Opinion: FAMU’s student leaders are not ‘Protecting the FAMUly’

Is posting “Protect the FAMUly” enough? Photo from @FAMU_1887 on Twitter

Last summer, Florida A&M University launched a campaign geared toward the students to keep our community’s health and safety a top priority. The campaign, “Protect the FAMUly,” has a striking title that quickly caught the attention of the student body and became a catchy slogan for social media pictures.

President Larry Robinson spoke with FAMU News about the campaign.

“We created ‘Protect the FAMUly’ to reinforce the message that all of us– faculty, students, staff, parents and alumni – are in this together.”

But, are we all in this together?

Recently, students have opted out of following the CDC suggestions to avoid groups and limit their contact with others. Surprisingly, this group of students includes FAMU’s elected student leaders. Many of our campus’ familiar faces have been attending events at clubs, house parties and the variety of concerts that Tallahassee’s venues have held since reopening, as evidenced by social media accounts.

It’s hypocritical to visit a local club on the weekend and post a photo wearing a ‘Protect the FAMUly’ mask on Monday morning. Caring about the health of the student body isn’t occasionally visiting GVO or hosting a party in your apartment that holds more occupants than a common classroom.

Last week, the Leon County Health Department confirmed that the new COVID-19 variant has been detected within the county. As the potentially worse strain is making its way into our town, we should continue protecting the FAMUly. This translates to avoiding parties, clubs and any event that doesn’t adhere to the CDC guidelines.

As coronavirus cases spike, the amount of parties listed on Eventbrite is coincidentally rising as well. Getting tested prior to visiting a club or being the handful of attendees that wears a mask in a packed venue doesn’t equate to being safe and lowering the risk of cases.

The blame isn’t solely on the student leaders who choose to disregard COVID-19 restrictions. But, it’s arguable that they have an influence on the student body, hence them being chosen for the leadership positions they are in. Communicating with your peers and encouraging them to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines should be the standard for our elected representatives.

This is not meant to be an attack on the representatives of the royal court or student government, but merely an observation by a concerned student that’s worried about the safety of our student body. FAMU’s student leaders were elected by their peers to serve the students, university and community. It’s not enough to share a video with a mask on or remind your Instagram followers to use the university’s conveniently placed sanitization stations.

Avoiding large crowds and encouraging others to do the same is the best way to set an example for your peers.