A conservative appointee to the New College of Florida (NCF) board of trustees shared his vision for the institution in a statement obtained by Florida’s Voice on Wednesday.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida appointed six members to the board of trustees on Jan. 6 which flipped the ideology of the board in a conservative direction.
Dr. Matthew Spalding, a faculty member at the conservative Hillsdale College and one of the new NCF appointees, wrote in a statement that his vision for the Florida school is one that “liberates the mind” and trains students in “how to think, not what to think.”
In the news: Florida Gov. DeSantis, Cabinet Eye Land Conservation Deals
“In the liberal arts, the college—which means a partnership, one between students and faculty—works together and comes into conversation with great thinkers and writers who’ve asked timeless questions about human purpose, about the good, and justice, and how to live well,” Spalding wrote. “The very aim of liberal arts education is to liberate the mind from current fads and popular ideologies by inviting students to address these questions in pursuit of the truth about what it means to be fully human. That pursuit transcends contemporary politics.
“Such an education teaches one how to think, not what to think,” he continued. “The surging enrollment at my home institution and others like it shows that students hunger for such serious academic inquiry.”
Following DeSantis’ appointments, some alleged that the school could become the “Hillsdale of the south.” Spalding was quick to dispel the claim, writing that the college would have its own identity.
In the News: Florida Gov. DeSantis Shakes Up Liberal University, Appoints 6 New Members To New College
“I appreciate the complimentary nods to Hillsdale College, but we are not going to serve New College’s mission by remaking it into a carbon copy of another institution,” he wrote.
Spalding’s focus will be “restoring New College’s ‘distinctive mission’ as the ‘residential liberal arts honors college’ of Florida.”
Liberal students decried new appointments in interviews with the Daily Beast. One student said that students’ safety is at risk and reportedly “got really sad and then just, like, laid down” in response to the news.