Students air their concerns to Ammons during his first week in office

The new Florida A&M University president, James Ammons, set foot on campus earlier this week with one goal in mind: “To connect with FAMU.”

Ammons reached out to students by participating in a prayer vigil for the university and later on in the cafeteria over lunch.

Students gave advice and spoke openly about their concerns with the university while Ammons and members of his new leadership team listened intently.

Representatives from student government, graduate students and incoming freshmen attended the event.

Ammons broke the silence in the room by posing a unique scenario. “If I had a magic wand to give students what they wanted, what would that be?” Ammons asked.

One student said that unity was at the center of student desires. This was in regard to aspects of communication with students and protecting FAMU’s reputation.

When Ammons asked “How can we do it?” James Titus, 25, a doctoral physics student from Cocoa, suggested that FAMU upgrade its technology and utilize its website as means to communicate efficiently with everyone on campus.

Others suggested the use of email as a means of communicating, while also adding that students often communicate with each other via Facebook and text messaging.

Titus also asked if there was a way to keep issues in house and prevent bad publicity. Ammons suggested that in order to create a balance in the news that it’s going to be our job to get it out and do it in the right way.

Student body president, Monique Gillum, 20, added that if students know more about what’s going on, they can help to dispel inaccurate information and disseminate the facts. “When you educate yourselves you empower yourselves,” said the senior political science student from Gainesville. Gillum also noted that students must be the bearers of the good news.

Lack of tutoring, mentors, degree audits, funding for the Safe Team and international student diversity were other concerns raised by students.

“I’m going to go back to my cabinet and address these issues,” Ammons said, as he wrote down students’ concerns.

He also said that if he can’t solve the issues immediately, he will inform students and continue to have meetings with them regularly.