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New College Agenda To Abolish Diversity

By Charlotte Robinson, March 09, 2023

At New College of Florida in Sarasota, Governor DeSantis appointed 6 new Board of Trustees who voted to remove college president Dr. Patricia Okker a former dean & professor of English as part of what Okker called a “hostile takeover.” This prompted Campus Pride to remove New College of Florida from its Campus Pride Index (CPI) which rates colleges & universities on a range of LGBTQ friendly policies, programs & practices. Shane Mendez Windmeyer, Campus Pride Founder, CEO & Executive Director stated, “The Campus Pride Index is the most reliable resource for LGBTQ+ inclusion within higher education. We cannot allow information that is no longer accurate, or highly credible based on these controversial changes to the campus administration, to be part of our trusted resource. This ‘hostile takeover,’ as it has been characterized, brings into question the current 3 star rating. In addition, these egregious actions by Governor Ron DeSantis concerning Florida’s colleges & universities & particularly New College of Florida represent attempts to stifle free thought & reverse years of progress to recognize the rights, history & contributions of LGBTQ+ people. These actions raise grave concerns about the safety & well-being of LGBTQ+ students at New College.” Richard Corcoran, a former state education commissioner & Republican speaker of the Florida House of Representatives was selected as interim president. The new board also set an agenda to consider proposals to abolish DEI (diversity, equity & inclusion) offices & end mandatory diversity training, mandatory diversity statements & identity-based preferences. DeSantis is also backing Florida HB 999 which would ban college spending on DEI, give control over curriculum to appointed boards of trustees & eliminate majors in Critical Race Theory, Gender Studies or Intersectionality. 

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