Residents speak out at RHA town hall meeting

RHA Town Hall Meeting flyer.
Photo courtesy Tracy Noze

Florida A&M University’s Housing Residence Hall Association hosted its first town hall meeting on Wednesday in FAMU Village. 

RHA focuses on improving the experiences of campus residents by advocating for them and providing opportunities for leadership development. The purpose of the RHA town hall was to give residents a space to discuss and ask questions on things affecting them and their residential community like maintenance, safety, improvements, and costs.  

The game day room was at capacity with attendance of residents and resident assistants from all FAMU residential halls and housing staff officials. 

The town hall meeting was moderated by the Vice President of RHA, Sierra Lowery. Lowery stated the areas of discussion for this meeting were general opinions, security and safety, facility and room conditions, maintenance, custodial, response time, and lifestyle amenities. 

Residents began to voice their opinions about the laundry room procedure and the extended response time for collecting laundry items. A university housing official emphasized that the university is not liable for any lost, stolen or damaged items and that residents should allow staff members to handle issues like these. 

Kabreon Allen, a resident of Village East, raised a comment on having to pay for laundry during a “free laundry weekend” that took place in the residence halls. Although the resident was instructed on who to contact to get the issue handled, residents believe the response they received from stating this issue will not solve anything because they won’t be able to get their money back.

“I paid extra to wash on free laundry day compared to what I pay on a regular day, but I needed my stuff washed so it was whatever,” Allen said. “I feel our RA’s care but I’m unsure if housing wants to really make improvements.” 

Security was a concern that provoked a lot of discussion in the room. One resident stated she felt uncomfortable with men being on the floor during late nights in an all-female residential facility. Others stated homecoming created more of a problem with people not living in the residential halls having access to the building and invading their personal space. 

With RA’s acting as liaisons and raising concerns brought to their attention, those who decided to speak out found themselves being shut down. 

“Something that should have been enforced on my end was that this was an event specifically for residents so that their voices could be heard,” Lowery said.  

The expectations for the town hall meeting were not discussed prior but based on this experience, attendees are knowledgeable about what to expect in the future. 

Willis Charlemond, a resident of Village East, attended the event 

“I got some questions answered, not all, but it was overall a good event,” Charlemond said. 

With this town hall meeting, the University’s RHA was able to provide a space for residents to state their questions and concerns. 

“I think the outcome of this event was very good and that this town hall meeting was effective in accomplishing its mission and purpose,” Lowery said.