University removes Greek tree

Christina Stapleton in front of former Greek plot.
Photo courtesy: Kiara Scott


On Aug. 24, the third day of the new semester, the tree representing the Alpha Epsilon
chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho near Coleman Library was removed without the
chapter’s knowledge.

Christina Stapleton, the chapter president and a fourth-year business administration
student, said she was dismayed when she heard the news.

“I was not happy about the tree being taken down as well as the bench being placed in
the middle of the sidewalk or all of our bricks being removed without any notice. FAMU
definitely owes our alumni and us a valid explanation. A lot of history goes back to the
plot and the items that were there,” Stapleton said.

Stapleton did not receive proper notice on why the tree and other property were
removed from the area.

“I’m not 100% sure why, but they ‘say’ its because the paint is killing the trees, but if
that were the case, they would’ve chopped down everyone’s tree and also not removed
all of our bricks from the plot. So, if the paint is really the issue, they need to chop
everyone’s tree down. If not, we should be allowed to paint another tree,” Stapleton

FAMU’s fraternity and sorority life coordinator, Edward Kincheon, said that it is in
FAMU’s hands which trees stay and which go.

“The Office of Plant Operations Management goes through and is responsible for
cutting grass and facility upkeep. When they get directions from management or the
environmental office, they go out and execute these tasks,” Kincheon said.

After POM did an inspection, it noticed that some of the trees were dying from the inside
out, and the removal was for the safety of the students at the university,

Since then, a new palm tree stands in the area. Kincheon made an official plot
beautification statement on May 31, released on FAMU INFO in which where he
explained how Greek organizations can put in a request to obtain new spaces.

“Organizations will be permitted to update and beautify existing plots and Greek wall
slots only. This does not include painting of any existing or new trees,” Kincheon said.

Morgan Tucker, a master of business administration student and president of the FAMU
National Panhellenic Council, said that the news surprised her and some of his

“Some of the council members were surprised, devastated, as well as disappointed in
the decision, but we all understand the purpose and that we have to find ways to pivot,”
Tucker said.

The Greek space beautification and updating process started June 1, and is scheduled
to conclude on Oct. 22.