FAMU needs to do its part for us to finish in four

FAMU senior Olivia Abney
Photo Submitted by Olivia Abney

Here I am so close to graduation and the university has threatened to close one of my classes for the second semester in a row – because of low enrollment.

The possibility of a required senior class closing in a graduation year is enough to cause an anxiety-ridden student more paranoia than they probably experienced collectively in their first three years as an undergrad.

In my case, last summer my Research and Strategies class was in jeopardy, and this fall it is my Campaigns class.

The School of Journalism & Graphic Communication has experienced a major drop in enrollment due in part to most of its students graduating in the spring and summer semesters of 2019.

So, where there would have been two or three mostly filled sections of a class, now there’s barely enough of us to fit in one. This makes it hard for those of us who need the option of the different times to accommodate our schedules, that multiple sections allow, to just pick one in the hopes that the nine other students needed to keep the class open are in the same predicament.

But, why does it feel like this year’s seniors are being punished for what seems like a recruitment issue?

As a part of the FAMU Rising strategic plan, the university is focusing on four-year graduation rates to prevent students from staying any longer than necessary.

While it sounds good on paper, in actuality it seems like the registrar’s office is actively trying to prevent “out the door in four” by closing classes that are required for graduation, and sometimes only offered once a year.

Other than low enrollment, I am sure factors like the availability of professors, professors having a cap on how many courses they can teach, and classroom space play a part in course closures. But quite frankly none of these problems are above us as students and are obviously out of our control.

I, like most seniors, am going into my last year with my spring and summer semester already planned out. Closing two of my senior level classes could quite possibly extend my undergraduate stay until fall 2020.

This might not seem too far off from a spring or summer graduation, but when you consider expenses including: apartments, gas, food costs, and now tuition, it is frustrating to think about how that unexpected extra semester is going to cost you, when you did everything you were supposed to do, but your school didn’t meet their end of the expectation.

Thankfully, my classes were saved, but the same cannot be said for a few of my classmates.