In a grainy, dimly-lit video released earlier this week, FIU president Mark Rosenberg stated his demand: The immediate end of the Youth Fair's occupation of Tamiami Park. Behind him sat two bound and gagged clowns known only by the stage names Binkie and Bongo.
“We have tried to be reasonable," said Mr. Rosenberg in the video. "But now it is time to send a message that FIU will stop at nothing to chase the occupiers out of Tamiami Park. If the Youth Fair wants to see its clowns again, it must end its occupation."
Binkie and Bongo, longtime Youth Fair performers, are just the latest victims of an escalating conflict between Florida International University and the Youth Fair over whether the University should be able to expel the Fair from its contractually guaranteed County site and build an engineering center in its place.
The clowns' capture appears to be in direct retaliation for last month's kidnapping of FIU mascot Roary the Panther by a group of carnival barkers associated with the Fair. As previously reported, Roary was publicly beheaded by the Youth Fair carnies shortly after his capture, revealing an irritated and sweaty 22-year-old FIU sophomore named Henry Jaramillo who, upon revelation, exclaimed that "he didn't sign up for this" when he volunteered to wear the Roary costume last semester.
In an exclusive interview with the Plantain, Mr. Rosenberg stated that though he felt sympathy for the families of Binkie and Bongo, he would "fire up the school's boiler and 'send in the clowns'" if his demands were not met.
"This is progress," said Mr. Rosenberg over the muffled screams of his captives. "This is progress."