New College Of FL President Fired By Newly Conservative Board
SARASOTA, FL —Gov. Ron DeSantis put six new conservatives on the Board of Trustees of the liberal New College of Florida a few weeks ago. On Tuesday, the board voted to end the contract of the college’s president, Patricia Okker.
WFLA reports that the trustees also chose Richard Corcoran, the former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and Florida Commissioner of Education, as the college’s interim president. Corcoran is a member of the Republican Party. “Even though I’m sad, I’m also thankful. “I will always be grateful to you for that and more,” Okker is said to have said after the meeting.
ABC 7 said that the board also decided to cut four jobs from the schools’ Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence. Last month, DeSantis said that he wanted to turn the college, which had a progressive philosophy before, into a conservative school that focuses on the classics.
The governor’s six new appointees to the board are:
- Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist known for challenging critical race theory and gender ideology,
- Matthew Spalding, a professor and dean at Hillsdale College, a conservative Christian college in Michigan,
- Charles R. Kesler, a government professor at Claremont-McKenna College in California, where the conservative movement in America is among his areas of expertise, and the author of several books, including “I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism,”
- Mark Bauerlein, an Emory University English professor who once described himself as an “educational conservative” to Reason magazine,
- Debra Jenks, a New College alumna and attorney, and
- Jason “Eddie” Speir, founder of Inspiration Academy, a private, Christian, sports academy in Bradenton.
The website for New College, a public liberal arts college with honours, says that the school trains “free thinkers, risk-takers, and trailblazers.” It tells people who want to go to school, “Your education. Your choice. Find a public arts and science education that fits your interests, career goals, and way you learn best.”
Each student makes his or her own degree plan, with a focus on learning by doing. But the DeSantis administration wants to get rid of ideas like diversity, fairness, and inclusion, as well as critical race theory, from the classrooms at New College and other colleges.
According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz said in a statement, “We hope that New College of Florida will become Florida’s classical college, more like a Hillsdale of the south.” “You can’t ask me to argue that we’re teaching students what to think. I do not believe it. I know there are different points of view on that, but I will try to change your mind, “told ABC Action News Patricia Okker. “At New College, our students are not taught to believe certain things.”