Town hall addresses spring semester issues

FAMU President Larry Robinson. Photo courtesy

Dark clouds seemingly gathered on Florida A&M University’s horizon after the sudden announcement earlier this month regarding the cancellation of spring break. The unexpected news from the administration left many students questioning if classes will be entirely in-person next semester. In the midst of the controversy, FAMU held a town hall at 6 p.m. Thursday to discuss plans on navigating the remainder of the semester and the beginning of spring.

Shutting down all the controversy, Provost Maurice Edington announced that the spring semester will not require students to have completely in-person classes.  However, the university is increasing options for in-person classes.

“It appears that students have gotten the perception that there will not be remote courses in the spring. That is absolutely not true,”Edington said. “We still continue to expect to be able to offer a sufficient rate of courses remotely for those students who have that preference. I want to make sure we clear that up, but we are also adding face-to-face courses to the semester, and so that’s the difference compared to the fall.”

With Tallahassee COVID-19 cases and cases statewide rising every day, moving to more in-person classes has some professors and students wary of returning to on-campus learning, especially with the recently lifted curfew and the change to a maximum of 30 socially distanced individuals at any one gathering.

However, for those in-person classes, the specific number of seats will be determined by the classroom’s size adhering to  guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 Tanya Tatum, director of health services at FAMU, and President Larry Robinson strongly recommend COVID testing at Bragg Stadium, self wellness apps, and following regulated procedures as FAMU recently received $1.5 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help operate its COVID-19 testing lab.

“Let me first begin by saying that the health and safety of the FAMU community is still our highest priority,” Robinson said. “Let me encourage you to continue [following CDC guidelines] as COVID-19 is still with us in your efforts to not only protect you but it also keeps all of us safe. Remember to protect the FAMUly.”

Spring semester classes weren’t the only controversy addressed Thursday.

Rebecca Brown, assistant vice-president of administrative affairs, talked about the new construction on the south end of campus.

“If you have been on the south end of campus, you have probably noticed a building being constructed adjacent to the Towers,” Brown said. “We are excited to report that the HUB facility will open in the spring of 2021. The exact date of operations is contingent upon the construction completion date.”

The HUB facility will be a 10,000 square foot auxiliary building that will house a satellite business center, a second main dining room, a convenience store and a special event dining space.

Although this is exciting news for many Rattlers, some are still concerned about the spring semester and its questionable events. In particular, many students wanted to know if FAMU’s homecoming will have a comeback in the spring. President Robinson indicated that there are no plans of having homecoming in the spring; however, he hopes homecoming returns next academic year.

Despite the canceled homecoming, athletic director Kortne Gosha reassured students that spring sports would continue as planned. The basketball season will start on Nov. 25, and the $10 million Bragg Stadium renovation project is expected to get underway next month.

Gosha also strongly encouraged FAMU alumni and current rattlers to help support the athletic department due to the cancellations of  fall sports.

“Many of you may know that because of the suspension of fall sports, our financial situation has drastically changed,” said Gosha. “Now is the most important time that we need our Rattlers, new and old, to support our athletic apartment. Ways that you can do that is giving to the Rattler athletic fund.”

All students living on campus are mandated to leave by 7 p.m. Nov. 25 for the Thanksgiving break. For those students who need an extended stay due to unfortunate circumstances, you must make a request through the FAMU’s housing website no later than Oct. 30 and will be charged $653 extra if accepted. However, if eligible, financial aid can cover those added expenses once requested.

Every facility will remain one occupant per room in the spring and traditional residence halls continue to require mandatory meal plans as the costs will be available in December.

As far as academics, FAMU does not plan to have the S/U grading system for students this semester. Fall graduation will continue to be virtual this semester. However, the university hasn’t finalized its plans for spring graduation.

With high hopes for the spring semester, President Robinson ended with optimism for the remainder of the fall semester and the upcoming spring semester.

“We sincerely hope that this virtual town hall for students has provided you with valuable information,” Robinson said. “I do want to reiterate that we all agreed that our ability to get through this pandemic is a shared responsibility. We each have roles to play, and I wanted to commend you for what you’ve done, students, for following those guidelines and implementing those safety protocols.”

For more information on the town hall, visit or email further questions to