Democrats and left-wing pundits are falsely blaming the retirement of the president of Florida International University (FIU), Mark Rosenberg, on Governor Ron Desantis as part of a supposed politically motivated plot.
In a statement on Friday evening, Rosenberg confirmed that he was stepping down from the role after having worked with the university for nearly 45 years. He cited personal health issues as the primary reason behind the decision.
“I am stepping back, so that I may give my full attention to recurring personal health issues and to the deteriorating health of my wife, Rosalie,” he said. “It has truly been the honor of a lifetime to represent our community and help build our FIU.”
Despite Rosenberg’s clarification, left-wing commentators took to Twitter to suggest that Rosenberg had been forced out by DeSantis.
The resignation did come as a shock to some after said in an interview last month that he had many books left to write.
“Ultimately I’m an academic, and I’ve got still three, maybe four, books left to write. My attitude is to go raging into that good night, whatever that looks like,” Rosenberg told the Herald at that time. “At some point, I’ll step down, and we’ll get a new president, and I would expect them to pick up where I left off.”
Mike Hernández, a political analyst for Telemundo 51 and the former president of the FIU Alumni Association, told the Herald that the abruptness of the announcement took people by surprise.
“He had very very challenging professional and personal circumstances but the abruptness of the resignation caught everyone that I know by surprise,” said Hernández. “I have a personal relationship with Rosenberg.
“We all are just kind of processing this,” he added. “It’s very disappointing that university volunteers that are so invested in this institution did not get a heads up.”
Meanwhile, the Herald published an editorial similarly suggesting that Rosenberg’s resignation had left “questions in his wake.”
“The suddenness of Rosenberg’s resignation on a Friday gave us pause,” the editorial read. “Had he been pushed out? Is there something else behind this resignation? The community deserves to know.”
“In any case, his departure led us to ask — because, well, it’s Florida — who in Tallahassee wants to be a university president?” it continued. Who wants to have a big role in education in Republican politics? How wants to overhaul education in Florida? Did Gov. Ron DeSantis play a role in this changing of the guard?”
The Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting on Friday afternoon to agree on a successor. In the immediate future, Chief Financial Officer Kenneth A. Jessell will take charge as interim president.
Jessel took to Twitter to thank his predecessor for his decades of service and for his “leadership and hard work in helping to make FIU what it is today.”
“As your interim president, I value the responsibility I have been given by our Board of Trustees to usher this institution, and I ask that you join me in this new journey, together as Panthers,” he wrote.