Students let it all out at town hall meeting

Monday’s town hall meeting was full of passionate students and staff discussing Florida A&M’s restructuring plans, as well as, state and university budget issues. The meeting may have sparked a new battle to save FAMU’s funds and its programs.

The B.L. Perry lecture room was near full as heated debates and points of view were exchanged. The purpose of the event was to create a sustainable unified community at FAMU through communication and making sure voices are heard.

The debate concerns a $1.7 billion cut in education for all of Florida’s universities. Not only does it affect FAMU, but all other schools as well. The first topic discussed: Low attendance in previous town hall meetings among students. One audience member pointed out that on the day of a previous town hall meeting, the room only had seven in attendance.

On the other hand “the Set” is crowded with students. In opposition, another audience member pointed out an issue in lack of communication and spreading information of important meetings to the student body. As students, we have a FAMU info e-mail account where important news and campus events are shared. Unfortunately, just like many other

students, I fail to check it on a regular basis.

But that is not an acceptable excuse. As students, it is our obligation and responsibility to be informed about our school, events, environment and the world around us. I know every little event and detail is not accessible but taking the effort to get informed would create a more organized and informed university.

In the meeting, another member of the audience mentioned that restructuring is an adjustment to better prepare us for the future. A point was made concerning many of the program cuts that are set to take effect for the next fiscal year. For example, graphic communications and the masters program for the School of Journalism have not had a large number of graduates.

Last year graphic communications only had three graduates, and over the past 20 years 12 have graduated with a master’s in the journalism school. Yes, these numbers are embarrassingly low, but who is to say that more students are not willing to attempt a master’s if we don’t give them the opportunity to try. We are sending our students

elsewhere now.

How is that going to help the university? It is understandable that when there is a budget deficit, the programs that seem less appealing or occupied are the ones most subject to cut. There was a huge debate between members of the FAMU Student Government Association and another audience member regarding the reason why we are facing these cuts. But all possible methods or solutions should already be considered before making these drastic cuts, like what will be the replacement?

Will other programs be formed as a result? However, as of now, we simply don’t know.

Maybe this town hall meeting will show that if we as students were to be more involved in what goes on around campus instead of just the parties, then maybe some of these things would have been avoided and more people would have attended the town hall meeting the first time.