Rattlers fear for their safety on campus


Some students feel unsafe and vulnerable on Florida A&M’s campus.

“You never know who you are sitting next to in class,” said April Burke, a senior political science student from New York. “I feel like this university is open to different neighborhoods, and anyone can simply walk on campus. You never know if you’re next to a professor, student or a criminal, and that’s the part that is so dangerous.”

Two weeks ago during the convocation celebration for the university’s 125th anniversary, FAMU experienced a bomb threat while former President Frederick Humphries spoke. Prior to that incident, an armed man was seen on campus, causing the university to go on lockdown.

Crime Prevention Officer D.J. Jefferson goes from department to department and dorm to dorm to educate students and faculty on how to make them less vulnerable to victimization.

“We are subject to have the same types of crimes here, and the fact that we are an open campus could be a contributing factor,” Jefferson said. “However, we pride ourselves on being proactive in educating the students, faculty and staff as well as the surrounding community of the importance in maintaining a safe working and educational environment.”

David Johnson, a senior pre-med student from Fayetteville, Ga., sees no change from when he first stepped onto campus.

“I feel as safe as I always have,” Johnson said. “We can’t control what people do. I don’t know how strict you can be about who comes in and out. It is still an open campus.”

FAMU is a public university where the FAMU Police Department enforces the law. However, some students don’t think the officers are “real.”

“I don’t feel safe.” said Devon Davis, a junior political science student from Indianapolis. “I feel like it’s pretty much open to the public and anyone can come in and do anything they really want to in this campus. The FAMU police are not the real police. I respect them, but I honestly don’t feel safe.”

FAMU PD is certified through the state of Florida and works very closely with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the Tallahassee Police Department.

Although FAMU is an open campus, it’s also a weapons-free campus. FAMU bars pepper spray, Mace and handheld Tasers among other things.