Senate passes last bill, supports push for fairgrounds

Madison Fantozzi/News Director

In the Senate’s last meeting of the academic year it passed its final piece of legislation 19-1: a bill supporting the University’s efforts to obtain the fairgrounds.

Senators were eager to sponsor the bill, which reads “the University’s mission… is inhibited by its inability to expand to incorporate the land held by the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition.”

According to the Senate, the Fair and Exposition “only contributes to the community by occupying the land reserved for it from mid-March to early April,” while FIU “provides year-long benefits to the community.”

Thus, the Student Government Council at Modesto Maidique Campus recommends that FIU actively advocates for the relocation of the Fair and Expo so that the University may expand into the space the fair currently occupies.

It asserts that FIU must continue to expand and create new buildings to accommodate its 50,000+ student body.

“An inability to meet the demands of the diverse student body’s academic interests and research needs will inevitably result in a decline of student population and, as a result, a decline in quality of education,” the bill says.

However, the Miami-Dade’s lease to the nonprofit through 2040 with extensions to 2085 stands in the University’s way of obtaining the 86 acres at Tamiami Park.

According to President Mark B. Rosenberg, MMC will be out of footprint in seven years. In October, he said “small steps” had been taken to acquire the fairgrounds.

“It’s a process and it’s important that we get it right,” Rosenberg said. “We want to make sure that with our partners at Youth Fair, it can be win-win.”

But now county leaders and Miami-Dade representatives in Tallahassee are working to help FIU strike a deal with the Fair and Expo. The Senate found it crucial to join in support.

Three sites have been explored for the fair’s possible relocation and Rosenberg said the University would possibly contribute up to $80 million for construction cost. Miami-Dade has not made such a pledge.

Although the fair season has ended and new senators are taking their seats for the next academic year, SGC-MMC said it will provide greater support by actively advocating for the relocation of the Fair and Expo in the future.

Senate Speaker Nicholas Aquart also recognized five “outstanding senators” in the Senate’s last meeting.

Housing Senator Daniel Irigoyen, Graduate Senator Tiffanie Stewart, Lower Division Senator Mary Corbin, Business Senator Stefan Bahad and Engineering Senator Jolene Fan were recognized.

“They wrote at least one piece of legislation and attended multiple events,” Aquart said. “Daniel was the most consistent senator of the year, Tiffanie best represented her constituents, Mary amplified her effectiveness by being the only senator to accompany the SGA executive board to Tallahassee to lobby for FIU students and priorities, Stefan was chair of the Operations Review Committee, which is tasked with auditing organizations on campus to determine proper use of financial assets, and Jolene was able to outshine other senators in her efficient planning and senate activity.”

Aquart will name the senator of the year on April 14.


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