To Mr. James Ammons
President, Florida A & M University
Dear Mr. President:
I am bringing to your attention a very serious matter. As a result of students speaking out on this issue safety has now become a concern and one person has been arrested. The following correspondence has been sent to the offices of Student Government, Student Life, Student Activities and Student Affairs.
THE FLORIDA A&M UNIVERSITY MISSION:
To provide an enlightened and enriched academic, intellectual, moral, cultural, ethical, technological, and student centered environment conducive of the development of highly qualified individuals who are prepared and capable of serving as leaders and contributors in our ever-evolving society.
We, The Florida A&M student body, feel that the power of music is one of the most critical and overlooked aspects of human development and behavior. Throughout history the sounds, melodies, and words of artists have helped shaped public opinions and change lives. Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power” are evidence of this phenomenon. Such a powerful tool cannot be underestimated. Florida A&M University’s mission from its very beginning has been to influence and empower youth through sound educational and social principles. A part of this mission, as expressed in the university mission statement, is the cultural development of its students. We feel there could be more attention, detail and care in this regard.
Recent homecoming concerts at Florida A&M University have included artists whose messages are not keeping with the university’s commitment to the positive cultural enrichment of its students. One artist booked for this years event has been banned from at least one other universities homecoming activities.
As students, faculty, and alumni, we want to express a desire to see more diversity in the selection of artists in homecoming week events. We have several suggestions as to how there can be a more diverse homecoming experience and are willing to assist in a large scale discussion as to how this can be done.
On Thursday, October 15, we hosted an open forum for the campus to air their grievances and voice their opinions. Dean Kirby, SGA VP Calvin Hayes, William Mackenzie, concert promoter were all invited but chose not to attend. The meeting took place and students were given the opportunity to speak on this issue. Several solutions were also discussed and were agreed upon by the group.
Among them were:
- Issue a formal statement in regards to this issue
- Provide an entertainment alternative for this years homecoming activities. A suitable artist is available and is interested in performing at the Student Cookout on Wednesday October 21st. President Gallop Franklin has suggested that we work to make this happen.
- Form an advisory committee to include all sectors of the FAMU community: Various student organizations, Alumni and Faculty to insure that throughout the year the promoter is working towards an artist lineup that is more appropriate for the university’s image.
- Allow a special poll to take place during student elections in the spring where students can help select the promoter and choose from a broad list of suggested artists for the concert.
FAMU People’s Coalition
Ms. Carmen Cummings, Office of Alumni Affairs
Mr. Henry Kirby, VP of Student Life
Mr. Roland Gaines, Office of Student Affairs