FAMU institutes student curfew to discourage large gatherings

By Andrew Skerritt
Office of Communications

FAMU announced a campus-wide curfew designed to deter large after-hours student gatherings that can cause clusters of COVID-19 cases.

The curfew took effect last Saturday and will remain in place until further notice. The announcement last Friday came as more than 1,000 students have moved into residence halls in anticipation of the start of fall semester classes.

University officials said students who violate the curfew could be suspended or expelled.

“The entire FAMU community is extremely concerned by the national trend of students not adhering to mask/social distancing policies enacted by their respective institutions and local government mandates, including here at FAMU,” Bomani Spell, Dean of Students, wrote in a letter sent to students last Friday.

FAMU students began to check into on-campus housing last week, prompting concern about containing spread of the coronavirus.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

The letter continued: “We are aware of large impromptu and planned gatherings on and off campus by FAMU students who are using social media to spread the intent to blatantly violate Leon County’s mandate on large gatherings and FAMU’s COVID-19 conduct enforcement procedures.”

According to the rules, students must be in their assigned resident hall from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday-Thursday and from 12 midnight to 6 a.m. Friday-Sunday. 

In the event of extenuating circumstances, students must inform their respective resident hall director immediately if they need to leave during curfew. University officials insist the curfew is to prevent large gatherings/parties on campus or in the Tallahassee community and not to restrict student movement.

Failure to adhere to the COVID-19 enforcement procedures would result in immediate suspension from university housing, as well as the possibility of disciplinary probation, suspension and or expulsion from the school, the university said in a statement. 

The University requires face coverings in all buildings; gatherings of more than 10 individuals are prohibited; gatherings of 10 individuals or fewer must be in a space that allows for physical distancing of 6 feet or more.

Spell warned that the risks of being careless are grave.

“If these guidelines are not followed and there is an increased spike in COVID-19 cases, the University may have to consider its operational procedures and re-opening plans for the remainder of the semester,” Spell wrote. “The University mandate is important to ensure the health and safety of all students, faculty, and staff members during this pandemic as FAMU looks to continue to “Protect the FAMUly.”