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The FIU president’s exit, rent prices skyrocket, the fight over the state dessert

Barbara says that meringue brings out the best in a Key Lime Pie.

On this Wednesday, January 26, edition of Sundial:

The FIU president’s exit

Florida International University President Mark Rosenberg abruptly resigned last week. The shakeup for the university's leadership comes as Rosenberg is accused of misconduct, and harassing and making unwanted advances toward a young female colleague.

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Rosenberg began his career with FIU as an assistant professor of political science in 1976, four years after the university opened.

The workplace issues spark a larger conversation about who will lead the university now, and about the mental health toll that people who are family caretakers can suffer.

Miami Herald Higher Education Reporter Jimena Tavel has written several stories on this since the news broke and she joined Sundial to discuss what comes next for the university, and how this affects Rosenberg's now complicated legacy after a respected career at FIU.

"I think this goes back to a larger debate that we're having as a society, right? Do we separate the art from the artist in a sense? And should we do that? Can we do that?" Tavel said. "We should remember that Rosenberg isn't responsible for all of the success that FIU has experienced, though. There’s thousands of students and employees over the years that have been doing that, it's not just the boat's captain."

The FIU president’s exit

Rent prices skyrocket

Rent prices in South Florida have increased faster than anywhere else in the country.

The state as a whole is on track to becoming one of the least affordable. Meanwhile, wages are growing at a rate behind the national average.

“I’m starting to see that if I can’t get any help, I may have to move up north where it’s cheaper,” said Keisha Guyton, a South Florida resident who spoke with WLRN reporter Danny Rivero. “Probably like Pompano, Palm Bay, Cocoa — I may have to take my voucher and see if I can transfer it up north.”

Find Rivero’s full report on this story here.

There’s been a surge in demand for housing here, especially over the past year.

“I'm seeing most of all is a lot of displacement. A housing crisis that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. People come to Florida, people come to Miami in particular, a lot of wealth and a lot of wealthy people coming into Miami and honestly just buying working-class families out of their out of their homes,” said Norma Uriostegui, the Miami Workers Center’s housing organizer.

Rent prices skyrocket
Stephenie Collie sits in her Liberty City efficiency for which she pays $900 a month. To renew her lease, she will have to pay $1,100 for the unit.

The fight over Florida’s state dessert

We're going to shine the key lime-light — on Florida's dessert debate.

There's a bill moving through the legislature this session that would designate strawberry shortcake as the official dessert of the state of Florida.

“I completely understand why they want to bring attention to the strawberry industry in Florida. I think they provide something like 75% of the winter crop,” said David Sloan, who co-founded the Key Lime Festival in Key West and wrote "The Key West Key Lime Pie Cookbook". ”But I think the way they're approaching it, it's, you know, trying to push key lime out. We have represented Florida as the dessert for 16 years.”

Key Lime Pie has been the state's official pie since 2006 and it’s native to Florida, according to Sloan, who traced the dessert’s origin.

“If Plant City doesn't want to play ball on this, then our vice mayor under the official bylaws of the Republic, he's challenged their vice mayor to a dessert duel. And what you do for a dessert duel? You both arm yourselves with your favorite dessert, I'm assuming this would be a key lime pie and a strawberry shortcake, and you stand back to back, take ten paces, turn around and fire,” said Sloan.

Sundial reached out to Senator Danny Burgess, who filed the strawberry shortcake bill. He sent a statement that is brief and to the point: “Stand tall for shortcake.”

Fight over the state dessert
<em>Cléry</em> strawberries are on sale at a market in Paris. Strawberries take over the city's outdoor markets — and one woman's memory — in May.

Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.