MDC Foundation Letter Condemns BOT Decision: ‘Discarding The Selection Process Has Placed The College In A Dangerous Limbo.’

The Miami Dade College Foundation Board of Directors sent a strongly worded letter to the Board of Trustees on Friday condemning their decision to reboot the presidential search, saying it places the College in danger of losing private donors and student scholarships. 

“There is a growing sense that the very underpinnings of our revered Dream Factory are being destabilized. Discarding the selection process has placed the College in a dangerous limbo creating uncertainty and anxiety; and this loss has been noted by donors who have invested millions in supporting the hopes and dreams of our students,” the letter said. “This decision has created yet another obstacle for MDC students as they worry if donors will reconsider their support.”

The Foundation, the College’s fundraising arm since 1965, is a non-profit organization that raises private funds to finance scholarships, programs and support services for students, more than 40% of whom live below the poverty line and 65% come from low-income households, according to the letter. During the 2017-18 school year it received around $10 million in private donations to supplement a $15 million decrease in state funding during the last decade. 

Trustees voted on July 24 to close the initial search process and eliminate all four finalists except College Provost Lenore Rodicio. They will meet on Aug. 29 to discuss the next step in the process. 

The letter urges the Board to complete the initial search process and select one of four candidates— Paul Broadie II, Divina Grossman, Rodicio or Reagan Romali — as MDC president because they were selected as finalist by a 17-member Presidential Search Committee comprised of  “a cross section of our community’s most esteemed civic-minded leaders, donors, MDC faculty, alumni and students.”

“The critical role and stellar reputation of MDC cannot be compromised, nor can the need for transparency and adherence to due process,” the letter continued. “The interests of the hundreds of thousands of students, faculty, alumni and stakeholders who make up the fabric of this treasured institution must be respected.”

The group closed the letter by requesting a meeting with the Board to further explain their stance before the Aug. 29 meeting. 

“It was our desire to express what had occurred with the process,” said Foundation member Carlos Fernandez-Guzman in an interview with The Reporter. “[We wanted to] allow stakeholders at our level to ask for our input given that it was terminated without our input or that of the community.”

The letter was signed by every member of the Foundation’s Board save for two—MDC President Eduardo J. Padrón and Executive Vice President Provost Lenore Rodicio.

“There are donors that have called us, ones that have given a lot of money to the College. They’ve said, ‘We don’t understand the process. The integrity is not there. What is happening?’,” said MDC Foundation Vice-Chair and former search committee member Alfredo Salas said on Sunday morning during an interview with Al Punto, a Spanish-language news show broadcasted on Univision. “They’re telling us, ‘If this continues, we don’t know if we’ll keep donating.” That worries me.”

The Reporter attempted to reach the seven members of the Board of Trustees for this story but none of them responded.  

To read the full letter, click here.