Conservative Reforms at New College in Florida Are Sending the Left Into a Panic
“For many, the board of trustees meeting was the clearest sign yet that this is the last semester of New College as they know it.”
Last year, Ron DeSantis appointed a handful of conservatives to the board of trustees at New College in Florida, including conservative activist Chris Rufo.
The idea was to bring some ideological balance to the school, which is known for being progressive even by the standards of higher education. The efforts of these trustees have been fairly successful so far, and that success has the left in panic mode.
The left owns higher education and has for decades. They see progressive control as the norm in academia, so to them this looks and feels like a hostile takeover, which it kind of is.
During a recent board meeting, five faculty members applied for tenure (a year earlier than usual) and in a move clearly designed to suggest that the left is still in charge, progressive protesters showed up to demand that tenure be given.
Someone apparently sent some sort of threat, which the left used to try to cancel the event, but it didn’t work:
Dr. Lepinksi and former provost Sherman both wanted to shut down our initial public event at New College in the face of threats, rather than stand up for the principles of free speech and open expression.pic.twitter.com/XW23ninxBH
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) April 26, 2023
When tenure was denied, one progressive board member named Matthew Lepinski resigned in protest and walked out to cheers from the mob.
Today’s New College of Florida board meeting ended with a board member announcing he’s leaving the college: pic.twitter.com/1rrTFUODgL
— Steve McGuire (@sfmcguire79) April 26, 2023
Rufo’s response on Twitter was epic:
I wish Dr. Lepinski well and look forward to recruiting his replacement. We are restoring classical liberal arts education at New College and any faculty that prefer the old system of unfettered left-wing activism and a rubber-stamp board are free to self-select out. https://t.co/M4hLqRfePq
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) April 26, 2023
Michelle Goldberg, a left-wing writer for the New York Times, has taken great pity on the progressive crowd at New College and made all of this the subject of her latest column:
This Is What the Right-Wing Takeover of a Progressive College Looks Like
When I first met Matthew Lepinski, the faculty chair of New College of Florida, he was willing to give the right-wingers sent to remake his embattled progressive public school a chance.
This was in January, a few weeks after Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida appointed six activist conservatives, including the culture war strategist Chris Rufo, to New College’s board of trustees. Rufo, the ideological entrepreneur who made critical race theory a Republican boogeyman, was open about his ambition to turn the quirky, L.G.B.T.Q.-friendly liberal arts school into a public version of Hillsdale, a conservative Christian college in Michigan with close ties to both DeSantis and Donald Trump. He hoped the transformation would be proof of concept for his dream: a conservative takeover of higher education across the country.
This passage is almost comical in its description of life at New College:
The new trustees fired the school’s president, replacing her with Richard Corcoran, the Republican former speaker of the Florida House. They fired its chief diversity officer and dismantled the diversity, equity and inclusion office. As I was writing this on Friday, several people sent me photographs of gender-neutral signage scraped off school bathrooms.
But day-to-day, students, parents, and professors told me, life at New College has been pretty much the same. Faculty have mostly been left alone to do their jobs. Corcoran, several professors said, was rarely on campus. Sam Sharf, who chose New College in part because she feels safe there as a trans woman, said that classroom discussions in her Politics of the African Diaspora and Alternatives to Capitalism classes haven’t changed, though she’s constantly aware that such subjects might soon be taboo, and is planning to transfer.
This part is telling. Emphasis is mine:
For many, the board of trustees meeting was the clearest sign yet that this is the last semester of New College as they know it. The pivot point was the trustees’ decision to override the typical tenure process. New College hired a large number of new faculty five years ago, and this year was the first that any of them could apply for tenure…
It was all futile. A majority of the trustees voted down each of the candidates in turn as the crowd chanted, “Shame on you!” That’s when Lepinski quit, walking out of the room to cheers.
The trustees framed their objections in terms of timing; the professors were applying after five years at New College instead of the more customary six, and would have the opportunity to reapply the next year.
Goldberg’s take is that this is like the end of the world.
"They fired its chief diversity officer and dismantled the diversity, equity and inclusion office…people sent me photographs of gender-neutral signage scraped off school bathrooms"
Rufo taking down gender neutral signs like they're statues of Lenin. https://t.co/BkWZypbsdh
— Richard Hanania (@RichardHanania) April 29, 2023
It’s really just the end of one side having all the power. Let’s hope for more of this.
All 5 New College professors going up for tenure were denied today, despite approval from the college's faculty and previous administration. Every academic should be paying attention to what's happening there, now. Florida is very likely your future. https://t.co/9ZyvU7meyP
— Sarah Osment (@sm_osment) April 26, 2023
Featured image via YouTube.
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Democrats need to be sent into a panic and kept there.
They are doing a good job without any outside assistance.
“They see progressive control as the norm in academia, so to them this looks and feels like a hostile takeover, which it kind of is.”
They are clueless of how hostile & that it is all their fault.
Lefties are forever talking about democracy being threatened, but whenever the democratic process is used and the result is not to their liking, well, you know what they do.
There was a quorum of three to hold the meeting; a motion was presented to the board; two of the three voted to approve the motion.
And all we hear from the lefties is squawking that “this isn’t fair.”
please don’t call them “Democrats”; call them what they really are: Socialist-Progressives
The D next to their name makes them Democrats. The other stuff is just string along adjectives that probably are taken as compliments.
Progressive Fascists is the best term for them.
Good riddance to all!
“It’s really just the end of one side having all the power.” Yes! that’s the real problem in academe. I hope this spreads to many other states as well.
They will not go down without fighting.
Accreditation, pressure on employers not to hire from here, shame on students who attend after these changes, smears and intimidation, hate hoaxes – any attempt at all to make this experiment fail.
It’s all coming to New College.
What a warrior Christopher Rufo and the rest are for taking this fight up at one small college and trying to light a fire for freedom and balance in American education.
I wish them luck and hope it succeeds massively in the long run.
It’s going to be bumpy in the short run.
We didn´t get to this point overnight.
It will not change overnight.
I just hope we “they” have the stamina for the long haul.
What is tenure good for????
Wow. So the tenure candidates are going through what conservative (unless they are hiding, which most are) tenure candidates have been suffering through for decades.
They thought it was such a lock that they applied early!
Dismante DIE offices? Excellent move. Take out the trash. Long overdue. I went through the Gender Studies department at my local state college and my flesh crawled. Even woman (real ones) students told me that to pass, all they had to do was “say they hated men
I wonder why the left thinks they own academia? Time for real fairness and free speech to be reintroduced to colleges and universities.
As they say, “SAVE THE CHILDREN”
As The Bulwark transitions from NeverTrump to NeverDeSantis (none of it was ever just about Trump), one of its writers is busily comparing Ron DeSantis to Viktor Orban because DeSantis made his move on New College. Not that The Bulwark gets any attention here—I haven’t noticed Orban getting any either—but prior to July 2015 the same writer effectively presented as a libertarian and would have viewed the prior administration of New College with undiluted horror. Libertarians are wandering in different directions now, but nearly all seem to have lost their way.
Nah they are not libertarians. It’s the grifters who pose as Libertarians and small l libertarians. These are the same knuckleheads who are/were always screaming about how the voters needed to do X or support Z right up until it came time to implement the policy. Suddenly these knuckleheads would then back off and tell us that to actually use our new political power would be ‘unfair’ or too crass and we should water down the policy with input from the other side.
Most of those folks at the Bulwark were like this. They aren’t true free market capitalists where people go out of business. No they like bailouts, why wouldn’t they after all they have had their careers bailed out. Instead they are crony capitalists who vastly favor corporatism and oligarchy b/c they believe they are part of the anointed neo aristocracy and would reside in the Manor House v being peasants toiling in the fields. They have zero room for a robust Yeomanry which might stand against them.
You are completely failing to understand libertarians.
If you feel the government power is illegitimate of course use of it to change education is de facto and de jure illegitimate.
I support what DeSantis is doing I am not a libertarian.
I support use of lawful and just power, and I think it is atrocious how the 21st century Republican Party lost the plot and chose to go in a libertarian direction.
I do not expect libertarians to give up heartfelt beliefs and join me (there aren’t enough of them to make a difference in any state however).
The people at the Bulwark are grifters but your comment on libertarianism.
Belief government is too big, must be cut down to size, that everything is always better when it comes from the private sector etc etc is not actually compatible with any of the victories you have seen DeSantis deliver, which is why libertarian minded Republicans never delivered those victories.
This is a good start, it it’s one small college. Want to see real change? Want to see stupid and I mean STUPID disciplines disappear overnight? End student loans! End government funding, grants, etc for research. Cut off the funds and the idiots masquerading as professors will no longer have jobs. Colleges will be forced to choose between STEM and women’s studies. FJB
Just dropping some woke courses will result in woke professors moving on. Students demanding woke courses are no benefit to the college.
I’m so old, I remember when student loans were issued by things like banks and foundations — not federal agencies.
Although (full disclosure) that was for my older brother and sister. By the time I got old enough to need one, the most popular version was issued by DOD.
The sooner the better.
DeSantis, despite the attacks from the usual hate America first crowd, have only one real option as far as I am concerned, they can take I-95, I-75, I-10 or the ocean and get out of here and NEVER look back.
Florida is very likely your future.
We can only hope.
Best story I have read in a long time!
“When I first met Matthew Lepinski, the faculty chair of New College of Florida, he was willing to give the right-wingers sent to remake his embattled progressive public school a chance.”
The employee was willing to give his bosses a chance. Isn’t that precious.