- The New College of Florida Board of Trustees will meet with Interim President Richard Corcoran to discuss proposed changes to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies.
- The proposed changes aim to eliminate DEI bureaucracies, end mandatory diversity training, curtail political coercion, and end identity-based preferences.
- The proposed changes were introduced after Governor Ron DeSantis appointed six conservative members to the board. If approved, they would eliminate the Office of Outreach & Inclusive Excellence and discontinuing DEI training exercises.
The New College of Florida Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet with Interim President Richard Corcoran later today to discuss proposed policy changes concerning diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The board will consider four proposals aimed at diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies, including “abolishing DEI bureaucracies,” “ending mandatory diversity training,” “curtailing political coercion (mandatory diversity statements),” and “ending identity-based preferences.”
The proposals were introduced after Governor Ron DeSantis appointed six conservative members to the board in January.
If approved, the changes would involve eliminating the Office of Outreach & Inclusive Excellence, which has a budget of $442,227 and employs four full-time staff and three part-time student positions. The staff would be relocated to other positions under Corcoran’s direction.
Although some critics, including State University System Board of Governors (BOG) member Jose Oliva have expressed concerns about Corcoran’s recently approved base salary of $699,000 and lavish perks, most members believe that Corcoran is the right person to navigate the transition. Oliva, who succeeded Corcoran as House Speaker, said he is confident in Corcoran’s abilities but wanted the Board of Governors to act as a strong check and balance during salary negotiations.
Debra Jenks, the new trustee chair for New College, has promised to work with Corcoran to preserve and protect the current students at New College.
“We do plan, along with President Corcoran, to absolutely preserve, protect, appreciate and work with the current students at New College,” Jenks said last week. “At the end of the day, if we can’t take care of our students, the ones today, tomorrow, a year from now or 10 years from now, we should all pack up our desks and go home.”
But the New College Board of Trustees will likely move forward with their plans to transform the school. In addition to eliminating the Office of Outreach & Inclusive Excellence, the proposed changes would discontinue various training exercises, including diversity, equity, and inclusion training for campus police. In addition, the trustees are likely to slap a new regulation on the school blocking spending on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.
According to the proposal, diversity, equity, and inclusion would be defined as any “effort to manipulate or otherwise influence the composition of the faculty or student body with reference to race, sex, color, or ethnicity, apart from ensuring colorblind and sex-neutral admissions and hiring” in accordance with state and federal laws.
The proposed changes come as DeSantis supports HB 999, a bill that would prohibit colleges and universities from promoting, supporting, or maintaining programs related to diversity, equity, and inclusion or “critical race theory rhetoric.” The bill is set to be filed for the legislative session that begins in March.