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DeSantis appoints conservative Christopher Rufo, others to 'restructure' New College of Florida

"We are recapturing higher education," Rufo said.

Published: January 8, 2023 8:30am

Updated: January 8, 2023 9:03am

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed conservative activist Christopher Rufo and five other people to the New College of Florida Board of Trustees with the goal of restructuring the university's curriculum to a "classical liberal arts model."

Rufo, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow and filmmaker known for his activism against Critical Race Theory, was appointed on Friday along with Hillsdale College Professor Matthew Spalding, Claremont-McKenna College Professor Charles Kesler, former Emory University Professor Mark Bauerlein, Inspiration Academy founder Jason Speir and attorney Debra Jenks. 

The New College of Florida, based in Sarasota, has more than 700 students and over 90 full-time faculty members.

The new board members' goals include abolishing the school's "just, diverse, equitable and inclusive community" values and replacing it with "equity, merit and colorblindness," Rufo said.  

The board will also work to shift "the university to a classical liberal arts model," form a "new core curriculum and academic master plan" and restructure the administration and "academic departments to reflect the new pedagogical approach," according to Rufo.

"We are recapturing higher education," he said.

The appointees still have to be approved by the Florida Senate, which is likely to happen under the GOP supermajority.

"Universities should deliver an education—not an agenda—and prepare students for a successful future in the real world." DeSantis press secretary Bryan Griffin tweeted.

DeSantis has led the nation in implementing conservative education proposals, such as keeping schools open during the pandemic, signing a law mandating lessons about communism and banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory.

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