again for the second time and having to pay for a concert ticket,” Kamari Carter, a fourth-year health science major, said. “I feel like the school is being repetitive and lazy with their artist selection.”
She doesn’t plan to attend and would have liked to see artists such as: Baby Face Ray, Roddy Rich, or NBA Youngboy, instead.
Whether there are school mandated events or not, party promoters have already begun to roll out their homecoming week line-up that features out-of-town celebrities, which increases the anticipation and consequently, attracts a larger crowd.
Granted, the party will go on — with or without Student Government’s participation.
Students can take advantage of the on-sight COVID testing — both rapid and PCR — and vaccinations. The CDC recommends anyone who has come in contact with someone who is positive to quarantine for 10 days. With testing, the virus is not detected until at least six days after exposure, if contracted. On the brighter side, the amount of people who are vaccinated are increasing every day, but people are still dying at alarming rates.
Is the university going to require a two-week quarantine after? Are classes expected to resort to remote learning as before? The focus is on the desire to have this piece of normalcy back but are the long-term consequences being considered?
If our illustrious institution feels that cancelling homecoming is too much, they could adopt a “hybrid” operation like Howard University. This would limit in-person events to students only with virtual events for alumni, but the football game will still be open to everyone.