Investigation: Ex-FIU president ‘displayed extremely poor judgment’

An investigator reported the former president of Florida International University admitted to asking a woman under his direct supervision if “companionship was of interest” to her in October, but she said that what he actually asked was if she wanted to become his “lover.” She reported the relationship started to become uncomfortable in May when the president allegedly said her boyfriend was not “good enough.”

Mark B. Rosenberg announced his resignation on Jan. 21. In his resignation letter, he attributed his decision to “recurring personal health issues and to the deteriorating health” of his wife. He later released a statement saying he had “unintentionally created emotional (not physical) entanglement” with an FIU staffer as his wife was suffering from dementia and diabetes.

“She stated that he became personal with his questions, told her he was getting a divorce … [Rosenberg] denied that he ever stated that he wanted to marry her. He stated that he was not divorced, may never get divorced, and in any event, does not believe he will marry again,” according to the investigator.

Rosenberg, 72, got married in 1974 and he started teaching political science at FIU in 1976. After working for the state, he returned to serve as the university’s 5th president in 2009. His resignation was after the public research university hired a law firm to look into an allegation of sexual harassment in December.

Attorney Eric D. Isicoff, who has a commercial litigation practice in Miami, handled FIU’s internal probe. The woman said she met Rosenberg while she was a student at FIU and started working in his office in July 2019 and as part of her job she often went to dinners and games with Rosenberg.

Isicoff reviewed all of the text messages between Rosenberg and the woman who accused him of sexual harassment and concluded that although there was “nothing that could be construed as constituting sexual harassment,” the text messages “reveal an uncomfortable and inappropriate level of familiarity and informality.”

In a 15-page report provided to FIU’s board of trustees, Isicoff concluded Rosenberg was “unprofessional,” “crossed” boundaries, and “displayed extremely poor judgment.”

This is a developing story. Local 10 News Reporter Sanela Sabovic is working on a 6 p.m. story.

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