MMC’s possible name change has several disadvantages

The Modesto Maidique Campus may not be keeping its name for very long, as the Board of Trustees plan to rename the campus after a donor who is willing to give the University a gift of $100 million.

Since 2009, the Modesto Maidique Campus has had its current name as a way to honor former President Modesto Maidique and his 23 years of service.

Reactions to this sudden need for a name change have been relatively mixed but one question remains in the minds of many: why?

At first glance, it appears that the BOT is trying to search for ways to bring revenue to the University. After all, $100 million is a highly generous gift one that would help the University continue serving its mission to students and the rest of the community.

Additionally, a Florida statute exists under the regulations of the Board of Governors of the State University System, in which the honorary naming of University facilities is not permitted for any active board member of the Board of Governors or any active University employee, student, and trustee.

However, this law was not in place when the BOT named the campus after Maidique.

We also can’t ignore that this decision comes after Maidique who has spoken against the University’s policies in the past  publicly criticized the University back in March, following the collapse of the pedestrian bridge.

After a lengthy discussion, we at FIU Student Media have closely examined all the different sides and angles of this issue.

If we consider the argument that this will greatly benefit the University for the possible revenue it will receive from a hypothetical donor, the one problem that arises is whether anyone would be interested in giving $100 million in exchange for their name on a campus.

It also wouldn’t be a smart marketing move for the donor to make as students will likely convert any name into acronyms like MMC and BBC and won’t associate it with them or their business.

The BOT’s response to the University’s name being “disparaged” has also been quite confusing since the next donor could possibly fall into the same pattern as Maidique.

Why risk this when the campus name can be reverted back to its former name, University Park Campus, with no problem?

It becomes clear, then, that the move for a new campus name is an attempt to punish Maidique for expressing his opinions.

In fact, as we’ve previously reported, the BOT said that they wanted to change the name of MMC because of Maidique’s criticism of the University since his retirement as president.

This is deeply concerning for an institution that is supposed to encourage freedom of speech, regardless of who or what this speech is directed at.

While it’s understandable that the BOT may think that Maidique’s outspokenness does not always reflect well on the University and its image, sacrificing freedom of expression, whether it be positive or negative, does not help it either.

 

Photo courtesy of Nicole Malanga/PantherNOW.

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