A faculty trustee at New College of Florida resigned on Wednesday after the college’s board of trustees, appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis, denied tenure to five professors. In January, DeSantis had targeted the college for an overhaul, appointing six trustees to change its direction. The governor’s office criticized the institution for prioritizing “trendy, truth-relative concepts above learning.”
The new trustees removed the existing president and closed the diversity office, resulting in opposition from some graduates. As the board implemented changes, they rejected five requests for tenure. Interim President Richard Corcoran, a DeSantis appointee, urged those seeking tenure to withdraw their applications due to the ongoing changes at the college. Corcoran stated that the college needed to transform, emphasizing that it was in decline and required fixing.
During a contentious meeting, the board decided against granting tenure to the professors, who had only taught for five years. Trustee Mark Bauerlein argued that they could be considered for tenure next year. However, advocates for granting tenure warned that the professors might leave if not granted that status. Faculty union president Steven Shipman criticized the board’s actions, claiming they were hostile to the faculty and destructive to the academic program.
As the meeting concluded, trustee Matthew Lepinski, the board’s faculty representative, announced his resignation, expressing concern over the board’s direction and the destabilization of the academic program.
Christopher Rufo, a trustee appointed by DeSantis, responded to the resignation and tensions in a City Journal post, emphasizing the need for a classical liberal arts institution where political extremism has no place. Rufo criticized the American Left’s unwillingness to cede control of academia to conservatives, arguing that they view conservatives as evil rather than merely wrong.