News | June 12th, 2020
Freshmen Having Cars Raises Concern From the Student Body
By: Alexys Lynn
Students at Florida A&M University are eager to come back to school for the upcoming fall semester. After three months of stay-at-home orders and strict social distancing rules, students are ready to interact with the campus and resume face-to-face instruction. Although, there is a large concern about students’ health being that there is no vaccine, as of late, to cure the novel coronavirus. Even parents questioned how COVID-19 will be monitored on campus with students returning from different states.
After detailed consideration and planning, the university has created a phased reopening plan, spanning from June 15 to August 15, to ensure everyone’s safety and success for the fall semester. Tuesday, June 9 at 8 p.m. President Larry Robinson and the Department of Student Affairs hosted a virtual town hall for students and parents to discuss pertinent updates.
During the town hall, the proposed changes to satisfy health and safety guidelines were released. The plan, which has been approved by the university’s Board of Trustees, is still awaiting official approval from the Board of Governors on June 23.
However, official changes to normal university operations were released, including a new policy that allows all freshmen to now have registered cars on campus. In past years, FAMU has not allowed incoming freshmen to have vehicles on campus unless they are classified as an upperclassmen via credit hours.
Ricky Rodriguez, a junior political science major and pre-law minor student, explained that he doesn’t agree with freshmen now being able to have cars because it will only cause more problems.
“With freshmen being allowed to have cars, there will be an increase in cars on campus, but without enough parking spaces available,” said Rodriguez. “I also believe that with this increase in cars there will be an increase in parking violations because students will complain that parking is limited even more now.”
Dr. William Hudson, vice president of Student Affairs, addressed the concerns from students about parking. He stated that this past academic year FAMU opened available parking on Martin Luther King Jr. Street. Hudson also mentioned that the new residence hall, FAMU Towers, and the newly built amphitheater will also offer parking for this upcoming school year.
Ymonie Lopez, a senior criminal justice student, shares a different stance than Rodriguez and other upperclassmen. She explained that everyone should be allowed a vehicle because unforeseen emergencies or inconveniences can occur.
When Lopez was a freshman she explained how often she struggled with health issues that required her to have regular appointments and refills on medication. She said it was costly spending money on Uber or Lyft trips to commute back and forth to campus, and if she was allowed a vehicle she would’ve likely saved $100 per week on travel needs.
“I think that freshmen should have cars because a lot are moving away from home which means leaving all their resources and necessities such as doctor offices, banks, and family members,” Lopez said.
Although this academic year will be a different experience for everyone, Danae Carter believes allowing freshmen to have vehicles may not be the best decision. The graduating English student recognizes all students should have a smooth transition but says having a vehicle may become a distraction for some incoming freshmen.
“Freshmen should enjoy the entire college experience including walking from dorms to class, socializing, and any other campus necessities without a vehicle to allow them to become more in-touch with school work, school activities, and communication skills with others,” said Carter.