Message from President Rosenberg on March 19, 2018

President Mark B. Rosenberg sent the following message to the university community on March 19, 2018.

Dear members of the university community:

Today, as we reconvene classes, we grieve for the victims of the bridge collapse. The last cars were removed late Saturday night, and a final, sixth victim was recovered. This tragedy hit home; we all had family and friends in the area, and we are still shaken to the core. Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to the victims’ families and all those who are affected.

We know this will be a difficult week. We want to come together as a community to mourn, show the victims’ families our support and start on the path toward healing. Here are some moments where we will be able to do so:

  • Today, we will have a moment of silence at 1:47 p.m. Please join us wherever you are.
  • On Tuesday, March 20, a blood drive will be conducted to support those who are still in the hospital from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Lot 33 (adjacent to the Graham Center Ballrooms).
  • On Wednesday, at 10 a.m., the Student Government Association will hold a vigil for FIU student, Alexa Duran, and the five other victims in the Graham Center Ballrooms. This will be followed by a walk to a site we have designated for flowers and other remembrances near the billboards located on Southwest 107th Avenue and 8th Street.

We are so grateful to the police officers, firefighters, emergency-room personnel, and other first responders, as well as the Red Cross who have been on-site since the incident occurred. We can’t thank them enough for what they did.

You will continue to see a lot of speculation about how this happened, and we know you have a lot of questions, so we want to address a few right here:

How did this happen and what is being done to find out?
We have a sense of urgency about getting to the bottom of the incident, and we are cooperating with and assisting the authorities fully. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is conducting a thorough investigation. It will take some time, but we are confident that their report will explain what happened and how something like this can be prevented in the future.

Did FIU design and build the bridge?
As part of a 2013 US Department of Transportation TIGER grant, FIU awarded a Design-Build contract for the bridge through a competitive, public process, but FIU did not design or build the bridge. The bridge was designed by FIGG Bridge Engineers and built by MCM Construction. Barnhart Crane and Rigging operated the equipment that placed the bridge on its supports.

How does FIU ensure it follows all proper procedures and protocols for construction projects?
FIU has a thorough process for hiring contractors for building projects and works with all appropriate authorities to follow the legal and regulatory requirements. For this project, FIU also awarded a contract through a competitive process to Bolton Perez and Associates to provide Construction, Engineering and Inspection services. This project also was administered as an FDOT Local Agency Program (LAP) with additional requirements. We are confident that FIU followed all proper procedures and protocols.

There are a number of resources available for students, faculty and staff who feel affected by this tragedy, which you can find here.

Our community will need to take time to grieve and reflect. Please keep those affected and their families in your thoughts and prayers.


Mark B. Rosenberg