Ron DeSantis seized control of the state’s smallest public institution of higher education. New College was created as a progressive outpost. The governor named six new trustees to the 13-member board and added the controlling vote when a political ally replaced a seventh member. The majority is packed with rightwing ideologues. They immediately sacked the president, an English professor, and replaced her with a Republican hack, Richard Corcoran, former Speaker of the House and former State Commissioner of Education. He was previously passed over when he applied for the presidency of the University of Florida because of his lack of academic credentials. He has been promised compensation of $900,000 a year. DeSantis takes care of his friends.

The Miami Herald reported:

New College of Florida leaders voted Tuesday to eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion “bureaucracies” at the Sarasota honors college, the State University System’s smallest campus.

The school’s board of trustees — including six conservative members appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in January — banned mandatory diversity trainings and ended “political coercion” in the form of diversity statements. They also prohibited “identity-based preferences” in admissions, hiring and promotions.

The school will disband the Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence, which is responsible for diversity initiatives. The office’s four staff members will be moved to other new or unfilled administrative positions, saving the school an estimated $250,000 per year.

It was the first trustees meeting for Richard Corcoran, the former education commissioner and Florida House speaker who became New College’s interim president on Monday.

The vote came as DeSantis and Republican lawmakers are pushing to remove diversity, equity and inclusion offices throughout the state college and university systems. Legislators have already begun to file bills to accomplish that aim during the session that begins March 7…

The school’s new policy will not affect the funding of academic instruction, research or student organizations, said Bradley Theissen, a top New College official who briefly served as interim president before Corcoran arrived.

The school’s general counsel will be responsible for overseeing diversity initiatives required by the state as well as the school’s compliance with federal non-discrimination laws “The objective [was] to remove the parts [of school policy and trainings] that we find to be discriminatory,” said trustee Matthew Spalding, a fellow at the conservative think tank the Claremont Institute….

Also Tuesday, board members addressed a wrinkle that developed late last week over Corcoran’s contract, which will pay him a base salary of $699,000, plus more than $200,000 in added benefits.

Most of that amount was intended to come from the New College Foundation, but the foundation’s finance chairperson noted that most of its funds are earmarked for other expenses.

The revelation raised questions about the foundation’s ability to help with Corcoran’s salary, but trustees said Tuesday they expected foundation members to “cooperate.”

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