PantherNOW Editorial Board
With a heavy heart, we must say it’s time for the Biscayne Bay and Modesto Maidique campuses to go their separate ways — their unique and valuable qualities deplete if we continue to keep them connected.
The divide was truly highlighted by a traffic fiasco early in the semester, in which 151st Street, the most common street to get to BBC, closed down without proper warning.
The situation wasn’t handled gracefully. Students and faculty members, either in their personal cars or through FIU’s shuttle bus, became aware of the traffic problem once they physically encountered it, and were forced to navigate around barricades that blocked the main entrance with no explanation.
Students traveling to BBC already cringe at the hour-long ride, but the surprise waiting for them right at the entrance proved how ridiculous it was to tether BBC to MMC.
The city of North Miami Beach communicated the problem with FIU, but Vice Provost Pablo Ortiz, the Biscayne contact responsible with handling these emergencies, wasn’t at BBC, but at MMC, where he mainly works.
So, while frustrated students, faculty and staff sat impotent in the middle of a traffic jam, the university played a metaphorical game of telephone with NMB, resulting in dissatisfaction from all.
Sure, it wasn’t a catastrophe, but it still shows how unfeasible it is to expect BBC to operate like a normal campus when its managers are almost an hour away.
FIU needs to take into account the location of BBC and use it to their advantage instead of associating the North Miami campus to MMC, 24 miles away. If they look at the people and terrain nearby, you’ll notice it’s completely different to that of the Sweetwater campus.
Correctly analyzing these demographics and using it to their advantage, you’ll be able to determine the academic needs of students in the area and can set up programs there that students can do exclusively at BBC.
For example, much of the journalism school, some of the school of nursing, the hospitality and tourism program and marine science operate almost exclusively there. While offering some of these at MMC might be wise, others, like marine science or hospitality, would fully benefit the BBC area because of the geographical location and job opportunities in the area.
Likewise, underclassmen should be able to complete their entire underclass courses there if they so choose, instead of having to straddle campuses or pay extra fees to do online classes.
They need their own administrative staff, student leaders and resources. Oversight from 24 miles away won’t do any good.
Overall, the collaboration between the two campuses has proven inefficient — Something journalism majors at PantherNOW know all too well. The divide has cost energy out of students, faculty, staff and, ultimately, strained the character of BBC.
FIU can try to continue pretending two campuses can work in tandem, but concentrating the vast majority of resources at MMC doesn’t allow proper unity to happen. However, by strategically using the resources and locations of both, they can have two campuses with their own unique strengths that are used well and benefit students maximally.