FIU President Says Goodbye, Gets Some Heat From Students

In most circles, Modesto Maidique has a sparkling reputation. The 23-year president of FIU helped transform a depressing abandoned airfield into a top-notch research university. He also brought the school a ton of federal grant money, which never hurts. So, you'd think his farewell ceremony yesterday would have been all smiles and hugs.

It wasn't. 

A group of students gathered to wave protest signs outside, at the school's main entrance. They were upset about two things: The decision to name the campus after Maidique. And the vote to give him a $100,000 bonus -- financed by the FIU Foundation -- on his way out. 

Sophomore Kevin Gurley explained why students are irked. The school's board of trustees sought no student input before either vote, he says. "A lot of people feel it's selfish on Maidique's part."

Trustees unanimously agreed to change the campus name to Maidique's Campus back in June. Gurley, an architecture major, then started a Facebook group campaign against the change. It included an online petition and now has about 2,000 members.

Then on July 15 FIU's The Beacon editorialized against such a large bonus. The article reads: "Timing of this recommendation is incredibly unwise.... The University's financial climate in dire straits; the money is needed elsewhere."

It concludes: "Overall, Maidique has served this University extremely well. However, we cannot overlook the message that this gesture sends to those affected by the program cuts and layoffs."

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Natalie O'Neill
Contact: Natalie O'Neill