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DeSantis’ Attempt To Make College More Conservative Leads To Faculty Exodus

Amidst Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s hostile takeover of the Florida education system, the New College of Florida is struggling to hold onto its faculty. In January, DeSantis appointed the far-right anti-LGBTQ+ activist Christopher Rufo, among other conservatives, to the New College’s board of trustees in an effort to make the school more conservative. The college had a reputation for being progressive and queer-friendly, but Rufo said the board would conduct a top-down restructuring of the school that will involve designing a new core curriculum from scratch. But now, Provost Bradley Thiessen says 36 faculty have left in the past year alone. In a school with fewer than 100 full-time faculty members, that’s a lot. It often takes over a year for universities to fill full-time positions, and without any advanced notice from the majority of the departed faculty, the school is now struggling to provide all of the courses that students need. Currently, the school is relying on visiting faculty, but it’s still not enough. During his time in office, DeSantis has waged war on public education, most notably through his “Don’t Say Gay” law. In 2022, DeSantis also signed the so-called “Stop WOKE Act,” which forbids schools and businesses from offering educational programs on racism and gender-based discrimination.

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