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Florida State Legislature pours millions into DeSantis-backed college


Daily Caller News Foundation

The Florida Legislature plans to allocate millions of dollars in additional funding to a college that quickly became the focus of Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ higher education reform efforts this year, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.

The Legislature approved $15 million in “operational support” at New College of Florida (NCF) in the current budget at DeSantis’ request, and intends to allocate an additional $35 million in the next year, the Herald-Tribune reported. The money comes after DeSantis appointed six conservative members to the Board of Trustees, shifting its political leaning, who immediately began a campaign to redefine the school’s mission.

The funding marks nearly $50 million put toward NCF since the new trustees were appointed, the Herald-Tribune reported. NCF is a small school with approximately 700 students — making it one of the smallest in the state.

The funding will go toward hiring new faculty, recruiting students, developing a sports program and renovating facilities, according to the Herald-Tribune. Lawmakers are currently constructing next year’s state budget before the legislative session ends on May 5, and all funding must be approved by the governor.

The NCF Board of Trustees voted during its first meeting of the semester to fire former university president Patricia Okker in place of interim president Richard Corcoran, who previously served as education commissioner in the DeSantis administration. The school has experienced several turnovers in faculty as Provost Suzanne Sherman resigned in March and trustee Matthew Lepinski announced his resignation on April 26 — both of whom had disagreements with the DeSantis-approved trustees.

The Board voted during the semester to eliminate a campus office dedicated to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and the use of diversity statements in the hiring process. While some allege that DeSantis is attempting to make the Sarasota campus a reflection of Hillsdale College, a conservative school located in Michigan, trustee Matthew Spalding wrote in his vision for the college that the school would not be “a carbon copy of another institution.”

NCF and DeSantis did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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