The Miami Dade College District Board of Trustees on Monday made clear their “unequivocal support” of college president Eduardo Padrón following his public, personal spat with several powerful local lawmakers.
Padrón set off a firestorm last week when he criticized four Republican politicians he said were trying to kill a bill that would infuse the college’s starved coffers with as much as $1 billion. The bill would allow Miami-Dade voters to cast ballots on a half-cent sales tax over five years, which would mostly fund college construction projects.
Padrón said four Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Jose Oliva, were actively fighting a bill that would help their hometown. He labeled them “bullies” and “ideologues,” and at one point ripped Oliva — slated to become House Speaker in four years — as a college dropout.
In response, 11 members of the Miami-Dade delegation penned a letter demanding an apology and condemning Padrón’s “uncivilized discourse.” They said Padrón had done more damage than good for the college’s funding hopes.
Padrón followed with his own letter, in which he apologized for getting too personal with his comments, though not to any one lawmaker. Rep. Eddy Gonzalez, the Hialeah Republican who chairs the Miami-Dade delegation, said the apology didn’t go far enough and should have been addressed to individuals.
On Monday, Miami Dade College’s seven-member board of trustees took a vote and reaffirmed their unanimous support of Padrón, and of the bill the college is pushing for a sales tax referendum.
“The Board fully supports the College’s efforts to ensure that MDC secures the necessary resources to effectively serve the students and the larger community of Miami-Dade County,” the board’s members said in their statement. “In addition, the Board reaffirmed unequivocal support for MDC President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón and his leadership of the institution.”