Security tightens for homecoming

Homecoming is right around the corner Rattlers! It’s time to get your tight shape-ups and your nice hairdos.

Pretty soon the campus will have banners everywhere and the band will be marching, while students are trying to pay attention in class, and the parties will be non-stop like they were during Total Orientation Program for Students (T.O.P.S.).

But make sure you get to the malls early. At least that is what some Rattlers are saying.

Last year during homecoming, Shelly Stephens, a 21-year-old senior biology/pre-med student from South Carolina said she was forced to leave the mall before normal closing time.

So did David Bryant, a 23-year-old political science student; Shayla Nelson, a 23-year-old senior psychology student; and Joel Lumpkins, a 23-year-old senior computer information sciences student.

Although he was not forced to leave the mall early, Al Williams, the 22-year-old senior manufacturing engineering technology student said there was a noticeable change in the security at the mall.

Even though they went to the mall separately, their stories are similar. All of these students were in Governor’s Square Mall. All mention higher police activity and rudeness from the members of the force.

Stephens said she and her friends “left the mall empty-handed and downcast.” Bryant left “frustrated” thinking, “During homecoming, the police have their own agenda.”

Williams said the extra security, “makes you feel bad about FAMU…it’s like they say FAMU doesn’t know how to act.”

Nelson said they put up banners so people cannot look over the rails and Lumpkins said the police break up groups of people.

Sgt. Leroy Peck of the Tallahassee Police Department said these complaints are the result of students being extra sensitive.

“The problem isn’t color; the problem is numbers,” Peck said.

He contested Florida A&M and Florida State University’s homecomings cannot be compared because so many more people come to the Rattler weekend celebration. He said the most comparable event is when FSU plays the University of Miami or some other big game. He then explained that at a FSU vs. UM game, 100,000 people will show up. About 84,000 will be in the stadium, the rest will be tailgating and at the malls. FAMU, however, will have an estimated 150,000 people with only 24,000 people in the stadium. He said the security was just as tight during a big FSU game as it is at FAMU’s homecoming.

The reason why more officers will be at the malls is to control the masses.

“The upper deck can only hold so much weight. If too many people are on it, it will collapse,” Peck said. “The police are just there to keep everyone moving so everyone has a chance to be in the mall.”

When the Tallahassee Mall was contacted in an effort to address its side of the issue, an unnamed representative said Governor’s Square Mall was the one that closed early during FAMU’s homecoming.

Another representative from the Governor’s Square Mall, who also declined to give her name, denied the mall closed early during homecoming for a number of years and do not plan on closing early this year.

Contact Ron Jones at