Columbia, SC (WLTX) On Tuesday more than 100 Allen University students staged a protest over the conditions of their school and they also say they haven't gotten financial aid checks in time to buy books. Students say when they pay more than $19,000 a year to go there, the situation should be better.
Student Government President, Ma'Kedric Funnie, helped organize the protest. The main issue, no air Conditioning in the residence halls and in Gibbs Hall. He lists the issues saying, "You have the printer issue, you have the AC Issue you have the financial aid being late, you have wifi not being as strong in certain rooms, which is one of the minor issues, we didn't know exactly where the activity fees were going."
Sophomore Taylor Candice Salters says, they felt like their voices weren't being heard when the brought up the issues to the administration. She tells News 19, "Our voice being heard as young adults. Air conditioning, trying to figure out where our money is going and trying to figure out how ya'll want us to be at school with no books."
Salters documented the protest on her phone and shared it on facebook. She says, "I wanted everyone to see, like my family members, everyone that's a part of the AME community, the black communtiy and all to know you know when ya'll give Allen this money this is what they do with it, which is nothing, something we don't see."
Students say they have been dealing with the lack of AC in the residence halls since they got to campus in mid August. Salters says, "It should have been fixed before we came back to school."
The protest began at the residents halls and students walked to their next class with the intention to be late to make a statement. Funnie says, "This is what we are doing for us to be heard. During the protest we wanted to be silent as we marched into the CARS program, while we marched in we were silent."
Funnie says, students used the silence to make their voice heard. After the CAR class Allen University President, Dr. Lady June Cole, addressed the students. Students took video on which you can hear Dr. Cole explaining the Air Conditioning unit for Gibbs Hall is being refurbished and it should be fixed in September. She also told the students, that's why they had moved many of their classes. Funnie says, "Despite some of the students not liking what she said, she definitely addressed the concerns. Everyone had an opportunity to ask questions, and she answered each question with the best of her ability or best of her knowledge."
News 19 reached out to Dr. Cole, she sent us this statement saying "The University, and both the Chairman of the Board and I have met with the student body. The issues will continue to be addressed aggressively and will be resolved expeditiously."
Funnie says he felt like the administration finally listened to their grievances. He says, "Yes all of our concerns were definitely heard, whether it was via email prior to the protest, yesterday's meeting with Dr. Cole, the Bishop was already aware of a lot of these concerns and again our voice being heard. That's one of the main things I want to focus on becasue certain faculty or staff still feel like we are not on their level. As college students we are also adults. We need to work together in ordeer to go to a certain goal and if we are being like kids we cannot do that."
Funnie says the AME bishop over Allen University, Bishop Samuel L. Green, Sr. came to campus on Wednesday and spoke to students. Funnie says, "He addressed the students. He said that the definitely wanted to go over into Gibbs Hall and take a look at it." Funnie says he assured the student's that the Air Conditioning would be back on in September.
If it's not, Funnie says that he and the students aren't giving up. He says, "As sudent body president, I can't give up. We have to keep voicing how we feel."
Students say they plan to wear all black to convocation on Thursday to symbolize the death of their voices being heard.