University takes ‘silence is golden’ to a ridiculous level

Why do officials at Florida A&M University feel the need to be ultra elusive? For some reason, they seem to be afraid of talking to and informing students.

I understand why only a certain number of people in each department are allowed to speak.

Nothing screams public relations nightmare like a newly-hired secretary spewing false information on behalf of an entire department.

But when things as simple as homecoming tickets and procedures become a factor in this equation, there should not be only one knowledgeable person on hand to speak on the matter.

I was recently assigned by another publication to write a preview story about Homecoming Week. So on Oct. 13-Friday the 13th, no less-I called the Office of Student Union and Activities to interview someone for what I thought would be an easy story.

But I was told the only person who was adequately equipped enough to inform my readers about the same ole homecoming was OSUA director Morolaké Buggs. But there was a problem.

The time was around 4:30 p.m., and apparently FAMU employees go into weekend mode when the clock nears 5 p.m.

Whoever answered the phone told me Buggs was in a meeting and she would call me later. However, she probably would not call until Monday.

Frustrated by certain people’s refusal to donate 10 minutes of their time to discuss the events for which they are responsible, I shrugged it off. I know what it’s like when the clock strikes 5 (well, midnight in my case).

Monday rolls around, and I start making calls. But Madame Director is too busy issuing tickets. So I decide to drag my butt to the Grand Ballroom to speak to her directly.

The lady at the doors-who does not speak but only asks for my Rattler card-tells me Buggs is too busy to speak with me.

She suggests OSUA associate director Sandra Inge. But when I visited Inge in the office, she tells me that only Buggs will be able to speak on the issue.

After this episode, I knew something was wrong, but I could not pinpoint the problem.

Is there some unwritten rule at FAMU stating that only one person from each department be allowed to speak. Or was the ever-so-busy Buggs just the only one-yes, one-who knew enough about a week’s worth of events which at the time were scheduled to jump off in less than a week.

I expect businesses to meet certain standards: run smoothly, be informed, communicate with the customer.

Too many times have I, or others I know, gone to OSUA, housing, financial aid or student activities to find out things I have a right to know only to be told that the only person who could comment was out of the office or too busy.

In some cases, the person in charge could not talk to me unless he or she got the thumbs up from the interim president or the Office of Public Affairs.

When will the shenanigans end? It’s not like you will be fired for saying something that higher-ups won’t like.

But then again, maybe we should take a lesson from past events.

Brandon D. Oliver is a senior magazine production student from Palatka,Fl. He can be reached at