MIAMI (CBSMiami) – University of Miami’s new president is speaking out against some of Donald Trump’s controversial comments.
Dr. Julio Frenk was born in Mexico. His father and grandfather were Jews who fled Nazi Germany. He talks from experience when he addresses issues like immigration and religious intolerance.
When CBS4 Anchor Eliott Rodriguez sat down with him Thursday, Frenk wasn’t reluctant to talk about some of the rhetoric coming out of the presidential campaign.
“What’s your reaction to some of the anti-immigrant rhetoric you’re hearing in the presidential campaign?” Rodriguez asked him.
“I’m disturbed by it,” Frenk responded. “My family fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s where statements categorizing whole groups of people led to we know what outcomes.”
The Mexican-born former Harvard dean didn’t bite his tongue when it came to Trump’s comments about Mexicans and Muslims.
“Have some politicians singled out Mexican immigrants in your opinion?” Rodriguez followed up with.
“Yes, yes they have,” Frenk said. “It’s rhetoric that has no place in a democracy.”
Frenk added the comments are personally painful.
But the gloomy political talk wasn’t why UM hired the upbeat, cheerful former dean of Harvard.
Strolling around campus, you can tell Frenk is eager to learn about South Florida and his new university.
From the moment UM hired him, he hit the ground running.
He’s hired a new health system CEO as the school builds a 200,000 square-foot on-campus hospital scheduled to open next year.
UM has a new football coach in Mark Richt. Frenk is feeling the pressure to return the football team to a winning tradition.
“I love to win, but I understand that for our students winning means much more than what happens on the field, it’s what happens in their lives,” he said.
Dr. Frenk is the sixth president of the University of Miami and the first Hispanic to hold the post.
Although he’s been on the job four months, his official inauguration will take place on January 29th.