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Miami lawmaker "deeply disappointed" with state's response to Dade Medical College crisis


Miami lawmaker Rep. José Javier Rodríguez blasted Florida’s for-profit college oversight agency on Tuesday — questioning whether it has the “political will” to crack down on misbehaving schools.

Rodríguez’s harsh words came nearly three months after the disastrous closure of Coral Gables-based Dade Medical College. Dade Medical’s roughly 2,000 students were left in limbo because the school never gave the state a plan to “teach out” the students at another college, which is required by Florida law. Violating that law is a misdemeanor.

Florida’s for-profit oversight agency, the Commission for Independent Education, has the power to refer Dade Medical owner Ernesto Perez to prosecutors because of how the closure happened. But so far, the CIE — which is dominated by for-profit college executives — has taken no action.

In a letter e-mailed to CIE Executive Director Samuel Ferguson, Rodríguez wrote he was “deeply disappointed” in the agency’s response.

“Most telling is the commission’s repeated and continued failure to simply be available to students in Miami,” wrote Rodríguez, who is a Democrat. “Despite repeated assurances to me since early November that plans are underway to send staff to South Florida to meet with and assist affected students, three months after the closure we continue to wait.”

Under its own agency rules, the CIE is supposed to send a staffer to any school that closes.

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