By: Joshua Ceballos/News Director
The Modesto Maidique Campus may not hold its name for very long if some members of the Board of Trustees get their way.
In 2009, the BOT renamed the University’s main campus to MMC in order to honor former president Modesto Maidique after his 23 years of service. Claudia Puig, current chairwoman of the BOT, also moved at the time to award Maidique with President Emeritus status.
Now the Board is looking to rename the campus after a donor who is willing to give a gift of $100 million.
“During our BOT meeting earlier this month, the board had a substantive discussion about potential opportunities to attract a major donor to name FIU’s main campus. Some members of the board feel that the campus should not be named after a person, while others are open to naming it after a large donor,” Puig said in a statement to Student Media.
The reason that the BOT wants to change the name is due to Maidique’s “disparagement” of the University since retiring as president and becoming a professor.
In an interview with Student Media, Maidique addressed his problems with the University’s current policies, which he has been vocal about in the past.
“I disagreed with the accelerated expansion of enrollment, I said it would come back to bite us and it did,” said Maidique. “This campus is sized for about 40,000 students, not 50,000, and the board was not sufficiently active in monitoring and offering guidance for this expansion at the time.”
By expanding enrollment too quickly, said Maidique, the proportion of graduating students is decreased, which reflects poorly on the University. FIU has enrolled approximately 2,810 freshmen for the early fall semester, and so far about 408 for fall.
The FIU pedestrian bridge collapse on March 15, 2018 was another of Maidique’s main critiques of the University. He said that the bridge was a complex system, and as such the collapse had to be due to multiple factors.
Maidique said that some members of the Board took offense to his critiques of them and the University, and because of this they want to take his name from the campus, but this will not take away his mark.
His accomplishments while serving as president include the establishment of the law, medical, and architectural schools, as well as the elevation of FIU to the status of Research I university.
“My legacy will stand on its own for all to see, but the legacy of the Board of Trustees to attempt to silence a professor will be what stands for them,” said Maidique.
As for whether the Board will actually find a donor that meets their requirements, Maidique said he finds it unlikely. He said that in nine years the administration has gotten one gift of $20 million and one gift of $10 million, so reaching the goal of $100 million does not seem feasible.
The name change is unimportant to me, but, to silence former President Maidique is what really concerns me. The college should have a better response then to remove his name form MMC. And he’s right, FIU does not generate the money as some other schools do, so 100 million to name the campus is not realistic.