Is FAMU ready to accept more students?

Photo caption: Students’ current experiences on campus raise questions about growing school enrollment.
Photo credit: Deju Johnson

It is official, Fall 2022 is out, and Spring 2023 is in. Welcome back to your number one public HBCU,
Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. This semester has been a whirlwind of events, and it has
just begun. Students and staff have been under immense pressure to maintain stability during these
trying times. Still, all anyone can think about is if FAMU is prepared to accept more students despite
several administration flaws.

The challenges from the previous semester have merged into the new year with a vengeance. These
challenges include a lack of professors and administrators, long wait times for assistance, insufficient
housing, and insufficient parking spots for students on campus. Many students on FAMU’s campus have
felt these issues directly and have a lot to say about them.

“Realistically, FAMU is not financially, mentally, and physically ready to accept more students at this
time,” Dalilah Posely, a fourth-year Broadcast Journalism student, said. “Can we get there- yes, but it’s
going to take the right kind of leadership and steps.”

FAMUs has many disadvantages due to HBCUs being historically underfunded and under-resourced.
What students are experiencing is familiar to many universities, especially traditionally Black institutions.
Most staff and students are aware of the underfunding but are leaning on alumni and sponsors to help
during these trying times.

As much as FAMU students enjoy having sneakers with our logo and name, most students can
barely afford tuition, let alone sneakers. The branding for FAMU will never be an issue; students know
they are at the number one public HBCU. Although, what does name notoriety mean for students
struggling on campus? Students can’t feel that in their pockets. It costs to be the boss. Although, how
much is too much?

After hours of deliberations and staff meetings addressing the current FAMU experience, Mira Lowe,
The Dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication weighed in on the issue. “We are doing
the best with the resources that we have,” Lowe said. “Success takes time to build, and we are at a great
place, but we are not where we want to be, so we are working towards achieving those goals.”

Dean Lowe added, “we want to make sure that all our students have the best student experience,
quality education, quality instructors; there is a lot behind the scenes in how classes come together.”
Tiffani Burt, Office Manager of SJGC and mother of a former FAMU graduate, stresses the importance of
students staying productive and attentive.

“Make sure that you all do your part as well to show independence,” Burt said. “A young man came up
here asking me about his professor’s office hours in the syllabus- I asked him if he read it, and he
said no.”
The moral of the story is that before one asks for help, please be sure to take all the necessary steps.

One idea suggested is to expedite courses or mid-courses to help graduating seniors with class
placements. Still, because it has not been introduced for the spring term in J-School until now, it must be
approved for accreditation purposes – and that takes time.

In a call to action in these unfortunate circumstances, FAMU’s staff has implemented new strategies to
counteract the pressure. To help students get advised and financially assisted, efforts like the “One Stop
Shop,” emails for updates, surveys to help students get into classes, hardship grants, and short
courses are recommended. If seniors cannot get help from these suggestions, their graduation date may
be postponed to the summer or fall of 2023.

Issues arise, but our respectable president, vice presidents, deans, directors, instructors, and advisors
are all working on getting FAMU on one accord.