Students struggle with forced move to hotels

Photo courtesy: Morgan Walton

On Aug. 25 social media was abuzz with the news that residents of Palmetto Phase III were to be moved out by the next day due to a “pest infestation.” The university confirmed this rumor hours later sending residents scrambling to collect all valuables by the end of the day and to be moved into hotels the following day. This has soured some students’ perception of the university considering housing has been a hot issue since last spring semester. Recent events have students begging the question: “Is FAMU trustworthy?”

Sydney DeMar, a first-year psychology student, took to social media to share her grievances with the university. The Instagram post that has now garnered the attention of the campus details the abrupt move-out deadline to the hotel, which has been all but glamorous as described by students.

“Not only do you give us a short notice to move out, it’s 9 p.m. and I’m at a hotel with a dirty room. When I arrived, the door was already open, the room smelled like trash one bed didn’t have any pillows at all, the room had used cups in the bathroom, full trash bins, and dirty floors.”

This excerpt from the infamous post describes some of the living conditions of Casa Bella Suites, one of the hotels that students were placed into. DeMar further discussed her disappointment with FAMU’s response to student outcry.

“I come from an HBCU family so I kind of knew the issues with customer service so I already knew that there would be some sort of delay. However, seeing the president address the football team’s issues three times and not ever speak on our issue is kind of frustrating. I know that the university can do better and as a first-year student I just expected better from the school.”

Ashton McCallum, a transfer theater arts student who also had to evacuate the residence hall, weighed in on the hotel issues.

“The living condition of the hotel was crazy,” McCallum said. “When I got there it smelled like straight mold and I was seeing bugs everywhere. I had to go to the front desk to complain to the staff and when I told them, they just wrote it down and didn’t do anything about it. So those first two nights I didn’t even stay in my room because the conditions were horrible.”

McCallum gave some insight into what the university has been communicating with Palmetto Phase III residents.

“They say we are supposed to move back in tomorrow [Sept. 1] at 1 p.m. but I got that information from my friend,” McCallum said. “I haven’t received an official email from housing yet. They just sent a survey asking if I needed help moving out.”

Students living on campus have been expressing concerns about having to leave their dorms due to safety or health concerns and are questioning if the university has their best interest at heart.

Kamari West, a third-year pre-veterinary student and RA for Palmetto South, reassured students that there is no reason to worry, and housing is handling the situation.

“We have a lot of parents asking whether or not we will be moved into hotels however we do not have the same situation as Phase 3,” West said. “As far as I’m concerned, I know housing is handling the situation as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

With that Palmetto Phase III residents pack up their belongings and prepare to return to campus this week with a new opinion of their beloved university.

DeMar gives her final thoughts on where she stands with the university.

“Hopefully they can do better, and I can feel like I can trust them and trust their word,” she said. “That I can trust everything will go smoothly and I know that nothing is going to be perfect but the way that things have been going have been polar opposites. So, at this point I would say no I don’t trust FAMU.”

Will the university’s creditability be able to recover or has the student body lost all confidence that it once had in the illustrious institution?