Gulf students flock to FAMU

Many educational institutions nationwide are doing all they can to help displaced students affected by Hurricane Katrina.

According to the Florida Department of Education’s website, more than 30 colleges and universities in the Gulf Coast areas of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi were damaged, displacing thousands of students from institutions that will remain closed or will operate at less than capacity for the current academic term.

The Florida CARES initiative-Coordinated Assistance to Resume Educational Studies will allow displaced students to continue their education in Florida until they can return to their own schools.

“Florida’s education leaders want the students to stay in school, and we want their families to have the peace of mind to know their son or daughter will continue their education, regardless of the tragedy that surrounds them now,” said the Commissioner of Florida’s Department of Education, John L. Winn at

FAMU is one of the universities in Florida currently accepting displaced students.

LaNedra Carroll, director of public affairs, said FAMU has a two-fold issue at hand. We need to focus on admitting displaced students from Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi-area schools and we also need to take care of our own students.

Colleges and universities around the nation have opened their doors and developed plans with special requirements to help victimized students, and FAMU is no different. Carroll said any student interested in admittance to the university should apply and FAMU is emphasizing the support of displaced students from fellow Hocus.

Interim President Castell V. Bryant has appointed a special team of experts from the financial aid, housing, admissions and academic departments to meet with each student on a one-on-one basis.

The team is centrally located in the William Gray Center as a “one-stop shop.” Carroll said these students have been through enough and should not have to get the run-around here. Applicants are encouraged to visit the center or call the hotline at 1-877-FAMNEWS (326-6397.) The local number is (850) 412-7833.

From 1-5 p.m. callers will reach a live line, in which student volunteers from various campus organizations will take calls.

Carroll said the University has already identified about 100 students here from the affected areas and has begun working to assess their needs. FAMU has donated food to students whose ATM cards did not function, and one family has been able to find shelter and donated clothing.

Many FAMU students face issues such as where their family members are, whether they have homes to go back to, and how they will pay for tuition. Concerned members of the student body met after the prayer vigil on Sept. 2 to determine what steps students could take to help hurricane victims.

SGA vice president Phillip Agnew, along with Tavaris Ferguson, Jessica Larche and many others, created a foundation called “Operation: Southern Hospitality.” The foundation has raised $10, 174.61 since Sept. 2. The foundation is hosting a Hurricane Katrina Relief Charity Basketball game at 7p.m. tonight in the Gaither Gymnasium.

contact Driadonna Roland at