Florida Memorial President responds to criticism
Dr. Hardrick defended the university’s response to COVID-19 prior to Tuesday’s announcement. He told HBCU Gameday that initially, FMU’s numbers were very low, until late September. He attributed the uptick in cases to participation in non-university events.
“We only saw a spike after students started attending parties and things of that nature,” Hardrick said. “And they’re going to do that because they are 17, 18, 19, 20-year-olds. And we get that.”
Hardwick told HBCU Gameday on Saturday that 69 cases were reported to FMU. He said health department officials affirmed that Florida Memorial officials don’t have an outbreak. Dr. Hardwick said that as a result of student feedback, the university had received rapid tests that get results in 15 minutes.
“They weren’t talking to us,” Dr. Hardwick said. “They weren’t sharing…they just started putting it out on social media rather than just saying,’ hey look, lets have a conversation.’ Or going to their assistant vice president for student affairs or the provost or myself to have a conversation.”
When asked if there was a breakdown in communication, Dr. Hardwick said students weren’t asking the administration directly for information.
“If they would have just simply asked, rather than putting it out there in social media, they could have easily gotten this information,” he said.
The student survey comes after multiple reports from HBCU Gameday and other media outlets about the COVID-19 situation. No such survey was given prior to the season, a source tells HBCU Gameday.
“I made the decision on Monday to do the survey,” he said. “And there were conversations about this at the beginning of the year about all of this. At the beginning of the season.”
“I wanted to make sure that there was no doubt, this time that there would not be anyone saying ‘oh, I said—‘ when that was never conveyed to us.