Tarana Burke
Photo: Getty

#MeToo founder and activist Tarana Burke abruptly ended a sexual violence forum at Florida A&M University after getting into a verbal altercation with a FAMU employee.

Burke along with professor and influencer Yaba Blay were wrapping up their presentation when Burke and an unnamed FAMU employee had words regarding a program to end sexual violence about which Burke has been in talks with FAMU to implement.

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As the Famuan explained:

... a FAMU Office of Student Activities employee stood up and interrupted Burke. The FAMU employee explained that Burke was not allowed to read the contract aloud because the university had not reviewed or signed it yet, sparking a debate across the ballroom.

Saying they felt “antagonized” by FAMU administrators, Burke and Blay quickly left the forum.

“FAMU has been so antagonistic,” Burke told the Famuan. “And I don’t know what they’re hiding.”

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“We’ve received emails from students who do not feel safe on this campus, even before we got here,” Blay said. “This is about a conversation out of love, not an indictment.”

Students interviewed with the Famuan agreed, saying FAMU’s actions were “embarrassing.”

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“It was definitely embarrassing for FAMU because the way they treated the guests wasn’t welcoming at all,” Crishelle Bailey said.

In a statement to the Tallahassee Democrat, FAMU said it just needed time to review the sexual violence proposal and that it did take its students’ safety seriously.

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“We needed time to vet it with our general counsel and have it approved by the Board of Trustees and so they didn’t give us enough time to do that,” Andrew Skerritt, FAMU assistant director of media relations, told the news outlet. “.... But the university is committed to the safety of our students.”