Rep. Ramon Alexander,(left) and President Larry Robinson at FAMU Day at the Capitol: “We have to make sure that we have a seat at the table because if we don’t ask, we don’t get. In fact, if we don’t demand, we don’t get,”Alexander said.
Florida A&M University (FAMU) President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., led students, administrators, staff, faculty, and alumni in an all-hands-on-deck push to promote the University’s legislative priorities.
Addressing a gathering at the start of FAMU Day at the Capitol activities Thursday, Robinson said the success of students and alumni, such as recently sworn St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch and St. Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Melvin Carter, attests to the value of the University.
“We have a lot to brag about,” Robinson said. “We have a lot to tell people about why it’s important to invest in the best public Historically Black College and University.”
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the usual day-long schedule was trimmed. Events were streamed live for alumni and supporters from all over the country who couldn’t attend in person.
FAMU Day at the Capitol is designed, Robinson said, “to make elected officials more aware of FAMU’s contributions to enhancing the lives of our students and the livelihood of their communities.”
FAMU is seeking significant support to address improvements in first-time-in-college (FTIC) four-year graduation rates, FTIC retention rates, and licensure pass rates in nursing, pharmacy, and physical therapy. The University is requesting $15 million in recurring funding to help address the State University System’s strategic priority to increase student success.
“This is an investment in improving the socioeconomic status of first-generation and low-income students and fulfilling critical workforce needs,” Robinson wrote in a recent op-ed to highlight the University’s legislative priorities.
Among the other priorities is a $6.6 million request for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Modern classrooms, information technology services and laboratories are essential for delivering quality education and conducting innovative research. FAMU also requested $20.4 million for a Chemical and Biological Research Laboratory Center and $27.7 million for campus-wide utility infrastructure.
During the half-day of activities, the FAMU community heard from members of the Black Legislative Caucus, including Rep. Ramon Alexander, an alumnus. The Tallahassee resident urged fellow Rattlers to be vigilant in the final weeks of the Legislative Session, which ends on March 11.
“You want to make sure you’re paying full attention to what’s going on because what’s happening here in this state has consequences on our quality of life,” said Alexander, whose district includes parts of Leon and Gadsden counties. The former FAMU Student Government Association president said the House of Representatives approved a $108 billion budget and his role is to ensure that the spending plan acknowledged FAMU’s priorities.
“We have to make sure that we have a seat at the table because if we don’t ask, we don’t get. In fact, if we don’t demand, we don’t get, so we have a responsibility to make sure that in this process, we recognize the value-added proposition of what FAMU means, not only to this community, to this state, to this nation but the world. We have an obligation, and we have a charge to keep.”