LETTER TO THE EDITOR: University President’s definition of global does not include Americans

Mr. President,

I come to you by open letter because the guards have closed off the tower, reportedly, at your direction.

The message I have been attempting to deliver, these past two months, is too urgent to allow formality to exercise its deterrent effect.

Florida International University is a US-taxpayer-funded institution.  According to your recent protestations, its purpose is to mold “global citizens.”

My concern is that your definition of “global” does not seem to include Americans, particularly at the all-important graduate level.

While recruiting the best and brightest from around the globe is essential in the globalization equation, it is only part of the computation:

International Students + Global Education = International Citizens

In order for our institution to truly be global, we must consider the entire equation:

“(American Students U International Students) + Global Education = Global Citizens”

The taxpaying citizens of the cash-strapped State of Florida did not found, nor do they fund FIU with the intention of creating a center for international students to congregate in US soil and obtain US knowledge to use for the betterment of their home countries.

Becoming a haven for intellectual migration to the US was also not its intended purpose.

FIU was envisioned as a place for the world’s best and brightest to mingle with, learn from and teach America’s best and brightest.

Yet, my suggestions for creating a 2-pronged focus in admissions, recruitment and career services have been met with your closed door.

Consistently deferring my concerns to individuals tasked with policy implementation when clearly my concern is the policy itself, while polite, is still a brush-off.

Is the belief that our institution is incapable of doing 2 things at the same time?  Or that belief in the necessity of one somehow denigrates the other?  Ludicrous, a false choice and unfairly skewed argument.

What have we done to serve the taxpaying community that has entrusted its faith and resources to you?

Have we increased the number of American students receiving PHD’s or advanced degrees?

Has that increase been in proportion to that of our international classmates?

Have we fostered interchange between American and International academics?

How much of that interchange has occurred with our American as opposed to International professors?

If you don’t count first-generation Americans, there are 2 Americans in our Masters in International Business program.

My German and French classmates complain that they have more American students in their classes in their home universities than in their classes at FIU.

They did not come to FIU to get a European educational experience.  They came here to meet Americans.

Neither population is being adequately served by our current blindness, our limited focus.

Your refusal to even meet with me to discuss the issue speaks of a deterioration, the death of that innovation which is the very lifeblood of American progress.

This is a university.  Have we learned nothing from the seething global dissension against those at the top who refuse to acknowledge or even listen to the legitimate concerns of those at the bottom who are footing the bill?

Have we gotten so lost in power distance that the president of an American University, a traditional fundamental center of change, is now taking management cues from bankers and tyrants?

I am proposing that we make broad and sweeping changes out of love for my university.  Maidique spearheaded broad and sweeping change out of love for our university.  What is the problem?

Did you take the job out of love?  Or should your apathy be taken as an indication that you only took it because you were next in line?

-Masheika E. Allen  JD, LL.M, MIB Candidate 2012

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