Students and faculty at the New College of Florida held a a protest during a board of trustees meeting a Tuesday after a conservative takeover of the college, CNN reported.
Back in January, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis replaced six of 13 members on the small public liberal arts school’s board with conservative allies. That board has since replaced the college’s president with DeSantis ally Richard Corcoran in the interim.
DeSantis’ office said that the school has had falling enrollment and focuses too heavily on matters such as diversity, inclusion, critical race theory (CRT), and gender ideology. This is in line with DeSantis’s intentions to defund diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs at state colleges and universities in Florida.
Worries of the school no longer being a safe place for marginalized groups circulate and several protests have taken place.
Lawmakers are trying to take away freedom of academic thought by telling students what they are allowed to study, said third-year student Chai Leffler. And people pursuing graduate degrees might instead choose to go to schools in other states that support academic freedom, Dr. Irene Mulvey, president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), said earlier this month.
“The consequences for students are enormous,” Mulvey said. “They are denied the opportunity to learn and grow, students are denied the opportunity to hear important perspectives. That’s the real tragedy.”
Tuesday’s rally also comes after the introduction of a state bill that would put board members in charge of faculty hiring; defund DEI programs; eliminate majors or minors related to CRT or gender studies; and authorize boards of trustees to review tenure of faculty.