Breaking News: Board of Trustees Approves Location in Downtown Miami

BOT meeting in Graham Center Ballrooms. Maya Washburn / PantherNOW

Maya Washburn / Asst. News Director

The FIU Board of Trustees (BOT) approved the opening of an FIU location in downtown Miami today.

It was approved by a 4-2 vote to be brought to the full board and was affirmed during a BOT meeting in the Graham Center Ballrooms.

“It’s undeniable that [tech] companies are looking for us to have a strategic space in downtown,” said Saif Ishoof, vice president of the office of engagement. “We need to have a strategic hub presence.”

The Knight Foundation, a non-profit that supports education, offered FIU the opportunity to have this physical space dedicated to computer science and technology.

However, not all trustees agreed the space was needed.

“There was never a mention of a need for space in downtown until [the opportunity] was made available,” said Rogelio Tovar, university trustee.

University Provost Kenneth Furton said the downtown location would be in greater proximity to tech start-ups that have moved to Miami.

Mark Weiss, associate dean for undergraduate education of the College of Engineering and Computing, said FIU needs to have more job opportunities and more industry partnerships in computer science and IT.

“We need to do better,” said Weiss.

Dean Colson, BOT chair, was concerned the project’s presentation lacked key information.

“I’m a little surprised that we’re sitting here talking about having a downtown campus with such little information about what that entails,” said Colson. “I’m unimpressed by the presentation so far.”

Tovar said he is concerned about the burden of going back and forth that the downtown space would present for students.

University president Mark Rosenberg urged trustees to take the opportunity while it is still available.

“I worry about delaying or leaving this offer [of downtown space] on the table because it will send the message that we are not as agile… as we need to be in the industry,” said Rosenberg. “I support this.”

Marc Sarnoff made a motion to approve the downtown space. The motion then passed 4-2.

“I believe that the opportunity that exists right now for our FIU is once in a lifetime,” said Ishoof.

After the meeting, FIU media relations let PantherNOW know that the space will not be a campus, but a location.