UPDATE: Students respond to FAMU after being relocated off campus

FAMU housing crisis: hundreds of students relocated to hotels
Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 5:30 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2022 at 4:29 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Displaced students from Florida A&M University have been relocated off campus and have since written a letter to the university about their move out process.

“FAMU has to do better,” the letter said, as it addressed some of the students’ concerns and included a survey outlining their personal experience in regards to the university’s response, signed by Sydney DeMar and Phase 3 residents.

“On behalf of the Palmetto Phase III residents, we feel as if our concerns are being ignored, as the University has yet to acknowledge our concerns privately or publicly regarding our current unlivable living situations. It is day five of the relocation, and we have not gotten any communication or acknowledgement from anybody higher than our resident director. The lack of communication is unacceptable,” DeMar said in the letter.

About 58.3% of the students said they did not receive their hotel keys until 9 p.m. by the time they were told to move out of the building. Some of the students did not receive their keys until 11:30 p.m. and others didn’t make it to the hotel until around midnight.

And once they arrived, the students said they realized the living conditions were less than ideal, because the rooms had not yet been cleaned and the hotels were overbooked.

“Day in and day out, students are sending pictures and verbal complaints of issues with their rooms in the Phase III group chat. Students are now living in hotels with more bugs than their campus apartments and are also sleeping in the same bed as their roommate. Students have roaches and other bugs in their hotel beds, counter tops, on the walls, and the floor. Students have unknown stains on their bedsheets, pull out couches with no sheets at all, as well as dirt on their sheets,” the letter said.

Meanwhile, the students said they are not being excused from their classes while moving in and out of on-campus housing.

“You have downplayed a situation to preserve your image at the expense of your student’s health and safety,” DeMar said.

They ask in the letter that FAMU take accountability for their poor management and organizational skills that put the students in this predicament.

“This could’ve been avoided, and we truly hope nobody has to go through this terrible experience,” DeMar said.

“I am living, confused and hurt,” one student shared. “They are not being sensitive to us or taking our feelings into consideration. It’s like they don’t care about anything but taking our money.”

Another student said, “I was disgusted, not only was I told through social media, but they did not give us enough time. People have classes to attend to and I do not think they kept that in mind.”

“I was surprised, my mother was mad because I just got housing for me to move out,” another resident said.

In the survey, the students were asked if they reached out to the administration and over 40% of the students said no, that they did not care anymore, and just want to move back in the dorm. While 25% of the students said they did reach out but no solution was found.

“This is beyond the automated ‘we apologize for the inconvenience’ apology you love to issue. As much as we love our school and want to support it, this is not ok,” DeMar said in the students’ letter.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Florida A&M University Office of University Housing responded to the housing crisis that caused students to move off campus in a release Tuesday.

FAMU said they are taking the steps to have the dislocated students from Palmetto Phase III and Polkinghorne Village West move back to on-campus housing as soon as possible, according to the release.

“In response to a pest infestation in the Palmetto Phase III apartments, pest control crews completed treating all the apartments on Saturday. On Monday, staff began an assessment and cleaning. On Tuesday, staff was scheduled to conduct a second wipe down of the apartments and implement pest control and prevention measures,” FAMU said in the release.

A walk through is scheduled for Aug. 31 ahead of the students’ return from local hotels on Sept. 1, according to FAMU.

The flooding of the forth floor of Polkinghorne Village West happened due to a student who initiated a fire hazard and triggered the sprinkler system. The student put an incense stick that was not totally extinguished in the trashcan and it caught on fire, setting off the sprinklers. The water damaged impacted the first, second, third and forth floors and forced the displacement of 128 students.

The university then placed the students into available local hotels, while the ”Environmental Health & Safety (EHS), Plant Operations Management (POM) and Facilities Construction and Design are working together to repair the damage as expeditiously as possible,” according to the release.

EHS recommended some items were to be disposed, relocated or cleaned, to avoid mold issues, and a trailer was placed in front of the building for students to dispose of wet items.

“The University is providing shuttle transportation, security, and coverage of hotel expenses for all displaced students,” FAMU said.

The Venom Shuttle is running every two hours.

The Astro Shuttles are running every hour.

The Office of Housing staff communicated with students and parents via zoom calls, FAMU emails and Residence Hall GroupMe.

“The Office of University Housing would like to thank the students and parents for their patience and cooperation during this unfortunate incident,” the release said. “We regret the inconvenience.”

Students are expected to return to Polkinghorne Village West by Sept. 3.

If you have been impacted by the move FAMU recommends contacting the dean’s office or contact the office at (850) 599-3000.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - FAMU is relocating hundreds of students from on-campus housing to hotels across Tallahassee.

The reason for the exodus is a pest problem that they haven’t been able to get under control.

The school said fumigation is needed.

According to Director of University Housing Jennifer Wilder, students started to report roach complaints when they moved into Palmetto Street Phase Three apartments about 11 days ago.

Exterminators tried to fix the problem, but reports only multiplied.

The school said a number of factors led officials to notify students Thursday that they would need to move out by Friday. They might be away from their home for up to a week.

That tight turnaround is not sitting well with some of the students. One student moved almost all of her stuff into storage.

It looked like the end of the school year with the number of students taking items out of dorms in the middle of the afternoon.

“We were totally unprepared. There are freshman who live here who don’t have a car. We just got dropped off last week by our parents. Some people like me who are out of state are totally unprepared for something like this,” Raven Hayes, a FAMU 4th year student, said.

The housing director didn’t sugar coat this situation and admitted that it is not perfect, but said this will hopefully nip the problem in the bud.

“We understand their frustration...That in an ideal world this is not how we would handle it, but we want to resolve the issue so that they don’t continue to deal with the pest control issue,” Wilder said. “We want to get it resolved and we want to get it done so they have a smooth rest of the semester.”

The school is offering shuttles to and from the hotels, which will be located on Apalachee Parkway and North Monroe Street. Those students will also get free meal plans and extra security at those hotels. In addition to fumigation, crews will also bait each room.

The school will then do a walk-thru of each apartment before giving it the all-clear.

The hope is to have students back on campus by next Thursday.