Reaching Out to the Community

Imagine getting into a dispute with your neighbor over something like noise or pets. If you'd like to settle the disagreement without going to court, your options may be limited.

Narayan Persaud is a FAMU professor who hopes he and his students can make a difference by solving conflicts. He wants the university to get involved by bringing back the neighborhood justice center.

"Since we at FAMU already have students as well as faculty taking that proactive approach in the community, we will be able to bring attention to the services of the center."

Leon County commissioners recently closed the NJC, saying its mediation services were underused and it had little authority or protection from liability.

Since the office here on railroad avenue closed three weeks ago, they still get calls from neighbors, landlords and tenants with disputes over things like noise and pets. Trouble is, now there's nowhere to send those folks.

Owusu-Ansah Agyapong thinks FAMU's role as a predominantly minority university could help settling neighborhood.

"Maybe the program did not work before because the affected group members were not a part of the program."

"By integrating what the center already does with what we are doing, we will be able to expand services and offer services to a lot more people."

FAMU and county leaders are now talking about the university's proposal. The neighborhood justice center was funded through a law enforcement block grant, which can be used on other programs. County officials ended the program saying the system wasn't enforceable and effective.