Opinion | This Is What the Right-Wing Takeover of

Whatever New College’s administration does, this will likely be the last year classes like the ones Sharf is taking are offered, because a bill making its way through the Florida Legislature requires the review of curriculums “based on theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States.” The sense of dread on campus, however, goes beyond what’s happening in Tallahassee.

Eliana Salzhauer, whose 17-year-old son is a New College economics student, compared the seemingly inexorable transformation of the school to Twitter under Elon Musk: It looked the same at first, even as it gradually degraded into a completely different experience. “They are turning a top-rated academic institution into a third-rate athletic facility,” she said.

Salzhauer was referring, in part, to the hiring of Mariano Jimenez, who previously worked at Speir’s Inspiration Academy, as athletic director and head baseball coach, even though there’s no baseball diamond on campus. In the past, New College hasn’t had traditional sports teams, but the administration is now recruiting student athletes, and Corcoran has said he wants to establish fraternities and sororities, likely creating a culture clash with New College’s artsy queer kids, activists and autodidacts. Before Wednesday’s board meeting, about 75 people held a protest outside. “We’re Nerds & Geeks, not Jocks & Greeks,” said one sign.

For many, the board of trustees meeting was the clearest sign yet that this is the last semester of New College as they know it. The pivot point was the trustees’ decision to override the typical tenure process. New College hired a large number of new faculty five years ago, and this year was the first that any of them could apply for tenure. Seven did, each going through the requisite hurdles, including getting a sign-off from New College’s former president. In the past, trustee approval had been a ceremonial matter, and tenure candidates would bring family and friends to celebrate.

Corcoran, however, had asked all the professors up for tenure this year to withdraw their applications because of the tumult at the school. Two of the seven agreed. The rest — three of them professors in the hard sciences — held out for the board’s vote. This was widely seen as a referendum not just on the individual candidates, but on faculty independence.

Source link

Tags: No tags

Comments are closed.