The months-long effort to purge Florida’s smallest public university of its woke ideology has produced big dividends, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office announced on Friday.
New College in Sarasota, a tiny school whose curriculum is focused on the humanities, “is experiencing record enrollment with an increase of over 300 students this year, marking the highest enrollment of new students in school history,” the governor’s office said in a press release.
Prior to the campus shake-up DeSantis implemented this year, New College had fewer than 700 students.
“New College of Florida is blazing a trail of success and setting the standard for operating a university. The board abolished the school’s gender studies program and now has the highest enrollment in school history. Pushing indoctrination and handing out worthless degrees is no way to prepare students for successful careers,” DeSantis said on Twitter on Friday.
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In the press release from his office, the Republican governor added, “The New College Board of Trustees is succeeding in its mission to eliminate indoctrination and re-focus higher education on its classical mission.”
As Tampa Free Press has reported, DeSantis initiated the makeover in January by naming six new conservative trustees to New College’s board.
Most prominent among them was the journalist Christopher Rufo, who has extensively covered the “diversity, equity, and inclusion” issue.
The conservative grip on New College tightened in February when the trustees dumped former President Patricia Okker and named Richard Corcoran as the interim leader.
Corcoran, a Republican, is a former House speaker and former state education commissioner under DeSantis.
DeSantis has since appointed a seventh trustee, making his picks the clear majority of the board.
DeSantis also injected millions of new spending into the school.
In a statement, Corcoran noted, “A true liberal arts education teaches students how to think not what to think. While providing a classical, liberal-arts education was originally the goal of New College when it was founded, New College – like many other colleges recently – began going down a path of ideological indoctrination. However, the inspirational vision of empowering students with an education that provides them with the tools to be creative and critical thinkers is bigger than any of us.”
“People are powerfully drawn to that idea and want an education like this for themselves and their children. That is why New College is succeeding – and why we are only going to grow bigger and better next year,” he added.
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DeSantis’ office noted other highlights that have occurred since the move to the right at New College. They included:
- The replacement of far-left faculty with new professors aligned with the university’s new mission.
- The elimination of DEI focused positions, which saved more than $200,000 annually.
- A quadrupling of first-year enrollment for black students, and nearly doubling the number of Hispanic students.
- The introduction of intercollegiate athletics with six new sports teams and a scholarship fund for incoming athletes that has led to the recruitment of nearly 150 student athletes since the athletic program launched in the spring.
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