Scholarly expectations unrealistic

In Monday’s issue of The Famuan, an opinions piece discussed the lack of intellectuals on campus.

This observation may have been a little misguided.

I do believe that FAMU does lack an overall scholarly aura, but that doesn’t quite reflect the intellectual capabilities of our peers.      

The idea of classes being filled with exhilarating debates and highbrow inquiries seems utopian, and a bit theatric.

Keep in mind that we attend a state-ran, public university. These publicly funded institutions must meet the demographic characteristics of the state’s populous.

In short, the school that historically ensures post secondary educational opportunities to minorities, and specifically students of color in Florida, is FAMU.   

Before questioning the aptitude of our student body, or any given group, there are a number of environmental, cultural and psychological factors that heavily influence our behavior.

According to the Florida Board of Governor’s Standard Enrollment Report, FAMU’s admittance pool consists of majority black students from middle, and lower class socioeconomic backgrounds.

This more likely equates to individuals who were rarely afforded proper instruction, and resources to expound upon what they learned in the classroom at the primary level. 

French nannies and attending haughty summer camps may be a commonplace in Disney movies, but rarely in a black household.                  

I too feel awkward and ashamed, when a professor poses a question that is, at most times simple, but no one will answer.

Those instances are the result of anxiety.

If Sigmund Freud taught us anything about anxiety, it’s how large a role the interactions we have with each other shape our respective personalities.

So, someone may know the answer.  But the fear of having what we know questioned, especially by a group of your peers, can be scary and humiliating.

Hardened criticisms like the aforementioned and those in Mondays’ column won’t exactly summon bookworms from hiding.              

Those considerations in mind, including the fact that FAMU is a public school, you must realize that you get what you pay for.

You paid to attend a tax-funded institution, whose mission is to produce graduates, solely to support the bureaucratic and economic infrastructure of its governing body, the state.

Hence the category of people you’ll likely find at FAMU, or at any other state school.  

The learning atmosphere you see on the front of our schools recruitment brochure is false advertising, and it shouldn’t be mistaken for an Oxford-like learning experience. 

FAMU houses unique scholars, some of who will transcend into powerful positions in both the public and private sectors.

But ‘the average Joes’ of the student body realize that FAMU was the only chance to alter those cultural and environmental factors that would otherwise hinder them.

There are outside pundits who already question the ability of students at FAMU, so blind internal criticism won’t do much in the way of morale building.     

The first step in creating an ideal learning environment like the one mentioned in Monday’s column, is to acknowledge that all your peers, who at least attend class faithfully, are making an effort to improve themselves. 

Jason Lawrence is a junior political science student from Tallahassee. He can be reached at