Thursday, August 06, 2020

Reports: FAMU eyeing football this fall

While the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, of which FAMU is a member, has suspended fall sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FAMU football team is searching for a way to still play football, according to published reports. 

FAMU head football coach Willie Simmons told WCTV-TV in Tallahassee that the Rattlers have “reached out to all of the FBS teams across the state (including Florida State)” to explore the possibility of scheduling a game this fall.  The talks are preliminary in nature, he said. 

In order for the games to happen FAMU would need waivers from the NCAA and the MEAC.   However FAMU's hopes to play this football this fall could be complicated by the MEAC, which plans to play football this spring, if the pandemic subsides.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Marching 100 exploring virtual performances for fall

Shelby Chipman,Ph.D, Director of Marching and Pep Bands at FAMU, told WCTV-TV, yesterday, that despite the suspension of falls due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, that “the Marching 100 will perform this fall.  The band is evaluating meeting in-person and having performances at Bragg Memorial Stadium,” Chipman said.

“The band would be socially distanced and the 100 would also try to broadcast the performance so fans could still hear the band through the non-traditional format,” he said.
”So, what we are going to do is have a type of virtual musical presentations,” Chipman said. 

The performances may be at Bragg Memorial Stadium, or maybe our drill field., without fans.  

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Williams elected to board of AAM

Henry Neal Williams, Ph.D., professor, FAMU School of the Environment, has been elected to a three-year term to the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM). 

Williams is the first person from a HBCU elected to the academy’s board of governors. 

"Election to this position was special to me because it was by vote of the Fellows (members) of the Academy who represent the most accomplished group of microbiologists anywhere," said Williams. "I hope being the first academy governor from an HBCU encourages others to pursue membership and high offices in the academy, which certainly needs more diversity."  

The AAM is the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology —the largest single life science society, composed of more than 32,000 scientists and health professionals.

The AAM's governors sets the strategic direction, oversee its programs, develop initiatives and ratifies new Fellows. Its governors are recognized and expected to uphold their scientific accomplishments, scholastic integrity and excellent service to advance the field of microbial sciences.

Monday, August 03, 2020

UNCF study: HBCU students struggling during pandemic

A survey of more than 5,000 students across 17 HBCUs found that many are dealing with difficulties such as sick family members, trouble paying bills and general stress from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and recent protests against police brutality.

The United Negro College Fund surveyed the students at its member institutions in June.

Due to the disruption and stress from the spring semester, the majority of respondents -- more than 80 percent -- want to return to their college campuses for some level of face-to-face instruction in the fall. About 10 percent fewer students said they would re-enroll in the fall if the semester was completely online. More than 4,000 respondents said they wanted more information from their colleges on health and safety plans for the fall.

More than one-third of students said they have experienced declines in their mental health due to the pandemic. Those students are three times more likely to consider transferring than those who have not experienced mental health issues. Women were more likely than men to report declines in their mental well-being.

More than half of the respondents said their finances have been affected by COVID-19. Personal anecdotes reveal that family members of many students have lost their jobs. Those students are also more likely to consider transferring institutions.

"My father is unemployed, my grandmother whom I live with struggles to make ends meet, so I have to step up and become an adult even more than before. I'm currently alone for paying for school," one respondent wrote.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Health official warns COVID-19 spiraling out of control as Florida universities prepare to return for fall semester

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus coordinator, today warned that the coronavirus pandemic is more widespread and deadly than when it first took hold in the US earlier this year.

"What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread," Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, told.

Birx's comments come as the US has reported more coronavirus cases and deaths than any other country, and as K-12 schools and colleges prepare to reopen in the fall.  The United Faculty of Florida, the union representing the faculty at Florida’s twelve state universities, called on the Governor Ron DeSantis, a close ally of President Donald Trump to reverse his push to have colleges re-open for in-person learning for the fall semester.   

Some schools, including FAMU, plan to hold face-to-face classes on Saturday or later in the day to accommodate students who want to learn in person while keeping class sizes small.

The union believes with Florida seeing 10,000 new cases a day, in-person learning cannot be conducted safely.

“We all deserve safe learning and working conditions,” the union said. “If our institutions become hot-spots due to early re-openings, closing campuses mid-term once again would do real harm, mentally, physically, and economically.”

As of Sunday, the US had reported more than 4.6 million cases of Covid-19 and at least 154,449 Americans have died, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Orr named FAMU head softball coach

FAMU athletics announced that Constance Orr , the long-time assistant women’s softball coach, will serve as the new head softball coach.

"I am truly honored and blessed to have this opportunity to be the next head softball coach at Florida A&M," Orr said "I want to thank Coach Veronica Wiggins for her wisdom, encouragement, and belief in me to continue building such a powerful program that she has respectfully built throughout her illustrious career. I am very excited about this new journey and am looking forward to being able to lead our team.”

Orr was a former standout softball player at the University of North Carolina (UNC). During her playing career, and was named to the 2013 All-ACC and the 2013 All-ACC Tournament teams. She started all 60 games playing primarily at third base. Orr also spent time as a pitcher, finishing with a record of 6-2. She was named ACC Player of the Week during her senior season after tallying 11 RBIs and hitting three multiple-run homers, including a grand slam, over a six-game span. She led the team with 50 RBIs and 62 hits with a .959 fielding mark during her senior season.
Orr earned a bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sports Science from UNC in 2013.

Friday, July 31, 2020

FAMU to hold summer commencement online tomorrow

For the second time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, FAMU’s commencement will be in an all virtual format.  This Saturday at 10 a.m., with FAMU alumnus and St. Paul, Minnesota Mayor Melvin Carter III delivering the keynote address, the university will confer degrees to 400 graduates.
The event will be streamed on the FAMU Facebook page and YouTube channel.